Nobody expects to be in a car accident in Las Cruces, NM or El Paso, TX. However, traffic crashes happen unexpectedly on both major highways and neighborhood streets.
Some collisions result in immediately serious injuries and property damage. Others may result in simple fender benders with minimal injuries.
Regardless of crash severity, it is important to know the correct steps to take after a car accident. This ensure that you remain eligible for financial compensation.
The dedicated car accident lawyers at Flores, Tawney & Acosta, P.C. have tips for the seven steps to take after a car accident.
- Remain As Calm As Possible
The immediate moments after a crash can be extremely disorienting. Remain as calm as possible and try assessing whether you or anyone in your vehicle has been injured.
- Move Out of the Road
If the accident occurred in the middle of a road or at an intersection, make sure you move yourself to the side of the road. This helps prevent an oncoming car from striking you. If your vehicle is operable, you should also move it to the road’s shoulder. Otherwise, put your hazard lights on.
- Check for Injuries and Call 911 If Anyone Has Been Injured
If anyone appears to have been injured, or if there is significant damage to motor vehicles, call 911. A law enforcement official will arrive at the scene to help.
- Collect Information from the Scene of the Accident
If you are able to do so, gather information at the scene of the crash, including but not limited to
- Photographs from scene (use your smart phone), being sure to take photos from various distances and angles;
- Witness information, including names and contact information;
- Insurance information and contact details for any other drivers involved in the collision;
- Specific information about where and when the accident occurred; and
- Your personal recollections of the crash.
- Seek Medical Attention
If you know you have been injured, you should seek immediate medical attention. Even if you do not think you sustained any injuries, it is important to get checked out by a healthcare provider. As the Mayo Clinic explains, common injuries after a car accident like whiplash can take hours for symptoms to appear.
- Call Your Insurance Company
Your auto insurance policy requires you to inform your insurer about the accident within a specific period of time. Keep in mind that your insurance company is not on your side—only give facts when you speak with the insurance company and avoid offering any opinion about fault in the crash.
- Contact an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer
Car crashes can be devastating, but an experienced car accident attorney in El Paso can help you seek the compensation you deserve. If you are filing a claim in Texas, you have two years from the date of the accident under Texas law to file a personal injury claim. New Mexico law gives you three years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit. However, you should get in touch with a personal injury attorney as soon as possible for guidance.