There are a few very important steps to take after you have gotten in a car accident, especially to save you on legal liabilities. The number one golden rule of a traffic accident is to stay at the scene, call a police officer and wait for him to assist. If caught leaving the scene, you may be charged with a “hit and run,” which is classified as a felony (there are some exceptions). The second most important thing to remember is to never say that you are sorry or to ever apologize to anyone during the time of the accident, no matter how flustered you may be. This can automatically be bad news if the incident goes into the court room.

It is required law that you have to carry insurance on your vehicle. It is an extra expense, but even basic liability is far better than no coverage at all. This is also a key ingredient to car wreck injuries, legal factors and the next steps you should know. Basic liability usually always covers bodily injuries that range around $20,000 and around 10 grand for and property damage acquired during the accident. Having insurance ensures that both parties are protected in some way financially. Even “if you are involved in a car wreck with an uninsured driver you still have the right to sue the negligent person for damages you sustained as a result of their negligence,” note Austin, TX workers compensation attorneys Allison & Ward.

Gather Information

After the accident has occurred both of the parties will exchange insurance provider information. Once the policeman arrives, he will speak to both parties involved in the accident, as well as any witnesses that saw the car accident. Speaking to witnesses yourself is also a very important factor. Gather information on what they saw as well as possible phone numbers and names. This is a very important thing to have if any of this does go to court.

Take Pictures For Evidence

Always take pictures, especially if you have a camera phone as this is important for actual evidence. Inform your insurance company of what has happened as soon as you can after the accident. If necessary you may also need to get the property damaged on your car evaluated. Last but absolutely not least… do not speak to anyone else about the car accident unless it is your attorney or your insurance provider. If things come back around, this could result in an uglier he-said, she-said case.

Take Action, But Be Patient

These are all very important steps to making sure that you are taking the right legal actions after a car accident has occurred. One last important little reminder, is do not instantly make the decision to make an early settlement that may be offered from an insurance company. Wait to make a settlement after you have been fully treated for your injuries, and have your doctor’s go-ahead that you are healed. Some injuries may not take months to recover from, so don’t settle too fast!

Peter Wendt is a writer and researcher living in Austin, Texas. 

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