Every day, people put themselves in danger by getting behind the wheel of a vehicle. According to a study by the National Safety Council, 27,000 car accidents occur every single day. Yet, most adults still decide to drive to work, school, and the grocery store on a daily basis.
With this kind of statistic, it is no surprise that most adults experience an accident at some point in their lifetime. As a driver, you want to be as prepared as possible for the events following this accident—from initially exiting the car all the way through getting the financial compensation that you deserve.
No matter how safe or precautionary you are behind the wheel, there is nothing that you can do to control other drivers—no way to stop them from being careless or negligent. All that you can control are your own actions. That is why it is so important to understand the ins and outs of dealing with a motor vehicle accident.
This car accident guide will help to provide you will all of the information that you need in order to successfully navigate the legal process following a collision. If you have any questions or would like a consultation, do not hesitate to contact us at The Law Offices of Hilda L. Sibrian.
What Causes Car Accidents?
There are an infinite number of situations that lead to car accidents. However, there are some causes that occur more frequently than others. By understanding these common sources of negligence, drivers can understand cars on the road to avoid.
Distracted Driving: When most people hear the term “distracted driving”, they immediately think of cell phone use. While this is the most common (and often most dangerous) form of distracted driving, it is not the only form. Drivers are considered distracted when their sole focus is not the road and the cars around them. Common distractions include fiddling with the radio, talking with passengers in the back seat, or eating.
Speeding: Speeding is the cause of one third of the car accidents in America annually. In Texas, the speed limits are higher than any other state (85 mph on some highways), which also means that the accidents can be more dangerous and fatal.
Drunk Driving: Operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs and alcohol is unfortunately common in the Houston, Texas, area. For example, in March of 2012, there were 635 DUI arrests in the Houston area. Drinking and driving is no joke—look out for the signs from other drivers around you.
To learn more about the most common causes of car accidents, visit this blog post.
Facts About Car Accidents
No car accident is the same, so there is no easy way to generalize them. However, Texas has certain laws in place in order to establish negligence and fault following a vehicular collision. There are many questions that need to be answered surrounding the details of the incident. Was one of the drivers negligent? Were there more than two vehicles involved? Were there any outside factors that influenced this accident?
Texas uses an at-fault system to determine insurance compensation. This means that insurance companies will pay according to each party’s degree of fault. However, there are often disagreements on the insurance company’s final settlement decisions. This is the point that most drivers take legal action. If your accident was not your fault (in any degree), you deserve compensation for your medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering. If you find yourself in this type of situation, do not hesitate to contact the team at The Law Offices of Hilda A. Sibrian today.
Even with a clear understanding of the Texas laws and insurance practices surrounding fault, negligence, and the degree of fault, drivers still find themselves confused with a few things. For example, does the at-fault driver pay for all of the other driver’s damages?
In most cases, the insurance company of the at-fault driver will pay for your damages, not the driver themselves. The key in this scenario is that fault must be proven. If fault or negligence cannot be proven for either party, the insurance companies may have a difficult time determining a fair settlement.
No matter what, you should not be providing details of your injuries to the other driver’s insurance company. This can make it more difficult to receive a fair compensation for your medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering down the road.
What if I was a passenger in a motor vehicle accident—do I have any right to compensation? If I do not have a driver’s license, can I still sue the driver at-fault? What do I do if my insurance company denies my claim?
There are endless questions and scenarios that arise following car accidents every day. The inquiries listed above are just a few that we have answered for clients at The Law Offices of Hilda L. Sibrian. To read about the answers to these questions and more, visit our frequently asked questions page. There you can find the answers to general personal injury questions as well as car accident frequently asked questions and answers.
How to Avoid or Be Prepared for Accidents
As mentioned previously in the guide, a lot of accidents are unavoidable. You can never predict what another driver is going to do. However, there are a few ways that you can make sure that you and your passengers are as safe and prepared as possible in case another driver hits you.
For example, never drive while you are drowsy. If you feel as if you are struggling to keep your eyes open, the first and most important thing that you should do is to pull over immediately. If there are other legal drivers in the car that are not fighting drowsiness, have them drive while you get some sleep. If you are alone, pull over to the nearest safe place (i.e. a gas station or restaurant) and find a way to wake yourself up. This could mean getting out of your car and walking around or getting something to eat. If these things to not work, find a safe and secure place to take a nap in your vehicle.
Always make sure that you and your passengers are practicing safe habits while in the vehicle.
Everyone must be wearing a seat belt in order to be as safe as possible. Do not let your passengers put their feet onto the dashboard. Never let your passengers distract you from the road. As a driver, your number one priority should always be driving, keeping your eyes on the road, and maintaining safety for everyone in your vehicle. Distractions are not worth it. For more details on tips to avoid making your accident even worse, visit this blog post.
What to Keep in Your Car in Case of an Accident
Unfortunately, good and safe habits only get you so far. To be even more prepared for an accident, there are a few items that you should keep in your car at all times.
- Car Repair and Maintenance Kit: This kit should include a spare tire, a patch for an air leak in a tire, jumper cables, a tire gauge, and roadside assistance information.
- Safety and Emergency Kit: This kit should include flashlight, first aid supplies, flares, a knife, matches or a lighter, weather radio, water bottles, energy bars, seat belt cutter, window breaker, an ice scraper, extra medicine, and a phone charger.
- Comfort Items Kit: This kit should include paper towels, toilet paper, pens and paper, an umbrella, emergency money, a garbage bag, a blanket, and a change of clothes.
For more information on these kits and how to build them, visit this page.
What to Do if You’re in an Accident
No matter how much you know about car accidents, how to avoid them, and how to be prepared for them, it is still important to be educated on how to handle the situation if you have unfortunately been involved in an accident. There are a few steps that should be taken immediately following the accident:
- Move to safety.
- Call 911.
- Take photos and gather evidence.
- Swap information with other drivers, passengers, and witnesses.
- Seek medical attention.
- Contact an attorney.
Contact Our Accident Attorneys if You Were Hurt in an Accident
While this car accident guide and included links should provide you with many of the answers you are looking for regarding road safety, we know that not all questions have been answered.
One of the most important steps in the process following a car accident is obtaining sufficient legal counsel. Insurance companies do not always provide settlements that cover all of your expenses for medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering. Working with an accident attorney at The Law Offices of Hilda L. Sibrian can help you obtain the financial compensation that you deserve.
Driving is a necessity this day-and-age, and accidents are often unavoidable. If you have been injured at the fault of another driver, you may find yourself confused and scared about the future. The team at The Law Offices of Hilda L. Sibrian can help instill the confidence that you need to move toward a more positive future. If you have any question after exploring this car accident guide, or would like to talk to an attorney about your specific case, do not hesitate to contact us today.