Although many rear-end car accidents are minor collisions, they have the propensity to be severe and even catastrophic. If a commercial truck rear-ends a small passenger car, for example, the injuries can be devastating. Knowing exactly what to do after a rear-end car accident in Dallas can help you effectively protect your rights as an injured victim, as well as help you from feeling overwhelmed in the aftermath of a collision.
Pull Over and Check for Injuries
You legally must pull your car over immediately after any type of motor vehicle collision according to Texas law. Failing to pull over after a rear-end car accident could lead to a hit-and-run charge against you. This is a serious crime that can come with hefty fines and jail time.
Pull over as close as you can to the scene of the rear-end collision without putting yourself in danger. Turn on your hazard lights and check yourself and your passengers for injuries. When it is safe to do so, exit your vehicle and ask if anyone in the other car has been injured.
Call 911, If Necessary
If anyone has been injured in the rear-end collision, if anyone appears unconscious or bleeding, or if you believe there has been at least $1,000 worth of property damage, the law in Texas requires you to call 911 to report the collision immediately.
You should also call the police if your rear-end accident involves an uninsured driver, a drunk driver, or a hit-and-run. Calling the police can create an official accident report that your insurance company can use to assess your claim later. You or the police will need to file a report with the Texas Department of Transportation, as well.
Exchange Information With the Other Driver
While you wait for the police to arrive, spend the time exchanging information with the other driver. You and the other driver should exchange names, addresses, phone numbers, license plate numbers and car insurance information. You should also write down other accident details for your own records, such as the date, time and location of the crash, plus a description of the other driver’s vehicle.
Do Not Admit Fault
While it is important to remain polite and not get aggressive with the other driver, it is also important not to apologize for the crash or admit any fault for the accident. Admitting fault could automatically bar you from financial recovery. Even if you are the rear driver and believe you caused the crash, refrain from admitting fault. Wait for a thorough investigation of the collision to identify the at-fault party. There may be other factors at play that you are unaware of, such as a dangerous road defect or the other driver’s comparative fault.
Document the Crash
Something else you can do while you are waiting for the police is document the crash. Use a camera or smartphone, if possible, to take photographs of the scene of the rear-end car accident. Obtain the names and contact phone numbers of any eyewitnesses, as well. If any local businesses caught the rear-end collision on surveillance cameras, request copies.
Watch for Hidden or Delayed Symptoms
Go to a hospital right away after a rear-end car accident in Dallas. Rear-end collisions can cause many serious injuries, including whiplash, broken bones, muscle strains, lacerations and traumatic brain injuries such as concussions. You may or may not notice the signs and symptoms of an injury immediately; however, going to a doctor without delay can lead to prompt diagnosis and treatment even with hidden or delayed symptoms.
Consult With a Car Accident Lawyer
If you encounter problems or challenges during the insurance process after a rear-end car accident in Dallas, consult with a Dallas car accident attorney for assistance. If the other driver’s insurance company is refuting fault, for example, or not offering as much as you believe your injuries are worth, an attorney can help.