You are probably reading this hours, or even days, after being involved in an accident, so it may be a little late for you to take the advice in the first few steps below. However, we’ll start from the moments after a collision and present a primer for actions you would take in an ideal scenario.
#1: Take a breath and try to stay calm:
It is completely unnerving to collide with another vehicle or object. After all, if you had seen the situation in time to understand and process it, it wouldn’t have happened. Therefore, you may be confused, upset, and full of adrenaline in the first few moments after a car, truck, motorcycle, or pedestrian accident, even in one where you are not technically injured. It can be difficult to think straight in such a stressful situation, which is why the first thing you should do is tell yourself to be calm and try to focus.
#2: Assess the situation:
You may need to call 911 (as opposed to a local police or non-emergency number) and give an estimate of how many ambulances are needed. If someone is in immediate danger, render first aid until help arrives, if you are able to. The Indiana Good Samaritan Codes protect you from being sued or criminally charged from acting to help in good faith in a reasonable manner. (You also cannot be sued or prosecuted for failing to help.)
#3: Report the accident to the police:
If you have already reported the accident via the 911 emergency number, you do not need to do this. If your accident was a fender bender, you may be tempted not to contact the police, but this is not a good idea. First of all, you have no way of knowing if you or anyone else involved will wake up with whiplash or other injuries in a day or two. Second of all, there may be alignment damage or other problems with one of the vehicles involved that you can’t immediately see. You need a police report. It is also Indiana law that you have to report any accident where you have caused property damage or where vehicle damages total more than $1,000 when added together.
#4: Possibly move your vehicle to the side of the road:
If a death has occurred or if there are serious injuries, do not move your car unless directed by the police. However, if there are no injuries and it is safe to do so, remove your vehicle from the lane of traffic and out of danger.
#5: Exchange information with the other driver:
It is human nature to apologize after a traumatic event, even if it wasn’t your fault. Refrain from doing this. Whether you feel responsible for the accident or not, do not acknowledge blame or make accusations. Remember step #1, and stay calm when interacting with the other driver. You will need the following information:
- Contact information
- Driver’s license number
- License plate
- Insurance information
- Vehicle registration number
Hint: if you can’t find a pen and paper or don’t feel able to write all of this down, use your cell phone to take a picture of the other driver’s license and insurance information.
#6: Gather proof and information:
- It goes without saying (even though we are saying it) that you should not do anything that puts you in danger, but if you can safely do so:
- Take pictures of the vehicles, the location, and any surrounding businesses (they may have surveillance cameras that could help if your case results in a lawsuit).
- Get the contact information of any witnesses.
- Get the name and badge number of the police officer who takes details and makes the police report.
#7: When you get home, contact your insurance company
You are required by the state of Indiana to report your accident to your insurance company within 24 hours. Be factual and honest, but do not go into unnecessary detail. The Bureau of Motor Vehicles will require proof of your insurance coverage, so when you receive that request, make sure that your provider sends them a Certificate of Compliance (COC) as soon as possible.
#8: Do not speak to the other driver’s insurance company.
If you have been injured as a result of another driver’s negligence, you should contact an Indiana car accident attorney. When the other insurance company asks you for a written or recorded statement, refer them to your attorney.
#9: Write down what happened:
As soon as you can, write every detail that you can remember about events leading up to the accident, the accident itself, and anything the other driver may have done or said at the time.
#10: See a doctor:
You should be medically evaluated to make sure that you do not have internal injuries, a brain bleed or concussion, whiplash, or a myriad of other possible injuries that may not be immediately apparent. This is for your own safety. If there is something wrong, you will need a paper trail and medical records as part of your documentation if you decide to pursue a personal injury claim.
#11: Get a copy of the police report:
When you receive this report, (if you don’t receive it in one or two days, request it) make sure to thoroughly check the details for correctness. If something is not right, contact the police department and explain the errors.
#12: Do not post about your accident on social media:
Also, do not post on social media at all. If you end up making a claim for compensation because you have missed work and can’t sleep because of emotional trauma, you do not want an insurance company to find pictures of you smiling with friends. It may have been an hour of respite in an ocean of misery, but they don’t know that and could possibly use it against you.
#13: Contact an experienced attorney:
Contacting an Indiana car accident attorney early in the process will make sure that you receive full compensation after a car accident by helping you file a personal injury claim or a lawsuit to recover damages. Save all documentation for the attorney to use. You will need to keep such items as:
- Medical records and bills
- Proof of lost wages through missed work
- A diary or notes describing your emotional suffering and/or physical pain
- Notes of any phone conversations you have had with your insurance company
When you are injured in a serious accident, your main focus needs to be on recovery. Let Crossen Law Firm handle the fight for compensation. With over 20 years of experience and millions of dollars awarded in compensation to our clients, our Indianapolis personal injury lawyer understands how to best help you obtain a favorable outcome for your situation. Get started on your case today by scheduling a free consultation about your situation.
Call 317-401-8626 or contact us online.
There are several steps that you should consider taking after you’re involved in any type of an accident, including a car accident. First and foremost, if you’re able to, I highly recommend that you check on other people involved in the accident to make sure that they’re okay. Other people are just as important as you are when they’re involved in the accident and you should extend a helping hand if you’re able to.
The second thing is, if you’re not able to check on other people involved in the accident, is to try to sit and gather yourself and wait for emergency personnel, and/or the investigating officers to arrive.
After the emergency personnel arrives, let them know what pains, what problems that you’re having as a result of this accident. When you do speak to the investigating officer, you might be under some shock, you might be a little bit disheveled, but you want to be sure to tell the investigating officer exactly what you recall about the accident. As time goes on people’s memories fade. So it’s of utmost important to discuss with the investigating officer what you recall about the accident and how it transpired.
After you have spoken to the officer and have checked on other people in the accident, if you’re able to, then it’s important to turn to yourself and get the proper medical treatment. Be sure to share with the EMS personnel the problems, the pain that you’re having as a result of the accident. It’s really important that those ailments get treated promptly that they take you to the emergency room and you’re treated at the emergency room. There’s no downside to getting checked out by the emergency personnel or going to the emergency room. If nothing’s wrong with you and you’re just in shock and surprised by the whole transformation of events and you check out fine at the emergency room, that’s good news. On the other hand, if you have some type of injury then you can get treated at the emergency room for that promptly.