Take the right steps to protect your legal rights
People who live and work in Galveston know the crash hotspots. I-45 is among the most dangerous roadways in the U.S., but streets like 51st Street, and Avenue J have serious crashes, too.
However, knowing where accidents are likely to happen isn’t the same as knowing what to do if you get into a crash. Many Texans hire Galveston car accident attorneys to handle the complicated claims process for them. While your attorney will do most of the work, there are some things you can do – and not do – after a car accident to make your claim as strong as possible.
1. Call 911
Make sure you are in a safe spot at the crash site and call 911. Remain at the scene. Leaving a crash with injury or death is a serious matter in Texas that could lead to charges. The only exception is you are allowed to leave to get emergency medical treatment. Around here, the responding officer will most likely be with the Galveston Police, Galveston County Sheriff’s Office, or Texas Highway Patrol.
When the officer arrives, get their name, badge number, and agency. This will help you find your Texas Crash Report – an important piece of evidence in your case. Get checked out by emergency medical personnel. Even if you feel okay, you may still be suffering from an internal or delayed-pain injury.
2. Collect evidence
The accident scene is fresh and full of evidence, but it won’t stay that way forever. Pretty soon the cars will be moved out of the road, the street cleaners will scrub away evidence, and witnesses will leave. Start collecting evidence before it disappears. Take photos and video of the crash. Make sure to get the position of the vehicles, injuries, road conditions, and physical evidence like skid marks.
Keep your comments about the accident and your injury short. Provide only the most basic details – name, time of the crash, location, etc. You are not required to talk to the other driver’s insurance company, so do not talk to them. Anything you say can be seized upon by a crafty adjuster and twisted around to justify cutting your claim.
3. See a doctor
Even if you were checked out at the scene of the accident, it is important to see a doctor as soon as possible after a crash. This is because a doctor has more time, resources, and training to give you a thorough examination. This visit will create an official medical record of your crash injuries. Facilities with trauma services often treat car accident victims. In Galveston, such places include UTMB Health, Hospitality Health ER, and Affinity Urgent Care.
Follow your doctor's instructions and attend all recommended appointments with specialists and therapists. This demonstrates that you are serious about taking advantage of every opportunity available to regain your health.
4. Notify the insurance company
Typically, car insurance policies require you to inform the company soon after a car accident happens. This is a tricky conversation because insurance agents are very good at getting people to say things that can be twisted around to justify small settlements.
So, keep it brief. Provide only the most basic information – names of those involved, time, date, place, etc. When asked about injuries, it is enough to say that you are being treated by a doctor – no need to go into specifics.
Do not provide a statement or grant access to private medical or other records. Never accept a settlement offer without consulting an attorney first.
5. Call a Galveston car accident lawyer
Contact a Galveston car accident lawyer as soon as you can after an accident. They typically offer free consultations to injured accident victims and can advise you on how to proceed with your claim. If you choose to have them represent you, you can stop worrying about medical bills and accident-related expenses. Your attorney will fight to get you the compensation you deserve.