A woman on her phone with her car in the back after an accident.

If you’re involved in a car accident in Houston, understanding your obligations can be overwhelming. Under Texas law, you’re required to report an accident to the police if there are any injuries, fatalities, or significant property damage. Failing to do so could lead to serious legal consequences, including the risk of forfeiting certain rights and potentially harming your case should you seek compensation for damages or injuries. In such complex and stressful situations, having an attorney becomes invaluable. Legal representation ensures that all necessary procedures are followed correctly and that your rights are fully protected throughout the legal process. An attorney can provide critical guidance on how to proceed after an accident, especially when dealing with insurance companies and potential litigation.

If you’ve recently experienced a catastrophic car accident or a collision with a commercial vehicle, don’t navigate the confusing aftermath alone. Abraham Watkins handles these cases with a legacy of trust and success, standing ready to guide you through every step. We ensure your rights are protected and that you receive the compensation you deserve for such severe incidents. With our no-win, no-fee promise, you can rest assured that your case is in capable hands without any financial risk. Take the first step towards peace of mind – call us now at 713-535-9319 for a free consultation and let our experienced attorneys fight for you.

Houston Car Accident Laws: When to Call the Police

Texas law mandates that the police must be notified after a car accident in several specific situations. If the police aren’t called, the involved parties are required to complete and submit a Texas Department of Transportation crash report form.

Failing to report an accident to authorities can lead to misdemeanors, potential suspension of your driver’s license, and even imprisonment and fines if false statements are made in the crash report. Accidents must be reported within ten days to avoid penalties such as license suspension.

While obtaining an official police report is not a legal requirement, it is strongly encouraged because it aids in insurance claims and ensures that the accident is properly documented, offering you legal protection.

Injuries, Fatalities, and Property Damage

If a car accident results in injuries or fatalities, police involvement becomes legally required. Calling the police is also mandatory when property damage from a car accident exceeds $1,000. Imagine you’ve been involved in a minor car accident; it might seem insignificant at first, but the repair costs could easily skyrocket beyond your initial estimates. In such cases, having a police report can be important in your insurance claim process.

Hit-and-Run Incidents

Hit-and-run incidents also mandate police involvement. Texas law requires drivers involved in accidents to stop and exchange contact information; leaving the scene can result in hit-and-run charges. But what if you hit an unattended vehicle or property? In such cases, you’re required to find the owner or leave a note with your contact information. The law is even stricter when it comes to hit-and-run incidents involving injury or death. In these scenarios, drivers are obligated to stop immediately, render aid, and arrange for medical help if necessary.

After a hit-and-run incident, the victim should call the police immediately, stay at the scene to provide a statement, and seek medical attention if injured. Reporting hit-and-run incidents is crucial to avoid bearing the financial burden of damages caused by the at-fault driver who fled the scene.

Benefits of Calling the Police After a Car Accident

Beyond legal compliance and victim support, involving the police after a car accident presents several benefits. This can be a pivotal factor in your insurance claim or, if necessary, a personal injury lawsuit.

A police report serves multiple purposes, including:

  • providing critical evidence for insurance companies;
  • detailing driver and witness statements to prevent false claims and lend credibility to the reported events of the accident;
  • helping to avoid complications, such as the at-fault party’s insurance using any delay against you; and
  • providing legal protection.

Calling the police so they can file a police report promptly is important to ensure these benefits.

Documenting the Scene and Witness Statements

At the scene of an accident, police officers apply their expertise and use specialized tools to document the incident thoroughly. This documentation is pivotal in determining liability and fault. An official accident report compiled by police includes concrete details like statements, diagrams, and photographs – all crucial in litigation or insurance claims.

The presence of law enforcement at the scene also helps maintain order and also to provide aid and direction in the aftermath of a car accident. Their presence at the scene can be a source of order and assistance during an otherwise stressful and confusing experience.

Police-facilitated witness statements support the credibility of your recount of events, crucial for establishing the facts. Witnesses can offer an independent view of the accident, critical for piecing together an unbiased account of the events.

A police report with witness testimonies forms an authoritative account of the accident, providing defense against false insurance and injury claims.

Protection from False Claims

In the aftermath of a car accident, a police report serves as your shield against false accusations and exaggerated claims. Imagine a scenario where the other party involved in the accident presents a conflicting version of events. Here, police-obtained witness statements can counter their claims, providing clarity.

