Car Accidents tend to come out of nowhere. One moment you’re driving along a Fort Worth roadway like I-20 or N Henderson Street and then the next you’re fully stopped, in a wreck, and in serious pain.
Car accident victims have rights that need protection immediately after a crash. After a car accident, there are some steps you should do – and should not do – to build a strong case for compensation.
It’s worth noting that one of the most critical steps you can take is contacting a Fort Worth car accident lawyer. The one you choose will move your claim forward and negotiate for the compensation you deserve while you heal.
1. Make sure you are safe, then call 911
Safety first. Make sure you are in a safe location, then call 911. Remain at the scene until law enforcement arrives. Around here, that would most likely be the Fort Worth Police, Tarrant County Sheriff’s Office, or the Texas Highway Patrol.
When the officer arrives get their name, badge number, and agency. This information will help you locate an important piece of evidence - your Texas Crash Report - when it is complete. Do not discuss the details of the accident or your injuries with the police or anyone else at the scene. Provide only basic information like names of those involved, date, place, etc.
Get checked out by an emergency responder at the crash site, even if you feel okay. Serious injuries like concussions, spinal cord injuries, and internal damage that you don't yet feel may be detected by a medical professional.
2. Start gathering evidence at the scene
Evidence can quickly fade or be erased, so it’s important to get it while it’s fresh. Take photos and video of the crash scene with your cellphone, smartphone, or another recording device, if you have one. Capture video and pictures of the vehicles, damage, injuries, and physical evidence like skid marks. Gather witness statements, names, and contact information.
3. See a doctor as soon as possible
You need to properly treat your injuries and create a medical record of their severity and cause. The sooner you see a doctor after a crash the better for your health and your insurance claim. In Fort Worth, trauma care is available at hospitals like Texas Health Harris Methodist, John Peter Smith, and Kindred Hospital Tarrant County or urgent care centers like Complete Care Camp Bowie.
Doctors have more time, training, and resources to give you a thorough examination after a bad car accident. They can detect serious injuries with delayed pain like some Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs) and whiplash. For your health, and the good of your case, follow their instructions, see recommended specialists, and prioritize going to medical and other accident-related appointments. Save copies of all medical records, receipts, emails, etc.
4. Notify your insurance company – but be careful
Most insurance companies require you to notify them soon after a car accident has occurred. Not doing so could ruin your case. When you talk to your insurance company, assume you are being recorded and do not provide any details about the accident or your injuries. Give them the basic facts, let them know you are being medically treated, and that’s it. Do not give them permission to view your medical or other records, accept a settlement offer, or make a statement without first consulting with a Fort Worth car accident attorney.
Remember: You do not have to talk to the other driver’s insurance company at all – so, don’t do it. Anything you say can be used to reduce or reject your claim.
If you have an attorney, they can handle this call for you.
5. Call a Fort Worth car accident lawyer
Contacting an attorney as soon as you can after a bad car accident is a good way to protect your right to compensation. Your attorney can handle crash questions from others and answer yours. They will investigate your accident, dig up evidence, build a strong case for compensation, and negotiate aggressively with the insurance company until they make you a substantial settlement offer. If necessary, your attorney can file a lawsuit to get results.
The sooner you get an attorney, the sooner you can stop worrying about your claim, move forward, and focus on healing.