At the very least, accidents are traumatic. So much is happening and there is so much you need to do. The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) hopes this pamphlet will help you. Keep this pamphlet in your vehicle just in case you find yourself in an accident.
Were You Wearing Seat Belts?
Most drivers, no matter how carefully they drive, will be involved in at least one traffic accident during their lifetime. The chances of being injured or killed are greater than you might think. About one person in three will be injured or killed in a traffic accident. The best thing to increase your chances of surviving is to always use seat belts. Remember, you must wear both your lap and shoulder belt if the vehicle is equipped with both, even if the vehicle is equipped with air bags.
You and any passenger age six or older or who weighs 60 lbs. or more must wear a seat belt while the car is moving. If not, you may be given a traffic ticket. Also, you will be given the ticket if your passenger is younger than 16. A child passenger restraint system is required for any child under the age of six or who weighs under 60 lbs. Either a seat belt or a child passenger restraint system may be used for each person age six or older or who weighs 60 lbs. or more.
Here are some additional tips for using a child safety seat:
The back seat is generally the safest place in the car for children 12 years old or younger.
Babies up to 20 lbs. and about age one should ride in a safety seat secured to the back seat facing the rear of the car. Babies should not be placed facing forward or backward in the front passenger seat if the vehicle has a passenger-side air bag.
Toddlers over 20 lbs. and about age one should ride in an approved safety seat in the back seat.
Common Causes of Accidents
Some of the common causes of accidents are:
Driving on the wrong side of the road
Violation of the right-of-way rules
Violation of stop signals and signs
Numbered Traffic Lanes
When news stations report accidents, they refer to numbered traffic lanes. The left lane is the “No.1 lane.” The lane to the right of the No.1 lane is the No.2 lane, then the No.3 lane, etc. Here is an example.
If you hear of an accident, try to avoid driving near the accident. Take another route, if you can. If you must drive near an accident scene, do not slow down or stop to look–you may cause another collision. However, drive carefully and watch for people in the road. Always obey any order from a police officer or fire fighter even if you must ignore normal traffic laws or signs.
When You See An Accident
If you are the first person at an accident scene, pull completely off the road, away from the accident. Emergency personnel must be able to see the accident and stop next to it for easy access to injured persons. Check to see if anyone is injured. Also, search the area for victims who may have been thrown from a vehicle. They may be hidden in grass or bushes.
Call 9-1-1. If another person stops to help, ask that person to call 9-1-1. The person calling 9-1-1 must be ready to answer questions and provide information, such as the location of the emergency (cross streets, freeway on/off ramp information) and how many people need help (is anyone bleeding, unconscious, or without a pulse). Don’t hang up! Let the emergency dispatcher hang up first.
If possible, use flares or emergency triangles. However, if there is a gasoline leak or fumes do not use the flares and don’t smoke!
Help anyone who is not already walking and talking. However, do not move an injured person unless he or she is in a burning vehicle or in other danger. Moving someone incorrectly often makes an injury worse.
Move the vehicle(s) involved out of the traffic lane if it is not disabled. Turn off the ignition of wrecked autos. Again, don’t smoke! Fire is a great danger.
Involved In An Accident?
If you are involved in an accident—STOP. If you don’t stop, you may be convicted of “hit and run” and could be severely punished. Also, someone could be injured and need your help. You must show your driver license, registration card, evidence of financial responsibility, and current address to the other driver or persons involved, or to any peace officer. If your evidence of financial responsibility is insurance, you must provide the company name and address as well as the policy number to avoid a citation and $250 fine.
You or your insurance agent, broker, or legal representative must make the following reports:
If someone is killed or injured, report the accident to the police or Highway patrol within 24 hours of the accident.
Also, report the accident to the DMV, if there is more than $750 in damage to the property of any person, or anyone is injured (no matter how slightly) or killed. The accident report form (SR 1) is available at DMV or Highway patrol offices. The SR 1 report is required in addition to any other report made to the police, highway patrol, or your insurance company.
If you hit a parked vehicle or other property, try to find the owner. Identify yourself before you leave. If you can’t find the owner, leave a note with your name and address (and the name and address of the owner of the vehicle you are driving) in the vehicle or securely attached to it. Report the accident without delay to the city police or, in unincorporated areas, to the Highway patrol.
