A car accident can be a traumatic event with life-changing consequences. Even when a car accident does not result in death, injuries caused by accidents can severely affect a person’s wellbeing. Simply the time spent missing work for car repairs can cause a person to lose their job or miss important family moments. Medical bills can put families in a difficult financial situation with no immediate solution. However, a Houston, TX personal injury law firm can help you recover financially.
Should You Call the Police After an Injury Due to a Car Accident?
The First Moments After a Car Crash
Car crashes are disorienting and can easily induce panic. If you find yourself the victim of a car accident, first be sure to tend to your safety. Avoid exiting your vehicle immediately as traffic around you may not make it safe to do so, especially if you had an accident on the highway. If you’re in serious pain, it’s best to stay where you are. If it’s possible to steer your vehicle out of the road, do so carefully and put your hazard lights on.
If there are passengers in the vehicle with you, check to make sure they are okay. If you are injured but can get out of the car safely, you may want to do so as gas leaks or other vehicles could cause further injury. When you are safe, retrieve your phone and proceed to call 911. It is imperative that you call the authorities.
Always Call 911 After a Car Accident
Legally, Houston drivers are required to call 911 if there has been an injury or if vehicles will continue to impede traffic. However, we have seen many cases where people were concerned about high medical bills or having trouble with previous legal issues. These cases chose not to call 911, which is a major mistake if you hope to file a claim later on. Even if you aren’t sure whether the situation warrants police attention, call 911.
Failure to call the authorities could be seen as an attempt to avoid consequences for an accident if you are found to be partially at fault. On the other hand, if you are the victim of an accident and you don’t call 911, your injuries may be perceived as less serious by a jury if you file suit in the future. It’s always in your best interests to call 911 and receive immediate attention.
The Role of Houston, TX Police in Car Accidents
Why are the police important for car accident cases? When the police respond, they first assess the situation and attempt to determine which driver was most at fault. They will likely assign a traffic citation to one or perhaps both parties. For instance, a driver that fell asleep at the wheel may be charged with reckless driving. In some situations, both drivers could be charged. Perhaps one driver failed to yield while another failed to signal.
These charges will have a significant impact on any civil suits filed after the accident. By calling 911 first, police are more likely to reach out to you first to hear your version of events. Be mindful that you do not unknowingly confess to any driving violations while speaking with the police. It’s best to describe the incident starting with the moment before impact. If you need immediate medical attention, the police will likely forward any charges to you by mail.
Next, Call a Personal Injury Law Firm
After calling authorities and receiving medical attention, your next phone call should be to a personal injury law firm in the Houston area. Ask to speak to a personal injury lawyer with experience in automobile accidents. When you speak to a lawyer, explain all of the details leading up to the incident and your current situation. Your lawyer will ask additional questions to get the full picture and provide some instructions on how to proceed.
A lawyer’s counsel is vital if you hope to later reach a settlement or win a trial. However, many people hesitate to call a lawyer, which complicates matters further. Why is it so important to call a lawyer quickly?
Don’t Wait to Call a Lawyer
The moment a car accident happens, a case is being built. The more you can document your case, the better. When people wait to call a lawyer, it can be difficult to gather important documents and evidence. Conversely, if you call a lawyer right away, you’ll know exactly what you should keep track of. For example, you’ll need to record all expenses related to the accident. These expenses could become part of your settlement.
In addition, photos of your injuries and the damage to your vehicle can provide compelling testimony for your case. Waiting weeks to call a lawyer may mean you cannot present your injuries as they truly were, which could cause a jury to doubt their severity if your case were to go to trial. Most importantly, a lawyer understands the legal system. They’ll help you navigate the complexities of a personal injury lawsuit.
Personal Injury Law in Houston
With a lawyer at your side, you can file a civil claim against the other driver for your injuries. Your lawyer will first file a lawsuit with a local court naming the other driver as the defendant. When this happens, the court will notify the other driver of the lawsuit. The lawsuit will detail how much compensation you seek for your injuries. Texas personal injury law explains how you can receive compensation.
There are two categories of damages that you can claim for compensation. Your lawyer will help you maximize the potential award by leveraging both of these to your advantage.
The first category covers “economic damages,” which we can calculate using receipts and invoices. For example, itemized medical expenses and the cost of repairing your car can be easily added up. Courts are usually willing to award a plaintiff all of their economic damages as long as they are properly documented. This is why it’s vital to keep records from day one.
Non-Economic Damages and Limitations
Non-economic damages are also known as pain and suffering. This category provides extra money to the victim as a way of compensating them for the discomfort and inconvenience of going through this whole process. There is generally no limit to non-economic damages, but judges have the freedom to determine the final amount.
Many cases avoid going to trial entirely. This removes the possibility of a jury finding you at fault, which could affect your compensation.
Does It Matter Who Was at Fault for a Car Accident in Houston, TX?
In Texas, fault is shared between both parties unless it is clear that one of them was completely in the wrong. For instance, if you collided with a car turning left through an intersection while you were driving through, you may be deemed partially at fault if you were exceeding the speed limit or if you could have avoided the crash. If you are more than 50% at fault, you cannot receive compensation.
With the help of an experienced lawyer, you can prove your innocence and pursue your claim to the fullest. Get in touch with Houston Injury Lawyers today to speak to a lawyer about your injuries and discuss your options.