The victim/plaintiff has the burden of proof in a car accident claim. Therefore, prompt and efficient evidence collection is often the key to a successful outcome. Many blogs on this subject urge people to extensively document their claims so their Houston personal injury attorneys get a head start on their claims.
That’s good advice. But let’s face it. Victims who are seriously or catastrophically injured in car crashes are in no condition, physically, mentally, or otherwise, to collect such evidence. Hopefully, this post offers some practical advice on this subject, based on our many years of experience in this area.
Before we go further, we should touch on the hit-and-run law in Texas. All parties to a crash, regardless of the amount of damage or who was at fault, must stop, provide certain information, mostly contact and insurance information, and render aid. The law is vague as to whether people must remain at the scene until emergency responders arrive. But that’s undoubtedly the best practice, especially in an injury accident. If you leave before then, much of the evidence above, such as the police accident report, will be one-sided.
Non-Injury Car Accident Claim
Texas is a tort state. Even a fender-bender crash or a parking lot door ding could wind up in court. So, whether you are the victim or the at-fault driver, it’s usually good to assume a Houston personal injury lawyer will soon be involved in the case.
Have your cell phone ready if you are shaken up. Take pictures. Focus on your injuries, damage to your vehicle, damage to the other driver’s vehicle, and physical surroundings. Pay special attention to traffic signs, like stop signs and yield signs.
Furthermore, obtain the names and contact information of potential witnesses. Don’t worry about whether these individuals will give favorable or unfavorable testimony. At this time, the only thing that matters is getting as many names as possible.
Later, when accident-related bills start coming in, request electronic copies and move them to a particular folder in your email or desktop. This simple step makes it much easier to work with them later.
These things are essential. But don’t let them take priority over other things, like caring for injured people. Your Houston personal injury attorney can play catch-up and collect evidence on your behalf if necessary.
Serious Injury Car Accident Claim
If anyone in any vehicle needs medical care beyond first aid, that’s usually a serious injury collision. So your state of mind or sense of well-being (i.e. “I’m okay”) could be misleading.
Have you ever wondered why concussed athletes often ask their coaches to let them back into the game? Many people with head injuries don’t “feel” injured. Additionally, many head injury victims don’t realize the extent of their symptoms as they recover.
We often deal with this issue in many of the cases we handle. So, we always make sure that personal injury victims see doctors who focus on injury-related matters. As a result, these professionals are less likely to overlook subtle yet severe head injury symptoms.
On a related note, many people don’t feel injured because adrenaline masks the pain, at least temporarily.
These victims often don’t feel well enough to collect evidence. That’s okay because prompt medical treatment is arguably more important than evidence collection for legal and medical reasons. However, it is essential to remember a few things not to do in these situations, such as:
- Injury Statements: Law enforcement investigators may ask victims questions about the wreck. Answer these questions as directly and narrowly as possible. Do not ramble on about the wreck, and don’t blame the other driver for the collision. Furthermore, don’t say anything to the other driver’s insurance company.
- Apologies: In Texas, we often apologize to express sympathy. When people say “I’m sorry” after a car crash, that’s usually their intent. In a court of law, an apology could be construed as an admission of liability. Don’t apologize to the other driver, or better yet, don’t say anything.
- Medical Treatment: We mentioned medical and legal issues above. Most car crash injuries are degenerative. Any delay could make diagnosis and treatment issues much more complex. If victims don’t immediately see doctors, insurance company lawyers may later argue that the victim’s injuries must not have been severe.
A Houston car accident lawyer addresses all these areas. We speak up for victims, not just when the case goes to court. Furthermore, just like you put health and safety first after a wreck, we put your health and safety first. We often work with doctors who charge nothing upfront for their professional services.
Catastrophic Injury Car Accident Claim
If you spend any time on a stretcher, even if it’s just during transportation to a hospital, that’s usually a catastrophic injury collision.
Typically, these victims have little or no contact with anyone other than emergency services providers. So, they usually do not have to worry about what they say and do at the scene.
However, they should watch what they post on social media after an accident. This advice is suitable for all injury victims, not just catastrophic injury victims. Friends and family understandably want to know about your medical status. Keep these updates brief. Do not go into any details about your medical treatment. Don’t go into any details about the crash. Whatever you post could be used against you in court.
Saying and doing the right things after a wreck dramatically increases the chances of maximum compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in Houston, contact Williams Hart & Boundas Boundas LLP. Home, virtual, and hospital visits are available.