After a San Antonio car accident, take action to protect your health and legal rights, and avoid hurting your interests. Many of us do not think about what to do until the accident has happened. It can be a lot to think about. This piece discusses some of the most important things San Antonio car accident victims should generally do.
Focus on Your Safety
A car crash is disorienting and traumatic. The violent and sudden impact of the crash can cause a rollover, spinout, airbag deployment, or may send your vehicle into oncoming traffic or surrounding objects or structures. Once your vehicle comes to a stop after an accident, you should take a few moments to calm yourself and evaluate if you have injuries. Before you get out of your vehicle, make sure you are safe. If you feel you have any broken bones or other internal injuries, you can risk further injury if you move before medical assistance arrives. Unless you are in immediate and present danger from other traffic or you face other dangers by staying where you are, such as if your own vehicle is at risk of combustion from leaking fluids, try not to move if doing so causes pain or if you suspect you have suffered serious injuries. If you can exit your vehicle onto the roadway after a crash, do so safely and quickly. Make a plan of action to move to a safe place. Make sure it is away from the traffic and other dangers on the road.
Call for Help
Your focus after a San Antonio accident is to get help for yourself and any others in need of medical attention at the scene. Call or ask someone else to call 911 after a motor vehicle accident to request emergency medical services and for the assistance of law enforcement.
Emergency Medical Services
After you call first-responders to attend to injuries in a San Antonio car accident, EMS will arrive on the scene to identify injured persons and stabilize and transport those with injuries that require immediate treatment to the nearest emergency room or trauma center. If you have visible injuries or are in pain, it is best to go with EMS for medical evaluation and care at a medical facility. Your injuries might not require you to be transported by ambulance, but you should get to a medical provider for an evaluation as soon as possible. In some cases, a car accident victim might not at first believe that they have injuries, only to discover in the hours or days to follow that they are unwell or have pain in their body. These victims often have serious underlying injuries that worsen the longer they go unattended. It’s the best idea to see a medical provider no matter what after a vehicle accident, but at any moment you realize something is off in your body, seek help from a medical provider. Failing to do so could exacerbate your injuries.
San Antonio Emergency Rooms
If you require immediate medical attention, you will likely visit one of the following emergency or trauma facilities in the San Antonio area:
- Baptist Hospital
- Methodist Hospital
- Brooke Army Medical Center
- Children’s Hospital of San Antonio
- University Hospital San Antonio
- San Antonio Military Medical Center
- Christus Santa Rosa Hospital
- Texas Vista Medical Center
There should never be a question of whether to call the police after a San Antonio car accident. Always call the police after any accident. If the accident injured anyone, you must call the police, per state law. Contacting the police when there are injuries is not only a legal duty, but it also can help protect your rights as the police who arrive on the scene will create a report on the accident. This report might serve as proof that the accident took place and how it came about. It will also include essential information about those involved in the accident and witnesses. The report might include additional evidence, like photographs, to establish fault for the collision and your injuries.
Law enforcement agencies in San Antonio
Depending on the roadways or area in San Antonio where an accident takes place, officers from one of the following law enforcement agencies may arrive on the scene:
- San Antonio Police Department
- Texas Highway Patrol
- Hollywood Park Police Department
- Kirby Police Department
- Balcones Heights Police Department
Gather Information and Evidence at the Scene
The scene of a San Antonio car accident can provide critical information to use in a potential injury claim or lawsuit to prove fault or the extent of your injuries. If you suffer severe injuries and are unconscious or unable to move, you will have to rely on whatever records are available from first responders and witnesses after the fact. However, if you do not have injuries that prevent you from doing so, there are some steps you can take at the scene of an accident to help your case.
- Take photographs or videos of damage to the vehicles. Capture the positioning of the vehicles as well as the surrounding environment where the crash took place. If there is anything that appears out of place or that may have had a hand in the accident, record it. Some details may seem only minor at the time of the accident, but could ultimately prove important to your case.
- Obtain the information of all parties in the accident, including drivers and passengers of all vehicles, as well as information from any witnesses to the accident who are willing to share.
- If you have any apparent physical injuries, take pictures at the scene and continue to take pictures throughout the progression of recovery for those injuries and any others that may arise.
- Make sure you have the information necessary to retrieve the police report once it is finalized and available.
