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Automobile Accidents and Insurance



What do I do in case of an accident?

The following information was adapted from the brochure "What To Do In Case of An Accident" prepared as a public service by the State Bar of Texas.

1. STOP! Failure to stop can result in serious criminal consequences.

2. RENDER AID

If anyone is injured:
(a) Render first aid if qualified.
(b) Stop bleeding.
(c) Call a doctor or an ambulance or both.
(d) Do not move an injured person in any way that could possibly add to his or her injury.

3. PROTECT THE SCENE FROM FURTHER DAMAGE

You may be liable for damages to approaching drivers, unless they are properly warned.
If the highway is obstructed at night, illuminate the accident scene if possible.

4. CALL AN OFFICER

Policemen, highway patrolmen, sheriffs and their deputies are trained accident investigators whose testimony may be invaluable in establishing your civil claim for damage.

5. GATHER INFORMATION-WRITE IT DOWN

Don't trust your memory. Don't guess - be specific.
(a) Measure skid marks.
(b) Step off distances.
(c) Obtain names and addresses of witnesses.

Drivers are required by law to exhibit their driver's license to each other.

6. BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU SAY

Even if you feel you might be at fault, it is best to make no statements to anyone about who caused the accident. Certainly, you should cooperate with the police and answer questions about what occurred. You may learn later that the other driver was equally at fault, or more so.

Emotional comments can be misconstrued by others, or may be misquoted.

At the scene of an accident, spectators are curious. It is best to remain silent.

Let your lawyer talk for you later - you get the FACTS.

7. SEE YOUR DOCTOR

Serious injuries do not always result in immediate pain or bloodshed. If there is the slightest chance you may be injured, see a doctor.

8. CONSULT YOUR LAWYER IMMEDIATELY

The sooner your lawyer is brought into the matter, the better he or she can advise you and protect your rights. Your lawyer can obtain statements from the witnesses while their memories are fresh, and do many other things to insure that the true facts are preserved.

Get your lawyer's advice before giving any interviews or statements to investigators or adjusters.

9. REPORT THE ACCIDENT TO THE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY

An accident report is required by law to be filed with the Department of Public Safety within 10 days from the date of the accident if the accident is not investigated by a law enforcement officer and if there is an injury, death, or total damages exceeding $1000. An official form is available from the police, sheriff's department, highway patrol, or Texas Department of Public Safety or online at www.txdps.state.tx.us/forms/.

10. INFORM YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY PROMPTLY

Failure to do so may void your policy. Effective January 1, 1982, vehicles operated on the streets and highways of Texas must be covered by liability insurance or other evidence of financial responsibility. The Department of Public Safety enforcement personnel will accept as evidence of insurance the insurance policy for the vehicle or an instrument issued by the insured company confirming coverage of the vehicle. This instrument must contain at least:

(a) a statement that the coverage meets the minimum prescribed by law;
(b) the name of the insurance company;
(c) the name of the insured;
(d) the period of the policy, and
(e) the policy number.

Evidence of insurance should be carried in the vehicle or with the driver of the vehicle. As a condition of driving, every owner and /or operator is required upon request to furnish such evidence to a law enforcement officer or to anther person if involved in an accident.

Failure to show evidence of insurance or financial responsibility carries upon conviction certain statutory penalties including fine and suspension of license and registration privileges.

This information was adapted from the brochure "What To Do In Case of An Accident" prepared as a public service by the State Bar of Texas.

Texas Laws Regarding Auto Insurance

Texas law requires drivers to have auto insurance, and if you still owe any money on your vehicle, your lender will demand it. The Texas Department of Insurance has an excellent publication called "Automobile Insurance Made Easy" at the following link that answers the following questions and many others http://www.tdi.state.tx.us/pubs/consumer/cb020.html.

• What coverages am I required to have?

• Who is covered by my policy?

• What coverages are available?

• Does my policy pay for damage to a rental car?

• Is my insurance good in Mexico?

• How do accidents and tickets affect my premium?

• What do I do if I am in an accident?

• What can I expect the other person's insurance to pay for?

Your insurance company should provide you with a publication called the "Consumer Bill of Rights". For a copy of this publication call your insurance company or the TDI (Texas Department of Insurance) Publications Order Line at 1-800-599-SHOP (7467). In Austin, call (512)-305-7211.

Additional resources

Baylor University Police Department
710-2222
http://www.baylor.edu/dps/

City of Waco Police Department
750-7500

NADA Guide - Find out how much your car is worth -
http://www.nadaguides.com/default.asp?CustId=5684

Texas Department of Insurance
http://www.tdi.state.tx.us/index.html

Texas Department of Public Safety
759-7100
http://www.txdps.state.tx.us/



This site is meant for the exclusive use of students enrolled at Baylor University. This site was written for informational purposes only and should NOT be relied upon as legal advice. Individuals should seek the advice of an attorney regarding specific legal problems. This site contains general information about Texas law, and does not apply to any other state.

There is no warranty made that the material within this site is accurate, or that it is completely free of errors. Students should verify statements and NOT rely upon them as legal advice.,

Modified 1-29-09