What to Do After a Car Accident

It is understandably challenging to be able to think clearly in the immediate aftermath of an auto accident, especially if you or a loved one has been injured. Yet, taking the recommended steps at this crucial time can go a long way towards helping you reach a positive outcome in your injury claim. Here’s what you should do after a car accident in Texas:


  • Stay at the scene: It is illegal to leave the scene of an accident. Take care of your own safety first and assist others if possible. Call an ambulance if emergency help is needed. 


  • Report the accident to law enforcement. Always report the accident to law enforcement immediately. The police report can serve as valuable evidence, providing information from the accident scene to help establish fault. If you receive a ticket, it’s especially important to seek counsel from an experienced attorney, as how you plea can affect liability and compensation in a court case. Obtain the name, badge number, and agency of the investigating officer. You should be able to obtain a copy of this report for a nominal fee from the Division of Motor Vehicles within four or five business days.


  • Seek immediate medical attention. Basic aches and pains can become chronic injuries in the days or weeks that follow. Having a record of these injuries as soon as possible will increase the likelihood of an insurance provider covering the cost. If you were driving a vehicle for work at the time, you may need to contact your employer to file a worker’s compensation claim. Keep a detailed journal recording doctor’s visits, treatments, hospital stays, and daily symptoms, which can be used as court evidence if necessary.


  • Gather evidence. Gather the name, address, phone number, license number, license plate number, and insurance policy number of the other driver. If there are any eyewitnesses who saw the accident happen, obtain their names, contact numbers, and addresses as well. Get photos and videos of the exact locations of the vehicles after the crash. If you have to move your car and are able to do so, try to mark the exact position of each wheel on the pavement before doing so (many people keep chalk in their glove compartment for this eventuality). Jot down all the details you can remember, as memories become fuzzy with time.


  • Report the accident to your insurance company. Promptly notify your own insurance company of the accident.


  • Do NOT speak with the other party’s insurance adjuster or sign any documents before consulting with a lawyer. If the other party’s insurance company contacts you at the crash scene or anytime later, do NOT grant them an interview or provide a statement until you have consulted a lawyer. Even an innocent comment to an insurance adjuster can be used against you down the line. Also, do not sign any documents from the other party’s insurer until your attorney has reviewed them. 


  • Make arrangements for your damaged property. If your vehicle is not drivable, it will be towed. Some insurance companies will reimburse accident victims for certain towing charges and the temporary use of a rental car. If your car can drive away from the scene, seek a repair cost estimate from a reputable body shop of your choice.


  • Call a car accident attorney. It’s never too early to call a car accident lawyer at West & West to preserve your right to sue for damages and receive the maximum compensation allowed by law. We can investigate the crash while the evidence is fresh, identify all liable parties, connect you with the best local medical care for your injuries, collect copies of official reports, negotiate with the insurance companies on your behalf, and help you explore all of your legal options for damages.

Negligence in Car Accident Cases

Texas is a modified Comparative Fault state, with a 51% bar. This means that a person must be 51% at fault for the accident in order to be considered liable for the injured party’s losses. Your attorney will be instrumental in investigating the circumstances of the crash and proving that the other party is mostly to blame. In order to win your case, you will have to show that:


  • The defendant owed a duty of care to the injured.
  • The defendant breached this duty of care.
  • The breach of duty directly caused the plaintiff’s injuries.
  • The plaintiff suffered measurable loss (wages, hospital bills, property, etc.)

Due to the complexities of the law, you’ll want an experienced law firm on your side.

Call 713-222-9378 to explore your legal options with West & West. Even if you’re not 100% sure what happened in the moments before your accident, we’ll get to the bottom of it and let you know what to do next.

A Timeline of Your Car Accident Case

About 90 percent of car accident cases are resolved in settlement over the course of 14-18 months. Car accident claims that go to court take at least 16-24 months if there are no appeals. Having the right lawyer is imperative, as you should be cared for and supported, whether it takes months or years to seek justice and a fair resolution.


