Drivers involved in collisions typically exchange information at the site of the accident and often call police, even if the drivers believe the damage is relatively minor. This is undoubtedly a wise thing to do. Yes, it’s helpful for insurance purposes. But, if a personal injury claim comes out of the incident, the information exchanged and the police report go a long way toward making a valid legal claim.
Sometimes, however, exchanging information isn’t just a wise choice, it’s a legally required one. Here’s what Texas law says about exchanging information after an auto accident.
What Does the Law Require?
Accidents and accident reports are covered by Section 550.023 of the Texas Transportation Code’s “Rules of the Road” chapter. Specifically, it spells out your responsibilities after a crash that has caused (or is reasonably likely to cause) injury or death to anyone involved. Under Section 550.023, the drivers involved in the wreck must exchange the following information:
- Vehicle registration numbers
- Names of insurance companies
- Driver’s license numbers
Additionally, if someone in another vehicle is injured, the statute requires the other driver to offer “reasonable” help to the injured person. This includes transporting the injured person to a hospital or calling emergency services to do so.
What If No One Was Hurt in the Crash?
The information listed above must still be exchanged even if no one was hurt in the accident. In accidents where vehicles are damaged but remain drivable, and where no one is physically hurt, the drivers should move their vehicles to a location that minimizes traffic dangers. Frontage roads or side streets are recommended.
Hitting an Unattended Vehicle
We’ve all heard stories where a person walked out to their car only to see that someone had run into it and left a note on the windshield. Under Texas law, that note is not only the right thing to do, but it’s also the required thing to do.
Section 550.024 says that if you strike an unattended vehicle you must:
- Locate the owner/operator of the vehicle and give him/her your information, or
- If you cannot locate the owner/operator, you must leave a written notice on the unattended vehicle containing your relevant contact information plus a brief explanation of “the circumstances of the collision.”
Failing to leave a note can lead to Class B or Class C misdemeanor charges. With cameras monitoring so many parking lots and streets, it is often rather easy to track down someone who strikes an unattended vehicle and fails to leave a note.
Were You Hurt in a Motor Vehicle Accident?
The Dallas motor vehicle accident lawyers at Ted B. Lyon & Associates are ready to advise you of all your rights and obligations following a crash. And if you were injured, talk to us about the possibility of obtaining compensation through a personal injury lawsuit. You are welcome to contact us anytime.