If you kill or injure an animal, pull over to the side of the road and stop. Try to find the owner. If you can’t find the owner, call the nearest humane society or call the police or Highway patrol. Do not try to move an injured animal and never leave an injured animal to die.
How Much Insurance?
You must be financially responsible for your actions whenever you drive and for all motor vehicles you own. If not, you are driving illegally. Most drivers choose to have an automobile liability insurance policy as proof of financial responsibility. If you have an accident not covered by your insurance, your license will be suspended. If the driver is not identified, the owner of the motor vehicle involved will have his or her license suspended.
The minimum amount your insurance must cover is:
$30,000 for a single death or injury.
$60,000 for death or injury to more than one person.
$25,000 for property damage caused by one accident.
DMV Accident Reporting
Each driver or the driver’s insurance agent, broker, or legal representative must make a report to the DMV if someone is killed or injured (no matter how minor the injury) or property damage is over $750. This report is required whether you caused the accident or not and even if the accident occurred on private property. Report the accident within 10 days on the SR 1. You can get this form from any DMV or Highway patrol office. You can also download it from DMV’s web site (www.dmv.ca.gov).
Using the information you give in the accident report, DMV may ask the insurance company to verify that you had coverage in effect at the time of the accident. If you did not have the proper insurance coverage, your driving privilege will be suspended for one year. To get your license back, you will need to provide proof of financial responsibility and maintain it for the next three years.
Every accident reported to DMV by law enforcement will show on your driving record unless the reporting officer says another person was at fault. Every accident reported by you, or another party in the accident, will show on your record if any vehicle involved has over $750 in damage or if anyone is injured or dies. It does not matter who caused the accident. The law says DMV must keep this record.
The following information will help you complete the SR 1 form. (Keep it in your glove box.) Do not use this information to replace the SR 1 form.
Your insurance company name/policy #
Date & Time of Accident
Location of accident
NOTE: You must give your current address and show these documents to any peace officer or person involved in this accident:
Your driver license
Your registration card
Evidence of financial responsibility
Your insurance company name/policy #
You must give your current address
Other driver information:
Driver’s date of birth
Driver’s DL #/State
Driver’s name & address
Driver’s license plate #/State
Driver’s insurance company name
Policy # and expiration date
Policy holder’s name & address
Vehicle owner’s name & address
Injuries or property damage
Contact our Accident Lawyers if you have ever experienced a personal injury and think others are at fault for the accident.
Buses roll all over San Antonio’s streets. Many of San Antonio’s 1 million+ people hop on a bus through one of these systems to get to where they need to be.
The VIA bus lines average a quarter-million riders per week, which makes the possibility of being in a bus accident rather high. If you do happen to get into a bus accident, don’t hesitate to contact a good San Antonio bus accident lawyer.
You are going to need a solid personal injury lawyer for several reasons:
Bus accidents differ greatly from regular motor vehicle collisions because passengers collide with people, seats and other objects, complicating the circumstances of any collision and sometimes leading to serious injury.
Liability issues become very complicated because buses are municipally owned and operated. Immunity can often be granted to the driver, meaning that the bus itself must be found liable if you are to receive compensation. You will face a strong legal team representing the city and county that is accustomed to such cases.
Tourist buses pour into San Antonio every day, too. They also have high-powered legal teams that will vigorously defend their lines in court.
The best course of action if you are in a bus accident is to allow a bus accident attorney to examine the details of your case and then make a decision on legal action. Once the decision is made to proceed, your personal injury attorney can work hard to get you the compensation you will need for your medical bills, lost work time, and pain and suffering.
Obviously, any collision with a bus will have more of an impact on your vehicle and body than one with a compact car, for instance. That’s why you should never assume that you’re okay after a bus accident, even if you are trying to soldier on and ignore pain symptoms.
After a wreck involving a bus, visit a doctor. Many injuries do not manifest themselves until days after the initial collision. This holds especially true for neck, back and concussion injuries. You don’t want to walk around with a back injury for the rest of your life because you let the statute of limitations (45 days when a municipality is involved) expire on filing a lawsuit against the bus line.
Internal injuries also can take awhile to reveal themselves. These can occur when you are thrown against your vehicle, or if you were the passenger in a bus that hit another vehicle. Keep careful track of your medical records and submit them all to your personal injury attorney.