A Texas personal injury lawsuit timeline might look like this:

  • Schedule your free initial consultation.

Though Texas allows up to two years from the date of the accident for plaintiffs to file a formal complaint seeking financial redress, we encourage you not to wait and to reach out to West & West as soon as possible after your accident for a free consultation. We will discuss the details of your case and give you a realistic assessment of what type of results you can expect. Bring any medical records, police reports, photos, and information about the other driver you have collected. You are under no obligation to work with us, but if you choose to move forward, we will get started right away. Should you decide to hire West & West to represent your case, you’ll pay nothing upfront or out-of-pocket. We only get our fee when you get paid, upon successful resolution of the case.

  • We investigate and collect evidence.

We’ll investigate what happened and assemble evidence, including surveillance footage, eyewitness statements, photographs, police reports, interviews, medical records, and bills related to your injuries. We work with a variety of experts who can lend reputable testimony to your claim for maximum compensation.

  • We await your maximum medical improvement.

While we’re working on your case, we’ll also be waiting for your doctor’s determination of “maximum medical improvement,” which is the point at which your condition will no longer improve, and your injury will not heal further. It is only now that your doctor and other medical experts we enlist can accurately determine the full impact that your injuries will have on your life going forward, including future medical expenses, loss of income, pain and suffering, and loss of quality of life.


  • We collect all the bills and records with affidavits, associated with your medical care. This proves can be lengthy as once we make the request, it is up to the individual facilities to fulfill them.


  • Once all bills and records are in house we prepare and send a demand to the insurance companies demanding that they pay for your damages plus an additional amount. The Insurance companies have approximately 30 days to respond to this demand.

·     Pre-suit negotiation begins and the attorneys at West & West begin to aggressively negotiate with the at fault insurance company.


  • Should the insurance company refuse to negotiate, or play underhanded games, we file a formal complaint and await the defendant’s response. From the time we file a complaint naming all parties, the legal basis for the claim, and the demand for damages, the defendant will have up to 30 days to respond to the summons. There is sometimes back-and-forth before the case progresses.
  • Both sides conduct discovery. Discovery is the process where we explore the strengths and weaknesses of your case in relation to the evidence the defense has gathered. Meanwhile, the defendant’s counsel is reviewing the evidence we have collected. Discovery could last for many months, depending on the complexity of the case.
  • Mediation and negotiations begin. The vast majority of auto accident cases result in settlement. Mediation may be required as a mandatory part of the process if the anticipated settlement value is high. Mediation can take as little a day if the evidence is compelling and uncontested. Alternatively, negotiations can persist for months as both sides fight for their clients’ best interests.
  • The trial takes place. If an early agreement cannot be reached, the skilled attorneys at West & West prepare your case for trial. A settlement can happen at any time, even as a trial is underway.
  • You get paid. Typically, settlement agreements pay out within a month or two. The same is true if you receive a favorable verdict and jury award for damages at trial.

As can be seen from the above, there is no set timeline for resolution. A number of factors can influence how quickly your claim gets resolved. We will not let the insurance company rush you into a low-ball settlement, nor will we allow the defendant to drag the case on without just cause. Our compassionate team understands the financial pressures you may be under as you recover from your injuries and await the outcome of your case. We can help negotiate with creditors to take the pressure off while your case is still open, and we’ll keep you informed each step of the way.

How We Handle Your Claim


As soon as you sign with our firm, we begin investigating your accident, which includes gathering important evidence from the accident scene. This evidence often involves accident reports, security or traffic footage, eyewitness testimony and electronic data recordings. If needed, our firm also hires accident reconstruction experts to further strengthen your claim. We are relentless in our pursuit of justice for our car accident injury clients.


In addition to gathering evidence from the accident, we also research all potentially liable parties. We want to ensure that our clients receive justice and adequate compensation for their damages. Our attorneys work tirelessly to identify all coverage options and hold all negligent parties responsible.


