No parent wants to get the call that their teenager was involved in a car accident. While fear settles in, so does the knowledge that you, the parent, weren’t there while your child was in the car during their first wreck. How can you be sure they know what to do? For some, this is an unfortunate reality and it’s exactly why Houston car accident lawyer Hank Stout set up 9 steps for what to do right after a car collision occurs.
1.) Check for injuries.
The first thing to do following an accident is to assess for injuries. If you or someone in the vehicle needs emergency medical treatment, do not move and call for EMS. Remain calm as they arrive.
2.) Call 9-1-1.
Once calling an EMS is complete, the police should be contacted next. It’s important to call the police first so they can quickly address the situation and help you get to safety. Be sure to also write down names, phone numbers, and license plates of any witnesses. The reality is that the police oftentimes do not capture the names and numbers of the witnesses, so it is up to you to make sure to get this information before they leave. It is also helpful to write down the name and badge number of the police officer or officers that respond to your call for reference later.
3.) Take photographic evidence.
Assuming it is safe to do so, take pictures of the following items for evidence:
- The position of the cars, the license plates of the vehicles, and the damage to the vehicles involved in the collision;
- The other driver’s license and insurance card; and
- Any other pictures that help demonstrate what occurred or anything out of the ordinary.
If you can, take a video as well.
4.) Move the vehicle to safety.
Once you have taken pictures and assuming your vehicle is drivable, you should move your vehicle to safety. A lot of secondary accidents occur because disabled vehicles, like the ones in an accident, on the side of the road are crashed into by passing vehicles. If you cannot move your vehicle, turn your hazard lights on and get to safety. Some emergency kits come with hazard cones or flares and can be placed around the crash area to warn other drivers.
5.) Do not assign fault or blame.
Don’t argue with the other driver or admit fault. It is best not to engage with the other driver, except to exchange license and insurance information. Wait for the police to arrive to give your account of what occurred to the officer.
6.) Call your parents or guardians.
If you can it is a good idea to try to have one of your parents come to the scene to assist you with the situation. If your parents are not available, try to call an adult relative or friend for help.
7.) Seek medical attention.
If you are feeling pain or discomfort even after the accident, be sure to tell your parents and seek medical attention. Oftentimes, it can take several days for your problems to set in so don’t ignore these signs. Even if you don’t have any immediate discomfort, go to the doctor the next day to get a check-up. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
When you are in a safe place and you have followed the above steps, write down everything you can remember about the accident before it fades from memory. This includes how you remember the accident occurring, anything out of the ordinary, damage to your car, etc.
9.) Report the accident.
In the event a police report is not filed and there was injury or property damage from the crash, you need to report the accident to the Texas Department of Transportation within ten days. Call (800) 558-9368 for information from your local TxDOT District office.