With around 6 million car accidents per year in the US, you can consider yourself extremely fortunate if you have never experienced one in your life.
According to a report by Statista, there are approximately 273 million registered motor vehicles in the States with over 225 million valid driving licenses issued thus far.
Further, the car insurance industry estimations say that the average driver will file a claim for a car collision once every 17.9 years, meaning that if you got your driving license when you were 16, the odds say that you are going to experience some kind of a car accident by the time you turn 34, or over the course of a lifetime – the average person is supposed to experience a total of 3-4 car crashes.
With over 17 million licensed drivers, second only to California, the State of Texas is not an exception when it comes to traffic accidents.
Being the fourth most populous city in the US, the City of Houston is the absolute leader in Texas when it comes to car accidents per city. With over 64,000 car accidents for 2018, Houston is well ahead of Dallas, San Antonio, Austin, and El Paso in this terrifying segment.
Imagine driving home from a friend’s backyard barbeque party on an eventful Sunday evening.
It had been a marvelous day full of cheering the Texans, playing card games, eating bbq, and lots of laughs. Just as you pull into an intersection, an approaching vehicle runs on a red light.
Seeing your brake lights too late, the driver tries to avoid your vehicle but to no avail. You’ve just been a part of a car accident and in these difficult moments, it’s very important to remain calm and take the appropriate steps in order to protect your health and financial interests too.
In the wake of all the confusion, pain and shrieking bystanders – you need to act! Here’s what you should do after you experience a car accident in Houston.
Immediately Stop Check For Injuries And Call 911!
Your health and wellbeing come second to none. Right after the accident, try to stay calm as possible and immediately check for injuries.
If you need no assistance to get out of the car, check everyone else involved in the car accident if they are okay and if they need any help. Be extremely cautious if you need to move an injured person out of their vehicle.
Call 911 in case anyone sustained an injury in the accident and needs professional help. While talking with the EMS via phone, make sure you let the dispatcher know about any serious injuries or fatalities that you can observe.
Also, let them know of any hazard in the place of the accident which they should know before they arrive.
Describe the location of the accident thoroughly and let them know on which side of the road your car is placed. In case of minor injuries, Texas law doesn’t require you to call the EMS but always play it safe.
Deal With The Police
Once you checked yourself and everyone involved for injuries everybody is fine, it’s time to call the police department and let them know that a car accident occurred. When they arrive at the scene, answer all their questions honestly and follow their instructions.
The officers of the law are authorized to arrange care and transport of the injured, request the car-towing services, secure the accident scene, verify insurance information of the involved parties, collect evidence and file a police crash report.
Also known as the CR3 Peace Officer Report, the Police Crash Report is a summary of the facts of the accident scene based on the officer’s observations and interviews with the involved parties.
Also, available online, the Houston Police accident report contains information about the date, time and location of the accident; general information for the parties involved or witnesses; known injuries to people involved and extent of damage to the vehicles; a visual diagram of the scene and contains info about the laws and codes that were violated.
Contact Your Insurance Provider And File A Claim
In clear liability accidents – the sooner you call the insurance provider the sooner the provider will be able to help you restore your damages and get things back to normal. It is very important to have car insurance in such cases and it is mandatory also as per law. You can find cheapest insurance quotes online if you are tight on budget, but make sure to get your car insured.
Give a call to your insurance company and they will surely walk you through the process and request all relevant information.
After that, you will file a claim and a claim representative will contact you to tell you the next steps that should follow.
In most cases, the insurance company will review your claim, evaluate it and will assess and try to complete it as quickly as possible.
According to the regulations of the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles, when filing for a claim you will need to submit the following documents and information:
- Policy number of your insurance card
- Time, date and location of the accident
- A detailed description of how the accident occurred
- Name the Police Department that responded to the accident scene
- CR3 Peace Officer Report number
- Insurance and contact information of the other party involved
Reach Out To A Car Accident Attorney
In case the settlement falls short of your expectations or your insurance claim is denied, it’s in your best interest to contact a highly-skilled local attorney who is specialized in car accident cases.
When meeting for an initial consultation with the attorney, make sure to bring along copies of the medical records and bills, a copy of the CR3 Peace Office Report and statements from witnesses and other relevant documentation related to the accident.
The attorney will know about the potential value of your claim and will let you know whether she/he believes the claim will get settled or if the claim is mature enough to be tried in court.