In disputed cases, a witness’s impartial testimony which is facilitated by law enforcement, can be a crucial factor in determining who is at fault. Also, an official police presence has a deterring effect on dishonest or fraudulent actions, ensuring that the information provided is more likely to be accurate.

Steps to Take After a Car Accident

After experiencing a car accident, the steps you take immediately afterward are crucial for ensuring your safety, adhering to legal requirements, and protecting your rights. Whether it’s a minor fender-bender or a more serious collision, knowing the appropriate actions to take can significantly impact the outcome of any subsequent insurance claims or legal proceedings. These are the steps to follow:

  1. Ensure everyone’s safety and get to a safe place.
  2. If there are injuries, dial 911 immediately.
  3. Turn off engines, activate hazard lights, and use road flares to alert oncoming traffic if necessary.
  4. Exchange information with the other driver. This includes personal and insurance details. Document the accident by taking photos, writing down the names and contact information of all parties involved, and speaking to witnesses.
  5. Notify your insurance provider while at the scene to get guidance on the claims process, and ensure to alert the police especially if there are injuries or significant property damage.

Gathering Evidence at the Scene

Gathering evidence at the scene such as photographs and videos provides indisputable evidence for insurance claims and personal injury lawsuits. If it’s safe to do so, take detailed photographs of the accident scene, showing all vehicles involved, visible injuries if any, and the road conditions.

Make sure to document the extent of damage to your vehicle by taking photos from different angles. It’s also crucial to capture the other vehicle’s license plate. While the police will document the accident, it’s always good practice to conduct your own investigation by taking pictures of the scene as soon as possible.

Notifying Your Insurance Company

Filing a claim with your insurance company as soon as possible after a car accident is essential, especially in cases of severe damage or bodily harm. Support your claim by providing your insurer with relevant documentation, such as police reports, photographs of the accident, and witness information.

You should also be familiar with the benefits your insurance policy offers. It may cover towing the vehicle to a certified body shop, Understanding your insurance policy’s coverage, including deductibles and reporting obligations, before any accidents is also crucial.

Working with a Houston Car Accident Lawyer

Working with a Houston car accident lawyer can make the process after a car accident significantly smoother and more manageable. An experienced car accident attorney can effectively navigate insurance company tactics and negotiate better settlements for their clients.

A car accident attorney brings their knowledge of legal strategies and evidence gathering to help build a stronger case for you. Skilled Houston car accident lawyers, like our team at Abraham Watkins, are capable of accurately calculating the full scale of a client’s losses, including medical expenses, lost income, and pain and suffering. At Abraham Watkins, we understand the financial constraints and emotional stress that can come with pursuing legal action. That’s why we offer our services on a contingency fee basis, meaning we only get paid if you do. We believe everyone deserves access to high-quality legal representation without an upfront cost. Our commitment to your success is our priority, and we align our goals with yours, ensuring that we are motivated to achieve the best possible outcome for your case.

Evaluating Your Case

When you consult with the experienced team at Abraham Watkins regarding a car accident, our first order of business is to meticulously evaluate your case. This includes a comprehensive assessment of the incident details and all related damages. Our seasoned attorneys understand the profound impact of car accident injuries and account for:

  • immediate and long-term medical expenses;
  • potential loss of earnings and future earning capacity; and
  • physical pain and emotional suffering endured.

Our legal team leverages this information to calculate the compensation you rightfully deserve.

We place a strong emphasis on obtaining and examining medical reports, and if necessary, we use our local connections to consult with medical specialists to gauge the full scope of injuries and the treatments they necessitate. Our experience becomes particularly crucial during negotiations with insurance companies, ensuring that the settlement reached is comprehensive, addressing both current and future ramifications of the accident. Trust in our commitment to securing a settlement that truly reflects the extent of your losses.

Pursuing a Personal Injury Lawsuit

While engaging with insurance companies is a common step after a car accident, certain circumstances necessitate considering a personal injury lawsuit. At Abraham Watkins, we circumvent the typical obstacles encountered in personal injury cases and make strategic decisions that fortify your case.

In Texas, individuals are entitled to pursue a lawsuit to seek redress for injuries incurred from car accidents. Our team at Abraham Watkins is proficient in guiding clients through this intricate legal journey, advocating for their right to just compensation under Texas law.

Our attorneys are dedicated to ensuring that you are fully compensated for the consequences of your injuries. Our history is marked by securing substantial settlements in severe accidents and commercial vehicle cases, with some reaching multi-million dollar figures, which speaks to our adeptness in complex, high-value litigation.

