Take the right steps to protect your legal rights
1. Make sure you are safe. Call 911
Make sure you are somewhere secure at the crash scene, then call 911. You must wait at the scene until law enforcement arrives. Depending on where in the city your accident is, the San Antonio Police (SAPD), Texas Highway Patrol, or Bexar County Sheriff’s Office will respond to your call for help.
Make sure to get the responding officer’s name, badge number, and agency. This will make it easier to find a copy of your crash report later. Also, get checked out by an emergency medical technician (EMT) or another first responder. They may be able to detect life-threatening, internal, or delayed-pain injuries of which you are not yet aware.
2. Start collecting evidence
Crash evidence will never be more fresh, available, and plentiful than it is immediately following the accident – so, if you are well enough to do so, start collecting right away. Gather the names, contact information, and statements from witnesses. Take video and photos of the crash scene, the position of the vehicles, any signs of the crash (like skid marks), injuries, and the people involved. Keep your own comments about the crash brief. Stick to the facts – time, date, location, etc. Do not discuss fault, and do not apologize. Whatever you say may be used by an insurance adjuster to reduce your settlement.
3. See a doctor - ASAP
Even if you were checked out at the scene of the accident, it is important that you see a doctor right away. Trauma care is available at facilities like Methodist, University, and Northeast Baptist Hospital. Methodist has about four ERs in San Antonio. Their locations include emergency treatment centers on I-10, Potranco Road, Loop 1604, and Floyd Curl Drive.
Your doctor’s visit creates an official medical record of your accident injuries. Save copies of all medical records, receipts, transcripts, emails, and any other documentation generated by accident-related medical treatment. These will help support your claim for substantial compensation.
4. Notify your insurance company – but be careful.
Most car insurance policies require policyholders to notify the insurance company shortly after a car accident happens. When you report the incident, keep your words brief and do not give details. Only provide the basics – time, date, place, and names of those involved. Do not comment on the extent of your injuries. It is fine to tell an adjuster that you are being treated for your accident injuries and leave it at that.
You are not required to talk with the other driver’s insurance provider – so don’t do it.
Also, do not sign any forms that release personal data like medical or work records or make an official signed statement before consulting an attorney. Many people choose to have their lawyers handle conversations with the insurance company, prepare statements, meet legal deadlines, and negotiate aggressively for the compensation they deserve.
5. Call a San Antonio car accident lawyer
After a bad crash, do not wait to contact a San Antonio car accident attorney. The crash investigation needs to begin as soon as possible. Injuries heal, witness memories fade, evidence gets washed away, and surveillance video is often on a schedule for deletion. To get the most for your injuries, your lawyer needs to collect all the evidence they can before it disappears.
The faster you get a lawyer, the sooner you can stop worrying about accident-related medical bills and the complex claim process. Focus on healing. Your lawyer will handle the rest. If you’ve been in a car accident in San Antonio, don’t go through the process on your own. Talk to an experienced attorney who will fight for your legal rights every step of the way.