You can only control your own decisions when driving. You can’t control what others do. It’s entirely possible to be involved in a car accident as a result of someone else’s carelessness.
You can prepare for the possibility of a car crash by familiarizing yourself with the steps to take after a motor vehicle accident. For instance, you may need to report the accident to the police. Keep reading to learn why this is important.
WHEN DO I NEED TO REPORT A HOUSTON CAR ACCIDENT TO THE POLICE?
Texas law establishes certain requirements for drivers involved in car accidents. You must promptly report an accident to local law enforcement if it:
- Causes injury or death
- Is likely to cause injury or death eventually
- Results in property damage of at least $1,000
A driver involved in such an accident should stop their vehicle at the scene of the accident or as close as possible. They should return to the scene of the accident right away if they could not stop their vehicle at the scene safely. They should also determine if anyone else was involved in the accident and whether they need any assistance.
Additionally, a driver must remain at the scene of the accident until they comply with the requirements of Section 550.023. The driver must:
- Provide their name and address to the others involved in the accident
- Provide their vehicle’s registration number
- Provide accident victims with the name of their motor vehicle liability insurer
- Provide their insurance information to anyone attending a vehicle involved in the accident
- Provide their driver’s license if requested and available
- Provide reasonable assistance to anyone involved in the accident
To report your crash, you can simply call 911 if you don’t know the number of the relevant local law enforcement agency. The dispatcher will send an officer to the scene.
WHAT SHOULD I DO AFTER THE ACCIDENT?
Remain calm and avoid making any statements that may suggest you caused the accident. You should get the names and contact information of any witnesses at the scene. You should also take pictures of the scene and your injuries.
Cooperate with the police officer when they arrive. Answer their questions thoroughly and honestly. When they permit you to leave the scene, seek medical attention right away.
This last step is critical — even if you don’t believe you have been seriously injured. The signs of injuries resulting from a car accident sometimes only become noticeable days or weeks after the event. If you failed to see a doctor after your accident, an insurer could deny your claim due to your failure to mitigate damages.
WHY IT’S IMPORTANT TO CALL 911 AFTER A HOUSTON CAR ACCIDENT
Remember, you may have a legal duty to report your accident to the police. Don’t make the mistake of assuming your accident doesn’t warrant calling 911.
Be aware that another driver involved in the accident may not want you to call the police. For example, they might not want law enforcement on the scene if they’re intoxicated or uninsured. You should still report the accident.
It’s also worth noting that reporting your accident can improve your chances of recovering compensation if you file a claim or lawsuit. A police report can corroborate your version of events and might even contain preliminary determinations about who is at fault for the accident.