What To Do After an Accident

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Dallas / Fort Worth auto accidents require that you do certain things after your accident in order to protect your rights, especially when an injury is involved.  Be sure and complete the following steps if you are involved in an automobile accident in the North Texas / Dallas area (particularly if there is an injury involved):

What to Do if You Are Involved in an Automobile Accident Involving an Injury (in Addition to Contacting a Dallas Auto Accident Lawyer):

1. Try to remain as calm as possible. An auto accident is a traumatic event, especially if you suffer an injury.

2. Call the police. Do not accept any excuse for them not writing an auto accident report. I cannot tell you how many times people say one thing at the accident scene, and then say something else once they leave the scene. Having the police come and make an automobile accident report will help you prove who was at fault in the accident. Having any complaints of injury documented on the auto accident police report also helps to document the fact that your injury indeed came from the automobile accident. Dallas area police are sometimes reluctant to write an auto accident report, but you need the information on their accident reports to protect your rights, especially if you suffered an injury.

3. Gather witness information. Sometimes witnesses stop and volunteer their information at auto accident scenes. Many times, in the Dallas area, they don't. If there is an injury involved, many times it is difficult to think about witnesses, but you must protect yourself. Look around the auto accident scene, ask for the names, addresses and phone numbers of people who may have seen or heard the accident, or the admissions of liability after the accident that the other drivers may make. If the witness overhears the other driver admitting they were at fault, that is admissible in court which means it is information that the insurance company will take seriously. Get that person's information so your lawyer can use it to convince the insurance company to settle your injury case.

4. Take pictures of the accident scene if possible. Obviously, if you have suffered an injury, you will very likely be unable to take pictures. Call a friend, spouse, or relative to come to the scene as soon as possible to document the positions of the automobile (s), where the debris is located, and the conditions of the automobile (s) involved. Insurance companies deny countless injury claims based on injured people's inability to prove the severity of the automobile's impact with the other auto. If you cannot prove that the impact was more than a fender-bender, the insurance company will attempt to deny your injury claim based on the argument that "your injury could not possibly have been caused by such a minimal impact".

In order to force a settlement from the insurance company for the injury (to pay your medical bills and lost income), you will need to be able to show that your injury was "caused" by the accident, and not due to some "other reason" (such as trying to make a claim, or blaming a preexisting injury on an accident). Even though such incidents are rare, the fact that they do sometimes occur causes insurance companies to closely scrutinize each and every claim.

Gather the names, addresses, and phone numbers of friends, family, coworkers, neighbors, classmates, or other people who can verify that you indeed were suffering from an injury.  You need people who can talk about how you did things differently after the injury accident than you did before (examples: coworker has to help you do certain things at work now, you no longer can bowl in you regular bowling league, you went to the gym every day for the last year for spinning classes but after the accident you couldn't continue due to the pain - someone who worked out with you who can verify this).  These types of witnesses, even if closely related to you, are much more convincing than just your own statement about having an injury. 

5. Gather all insurance information at the scene. At the scene of an auto accident, with the police present, most people are cooperative about giving out this type of information. Once you leave the scene, your ability to gather this information decreases. Some people refuse to give this information at all after you leave the accident scene, which makes getting your automobile repaired, and settling any injury claims you may have, very difficult.

6. If there is an injury, call an ambulance. Just after an accident, when the adrenaline is pumping, people might not realize just how serious their injury is. If you, or anyone, has an injury in the accident, EMS should be called to evaluate the injury and make sure it is not life threatening. People who are walking around and appearing normal can sometimes have a life-threatening injury that can and will kill that person if they don't receive treatment immediately. An internal injury cannot be seen. A person may appear perfectly "normal" to you, but if they are complaining of pain, they need to be seen by a medical professional as soon as possible.

Damages Often Recoverable in Personal Injury Cases Include the Following:
Past and future medical bills, past and future lost earning capacity, past and future lost income, past and future physical impairment, past and future disfigurement, past and future mental anguish, past and future pain and suffering, property damage, loss of use of your property - such as rental car bills, storage, total loss of property, diminished value of property, loss of body member (arm, leg, . . .), loss of body capacity (hearing, eyesight, . . . ), loss of consortium (spouse, parental, child/filial), loss of services, emotional/mental trauma (bystander injury), prenatal injury, exemplary damages, prejudgment interest, attorney's fees, and court costs.

7. Get your own estimate for the damage to your automobile. The auto insurance companies almost always write the auto estimate for less than the actual damage to the car. There are several reasons for this. First, they would rather be on the low side than the high side of payment for the automobile's damage. Second, if you decide to keep the money and not fix the car, they end up paying less this way. Third, the lower the amount of damage to the car, the less likely a jury will believe that someone suffered an injury in an accident. So there are several incentives for an insurance company to low-ball you on your estimate to your car. Be sure and get your own auto estimate to make sure you aren't being taken advantage of.

If you have incurred an injury in the Dallas / Fort Worth area, you need a Dallas auto accident lawyer to handle your injury claim. Contact an attorney at our office at (972) 599 4100 for a free initial phone conversation today - to see if we can help you with your injury claim / case.  

Personal Injury Areas We Help With Are:

Auto Accident and Injury Cases, Personal Injury Cases, 18 Wheeler & Commercial Vehicle Injury Accident Cases, Motorcycle Accident and Injury Cases, Wrongful Death Cases, Pedestrian Injured by Automobile Cases, Slip and Fall & Premises Cases, Workplace & Constructions Injury Cases, Dog Bite Injury Cases, Bicyclers Hit by Automobile Cases .

Types of Coverage in Automobile Injury Cases:

Automobile Liability Insurance, Uninsured Motorist Insurance, Personal Injury Protection (PIP), Medpay Insurance, Property Damage & Collision Coverages for Your Auto

By Doug Goyen, douggoyen@gmail.com 

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