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Car accident preparation in Texas can reduce risk of legal issues

At any given moment in Harris County, it is likely that a collision between two cars has happened or is about to happen. The Texas Department of Transportation reported that car accidents caused injuries to over 212,000 people in 2011. Out of that number, 80,188 people suffered serious injury. More than 3,000 people died on Texas roads that same year.

Car accidents can be stressful and emotional events. They can also be the source of legal disputes and criminal charges, lost wages and medical debt. While a collision cannot always be avoided, people can eliminate unnecessary litigation and trauma by taking the time to prepare for that moment when an accident occurs.

Auto insurance

The law requires all car owners to carry auto insurance on their vehicles but many people do not understand what exactly their policy covers. This can be a great disadvantage to them, in the event of a car accident, and cause unexpected financial challenges. Edmunds states that policy holders should carefully think about what their needs would be if they were in an accident and make a list. Then they should compare that list with what their policy covers.

For example, a policy holder may only have one car. If that car is damaged in a collision, then the car will need to be towed and it is likely the owner will need a rental car while the vehicle is repaired. If their insurance policy does not cover these things, the owner will have to pay out of his or her own pocket.

Providing information

At the scene of an accident, saying the wrong thing can cause a driver unnecessary problems later on. Traffic accident scenes are chaotic and filled with confusion but it is important for people to keep their wits about them. CNN states that drivers should never indicate guilt, even if they think they caused the accident.

The reason for this is because the other driver may actually be the one at fault. Providing unsolicited information to a law enforcement officer with statements like “I didn’t see the other car” or “I didn’t realize the light was turning red” will likely guarantee that the person making the statement will be the one receiving the ticket and seeing their insurance premiums go up. It is best to only provide the information that the officer asks for and refrain from saying anything else to anyone there at the scene – even other drivers.

Kits for accidents

Many people keep an emergency aid kit in their vehicle and an accident kit can be just as beneficial. One of the most important items in the accident kit is the accident form and this captures information such as:

  • Date.
  • Location of the collision.
  • Names and contact information of drivers, passengers and witnesses.
  • Weather conditions.
  • Speed.

In addition to this form, which can be picked up through an insurance agent or created by hand, the accident kit should also have paper and pencil, road flares or triangles, a flashlight and a disposable camera. People should also make sure that they have access to a cell phone so that in a non-emergency situation, the first call they make is to a qualified attorney who can advise them on what to do.