When a person acts negligently or behaves in a way that causes another person injury, the insurance carrier for the at-fault driver or negligent actor can be held liable for the victim’s losses and damages, such as hospital bills, medical expenses, lost wages, pain, suffering, and more. For those who are at-fault and those who are not at-fault for an accident resulting in injuries to others, it is important to follow the proper procedures in order to avoid making matters worse or potentially breaking the law.
Continue reading to learn what to do and what not to do if you cause an accident that harms another person or if you are the person who was harmed.
It can be very scary being involved in a serious accident, especially if that accident involves injury. The stress of a collision can understandably cause a person to use poor judgement or make brash decisions following an accident, but it is important to remain calm and keep your composure. Learning what you should and shouldn’t do in the case that you are involved in a serious accident can better prepare you for what to expect and how to handle the situation without panicking.
If You are Involved in an Accident…
Call the Police – Law enforcement and emergency personnel should be contacted immediately following an accident. If a witness, bystander, or other party has not done so, call the police yourself. They will arrive on scene to provide medical care and collect statements from all witnesses and involved parties. It is vital to have a police report on file to solidify the facts of the accident so no one can change their stories later on.
Be Cooperative – Always be entirely honest and cooperative with all police officers and emergency personnel. Stay out of their way at the scene of the crime, and remain polite and courteous when discussing the accident. Listen to their instructions and take them very seriously. If you are belligerent in any way, law enforcement can arrest and detain you for disorderly conduct and more.
Give and Take Information – Especially for motor vehicle accidents, if possible, be sure to exchange information with all parties involved, as well as, any witnesses that saw the accident take place. If you or the other person are too injured to do so, law enforcement generally handles it. Important information includes name, address, phone number, license plate numbers, email address, and insurance information. Part of this step includes picture-taking as well. It is very important to take as many pictures of the scene and damages as possible. Use your cell phone or an emergency disposable camera in your car. If you do not have either, ask another person to send you the pictures they take, or buy a disposable camera at a nearby gas station or convenient store.
Notify Your Insurance – Immediately following an accident, you must contact the insurance company to notify them of the accident and injuries. If you do not contact your insurance company as soon as possible, your claim can get denied.
Retain an Attorney – It is important to protect and secure your rights. Hiring an attorney will provide this security. The sooner you retain legal counsel, the easier it will be to get through the process.
Leave the Scene of the Accident – You must wait for the police to arrive to allow you to leave.
Move Your Car – If it is a car accident, do not move your vehicle to the shoulder or side of the road, or anywhere at all. It must remain in the exact place the accident left it in order for the police to obtain evidence and facts regarding the event.
Discard or Conceal Evidence – This is against the law. If it is relevant to the accident or resulting injuries, it must be saved.
Talk About the Accident – Unless you are talking to YOUR attorney, you should never discuss the accident with anyone until the entire case is over. This includes the other party’s legal team and all insurance adjusters.
If You Were Injured in an Accident…
Contact an Indianapolis personal injury lawyer right away to learn your rights. They are able to quickly determine if you are entitled to compensation for injuries and damages following a serious accident. If you are, they have the experience, knowledge, and resources to recover the full and fair compensation you deserve after experiencing a traumatic injury or accident as a result of another person’s negligence.