Maybe you barely clipped a side mirror. Maybe your car rolled three times before landing in a ditch. No matter how serious, it’s always important to take necessary legal and personal steps after a car accident.
Like all states, Texas has its own particular laws and policies on automobiles. If you’re a proud Lone Star State driver, then it’s important to know the state’s best protocol following a crash. Grab the wheel and cruise (safely) into our guide on what to do after a car accident in Texas.
#1 Check for Safety and Medical Needs
The most important step after a car wreck? Making sure that any hurt car accident victim receives medical help to prevent further injury.
Car accidents can be incredibly dangerous, even fatal. Just last year, car crashes left over 42,000 people dead and 4.8 million people with medical-grade injuries. To prioritize the safety of yourself and others, take these steps immediately after any car wreck:
- Check yourself – It’s the oxygen mask rule: you can’t help others until you help yourself. After a collision, check if you have any injuries or conditions that need urgent medical care. If so, call an ambulance or ask anyone nearby to call for an ambulance.
- Check passengers – According to Texas law, drivers are responsible for any injuries or damages that occur to their passengers. Always check if any passengers need medical assistance or help. If so, request separate ambulances for each person.
- Check the safety situation – Car crashes can quickly turn into multi-incident events. If you crash on the highway or a busy road, you need to make sure you’re out of traffic’s way. Also, you should help any car accident victim or other parties find a safe location.
It is important to know that if you or a loved one has been injured in a car crash, you can be compensated for that. Learn more about the average car accident settlement in Texas.
#2 Call the Police (If Applicable)
It may feel silly to call the police after a car accident. However, this step is not only useful for drivers in Texas—it may be legally required.
Police officers are the cornerstone of all car accident liability investigations. Their police report and investigation can help you build a legal case to receive damages (any monetary losses from the auto accident). Similarly, the police should be notified of major violence, crimes, or safety concerns, such as those in a car crash. You must notify police officers after a Texas car accident if:
- An injury or death occurs
- A driver is intoxicated
- Vehicles are left unmoveable on the road
- A driver has no insurance
- A driver flees the scene
If any of these situations apply, then you must call the police in Texas. They will help create an official crash report, which can help your Texas car accident lawyer resolve any lawsuits, insurance claims, or legal charges later.
Most importantly—do not leave. You can face serious charges if you abandon the car accident scene. Stay put for all law enforcement if they are called.
#3 Note the Details of the Crash
Even if police are on the way, it’s never a bad idea to make your own mini “crash report.” Noting the details of an automobile accident can help you determine the damages you may receive or owe.
Once you’ve addressed people’s safety and contacted the police, whip out your notepad (or digital notepad on your phone). Start to note every detail about this incident, such as:
- Time and date
- Name and contact information of any drivers
- Names and contact information of any witnesses
- Photos of the scene
- Vehicle damage
- Injuries or deaths
- Contributing factors to the accident (signs, road bumps, etc.)
- Any traffic cameras or security cameras
As a future insurance claim filer, you’ll need as much verifiable information on your side as possible. These details will help you create a more accurate claim and legal report if necessary.
#5 File an Insurance Claim
Safety comes first. But once you eliminate any medical threat, it’s time to hop on the phone—an insurance company needs you.
So, is Texas a no-fault state for car accidents? The answer is no. Texas is an at-fault car accident state, operating under “comparative fault” jurisdiction. This means that any driver with at least 50% liability (the fault of the auto accident) has to take responsibility for the other driver’s damages. If you can both agree on who that is, then you should reach out to their insurance company to start a car accident claim—they’ll be the ones paying for damages.
However, disagreements can lead to legal fights. If you both can’t agree on liability, then you may have to consult legal guidance and possibly open a legal case. Similarly, if an insurance policy doesn’t cover the full damages, you may use a lawsuit to obtain them. If you are to take legal action, it is important to fully understand the statute of limitations for Texas car accidents to make sure you have a long enough time frame.
Safety Comes First
Car accidents are no joke. Even if you’re left unscathed, they can leave you riddled with new fears, doubts, and financial issues. If you’re a driver, you need a plan that ensures your personal safety and protection following an automobile accident.
If you've been involved in an accident and are seeking legal support and representation, head over to Mighty's Accident Attorney Directory to find a trusted attorney in your area today.
Justinian & Associates. Can I Make A Claim If I Was A Passenger In The At-Fault Driver's Car In Texas? https://www.justinian.com/faqs/can-i-make-a-claim-if-i-was-a-passenger-in-the-at-fault-drivers-car-in-texas/
Nolo. Texas At-Fault Car Accident Laws. https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/texas-car-accident-laws.html
NSC. Motor Vehicle - Injury Facts. https://injuryfacts.nsc.org/motor-vehicle/overview/introduction/
Texas Department of Transportation. Tips to avoid collisions and what to do when one occurs. https://www.txdot.gov/content/txdotreimagine/us/en/home/safety/driving-laws/tips-avoid-collisions.html
Written ByLuke Krolak
Client Operations Lead
About the author
Luke is a warm-hearted and highly skilled legal operations expert with an impressive 8-year track record in the personal injury field. As the Client Operations Lead at Mighty, he is dedicated to providing exceptional support, transparent communication, and genuine empathy to clients during their challenging journey. His expertise in streamlining processes and implementing cutting-edge technology makes him an indispensable ally for clients, case managers, and attorneys in their pursuit of justice.
About the reviewer