Your first step after being involved in a car accident in Austin, Texas, is to call the police.
The other driver might urge you not to do so, but documenting the accident could help you later on if you end up with injuries and choose to file a personal injury lawsuit.
In the past, if you did not call the police out to complete an accident report and investigation, you had to fill one out yourself and file it. However, in September 2017, that requirement was removed to lessen some of the administrative burdens on local law enforcement.
While the elimination of self-reporting accidents means there is less documentation after a car accident, it just makes it all the more important that you try to get the police on scene after an accident or document the accident with photos and witness accounts.
Do I need a police report to file a claim or personal injury lawsuit in Austin, Texas?
If the police do arrive on the scene at your car accident, they must file an accident report within 10 days. Once the report is on file, you can put in a request for a copy.
You do not have to bring the accident report with you to your first consultation with a personal injury attorney. We can get access to the accident report on your behalf and will review the contents of the report for details about the accident.
A police accident report is valuable evidence in car accident cases. However, you can still pursue an insurance claim and a personal injury lawsuit without a police report.
This is why it’s so important to speak with a car accident attorney in Austin, Texas, after your accident. They’ll guide you through the next steps you should take and will help you protect your right to a lawsuit if you choose to go that route.
Please note that the statute of limitations on personal injury lawsuits following a car accident is two years. This does not mean that the whole process of the lawsuit must be completed in that timeframe, but rather that the lawsuit must be filed with the courts within two years of your accident.
Reporting the accident to your insurance company
There are no laws stating that a person involved in a car accident must report the incident to their insurance company right away.
However, failing to report your car accident promptly could mean that your insurance company denies your claim. It gives them reasonable doubt that your car’s damage and your injuries were actually from the accident and not something else.
Review your insurance policy language to check to see if it has a requirement that you report all accidents. Some policy language does have this requirement or you could face an uphill battle with getting your car fixed and your medical bills paid.
Even if it seems like you are not at fault for the accident, you might need to call upon your insurance policy for payments and coverage following the accident.
The other driver might file a claim against your policy, stating that the accident was your fault or you might find that the other driver is uninsured or underinsured. In this case, your car insurance could help cover you. The most common usage of uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage is in the case of a hit and run.
Contact the Stewart Law Firm today
The Stewart Law Firm has Austin car accident lawyers who can help you get through this difficult time. Our auto accident attorneys have the experience, skills, and knowledge required to successfully handle your auto accident case. If you or a family member have been hurt in an auto accident and you want answers and justice, please contact us today.