Car accidents are coming!  Austin is expecting a 20+ degree temperature drop in the next 24 hours, and weather forecasters are predicting that sleet is possible in areas surrounding Austin later this week.  It is important to know how best to protect yourself and other motorists after you’ve been involved in a car accident.

Prepare for the unexpected

The first thing you should do is prepare for cold weather.  It’s important you have proper clothes in case you do get stranded on the side of the road after car accidents.  Hat, gloves and a coat will go a long way to keeping you warm if your car won’t start after an accident.  It’s also not a bad idea to carry a blanket in your car.  This is especially true if you’re going to drive on highways or long distances.

You should also have some bottled water and a basic emergency first aid kit in your vehicle.  Even if you’re in the center of Austin, it may take awhile for emergency crews to get to you if there are a lot of car accidents happening all around the city.  Having bandages to apply direct pressure on bleeding wounds is a good start to preventing or limiting infections.

Get Safe Fast

Roadway obstructions account for a number of serious injuries and deaths on Texas roadways each year.  If you can move your vehicle from the roadway, then do.  If not, then try to warn other motorists that the road is blocked as soon as you can.  This may prevent more car accidents.

Call 911

Obviously if there are injuries or the roadway is blocked you need to get emergency crews enroute as soon as possible.  If there are a high number of car accidents – like there often is during inclement weather – emergency workers have to prioritize their calls.  Operators will want to know if, and how badly, anyone is hurt, whether the roadway is blocked, and other information to help them set priorities.  Always follow the instruction of the 911 Operators.

Render Aid

If possible, help out anyone injured in the accident.  It is generally not wise to move people who may be injured until emergency crews arrive.  There are a number of “hidden” injuries that can be made much worse by moving too quickly, or moving in the wrong way after an accident.  Don’t try to be a doctor, but do render basic first aid you are competent to give.

Gather Information

Once everyone is safe, you should start gathering information.  Get the name and phone number of witnesses.  Ask them what they saw, and share your information with them.  Unbiased witnesses are often the most important people juries hear from in car accidents.  Many times witnesses will start leaving when law enforcement shows up, so it’s important to get their information as soon as you can.

You should also try to take pictures at the scene before any vehicles are moved.  Take pictures of the vehicles, of marks on the road, and of debris scattered around the accident scene.  Once emergency crews show up this evidence can quickly be lost.

When taking pictures make sure to get enough background so that a jury has perspective of the scene as a whole when they look at the pictures.

Politely Give Information

It is important you also give your name and number to the other driver and to law enforcement.  It is not a good idea to argue with the other driver, or anyone else, at the scene.  In a calm manner, tell the police what you believe happened.  Police are used to dealing with stressed and overly emotional people.  The calmer you are, the better your chances of the officer understanding what you say.

Do not try to convince anyone else of your version of events.  We do that for you.  Arguing with anyone at the scene will make you seem less reasonable, and may paint a negative picture of you should your case end up having to go to trial.

Get Medical Treatment and Keep Records

If you need medical treatment, then get medical treatment.  We have clients come in all the time that tell us they held off on getting medical treatment because they thought a pain would go away, or an injury would heal itself.  Unfortunately, insurance companies often use this as a basis to deny your claim.  They will say you didn’t get medical treatment soon enough so the treatment you did get was unrelated to the accident.  Don’t wait.  If you think you need to be checked out by a doctor, then get checked out immediately.

Contact our Austin Car Accident Attorneys before talking to Insurance Adjusters

Insurance adjusters are quick to contact people after car accidents.  We’ve had numerous cases where they will call the same day of the accident and ask you for a statement.  Sometimes these statements are recorded and sometimes they are not.  After any traumatic incident it is often better to take your time and reflect on the event before giving statements that may limit your legal rights or positions.

Contact our Austin Car Accident Attorneys before you give a statement to anyone.  Many jurors tend to put a lot of weight on the credibility of those early statements even though you are still processing things and may not yet understand how the accident happened.  It is better to get legal advice before giving any statements.  Once they have a statement from you it is often difficult to get that statement corrected as new information is learned.  Contact us right now for a free case evaluation.  We will help you investigate and process what happened before you give a statement that could effect your legal rights.