What To Do After a Car Accident in Indiana
Stein Law Group understands how challenging it can be to know what to do after a car accident in Indiana. Fortunately, our expert team can guide you through the process of assessing your losses, seeking out essential care, and fighting for legal justice.
You put your safety in the hands of other drivers whenever you hit the road. Unfortunately, those other drivers can let you down. A crash can be shocking and leave you dazed and confused. You or those traveling with you may have sustained injuries. Knowing what to do immediately after an accident in Indiana can help you avoid common mistakes that could jeopardize your physical recovery and financial compensation.
Check for Injuries and Get to Safety
The first step is to get yourself and others to safety. Check yourself and your passengers for injuries. If someone is passed out or otherwise unresponsive, ensure that their airways are clear and they are breathing. Do your best to wake any unresponsive parties and get everyone out of harm’s way. Pull over somewhere safe, if possible, or step out of the vehicle and seek a safe place as soon as you can do this without danger.
As soon as you and your passengers are out of immediate danger, call 911.
Do not leave the accident scene. Indiana Code 9-26-1-1.1 requires you to remain at the scene to exchange information with the other drivers and talk to the authorities. The law further states that motorists must provide “reasonable assistance” to anyone injured in the accident.
If you’re qualified to conduct first aid, follow your CPR or relevant first aid training until help arrives.
Call the Police
Once you have determined the condition of yourself, your passengers, and anyone else involved, contact local police. If you’ve already called 911, a police officer will likely be arriving with medical personnel.
Indiana law requires all parties involved in a car accident and any witnesses to alert the police or call 911 about roadway collisions. Failure to report an accident can result in a Class B misdemeanor charge.
If the unreported accident causes another person’s injury, prosecutors can elevate that charge to a Class A misdemeanor. If an unreported accident results in a fatality, those who failed to report that accident could face felony charges from Level 6 to Level 3, as defined by
Indiana Code 35-50-2-7 and Indiana Code 35-50-2-5, respectively.
When officers arrive, you should also file a police report. They will record information about the accident and speak to everyone involved. Alternatively, some police stations allow you to file a report online.
You must also complete an Operator’s Proof of Insurance and Crash Report within ten days of your accident. This report aims to verify that the drivers involved had the required insurance coverage at the time of the accident.
Indiana Code 9-26-1-1.1 states that even if drivers involved in an accident only have minor injuries, they still need to exchange contact information.
Note, however, that you must be careful when communicating with an at-fault party, particularly if you want to pursue a personal injury claim later. If you apologize for an accident, the other party may use that apology as an admission of fault in litigation. Such admissions may make securing compensation for your injuries and damages difficult.
Instead of apologizing or commiserating with the at-fault party, wait for the police to arrive to give your statement and consult an attorney at your earliest opportunity.
Document the Accident Scene
You can document your accident while waiting for police officers and first responders to arrive. It’s important to gather evidence of liability in case you file a personal injury claim.
To pursue a personal injury case against the party liable for your accident, you must have evidence proving the other driver’s negligence. The evidence that can help prove your right to compensation in civil court might include the following:
- Videos of your car crash
- Photos of the wreckage, your related injuries, or vehicle damage
- Statements from witnesses
- Physical evidence such as debris and skidmarks
- Statements from the first responders who oversaw your post-accident care
Should you find yourself without a phone or similar device after a car accident, don’t panic. You can take statements down on paper and use written notes to describe the scene. You can also request that police officers, your passengers, or other nearby parties help you document the state of the scene.
A car accident lawyer in Indiana can help you gather whatever evidence you miss. However, it is important to document the scene as thoroughly as you can immediately after an accident. Important details can easily be forgotten with the passage of even a small amount of time. Over time, memories can fade, and physical evidence can disappear. The documentation you do in the accident’s immediate aftermath can help preserve crucial evidence of fault.
If you choose to proceed with a claim, you can consult with expert witnesses to get their opinions on your case. Expert witnesses such as doctors and accident reconstruction professionals can help establish fault, the causation of your injuries, the extent of your damages, and the value of your losses.
Seek Medical Help
First responders can treat your most immediate injuries. However, you should seek subsequent treatment. You may need to schedule appointments with your general practitioner and specialists to fully recover from your accident.
There’s also a chance that the injuries you sustained in the accident won’t reveal themselves until several days or even weeks after your collision. It’s important to stay in regular contact with medical providers so you can address these conditions as they appear.
Completing your medical treatment is important for your physical recovery and maximizing your compensation for your personal injury claim. Failure to do so could give the insurance company ammunition to minimize the extent of your damages.
Report the Accident to Your Insurance Company
Securing car accident compensation in civil court can take months or even years. You can work with your insurance provider to secure more immediate financial support.
Most Indiana car insurance carriers expect their clients to report the accident to them within a day or two of a car accident. The sooner you can get in touch with your provider, the better.
However, it may be in your best interest to contact an attorney before you speak to an insurer. An attorney can help clarify any questions your insurance carrier has about fault. Experienced car accident lawyers can also prevent insurance adjusters from lowballing the value of your losses.
Explore Your Legal Options
After you’ve addressed everyone’s injuries, you can consider your right to legal action. Indiana is a modified comparative fault state, per Indiana Code 34-51-2-6. That means you can pursue compensation for your losses in civil court if you are less than 51 percent at fault for your accident. Under Indiana law, your damages will be reduced by the percentage of blame assigned to you. Thus, if the court finds you were 30 percent at fault for the accident, the court will reduce your award to 70 percent of your damages.
A car accident lawyer can help you address the full scope of your losses well before a liable party tries to take control of your accident’s narrative.
Contact an Indiana Car Accident Lawyer
Whether you walk away from a minor car accident or a life-changing crash, you never have to recover alone. Stein Law Group’s Indiana car accident lawyers can file an accident claim, negotiate with insurance carriers, and hold a negligent party accountable for your losses.
If the insurance carrier fails to make a suitable offer, we can litigate your claim and seek maximum compensation at trial.
Don’t let a liable party get control of your car accident’s narrative. Take legal action today. Contact Stein Law’s car accident lawyers by calling (812) 948-6000, or submitting a contact form online to discuss your case without fear of obligation. The consultation is free, and there are no upfront costs. We can advise you on your options without adding more stress to your plate.