Another important part of our job is gathering all the necessary records and submitting them to the insurance companies. Our legal team communicates with all of your medical providers. We obtain all medical records and bills related to your accident. During this phase, we also collect any additional monetary losses. Once all bills and records are in house, our legal team prepares a demand package to send out to the adjuster.


Your claim then moves into negotiations phase. West & West strives to settle your case for its maximum value and in a timely manner. Additionally, if the insurance company undervalues your claim, our attorneys have the experience to try your case in court.

Types of Car Accident Cases We Handle

Here at West & West, we know that each car accident claim is based on a unique set of factual circumstances. No matter how your car accident unfolded, our experienced personal injury attorneys are ready to help you recover the compensation you deserve. Some of the more common types of car accidents our attorneys handle include:

  • Blind spot accidents – Blind spots occur when a driver changes lanes but does not see the other vehicle in the rearview or side-view mirrors. Drivers must always look over their shoulders to double-check that a vehicle is not traveling in the blind spot after signaling and prior to changing lanes.


  • Distracted driving accidents – Distracted driving most commonly refers to drivers who are texting, talking, or browsing on a smartphone. Other distractions that can cause an accident include GPS devices, radios, eating, or other instances of multi-tasking. Driving requires one’s full attention.



  • Fatigued driver accidents – Drowsy driving produces reaction times similar to drunk driving. Motorists should get a restful night’s sleep and avoid taking sedating medications before driving. Commercial drivers are bound to federal limitations on how many consecutive hours they may drive and must take prescribed breaks.


  • Head-on collisions – Vehicles facing each other and hitting head-on result in some of the most serious and fatal accidents. These collisions are almost always caused by drunk or distracted drivers who veer over the double yellow line or enter the highway traveling in the wrong direction.


  • Hit and run accidents – It is illegal to leave the scene of an accident without rendering “reasonable assistance” to the injured and providing information such as name, phone number, and insurance ID. While hit-and-run accidents may be charged in criminal court, victims and their families are also entitled to financial recompense in civil court.


  • Intersection accidents – According to TXDoT in 2019, 735 were killed at Texas intersections due to failure to yield right-of-way, rushing through a red light, and turning in front of another vehicle.


  • Rear-end collisions – In most cases, the striking vehicle is at fault for the accident. There are exceptions, however; in multiple vehicle collisions, it may not be possible to avoid rear-ending another auto after being struck.



  • Rollover accidents – Collisions where a vehicle rolls over onto its roof are some of the most dangerous and deadly. They are especially common with SUVs. In some cases, manufacturing or design defects may be to blame.


  • T-bone accidents (also known as side-impact collisions) – The side of a vehicle is often hit when two vehicles are traveling opposite ways across a T-shaped intersection. Usually, one driver has failed to heed a red light or stop sign. Side impacts are especially dangerous since there is little protection on the side of a car for occupants.


  • Accidents caused by speeding – It is estimated that a quarter of the lives lost in auto accidents in the State of Texas could have been prevented had the vehicles been traveling at slower speeds. Tens of thousands of accidents and hundreds of lives are lost each year when drivers fail to obey posted speed limits.


  • Accidents caused by tailgating – Drivers are required to allow “sufficient following distance” so there is time to stop if necessary. Failure to do so can result in a ticket for following to closely and liability for any injuries sustained during the crash – most notably whiplash.


  • Texting and driving accidents – Texting while driving is against the law in Texas. Individuals engaging in such reckless activity can be held liable for any property damage and injuries. These accidents are often fatal, as the texting driver is completely unaware of the impending crash and does not take any measures to prevent it.


  • Uber & Lyft accidents – Ride share companies have large insurance policies worth millions of dollars, though they often try to place the blame for accidents on their independent contractor drivers who carry far less insurance. It’s always best to consult with an attorney to navigate these complexities.