Abraham Watkins: Houston’s Trusted Car Accident Attorneys

Abraham Watkins has been a pillar in the Texas legal community for over seven decades since its founding in 1951. Our attorneys have secured many multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements, including an impressive $88 million in a bus accident case.

Serving clients across southern Texas, Abraham Watkins has established trust in major cities like Houston, Austin, and San Antonio, as well as in smaller communities such as Katy, Sugar Land, and Galveston.

Our Commitment to Clients

At Abraham Watkins, our commitment to our clients extends beyond legal representation. We offer the following benefits to our clients:

  • no-win no-fee basis, which guarantees that our clients can access high-quality legal representation without the financial burden;
  • personalized and dedicated approach to each case; and
  • extensive resources and a strong reputation to advocate for our clients.

Our attorneys are committed to extensive negotiation efforts to ensure that clients receive fair compensation for all damages. We understand the financial, physical, and emotional toll an auto accident or car accident can take on an individual and their family. Our goal is to alleviate this burden, at least in part, by securing the compensation our clients deserve.

Contact Us for a Free Consultation

At Abraham Watkins, we understand that catastrophic accidents and collisions with commercial vehicles bring about unique legal challenges and significant distress. These incidents require specific legal experience, which our firm is proud to offer. If you’ve suffered from such a devastating event and are grappling with the intricacy of your situation, we invite you to take advantage of our free initial consultation. In this meeting, we’ll evaluate your case and discuss the potential for compensation, focusing exclusively on severe accidents that have resulted in major injuries or involved commercial vehicles.

Our attorneys are committed to providing personalized attention and tailored legal strategies to navigate these complex cases. Don’t face the overwhelming legal process alone. Contact us at 713-535-9319 to schedule your complimentary consultation and explore your legal options with a lawyer who is experienced in handling catastrophic car accidents and commercial vehicle collisions.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have to call the police after an accident in Texas?

Yes, you must report a motor vehicle accident in Texas to the police if there is an injury, fatality, if the vehicles cannot be moved, or if there is property damage over $1,000. It’s best to start the process as soon as possible.

What are the steps to take after a car accident in Houston?

After a car accident in Houston, you should prioritize safety, call 911, gather evidence, seek medical attention, notify your insurance company cautiously, and contact a Houston car accident lawyer. It’s important to take these steps to ensure your safety and protect your rights.

What benefits do I get from calling the police after a car accident?

Calling the police after a car accident provides unbiased documentation, gathers witness statements, and protects you from false claims. It is highly beneficial. The police act as neutral parties who create an official record of the car accident, which can be pivotal when filing an insurance claim or a lawsuit. Their report will include crucial details such as the time, date, location, and parties involved, as well as any immediate observations about the cause and impact of the accident. Furthermore, the officers on the scene are trained to collect witness statements systematically so that all perspectives are recorded accurately. This can be instrumental in resolving disputes about the events that transpired. Additionally, having a police report can deter the other party from making unfounded claims or altering their story at a later date. The importance of this cannot be overstated, as it lays the groundwork for a clear and factual account of the incident, which is essential for a fair outcome.

Can I still file a claim if the other driver is uninsured?

Yes, you can still file a claim if the other driver involved in the accident is uninsured. In Texas, you have the option to use your own uninsured motorist (UM) coverage if you have it as part of your insurance policy. This coverage is designed to compensate you for your injuries and damages up to your policy’s limits. It’s also possible to pursue legal action against the uninsured driver, although this can be challenging if the driver lacks the assets to pay a judgment.

How long do I have to file a lawsuit after a car accident in Texas?

In Texas, the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury lawsuit after a car accident is generally two years from the date of the accident. This means you must file your lawsuit within two years or you may lose your right to sue. Some exceptions can extend this deadline, but they are rare. It’s important to consult with a Houston car accident lawyer as soon as possible to ensure your claim is filed promptly.

What if I am partially at fault for the car accident?

Texas follows a “modified comparative fault” rule, which means you can still recover damages even if you are partially at fault, as long as you are not more than 50% responsible for the accident. However, your compensation will be reduced by your percentage of fault. For example, if the total damages are $100,000 and you are found to be 20% at fault, you would be able to recover $80,000. It’s important to discuss the details of your accident with an attorney to understand how your fault may impact your claim.