Three Things You Should Do Immediately After a Car Accident in Houston
As any driver in Houston knows, traffic accidents are a daily occurrence on the roads and highways in and around our city. With so much traffic congestion and distracted or aggressive drivers on the road, it is crucial to know what to do to protect yourself if you’re involved in an accident.
Although there are many steps you should take after a car crash, such as calling 911 and filing an accident report with law enforcement, below are the three most important things to do if you’ve been involved in a car accident here in Houston.
Seek Medical Treatment
If you aren’t transported by EMS, go to the hospital immediately after leaving the accident scene. You should not wait days or weeks before your initial medical evaluation. A doctor will need to perform an exam to determine your diagnosis and the appropriate treatment plan.
Insurance companies often look at delayed treatment as evidence that an injury isn’t severe or doesn’t exist at all. If they believe you suffered a minor injury because you didn’t see a doctor until two weeks after the crash, they could use that as a valid reason to offer a low settlement or even deny your claim.
After your initial doctor’s appointment or emergency room visit, listen to the physician’s recommendations. They might recommend follow-up care, such as:
- X-rays, CT scans, and other imaging tests
- Prescription medications
- In-patient hospitalization
- Physical therapy
- Chiropractic care
Be sure to attend every appointment regularly until you recover. If you end up with a permanent injury, your medical provider might provide an impairment rating, indicating its effects on your physical or mental abilities. This also shows future treatment might be necessary to manage mobility issues, chronic pain, and other problems.
You should avoid skipping your appointments or allowing too much time to pass in between them. A significant gap in treatment is more evidence the insurance company could use to offer an inadequate settlement amount. If you’re planning a vacation, inform your doctor so they can schedule the necessary treatments you need before you leave. If you live somewhere else for part of the year, prepare in advance to continue treatment with local doctors. Nothing should prevent you from receiving the medical care you need to heal.
Hire a Lawyer
You might think you can handle an insurance claim or injury action by yourself. However, you could face obstacles along the way that only an experienced attorney can overcome. It would be best to seek legal representation immediately after a car accident. The person you choose to hire could take on the responsibility of the legal aspects of your case so you can focus on your recovery.
When you hire a lawyer, they can complete each step on your behalf, so you’re not burdened by the complicated process. Common tasks they can tackle include:
- Investigate the accident
- Locate witnesses to obtain their statements
- Secure video surveillance and traffic camera footage
- Take photos of vital evidence
- File an insurance claim and negotiate a settlement with the insurance company
- Obtain repair estimates for the damage to all vehicles involved in the collision
- Request copies of your medical records and bills
- Determine the available insurance coverage
- Prepare legal documents to file a lawsuit in court
You might think the insurance company will be on your side. Unfortunately, that’s typically not how it works. Their goal is to save money by finding ways to avoid paying out claims. They will perform an independent investigation of the accident and gather evidence to show their policyholder isn’t at fault. They might even try to blame you for the accident.
If you don’t have an experienced lawyer on your side, you could end up with a denied claim. Or the insurance company could intimidate you into accepting a much lower settlement than you deserve.
While your lawyer builds your case, keep thorough records of everything associated with the car crash. Adequate documentation can begin at the accident scene. You could take pictures of visible evidence, such as vehicle damage, your physical injuries, broken glass and other debris in the road, and the exact location of the collision. If any of your personal property, such as a cell phone, broke, do not dispose of it. It’s also a good idea to hold onto bloody or torn clothing.
Take detailed notes regarding the events leading up to the accident. Recall everything you can remember about what you were doing, where you were headed, and how the crash occurred. If you saw the at-fault driver breaking a traffic law, such as texting or speeding, be sure to include that information.
Even though your lawyer can obtain vital evidence for you, you could help ensure they request complete medical records and other documents. If you receive physician bills, written prescriptions, or imaging test results, keep copies and forward them to your lawyer. It could also be helpful to write down your out-of-pocket expenses and print copies of bank statements.
Contact Houston Car Accident Lawyer Willie D. Powells III for Your Free Consultation
The legal team from the Law Offices of Willie D. Powells III and Associates, PLLC, will dedicate the necessary time, resources, and effort to your car accident case. We have a thorough knowledge of state laws and procedures we must follow to reach a favorable outcome.
When you hire us, your health and injury claim will be a priority. We’ll provide the qualified legal representation and guidance you need to get through this challenging time. You will have an experienced advocate in your corner to fight for your rights. We will aggressively pursue the maximum available compensation and hold the careless driver liable for their misconduct.
Contact the Houston car accident lawyers at The Law Offices of Willie D. Powells III, III. today if you sustained injuries in a car accident due to someone else’s negligence. We can meet you for a free consultation to discuss the details of the crash and determine your legal options.