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Even Minor Car Accident Must Be Handled Wisely

Most of my San Antonio car accident clients have very little information about what to do after a car accident. Exchange insurance information and….

While exchanging insurance information and initiating your car accident insurance claim is critical, it’s not all you have to do. The Texas Court of Appeals reminded Texas motor vehicle accident victims of this reality recently in the case of Horn v. DMV.

Under Texas law, drivers who have been in a car crash resulting in personal injuries are required to report the accident to the DMV within 72 hours. If the accident goes unreported, the driver is subject to an automatic license suspension.

In the Horn case, the driver ended up in a three-car collision in September 2018. The damage to the vehicles was minor and each of the drivers at the scene and their passengers said that they did not suffer any injuries. The police who arrived to analyze the scene and interview witnesses told the drivers to exchange insurance information and move on before rush hour started.

The day after the accident, another driver sought chiropractic treatment for injuries suffered in the crash. That driver filed a Texas Traffic Accident and Insurance Report with the DMV. The DMV discovered the personal injuries and suspended Horn’s license for not reporting the accident herself.

Horn argued that she had no reason to know of the other driver’s personal injury allegations until well after 72 hours past the accident. The Court of Appeals held that there is an absolute duty to report Texas auto wrecks involving an injury regardless of whether you know or have reason to know that someone was injured.

A harsh result, perhaps, but a bright-line rule. If you’ve been in an accident, treat your injuries, exchange insurance information and seek out witnesses. After the Horn case, it is clear that you must also file a DMV report out of an abundance of caution.

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