Step 1: Your Actions Immediately After the Accident
Unless the accident is a very minor event with no property damage, you need to call 911 after an accident to report it to the police if you are physically able to call. The police will arrive at the scene of the accident, interview both parties, ask if anyone is injured, and will usually prepare a police report about how the accident occurred. The police will also document the correct name of the other driver, addresses, and insurance companies. All of this information is relevant and useful. If you talk to the other driver before the police arrive, it is certainly acceptable to ask if he or she is injured or needs an ambulance. However, do not admit fault for the accident because you simply may not be at fault.
Step 2: Are You Injured?
After you call the police, take a moment, take a few deep breaths, and attempt to ascertain if you are injured. If you are, remain still and advise the 911 operator (or anyone around your vehicle) that you need an ambulance. If you are unsure whether you injured, remember that your adrenaline probably spiked as a result of the accident and many times an accident victim will feel the injuries a day or two later. So you probably should not tell the police officer you have no injuries if you are unsure. If you are injured at the scene, go to the emergency room and report all of your injuries to the emergency room doctor. If you feel injuries a day or two later, go to a medical doctor and report all of your injuries. Follow the advice of your medical doctor(s) concerning treatment. Your health is too important to ignore this situation.
Step 3: Reporting the Accident
After you take care of your health, and as soon as you can after the accident, you should call your automobile insurance company to report the accident. An adjuster will be assigned and you will be asked lots of questions about the accident. Provide as much information as you can to your insurance company. If the accident was not your fault, make sure to tell your adjuster why it was not your fault. If you were injured, be sure to tell your adjuster that you were injured and report all injuries you sustained in the accident. If you are unsure about talking to the adjuster, call an attorney to help you with this process.
Step 4: Hiring an Attorney
If you were seriously injured in the accident, contact an attorney who handles personal injury cases as soon as you can after the accident. Research available attorneys in your area, ask any attorney you contact about his or her experience in handling automobile accident cases, and consider hiring an attorney who is Board Certified in Personal Injury Trial Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. You should not try to handle your claim with the adverse driver's insurance company without legal representation. Your attorney should be able to handle the remaining part of your case including establishing who was at fault for the accident, what injuries were caused by the accident, and what reasonable amount of damages you need to compensate you for your medical expenses, loss of wages, pain and suffering, and physical impairment.