One step you don’t want to take is to accept a quick settlement from the bus company before interacting with your lawyer. It will be a fraction, in most cases, of what your attorney can secure for you to recover well from your trauma and injuries.
For all of the above reasons, you will need a dedicated and skillful bus accident lawyer on your side after a collision with any type of bus, or in any bus. Contact an attorney today for a free consultation.
San Antonio has a reputation as being a city that is fairly spread out, so when the millions of tourists that go there every year come into town, they will probably need a taxi to get from one popular site to the next. That’s why there’s no shortage of taxis rambling around the streets of San Antonio, with the corresponding number of accidents each year.
A taxi driver is delighted to take a tourist from the Witte Museum all the way to the zoo, from the Alamo to Sea World or Fiesta Texas. Those trips will bring hefty fares, but at least the visitor won’t have to sit in city traffic.
To maximize their fares, all taxi drivers operate their vehicles in a way that borders on dangerous—swerving in and out of lanes, pushing through intersections on yellow lights, merging when there seems to be no room to merge. Sometimes these maneuvers result in banged-up vehicles on the other end of the collision.
If you have been involved in a vehicle accident involving a taxi, contact a skilled San Antonio taxi accident attorney immediately. You are going to need an ally to face the large and powerful legal teams that taxi companies keep at the ready.
During your free consultation, your San Antonio taxi accident lawyer will talk about your case and help you devise a strategy to get the compensation that you deserve. Just because a taxi driver has a large legal team backing him doesn’t mean that you should be responsible for all of your medical bills, lost work time, and pain and suffering. That’s especially true if that taxi driver’s in-a-hurry driving wrecked your car and your body.
In addition to taxi drivers being responsible for many accidents in which they are involved, some taxi companies also have a spotty record of maintenance. The vehicle that hit your car might have had faulty steering or worn brakes. A San Antonio personal injury lawyer will know how to prove that by accessing the company’s maintenance records.
You should never accept the initial settlement offered by the taxi company’s insurance carrier; it rarely will be enough to cover your future medical expenses and lost work time as you go to rehab sessions and other doctor’s appointments. You need a San Antonio taxi accident attorney to fight for every dollar that you need, so that your accident will not bankrupt you as well.
Head and neck sprains that occur after vehicles collide can linger for months and might be far more serious than mere sprains. Concussions, similarly, often require long-term care, as do spinal injuries and broken bones. These bills add up, especially when scans and tests are part of your treatment.
We all appreciate taxis when we are in a city that we don’t know and we don’t have a vehicle. But taxis can also be a menace in our home cities. Make sure that liability for your collision with a taxi is properly assigned through the services of a strong San Antonio personal injury lawyer.
As a city with a growing population, San Antonio has burgeoning commercial and restaurant sectors, both of which require goods that are often delivered by truck. It’s not unusual to see large trucks stopped in the right lane while processing a delivery throughout the city.
With the numerous delivery trucks rumbling down city streets added to the many 18-wheelers barreling up I-10 and I-35, it’s no wonder that driving carefully around these larger vehicles has become more of a preoccupation for San Antonians.
However, even when drivers give these huge vehicles plenty of room, accidents still occur, and the truck usually “wins.”
If you have been involved in a truck accident in San Antonio and the surrounding area, don’t hesitate to contact a good San Antonio truck accident attorney. She/he will make sure that the only “win” the truck got was in most damage done to a vehicle. After your incident, you need to be defended well in negotiations and possible courtroom proceedings, with blame appropriately placed.
You also need a San Antonio truck accident lawyer because the vast majority of truck accidents will end up with you in a courtroom directly across from a high-powered team of lawyers that has long represented a trucking firm. You do not want to be on your own at a time like that.
Call a San Antonio personal injury lawyer today and obtain a free consultation about your case. You will learn what the next, best step is, and what you need to do to secure the greatest compensation possible to meet your needs.
Those needs will include not only medical bills from the past, but possible bills in the future as your injuries are treated. You also need to be compensated for lost work time and possible pain and suffering. A strong truck accident attorney will be happy to work for you to make sure that your accident will not bankrupt you.
As you know, truck accidents are usually far more serious than mere fender-benders. They often result in totaled vehicles, serious injuries, and even death, far more often than when two cars collide.
