Car Accident FAQs
Being involved in a car accident can be a shocking experience. In the first few moments after a collision, you may wonder what you should do, and sometimes it’s hard to think straight when your heart is racing from such a scare.
The Evans & Herlihy Law Firm has put together a list of common questions and answers about what to do after a car crash. We hope this information will help Texans react calmly and confidently, should they ever find themselves in this unfortunate situation.
First, check to see if anyone is injured. If so, call 9-1-1 immediately. “If a passenger in my car or if the driver of another car is injured, what can I do to help?” Don’t attempt to move injured people, unless they are in imminent danger, such as lying unconscious in a burning car. If occupants are injured, but conscious, you can try to keep them calm until help arrives. Put the car in park and turn off the ignition to ensure the car doesn’t start moving again.
Yes – according to 911.gov, you should call 9-1-1 and let the call-taker determine what kind of assistance you need.
Move your car out of traffic, if it’s drivable and moving it would not cause further damage. If you and the other driver or drivers are able, move all vehicles to a safer off-road location, such as a parking lot or side street, before you exchange information.
If your car is damaged to the point where you can’t move it out of traffic, what you should do depends on where you are. First, turn on your hazard lights, if they are operable. On a quiet street, you might be able to exit the vehicle safely and stand far away from the road. In heavy traffic or on a highway, stay in your vehicle with your seatbelt fastened until help arrives. Stepping into traffic is extremely dangerous.
Exchange contact information with other drivers – names, phone numbers, driver’s license numbers, email addresses, as well as names of insurance policy providers, policy numbers, and claims phone numbers. Get contact information from witnesses, if possible. If a police officer is at the scene, get the officer’s badge number and the police report number, and ask how you can obtain a copy of the police report.
If it’s safe to do so, yes, take photos of the scene. Get shots that show the damage to all vehicles and any factors that may have played a role in the crash, like slick roads, fog, or a stop sign partially obscured by bushes. Take a picture of any street signs that identify the location of the crash.
Collisions with Unoccupied Vehicles
Minor collisions in parking lots are fairly common, and when they occur, one driver may not be present. So the next steps are a bit different than what you’d normally do in a roadway crash with two moving vehicles. “What should I do if I hit a parked car?” If you hit a car in a parking lot, first, leave a note on the other car with your name, address, and phone number. Take a picture of the damage to both cars, as well as the license plate of the other car. Then, if you’re in a retail parking lot, you can go into the store and ask customer service to page the driver of the car you hit. Hopefully, you can locate the driver, so you can exchange information. “What should I do if someone hit my car and didn’t leave a note?” Leaving the scene of an accident – even a minor one – is a crime.
If someone damaged your car and didn’t leave a note, you may ask the nearest business or store if security camera footage may have recorded the accident. If so, make sure you mention that to police, so the video can be entered as evidence.
If you’re involved in an accident, you may need a sheet of paper, along with your insurance information. The ink inside a pen may not work in cold weather, so keep a pencil and paper in your glove box, along with your most recent insurance card. Having these items easily accessible may help you remain calm after a crash.
In any type of collision, do not say anything to other parties that indicates you think you’re at fault. And call your insurance company only after you’ve assessed whether anyone is injured, and you’re safely out of traffic.
If you’ve been injured in a car crash, we may be able to help you. Call the Evans & Herlihy Law Firm today at (855) 414-1012, or fill out our online contact form.