Rear-end collisions make up a large percentage of injury and property-damage-only crashes in Texas. Crash causes such as speeding, tailgating, aggressive driving, unsafe lane changes, and broken taillights frequently result in rear-end accidents. A rear-end collision can be catastrophic or fatal, especially if it involves a large rear vehicle such as a commercial truck. If you get into a rear-end collision in San Antonio, it is important to protect your rights by taking the proper steps.
Ask if Anyone Has Injuries
Stay where you are and check yourself for injuries. Try to notice any unusual or new sensations, such as back pain or stiffness in your neck. Do not assume you have no injuries if you feel normal. A car accident can increase the adrenaline in your system, which can act as a pain reliever and mask the symptoms of an injury. Wait a day or two after the rear-end collision before telling the police and insurance companies you have no injuries. If it is safe to exit your vehicle, do so and see if anyone else needs medical assistance.
If the rear-end collision was only minor, you may not need to involve the police. In Texas, the law only requires you to call 911 to report a car accident if it causes injuries, fatalities, or at least $1,000 in property damages. If you believe someone has injuries or you wish to receive an official report of the collision, call 911 and request paramedics. Do not admit fault or speculate about the facts of the case to the police. Give your side of the story to the police upon arrival. Wait until you have seen a doctor to confirm whether or not you have injuries.
It is important to document your rear-end car accident in San Antonio. The more information you have about the crash, the easier it may be to receive compensation through the insurance system. Start as soon as you can, while still at the scene of the rear-end collision. Take photographs of both vehicles, with close-up shots of the damage to your car. Also get a few wide-angle shots of the entire scene of the crash. Write down when and where the accident occurred, the name of the other driver, his or her insurance information, and license plate number. Later, request copies of documents such as police reports and medical records.
Go to the Doctor
Delaying medical care is a common mistake claimants make during the car accident insurance process. You might think your injuries are minor or that you are uninjured and skip a trip to the hospital, only to have it hurt your insurance claim later. Insurance companies need to see you did your part by going to a doctor and following a treatment plan. If you do have injuries, request copies of your medical bills, treatment plans, scans, x-rays, and other documents.
Proceed With an Insurance Claim
Start the recovery process by calling the insurance company of the at-fault driver. Texas uses a tort-based car insurance law, meaning the driver that rear-ended you will most likely be financially responsible for your damages. If you have a straightforward claim, you could receive a check from the at-fault driver’s insurance company within a few weeks. Many rear-end collisions involve complications, however.
If the other driver refutes fault, tries to blame you for the accident, or his or her insurance company refuses to pay you a fair amount, you may need to hire a car accident attorney for assistance with the claims process. A San Antonio car crash lawyer can help you go up against an insurance company and demand full compensation for your crash-related losses. A lawyer can also help you if your case involves whiplash and other soft-tissue injuries that may be difficult to prove. Speak to an attorney right away after a rear-end collision for counsel.