Yet, insurance companies don’t dole out a higher settlement just because you were the little guy in the wreck. That’s why you need to refuse that initial settlement; it probably won’t take into account all of your future costs. Let a qualified truck accident lawyer negotiate a settlement for you and take the proper parties to court if necessary.
Truck drivers and firms can be held liable for accidents not only due to driver negligence, but also due to mechanical failures. Many trucks suffer from spotty maintenance and defects such as brake failure. Driver fatigue can also play a huge role in many truck accidents, as drivers push through on their routes despite being tired, in an effort to meet their strict deadlines.
If you have a wreck involving a truck, obtain a copy of the police report and get the truck driver’s contact information. Enlist any help from witnesses, too, and get their contact information. Once you gather all of the evidence that you are able to (photos, testimony, doctor’s bills), you can meet with your personal injury lawyer and begin to plan your case.
Don’t let a huge truck run over your life as well as your vehicle. Get the help you need from a qualified San Antonio truck accident attorney.
Hit-and-run accidents are no fun. You often feel angry and violated when your car is hit and the guilty party drives off without leaving any information. It’s even worse when you are injured in such an accident and have no way to track down the other driver.
There is hope, however. Contact a San Antonio hit-and-run attorney immediately after you’ve been victimized in a hit-and-run accident and get a free consultation regarding the merits of your case.
In Texas, hit-and-run offenses can be charged as either a misdemeanor or as a felony. The offense can range from a misdemeanor to a felony, depending on the degree of damage or injury. Hit-and-run accidents are defined legally as those accidents that occur when one party involved (at fault or not) drives away from the scene without providing insurance information.
That definition covers even these scenarios, to the surprise of many:
Either party driving away from a fender-bender
The guilty party driving away from hitting and damaging property, such as a fence
A party driving away from an accident that may have been caused by his/her driving conduct, even without a collision occurring
Whenever there is no injury in a hit-and-run accident, the crime still beings on a Class C Misdemeanor that can include a $500 fine. When the damage on the vehicle is more than $200, it typically means that the offense will be considered a Class B misdemeanor and will merit up to six months in a county jail.
Leaving the scene of an accident involving death or serious injury is a third-degree felony, punishable by 2 to 10 years in a state prison. If the injury is not serious, it is a felony punishable by up to one year in a county jail or up to five years in a state prison and/or a fine of up to $5,000.
If you have been charged with this crime, you will need a good hit-and-run attorney to prove that either:
You weren’t the person driving your car when the accident occurred, or
You didn’t know that the accident had occurred or that someone has been injured, or
You didn’t “willfully” flee the scene or fail to identify yourself, or
You were the only person injured
In hit-and-run accidents, civil lawsuits can also be filed by the victim after the court has issued a sentence and fine, so your costs could grow far beyond your initial fine if you are found guilty.
If you have been victimized in a hit-and-run accident, take photos of the fleeing driver if possible, and get the vehicle’s license plate number. If you are able to note the make and model of the vehicle, this information will also be helpful. If you can’t get photos, write down as many details as you can while they are still fresh in your mind.
After this, call the police and file an accident report, so that the police can be on the lookout for the vehicle that you describe. Then, contact your insurance company, but don’t settle for its initial offer. A San Antonio personal injury lawyer can usually dig into the evidence and look for clues regarding the guilty party.
Don’t suffer after a hit-and-run accident, thinking that your failure to stop the other driver is somehow your fault. Interact with a San Antonio personal injury attorney and let him/her give a good effort to achieve justice in your case. You will probably need funds beyond your insurance settlement to pay your medical costs and make up for lost work time, so hire a San Antonio hit-and-run lawyer to make sure that you do not suffer any longer as a result of the other party fleeing the scene.
If you are filing a personal injury case, there is also a huge chance that you will be dealing with an insurance company. It is given that once you got involved in a car or auto accident, medical malpractice, dog bites, slip fall, or even any verbal or physical abuse, anyone who is involved in one of these kinds of negligence or irresponsibility towards you will be asked to provide you with compensation, often issued by their own insurance company. Thus, since you will be dealing related factors on charges, compensation, and insurance company, it is crucial that you fully understand how to properly negotiate and handle insurance liability claims.
