A car accident can be a disorienting experience even for the most prepared among us. The combination of potential injury, loss of vehicle, time off work, financial losses and various other inconveniences can create more than a little stress. It can be difficult to know what to do next.
The truth is a car accident can become far more perilous than necessary if you do not act decisively to protect yourself in time. Absent disabling or life-threatening injury, any driver involved in an accident with injury or significant property damage needs to take several important steps to protect themselves and their family.
Leaving aside the potential for incriminating yourself or entangling yourself in a legal problem of your own making, it is vital that you engage in no conversation about the details of the accident or who was at fault at the scene. There is nothing you can say or do that will have any effect on your legal or financial position. Best to wait until you can consult with counsel.
It is important you let your attorney report the accident to your insurance company. It goes without saying your insurance company will be looking for reasons to deny any current or future claims, and there is nothing they like more than a driver who gives them exactly what they want. Your Austin car accident lawyer, on the other hand, knows the insurance code and can critically read your policy to make sure your financial interests and coverage are protected.
In any contest of liabilities, it is the litigant who can re-create the accident scene four months later who stands the best chance of protecting their finances and driving privilege. It is, for this reason, you must be certain you gather all the relevant evidence at your accident scene. The mobile television station you are carrying around in your pocket can probably help in this regard.
Get photos of all documents at the scene, including badges, name tags, license plates, and all licenses and insurance cards. Shoot the street and the sky to get road and weather conditions. Photograph the interiors of all other vehicles if you can and also make sure you get multiple angles of the damage to all vehicles. If you can, photograph any nearby street signs and addresses so you can establish the exact location. If you see any surveillance cameras, ATMs, public transportation stops, or convenience stores, photograph their locations relative to the accident. It is possible one or more got a live shot of the accident itself.
Your attorney will be very happy to explain why it is important he or she has a stack of papers to wave in the air at trial. Your job is to make sure they have what they need, and that means hard evidence. Even if you are at fault, you can make sure you aren’t taken advantage of if you are the one establishing the facts.
After any vehicle accident, it is up to you to protect your financial interests. You can be certain your counterparties and all the insurance companies will.