Three things you probably didn't know to do after an accident

If you were involved in any type of car or truck accident, the first thing you probably did (after recovering from the initial shock) was to ask yourself, "What do I do next?" You may have run through a mental checklist: Call for medical help, exchange insurance information with the other driver, etc.

However, you may not realize that the state of Texas and your insurance company require you to take specific steps after a crash. Here are three things you may not have known to do:

1. Provide written documentation to your insurance company.

Yes, you probably knew to call your own insurance company to report your accident, but did you know you should also follow up in writing? The Texas Department of Insurance explains that you need submit a written report to your insurance company in order to protect your legal right to prompt payment.

(After you've filed your claim, Texas law requires your insurance company to respond to you within 15 days. If it can't meet this deadline, it must explain the reason.)

2. Submit a crash report, if the police weren't involved.

If you sustained serious injuries, someone probably called law enforcement, and they probably investigated the accident. However, if you were involved in a rear-end collision or other minor accident, you may not have bothered to call the police. In this case, the Texas Department of Transportation requires you to submit a report to them within 10 days if any of the following apply:

  • You or anyone else was injured
  • You think the other driver may have been drunk, uninsured or driving without a license
  • The other driver left the scene (hit-and-run)
  • Your vehicle suffered at least $1,000 of damage

If you fail to submit a crash report to the Texas Department of Transportation, you can be hit with a $500 fine.

3. Report any hit-and-run accident to the police.

If the other driver hit you and then fled the scene, you may think it's pointless to file an accident report, especially if you are unable to remember any details about what the other car looked like. However, if you want to receive any money from the uninsured motorist coverage on your own insurance policy, you need to report the hit-and-run to law enforcement. If you don't, you won't be able to take advantage of uninsured motorist coverage.

To learn more about what to do after an auto accident in Texas, consult an experienced personal injury attorney. He or she can explain everything you need to know to protect your rights and pursue compensation.

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