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Nearly 10.8 million people are involved in car accidents each year. A whopping 35,000 of those accidents will result in at least one fatality. According to the U.S. Census, Texas leads the way in motor vehicle accidents, claiming more lives than any other state. Driving is one of the most hazardous activities that most people will do all day, and the likelihood of being involved in a car accident in your lifetime is quite high.

The Leading Causes of Car Accidents

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), distracted driving is the number one cause of traffic accidents. Many drivers attempt to "multi-task" while driving, doing everything from applying makeup to sending text messages and eating. These distractions divert the driver's attention from the road, leading to serious, and often fatal, car accidents. It is estimated that the average person takes their eyes off the road for fifteen seconds to send a text message--the amount of time it takes to travel the length of an entire football field. While every state has made texting while driving illegal, it is still a dangerous, widespread practice.

The NHTSA estimates that nearly 40% of all accidents are caused by drivers who are impaired. This includes drivers who are under the influence of drugs or alcohol and drivers who are fatigued. While most people understand the dangers of drinking and driving, few understand the impact that driving while tired can have. Fatigued drivers often suffer from slowed reflexes and reaction time. They are also likely to fall asleep while driving.

Finally, speeding drivers cause accidents that claim many lives each year. Speeding is epidemic among younger, and more often than not, male drivers. The demographic most likely to speed---teens and young adults---are the least experienced and the least likely to be able to recover from a driving error.

What You Should do if You are Involved in a Traffic Accident

If you are involved in a car accident, there are several things that you should do immediately. First, ensure that everyone involved in the accident is safe. If you find yourself in a hazardous situation, like in the middle of a busy highway or near a fire, leave the area immediately. If your car is not disabled, push it to the side of the road where it does not create an additional hazard. There have been many people injured and killed while inspecting a damaged vehicle.

Call for help immediately. The police will often arrive at the scene and take a formal report about the accident. This report will include information like weather conditions, injuries, car skid patterns and other facts that will help determine who is at fault in the accident. In addition, calling for help will get you to the right first responders who can assist any motorists who have been injured during the crash. Even if you do not feel you have been badly injured, it is helpful to allow the medical personnel to examine you in case there are soft tissue injuries that are not immediately evident.

Collect contact and insurance information from everyone involved in the accident and get contact information from witnesses. Take photos of the crash site, the position of the cars and any road signs or warnings. These photos will help you later should you need to file a personal injury claim. If you can, take video. It may also be helpful to interview witnesses on videotape.

Do not make any statements to the other driver about the accident. Do not admit fault. Do not apologize for the accident. Apologizing is, in a sense, admitting that you were at fault in the accident and can be used against you in a personal injury or property damage case. When talking to the police, only give facts and do not speculate about who was at fault.

Determining Fault in a Car Accident

Deciding who is at fault in a car accident is a matter of figuring out which driver was not following the rules of the road. In some accidents, it is clear who is at fault. Accidents in which one driver hits another from behind or makes an illegal turn are pretty clear cut. For other situations, it falls on the attorneys to prove which driver was careless in their driving and caused the accident.

When it comes to car accidents in Tyler, understanding what to do after an accident is key. Whether you are paid for your injuries often depends on who was at fault, and your attorney can fight your case and prove your claim. Your attorney can help you to get the relief you need from the insurance companies after an accident. Call your personal injury attorney today.

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