No parent wants to get the call that their child was involved in a car accident. How can you be sure your child knows what to do following a crash? 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 if your teen was involved in a car accident.
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.
2.) Call 9-1-1. Once an EMS arrives, the police are the next point of contact. It’s important to call the police first so they can quickly address the situation, help you get to safety, and fill out a police report for your car accident.
Be sure to jot down names, phone numbers, and license plates of any witnesses. Police officers can sometimes make mistakes and miss getting the information from witnesses. Be sure to get their contact information before they leave. It also wouldn’t hurt to write down the name and badge number of the officers for future reference.
3.) Take photographic evidence. Assuming it is safe to do so, take pictures of the following items for evidence:
- The car’s positions, the license plates, and the damages of the involved vehicles;
- The other driver’s license and insurance card; and
- Any other pieces of evidence that is out of the ordinary.
If you can, take a video as well.
4.) Move the vehicle to safety. Once the EMS and police have been contacted, and that all evidence have been photographed, move the vehicle to a safe location away from traffic. A lot of secondary accidents occur because disabled or stalled vehicles on the side of the road or the shoulder are crashed into by passing vehicles.
If your vehicle is in a compromised position, turn on your hazard lights and remove yourself from the wreckage. Place cones or flares around the wreckage to warn other drivers.
5.) Do not assign fault or blame. Wait for a police officer to arrive at the scene to assign fault. Avoid arguing with the other driver and don’t assign fault yourself. Avoid engaging with the other driver unless it is to get their license and insurance information.
6.) Call your parents or guardians. Contact a parent or guardian after your collision. They will know what to do at the scene of an accident and help assist you. If your parents cannot be reached, contact an adult you’re familiar with or a friend for help.
7.) Seek medical attention. Following an accident, if you are feeling discomfort or pain, seek medical attention. Oftentimes, it can take several days for your symptoms 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.
8.) Document. When you are in a safe place and you have completed the above steps, document every detail you remember regarding the accident. Write down anything that is out of the ordinary, whatever damage you see, etc. This will be important if your case goes to trial.
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. For instance, if your crash was in Houston, you will need to contact the Houston police department for your Houston car accident report.