You may be a careful driver who pays attention to your surroundings and who would never dream of speeding or texting and driving. Unfortunately, you share the roads with many other drivers (over 4,532,708 in Indiana alone) who may not share your conscientiousness. Statistics show that sooner or later, you will be involved in an accident. In fact, the average driver in the U.S. is involved in 3-4 accidents in their lifetime.
Being in any kind of vehicle accident, even a minor one, is a stressful event in which it is difficult to think clearly. Here are the steps you should take after being involved in any type of car accident in Indiana.
- Focus and assess:
Take a second to focus on your breathing. You will need to remain calm in a situation that is prompting you to be anything but calm, so take a deep breath and tell yourself to focus and think logically.
- Call for help:
- Call 911 if there is a chance that either you or anyone in your car or the other vehicle may be injured. It is important to realize that due to the adrenaline coursing through your body, you may not immediately realize that you have been injured.
- If injuries are not an issue, you can call the local police or a non-emergency number. Whatever happens, make sure that the police are informed. You will need a crash report for insurance purposes and also in case it becomes necessary to pursue a personal injury claim.
- You should also be aware that Indiana law requires that you inform the police in an accident where vehicle and/or property damage equals the amount of $1,000 or more. Unfortunately, this is the case in almost all accidents; car repairs mount up – and there may be issues that you don’t see at the time.
- Render assistance:
If someone is injured, attend to them as well as you can until help arrives. Indiana Code (§9-26-1-1.1) requires you to “provide reasonable assistance to each person injured in or entrapped by the accident, as directed by a law enforcement officer, medical personnel, or a 911 telephone operator.”
- Exchange and collect information:
- If you can safely do so, exchange information with the other driver. You will need to know the driver’s name, contact information, driver’s license number, license plate, vehicle registration, and insurance information.
- Keep your interactions with the other driver to a minimum; you do not inadvertently want to say anything in the shock of the moment that could be used against you at a later date. It is natural to want to say sorry, even if it isn’t your fault, but you should never admit fault at the scene.
- Collect contact information from any witnesses who may have stopped.
- In some cases – move your car out of traffic:
While you wait for the police to arrive, if there are no injuries and if you can safely manage it, move your vehicle to the side of the road so that you are not blocking traffic. However, before you do that —-
- Take photographs:
Take photographs of both vehicles and their locations concerning each other and their surroundings. You may use these photographs later to prove that you were not at fault.
In addition to these photographs, once you have moved your car to the side of the road, you should also use your cell phone to take photos of:
- Any injuries to yourself or your passengers.
- Any area businesses or residences (they may have security or doorbell cameras that recorded the crash).
- Any interior or exterior damage to your vehicle.
- Any tire marks on the road.
- Accident debris and its location.
- The angle and direction of the sun in the sky (or fog or rain).
- The license plates of any witnesses who stopped in case your accident attorney needs to track them down later.
- Collect information from the police:
Collect information about the police officer who responds to the call. You should receive an accident report a few days after the crash (check it carefully for correctness).
- See a medical professional:
If you do not need to be transported to a hospital, seek medical attention immediately even if you think your injuries are minor. Whiplash often isn’t apparent until hours or even days after an accident. In addition, you may have a concussion or internal injuries that you aren’t aware of. If you do end up having physical repercussions from the accident, you will need a paper trail of medical records.
- Keep a journal:
Write down everything you can remember about the accident as soon as you can. You should also document your level of pain and discomfort in case you need to pursue a personal injury lawsuit against the negligent driver. Continue to document your injuries and pain level.
- Inform your insurance company:
Call your insurance as soon as possible, but don’t talk to the other driver’s insurance company. If the other driver’s negligence caused your injuries, contact Flores Law Group. You can refer the other driver’s insurance company (or even your own) to your attorney.
- Stay away from social media:
Don’t post anything about your accident (or anything at all) on social media. Even innocuous pictures or statements can be twisted and used against you by an insurance company that is looking to protect its bottom line.
- Consult with a car accident attorney:
Unfortunately, insurance companies don’t always adequately compensate victims of accidents, which is why it’s important to work with an experienced personal injury attorney who can advocate for you.
The experienced team at Flores Law Group will help you gather the information you need and will take on the fight with insurance companies so that you can focus on recovery. Fill out our form for a free car accident consultation, give us a call at 317-900-2556, or stop by the office to find out how we can get you the compensation you deserve.