What should drivers do following an auto accident in Texas?

Being involved in an auto accident in Texas can be shocking and upsetting, which is why it behooves drivers to know what to do ahead of time.

Every 61 seconds in 2015, there was an average of one reportable motor vehicle collision, according to the Texas Department of Transportation. Despite the prevalence of auto accidents on the streets and highways across the state, many believe they will not be involved in one because they drive safely. That, combined with the shock of such an experience may leave some unsure of what to do. In order to protect themselves, however, it is important for drivers to understand what steps to take following a car wreck in Texas.

Stay at the scene

When crashes result in injuries or are likely to have caused injuries, the motorists involved are required to stay at the scene. Sometimes, however, it may be necessary to move the vehicles off of the road for safety purposes. In such cases, the drivers should stay as close to spot where the car accident occurred as possible.

Check for injuries

Some collisions result only in property damage, while others cause serious injuries or death for the drivers and passengers involved. Once they have stopped their vehicles, motorists should assess whether they or any occupants in their vehicles have been injured. If anyone requires medical aid, they should call for emergency assistance.

Notify the authorities

In addition to calling for medical help if it is needed, drivers should also report serious auto wrecks to the authorities. Depending on the circumstances, law enforcement may render aid, as well as take an accident report. Motorists should make certain they obtain a copy of these reports. Such documentation may be helpful for insurance or legal claims.

Exchange information

Whether a crash has caused damage to the vehicles involved or it results in serious injuries, it is important for the drivers to exchange information with one another. People should get the names, phone numbers and insurance information for the motorists with whom they are involved in collisions. They may use these details when filing insurance claims or if they decide to take legal action. It may also be helpful for drivers to get the contact information for anyone who witnessed the accident.

Document the accident scene

Sometimes, the accounts of those involved in car accidents may differ. This can complicate the claims process, and may affect people's ability to recover compensation for the damages they suffered. Thus, it is advisable for drivers to document the accident scene. They should take pictures of the spot where the crash occurred, any resulting property damage and any visible injuries. Having such evidence may help prove fault in the event of discrepancies.

Seek legal assistance

The injuries suffered in motor vehicle accidents often require medical treatment and, in some cases, may keep people from working until they are recovered. For people in Texas and elsewhere, this may lead to undue medical expenses and lost income. In some situations, the at-fault motorists may be financially responsible for such damages. Thus, those who have been injured in auto collisions may benefit from consulting with an attorney to understand their rights and options.