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Follow up With Your Medical Treatment and Care
You must make your health your first priority after a San Antonio car accident. Stay vigilant about monitoring your body and any new aches, pains, or other symptoms that arise. Follow whatever treatment plan your medical provider prescribes and raise to their attention any new concerns that arise. Diligently follow up with your providers and any appointments necessary to stay up to date on your care. Do not overlook the importance of therapy and rehabilitation, as these steps will often help you reach the maximum recovery from your injuries. Keep a journal to record your recovery experience. You may believe you will remember every aspect of your injuries and treatment, but as time goes on it may become difficult to recall key details. Jot down notes on your level of pain as well as the emotional and mental impact your injuries have on your day-to-day life.
Notify Your Insurer of the Accident
As a policyholder of vehicle insurance coverage, your insurance provider sets forth terms that you agree upon when you purchase a policy. Part of these terms is the requirement that you promptly notify your insurer after an accident takes place, regardless of fault in the accident. It is important to distinguish notifying your insurer with filing a claim. When you notify them of the accident, stick to neutral facts and do not make any statements to the insurer about fault. Many people believe that if they speak with their own insurer, they are in a safe place and what they say cannot hurt them. This could not be farther from the truth, and what you say to an insurance company can have significant repercussions for your case and the amount of compensation that you may ultimately be able to recover. Topics you should avoid with your insurer include:
- How the accident happened
- Who you believe is at fault for the accident
- Why you think the accident took place
- Your actions before or after the accident
- The extent of your injuries
- The impact of your injuries on your work and life
Under no circumstances should you talk with anyone from the other driver’s insurance company. You should decline any attempts to make contact with you. Instead, find a car accident attorney who can advise you and represent you in conversations with the other driver’s insurer as soon as possible. All insurance companies, even your own, work to minimize the amount they pay out to resolve claims. This might mean finding a way to deny a claim outright or finding reasons to reduce what they pay out. They may find a basis for either based on what you tell them about the accident.
Contact a San Antonio Car Accident Lawyer
In the aftermath of a San Antonio car accident, your attention will likely be focused on your injuries and the mounting financial pressures of medical bills, lost work due to your injuries, and other disruptions the accident has had on your daily life. It’s typical to feel frustrated and overwhelmed and to want to get everything past you. The insurance claims process is typically challenging and tedious. But you don’t have to handle all of it alone. You can seek guidance from a knowledgeable car accident lawyer to explain your options, including insurance claims and bringing a lawsuit in court. A San Antonio car accident attorney can manage your case and communications with insurers and other parties in a way that leads to maximizing your compensation. You may ask yourself: how do I find a car crash lawyer? It all starts will requesting a free consultation.
How a San Antonio Car Accident Attorney Can Help You After an Automobile Accident
You may wonder what services an attorney can provide in bringing an insurance claim or lawsuit after a San Antonio motor vehicle accident. An attorney can build up your claim and protect your legal rights by:
Your attorney will help you discover and compile the evidence available in your case to support your claim. This will include evidence that is relevant to the facts around the accident to prove the other party’s liability for your injuries, and also evidence of your injuries and the expense and impacts those injuries have now and will have in the future on your ability to function and live your life. An attorney knows where to look for the critical evidence and has the resources to pursue it.
Calculating Your Losses
The damage you suffer after a car accident will probably center on your physical injuries and the expenses and impacts those injuries caused. This includes your ability to work, fulfill your familial responsibilities, and enjoy activities. Your attorney will take the time to detail each loss in your life that relates to your injuries and calculate the maximum amount of damages that may be available to you in the case. Your attorney’s calculation of your damages can help guide the decisions in your case and help you better understand the extent of your losses and how to gauge a reasonable settlement amount.
Negotiating With Insurers
When you are in negotiations with an insurance company for the settlement of a motor vehicle accident, you will not just take their first offer. The reality is that most first offers of settlement by insurers are unreasonably low, failing to account for the extensive impacts an injury will have on your life. Your attorney can negotiate for a better settlement on your behalf that comes as close as possible to the maximum losses and damages to you from the accident in your injuries. Most car accident claims resolve successfully in the negotiation process.
Fight for Your Rights in Court
Negotiation of a settlement is not your only option after a car accident. While settlement is the best-case scenario for most injury victims, there are certain circumstances in which a trial will be necessary for you to vindicate your rights. When you hire an attorney, they will not only represent you in negotiating a settlement but can also represent you in court and at trial.