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From Jeremy's Desk


What to do when you have a car wreck

When you or your loved ones are injured in a car wreck, it can be frightening and confusing.  Here are some tips on what to do when you have an accident:

  • Stop. Stay at the scene of the motor vehicle accident. You could be charged with a crime for leaving the scene of the accident.
  • Provide help as you are able to any injured persons. Do not attempt to move anyone who is badly injured, unless there is a risk of greater injury by leaving the person alone. Call 9-1-1 for an ambulance when injuries are severe.
  • Do not volunteer any information or make comments about the accident to anyone, including insurance companies, other drivers, or other parties involved. Do not sign any pieces of paper and do not agree to pay for damages.
  • Identify all drivers, passengers, pedestrians, and witnesses and ask them to remain at the scene of the accident. Write down their names, addresses, phone numbers, license plate numbers, and an account of what they saw. Do not rely on the police to obtain this information. Oftentimes the names of witnesses and even passengers are not included on the accident report.
  • All drivers must identify themselves to each other. Copy down information contained on all driver's licenses, vehicle registrations, and insurance cards.
  • Call 9-1-1 to ask law enforcement to the accident scene to take a report. If the police are not called or will not come to the scene of the accident to file a report, you have 10 days to go to the police station to file a written report.
  • While you must cooperate with the police officers investigating the case and you must sign traffic tickets, just provide the basic facts. Do not make comments or give interpretations of the accident. Stay calm and tell the truth.
  • Take down the name and the badge number of the police officer involved. Ask when and where you can pick up a copy of the accident report.
  • Make a diagram of the accident, showing the positions of the cars before, during, and after the impact. Make sure and note any traffic lights and street signs, estimate the speeds of the drivers, and write down details about the weather and road conditions.
  • Take pictures and / or video with your camera or cell phone of the vehicles, damage, scene, and other driver(s) if possible.
  • Seek medical attention and x-rays ASAP either at the emergency room doctor or with your doctor.  Sometimes you may think you are not injured but there could be serious internal injuries. Physical therapy or chiropractic care may help you recover more quickly from back and neck pain, even if there are no serious injuries.
  • Contact your insurance company ASAP to file a claim. Provide only the facts of the car accident. Avoid comments or interpretations of what happened. Do not give a recorded statement to any insurance adjuster until after you have consulted with an experienced East Texas car wreck attorney.