There are an average of six million car accidents in the United States every year. Unfortunately, car accidents are not all that uncommon for today's drivers. Even if you're the most defensive driver on the road, you can't account for all of the possible variables around you.
This is why it's so important to know what to do after getting into an auto accident, like a fender bender. So keep on reading and we'll walk you through everything that you need to know.
1. Stop and Pull Over
After you get into a fender bender, it's important that you stop the car and pull over to the side of the road or into a parking lot. Driving away from a car crash is considered a hit and run and is illegal to do in every state in the country. And the penalties for a hit and run in Texas are especially strict.
If it's possible, you need to pull off to the side of the road. Staying in the middle of the street will impede the flow of traffic. It could also lead to more car accidents as cars try to maneuver around you.
2. Call the Police
Under Texas law, you must report your accident to the police if vehicle damage is more than $1,000 or if someone was injured. Unless this is a very minor car accident, it's a good idea to call the police.
When the officers arrive, they will help with the exchange of information. The officer will ask you and the other driver for your contact information and insurance information.
They'll also get your side of the story. This is your opportunity to tell the officers exactly what happened, according to your perspective.
3. Don't Apologize
Even if it feels like the right thing to do, you should never apologize or say that you're sorry to the other driver. Doing this could be seen as an admission of guilt and you could end up ruining your chances of receiving compensation for your insurance claim.
Even if you believe that the accident was your fault, you still should not apologize. You simply can't know all of the details and what else was at play.
For instance, the other driver could have been texting on their phone or there could have been a faulty traffic light. Because you can't account for all of these variables, you should not admit any kind of guilt without first talking to a lawyer.
In fact, it's best to talk as little as possible to the other driver. Emotions can run high in the moments following a car accident and you don't want to say anything that can be used against you.
Instead, you should just check to make sure that the other party is safe and not injured. After that, it's best to leave the communication to the police.
If you overhear the other driver giving their side of the story to the police and you think they're lying, don't interrupt. You'll have your turn to talk to the police about your point of view.
4. Take Photos and Videos
Because of how shocking and sudden a car accident can be, it can be difficult to remember exactly what happened. Because of this, after you make sure that everyone is okay and the police have been called, you should pull out your phone and start taking photos.
If you can, take photos of the scene of the accident. As traffic begins to start up again, the scene of the accident will change. So take photos as soon as you can.
You also want to take photos of all of the damage to your car and to the other driver's car. If you have any injuries on your body, take photos of those too.
If you have a limited range of motion in your arm, neck, or leg after the accident, then take a video of that.
Then, pull out a pen and paper and write down everything that happened. You want to do this while the memory is still fresh. When you're done, add the date and time.
Documents that are dated will have more authority if you need to use them in a court of law.
5. Call Your Insurance Company
It's important that you call your insurance provider and tell them that you were in a car accident. You don't need to give them too much information but you should give them the general story of what happened and the status of your car. Let them know if your vehicle needs to be towed or see if they can get you a rental car.
6. Contact a Car Accident Attorney
Following a fender bender or other car accident, it can be easy to be taken advantage of. Many drivers feel vulnerable and confused and there are people who want to exploit that.
A qualified car accident attorney will be able to advise you on what to say and not to say to the insurance company and law enforcement. They can also help build a strong case if you want to file a lawsuit.
The Importance of Knowing What to Do After a Fender Bender
A car accident can be a scary and confusing time. But by knowing what to do after the accident takes place, you'll be more prepared. And by hiring an experienced car accident attorney, you'll be better positioned to protect your rights and receive compensation as well.
If you were recently in a fender bender or other accident, then contact us today and see what we can do for you!