Common Car Accident Injuries in Texas

Opening our doors in 1998, our Texas car accident lawyers have handled thousands of cases involving all types of injuries, including:

  • Broken bones
  • Cuts, scrapes, and contusions
  • Soft tissue injuries
  • Head injuries (including concussions)
  • Brain injuries (including traumatic brain injuries or TBI)
  • Neck injuries
  • Back injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Shoulder injuries
  • Internal bleeding
  • Organ damage
  • Chest injuries
  • Loss of limbs (amputations)
  • Burns
  • Paralysis and semi-paralysis
  • Emotional injury like PTSD
  • Wrongful death

In addition to handling car accident cases, we also handle all types of motor vehicle and other accidents, including:

  • Car accidents
  • Truck accidents
  • Tractor-trailer accidents
  • Motorcycle accidents
  • Pedestrian accidents
  • Bicycle accidents
  • Moped accidents
  • Scooter accidents
  • Construction zone accidents
  • Boat accidents

In the most heartbreaking situations, our wrongful death lawyers can help surviving family members fight for justice for their lost loved ones.

For a FREE consultation with an experienced Texas car accident attorney, please call 713-222-9378.

Types of Damages Available After a Car Accident

If another party’s negligence caused your car accident injuries in Texas, you may be eligible to seek the following forms of monetary compensation:

  • Compensatory / Special Damages: Medical expenses, lost income, out-of-pocket expenses, and loss of earning capacity are all types of “special” or “compensatory” damages. Out-of-pocket expenses may include prescriptions, travel costs, and home modifications — like a special tub or wheelchair ramp — to accommodate a disability. Expect to receive a higher sum if you are continuing medical treatment well into the future or if you are suffering from a disability that prevents you from working.


  • Non-Economic / General Damages: Pain, suffering, emotional distress, loss of consortium, and loss of enjoyment in life are all examples of “general” or “non-economic” damages. These subjective losses can be more difficult to quantify in terms of a dollar amount. We recommend that you keep a record of how an accident impacts your day-to-day activities to help bolster this part of your claim.


  • Punitive Damages: While rare, punitive damages can be pursued in auto accident cases where the at-fault party displayed an especially egregious recklessness or negligence. Punitive damages are meant to punish the wrongdoer and deter future wrongdoing.

We Help Accident Victims Across Texas

We serve clients throughout the state, including in:

Free consultations are available by phone, email, text and video conference, and we can even come to you if you prefer. However, no in-person meeting is required in order to get started with your Texas car accident injury claim.

Why West & West?

Fiercely advocating for our clients since 1992 our attorneys understand the complexities of dealing with insurance companies. We take pride in helping our clients recover after life-altering events.


Our Texas car accident attorneys try to build good rapport with the insurance companies to streamline the negotiations process. However, we recognize the common “tricks” that insurance adjusters often use to undervalue cases. Furthermore, when our client receives an inadequate settlement offer, our attorneys will fight the insurance company — even if it means going to trial.

We strive to make the entire claims process as easy and straightforward for you as possible, so that you can focus on your recovery. We’ll handle your car accident injury case from start to finish, including:

  • Accident investigation
  • Recovery and preservation of evidence
  • Interviewing potential witnesses
  • Conducting depositions
  • Preparing you for statements to the insurance company
  • Obtaining the official accident report from law enforcement
  • Hiring outside experts like accident reconstructionists
  • Negotiating with the insurance company and defense counsel
  • Calculating damages, obtaining life care plans if necessary
  • Referring you to trusted medical providers
  • Filing a lawsuit if necessary
  • Representing you in court hearings
  • Drafting and submitting legal briefs and court documents
  • Representing you in jury selection
  • Arguing your case at trial
  • Setting up trusts and guardianships to ensure lifetime care
  • Negotiating to lower your medical liens


Our lawyers are always available in the event that you have questions or concerns and will work with you to make sure none are left unanswered. We focus on you and what we can do to make this time in your life easier.

Call the team at West & West to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our car accident lawyers. We can take your call today at (713) 222-9378