Insurance adjusters are frequently assigned to personal injury cases and they are in charge to investigate facts, determining how much a specific case is worth. However, they do not work for you nor are interested in making sure you get the fair and just compensation, rather, they work for the insurance company in order to keep the payouts as low as possible (to gain more profits).
Even though insurance adjusters’ goal is to pay the lowest amount possible, they have an ultimate goal of avoiding any lawsuit, making a settlement offer any injured party will accept. If, however, no settlement is agreed upon before the court, the injured party has the right to file a lawsuit, and if the defendant has been proven guilty, the judge or jury shall make the right decision as well as appropriate charges for the damage done.
You also have to remember that filing a personal injury case against the defendant also means that the insurance company can end up paying a very high fee if the jury feels sympathy for you. In addition, some legal fees as well as miscellaneous costs can also add to the expense of the insurance company.
The demand letter is a written statement, enumerating what you will accept in order to settle the case. If you will be sending the demand letter, you also start negotiating with the insurance adjuster instead of the insurance adjuster being the first one writing down what is fair payment for you. Starting a demand letter can possibly result in a more favorable final outcome for you.
Know the policy limits of the insurance company in order for you to also determine the maximum payout. While you could technically get a judgement for a much larger amount as compared to the maximum payment from the insurer, you should also try to collect the excess from the defendant personally.
Make sure that you do not accept any settlement offer not until you have known of the full extent of the damage and injuries, which, you have suffered and until you are confident that the settlement is just and fair. Once you have accepted the offer and signed a release of all claims, you should know that you cannot change your mind nor sue the defendant after.
The above factors are just a few of the most important things you have to do when dealing with the insurance company. However, one strongest way in claiming what is just and right for you is to use your evidence to prove the fault of the defendant and also the injuries you have gained. Presenting evidence is necessary for you to be able to get a desirable settlement and also avoiding further discussion by going to court.
If you happen to live in San Antonio, chances are that vehicular accidents are not uncommon for the reason that there are plenty of motor vehicles that are always moving now and then. On situations like these, how do car accident attorneys in San Antonio fit into the mess? You could argue that in every vehicular tragedy, car accident attorneys in San Antonio are always needed on both ends of the face off. Yes, it can be logical though it can also be impractical.
Actually, car accidents do not always result to be devastating for the people and the vehicles that are involved. A car may be damaged without any injury to the person; which can be solely be discussed between insurance firms of both parties who are affected. “Property damage cases” as they are called, they usually do not require car accident attorneys to negotiate.
But when human injuries happen, it is either trivial or serious injury cases. Minor cases include injuries with complete recovery in less than a week. By now, you must be listing names of car accident attorneys for legal compensation. However minor injuries tend to be not as expensive compared to the expense of getting car accident attorneys. Therefore there is no point in hiring one unless it is a very serious case.
When looking for legal counsel, what you should know is that car accident attorneys in San Antonio are quite expensive. While that may be true but the point here is to get the most of the damage done from the car accident. And what you want to get out of it is to get expert advice from car accident attorneys so that you will get a lot of money out of the mess; and that is where car accident attorneys can work their magic. You might be able to pull this off on your own, but it is doubtful that one could get the sweetest deal out of the accident without legal assistance.
Another thing is that you do not have to deal with the problem of doing the dirty work that car accident attorneys are paid to do. You could spend time on healing yourself, enjoying the company of your family, doing the things you like and focusing on activities that produce revenue or you could insist on doing things that you are not even sure of the results? In the end, it is more rewarding to delegate the problem to car accident attorneys because you avoid wasting precious time on things that can be stressful for you.
Friendly advice on hiring car accident attorneys
The fee might be the only thing you are concerned about when it comes to getting car accident attorneys. Their rate is based on a contingency fee contract. This explains that they are to get what is due to them only if you get what is due to you, which gives them more than enough good reason to squeeze in more money for you from the accident so they may also get more on the resolved monetary compensation.
If you decide to hire car accident attorneys, you also need to know specifically how soon they can file your case. Most car crash dilemmas are put on hold because clients do not give their car accident attorneys a timetable to meet.
You are usually confronted by an affiliate of a certain law firm when looking for legal aid. You have to recognize the actual lawyer who would handle your case along with representing you at court. By doing this, you avoid confusion as to who you must consistently ask for updates.