No one ever plans to get in an auto accident. In Houston, the roads are packed and the drivers are frantic, making it one of the most overlooked cities in the world on the danger scale. Sadly, accidents are sometimes inevitable. If the day ever come when you’re involved in an automobile crash caused by a car, truck, motorcycle, or even 18-wheeler, here are some vital tips from Thomas Thurlow of Thurlow & Associates, one of the most successful personal insury law firms in not just Texas but the entire country.
What to Do After an Accident to Help Your Case
If you become a culprit of negligence on the road, let’s start with a list of things you absolutely should do. This will help to keep you and your loved ones mentally prepared in case disaster strikes.
Do #1: Assess If Anyone Needs Immediate Medical Attention
Following a vehicular accident on the road, it almost goes without saying that the first crucial step is finding out whether or not anyone needs immediate medical attention. When you do call the authorities, this will also be the first thing they ask so they can evaluate the severity of the situation and whether or not to dispatch an ambulance or fire truck.
Do #2: Contact the Police
Contact the police immediately to ensure that lawful help is on the way.
“Try to get them out there as soon as possible,” Thurlow urges, citing numerous reasons why police should be present. Officers will block off the scene of the accident from passing traffic, mitigate any tension between affected parties, file an official report and more.
“In some cases, another driver involved will want to give you their information and leave,” Thurlow warns, “Wait for the police so everything can be documented.”
Do #3:Speak to the Other Side
Speaking to the other side is tricky, especially since there are road rage cases where the other party may be unreasonable, unruly or even threaten you. If this happens, be sure to make specific note of what is said so the facts can be documented in your sworn testimony.
Importantly, the reason for speaking to the other side – aside from making sure they do not need immediate medical attention – is to get some information from them. However, be cautious with revealing your suspicions or even potential mistakes on your part.
“Don’t commit anything,” Thurlow advises, “Thurlow advises. “But speaking to them is a good idea when possible.”
Do #4: Take Photos
In the heat of the moment, it might not immediately occur to you to take photos. You absolutely should though, making sure to get their license plate numbers in the photos as well so that you won’t need to write them down separately.
“If possible, use your phone to take several pictures of both your vehicle and the other vehicles involved in the wreck,” says Thurlow.
Any photos you can take will prove incredibly useful for a personal injury attorney and their investigator should you have a serious case.
Do #5: For 18 Wheeler Accidents, Get Company Information
On top of getting the 18-wheeler’s license plate number in the photos you take, make it a point to capture the brand advertising on the sides of the cargo area if available. Additionally, when you speak with the truck driver, attempt to get information regarding the company, asking who they are employed by.
Do #6: Speak to an Attorney Regarding What Happened
Thomas Thurlow admits that much of a good personal injury attorney’s business comes by way of referrals and word of mouth. He recommends asking friends who have been in an auto accident whether or not they enlisted the services of an attorney. If someone you trust provides a strong recommendation, proceed
to check that lawyer’s credentials.
And in case no one comes to mind to ask, all Houstonians have another great option readily available.
“If you don’t know who to call, you can call the Houston Lawyer Referral Service, which is part of the Houston Bar Association,” Thurlow suggests, “They’ll refer you to someone who has a demonstrated history of getting results.”
Now that you know what to do, here are some of the biggest mistakes people make that can easily be prevented.
Don’t #1: Fail to Preserve Your Evidence
The linger a case goes without the help of an attorney, the more evidence starts to disappear. It’s important you compile all of our documentation and photos in an organized manner and hand it over to a law office for evaluation as soon as possible. the sooner you seek legal counsel, the better chance you have of obtaining a positive result.
Don’t #2: Immediately Assume You Have Not Been Injured
If you have been injured in the accident, you are definitely going to require expert legal advice. In many case though, victims have such an adrenaline rush from the accident that they fail to realize they have been hurt.
“Sometimes injuries show up 2 or 3 days later,” Thurlow points out, “Always wait a few days before telling the insurance you are physically okay, just in case pain strikes.
Don’t #3: Sign Anything Until Speaking with an Attorney
As a rule of thumb, you want to seek legal advice before coming to an agreement with your insurance provider. for example, one impression the insurance companies often give off is acting like they are your only option. In many cases, you could feel pressured to sign on the spot for what ever monetary their initial offer is.
Thurlow & Associates settled a case earlier this year on behalf of Jesse Flores after his vehicle was rear-ended in the Houston area by an 18-wheeler. Being hurt in the wreck, Mr. Flores was having trouble carrying out his daily profession as a plumber.
“The insurance company lowballed me big time on the case,” Mr. Flores says, “My main concern was getting the surgery I needed to fix my shoulder.”
After doing the smart thing and speaking to an attorney first, Thomas Thurlow and his team went to work on the case, able to get more than just the medical bills covered. After originally being offered $1,000 by his insurance, Mr. Flores ended up settling for $248,000 instead, proving that you never know what kind of case you have.
“Thurlow was very professional and managed everything smoothly so there were no big issues. They definitely made me feel comfortable and confident about by case,” Jesse Flores says.
Don’t #4: Think You Have No Case Because a Family Member Died
Wrongful death is a traffic outcome of many accidents, often caused by negligence on behalf of another driver. Many family members who have lost a loved one in a car crash never contact an attorney, knowing that nothing will bring back those who were lost. While this is true, it’s important to hold those who were at fault accountable for the loss of live that occurred. Plus, the compensation won will at the very least help provide for the family of whoever passed away.
“Often they don’t contact anyone.” says Thurlow sadly, “After grieving takes its toll, they should seek an attorney as soon as they’re able to do so.”
Don’t #5: Pay a Personal Injury Attorney Out of Pocket
Thurlow & Associates have achieved over 40 years of success in Houston as a personal injury law firm who operates completely contingent on winning and have done so in over 1,000 car and 18-wheeler accidents. From the beginning, they offer free case evaluations so nothing is lost on behalf of the victims. It is highly recommended you only choose an attorney with this same no-win, no-fee model.
Do You Have a Case?
Remember, insurance companies are going to offer you money very quickly, but it will be the smallest amount possible. If you believe you have been wronged and might have a case, don’t hesitate to reach out to Thurlow & Associates today. For more information or to contact their legal team, visit www.thurlowlaw.com.