Preparing for a car accident can save you a legal headache

The Texas Department of Transportation reports that in 2011, a reportable car crash occurred in the state every 82 seconds. With Interstate 36 cutting through the middle of the county, your chances of finding yourself in a car accident are fairly great, especially with Dallas to the north and Austin to the south. However, despite this, it is probably likely that you are not as prepared for such an event as you would like.

If you have not prepared, you are not alone. Undoubtedly many people believe that because they are good defensive drivers, they will not be the victim of a car accident. As such, they don't understand that without good preparation they could find themselves found at fault for the crash through something said at the scene or the accident. In addition, they may be taken advantage of by the other driver by taking a payment settlement at the scene without considering how much damage may have been done to themselves and their vehicle.

Be realistic

The first thing that you need to do is admit that a car accident can happen at any time. This is illustrated by the following numbers about accidents from 2011:

  • 712 people died in crashes at intersections.
  • Head-on collisions killed 424 people.
  • Over 200,000 people were injured in car accidents.
  • 35 percent of fatal accidents involved alcohol.
  • At least one person died every day of the year from a car accident.

The second thing that you need to be aware of is that a law enforcement officer is not going to protect your legal rights if you are in an accident. When they arrive on the scene, they look for any evidence that indicates liability and therefore you need to keep in mind that you should not say anything that could be misinterpreted such as "I'm sorry" or "I didn't see the other vehicle".

The accident kit

You probably already carry a first-aid kit in your car, and it's a great first step in creating a car accident kit. The kit should also include forms with space to collect information such as names of witnesses, names of other drivers, contact information, car insurance policy information for the other drivers. The kit should also include your insurance policy information, a flashlight for night collisions, emergency markers such as flares or cones, and a card with allergy information, medications and other medical conditions which can be used by first responders if you are unable to communicate.

If you have a smart phone, you already have a built-in camera to document the scene with pictures or video. However, if your phone camera isn't that great, you may want to keep a disposable camera in your car. The more evidence that you can gather at the scene the better the case you can build when you seek compensation. This includes medical records, the police report and those photos. Above all else you should also contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible for legal advice and counsel as to what your next step should be .