After a car accident in Houston, you can take several steps to protect your health and your right to compensation. Here, we present a brief summary of those steps.
At the Scene of the Crash
Following a collision, your immediate concern should be to assist anyone injured. You should assess yourself and your passengers and, if possible, check on those in the other vehicle or vehicles involved in the crash. Call 911 for emergency medical assistance and to get help from law enforcement officers.
The Texas Department of Transportation states that you should definitely call police if:
- An injury or fatality is involved.
- A vehicle cannot be moved.
- You suspect a driver is intoxicated.
- A driver has no insurance.
- A driver leaves the scene.
Additionally, you should exchange information with the other driver(s), including names, addresses, phone numbers, vehicle identification numbers, license plate numbers, insurance information and driver’s license information. Also, make sure to get the names and contact information for witnesses. If you can take photos and/or video, it will be helpful, too.
Do your best to be polite and business-like after an accident. Do not make accusations. If the other driver won’t exchange information, then just wait for the police. The police report should list the other driver's name and insurance company. Later on, you can order a copy from the law enforcement agency that prepares the report such as the Houston Police Department.
Filing an Insurance Claim After a Car Accident in Houston
As soon as you can after the accident, you should contact your own insurance company and report what happened. Give your insurer the other driver’s name and insurance information. If you initially contact your insurer by phone, follow up in writing as soon as possible.
Texas law requires insurance companies to:
- Respond within 15 days after receiving your claim in writing. It may then ask you to document your losses.
- Accept or reject your claim within 15 business days after you submit requested documents.
- Send a check or bank draft within five business days after agreeing to pay.
The company must explain in writing if it cannot approve or reject your claim within 45 days. If it rejects your claim, it must explain why in writing.
When the Other Driver Causes a Car Accident
Texas’ prompt payment laws don't apply to claims that you file with another driver's insurance company. The company should still make a prompt and fair settlement. If the other driver denies fault or challenges the amount you claim in damages such as medical bills and lost wages, your case will likely require litigation.
You will protect your rights and serve your best interests by getting help from an experienced Houston car accident lawyer. At the Law Offices of Hilda Sibrian, for instance, our attorneys will know how to investigate your crash, calculate your damages, deal with the insurance companies and, if necessary, take your case to court in order to fight for what you deserve.
You will find that working with a lawyer can also save you from a great deal of stress at a time when you should be focused on your health. To learn more, contact us today and receive a free consultation about your case.