Roads in the Tyler, Shreveport and Longview area are dangerous. If you’re in a car wreck, what you do immediately after could save lives. There are also critical steps you can take to protect yourself and your property in case you later need to file a personal injury claim. We’ll tell you what to do if you have a car accident in East Texas, both at the scene and in the days that follow.
Immediately After a Car Wreck
Right after a car wreck or other vehicle accident, expect to feel shock. Even if it was just a fender-bender, it came out of nowhere and it wasn’t supposed to happen. Most people feel confusion as the brain tries to make sense of unexpected destruction.
People describe a range of emotions that swing from fear to panic to emotional numbness. Your temper might flare up at the other driver, even if they weren’t at fault. Or, you might feel guilt and anxiety, even if you did nothing wrong.
All those emotions cloud your judgment. Focus on completing these tasks right away:
- Evaluate the area for safety. Is it safer to stay in the car or move to another location? Don’t leave the scene.
- Check yourself and others in your vehicle for injury. Call 9-1-1 if someone is hurt.
- If one of your passengers is unconscious, wait for EMS instead of trying to move them.
- Even if no one is injured, if there’s property damage, call the police.
At the Scene of Your Car Accident
Once you and your passengers are safe, you can evaluate what happened to your vehicle during the car wreck. Be careful what you say when you talk to the other driver.
All those intense emotions make it hard to be objective about what happened. Refuse to talk about who was at fault, even if it seems clear cut. If you think it was partly your fault, keep it to yourself until the dust has had time to settle. If it was a car wreck caused by improper maintenance, it’s still best to avoid discussing liability. Here are some basic do’s and don’ts
- Get the other driver’s name, insurance information, license plate number and driver’s license number.
- Give them that information from you.
- If it’s safe, take photos of any vehicles involved in the car wreck, including license plates and all damage.
- Photograph skid marks, any debris caused by the accident and surrounding area damage.
- Get names and contact information from any witnesses who are at the scene.
- Make a sketch of the scene while you’re on site and it’s fresh in your memory.
Don’t talk to anyone other than the police about what happened. Don’t admit fault to anyone. Make a note of who you talked to and put the vehicle accident report number away in a safe place.
Do not allow your driver’s license to be photographed. Also, don’t give your address or phone number to the other driver or anyone who was with them.
After the Car Accident
Contact your insurance company as soon as possible. Write down who you spoke to and what you talked about. Keep track of receipts for anything you pay out of pocket for a rental car, transportation etc.
Don’t agree to any settlements until you’ve talked to an attorney. Contact a Longview, Tyler or Shreveport personal injury attorney who deals with car accidents, even if no one was seriously injured or you might be partly at fault. Monsour Law Firm will help you understand your rights and look out for your best interests.
It costs you nothing to talk to an expert about your car wreck, and the peace of mind you’ll receive could be priceless. Protect your rights by scheduling a free consultation online or calling (903)999-9999.