Sooner or later, car crashes happen to everyone. Whether the collision is a major one or just a fender-bender, it’s bound to be stressful. The next time this happens to you, try to keep your head. Here are five productive things to focus on immediately following a car crash:
- Call 911 and provide first aid.
If no one requires an ambulance, you still need to get a police report, which means calling for a police officer. Sometimes people think they don’t need a police report because liability is clear—someone admitted fault.
Well, sometimes people change their stories after talking to their insurance company and their attorney. All of a sudden, a case you thought was settled has turned into a he said, she said scenario.
- Take photos.
Not everyone is going to tell you their real name, and you shouldn’t assume that the police are going to do a thorough investigation. Take photos of the scene, the vehicles and their license plates, and—if possible—the other driver’s license.
- Get witnesses’ names and contact information.
Again, don’t assume that the police will do this for you. Sometimes officers will investigate a crash and it appears to be open-and-shut. The next thing you know, witnesses have disappeared and can’t be contacted.
Get phone numbers and even email addresses for as many people as you can. You want to make sure you can prove the facts of the case.
- Seek a medical examination.
A lot of times people are shaken up after a crash, and they may not understand that they’re hurt. With soft tissue damage, whiplash, strains, sprains, and other injuries, you might not realize you’re hurt until a few days—or even a few weeks—later.
Maybe the severity of the injury hasn’t presented itself yet because you had adrenaline pumping at the scene of the crash. Sometimes swelling and muscle spasms don’t manifest until later, and that’s just how the body works.
If you don’t get checked out by a professional and later try to claim an injury, you’re going to run into problems with the insurance company. They’re going to argue that if you were seriously hurt, you would’ve at least consulted with a doctor. They are right about this.
In the State of Indiana, you have a duty to mitigate your damages. That is, you can’t avoid treatment, allow a condition to deteriorate, and then expect someone else to pay for a doctor to fix you. That’s not allowed. If you’re injured, you have an obligation to seek treatment immediately.
- Speak to an experienced attorney.
Insurance companies have attorneys. They have experts working for them. You deserve representation as well. If you try to handle things yourself and you make a statement to the insurance company, that can be used against you later.
The number one purpose of injury law is safety. Let’s all do our part and make the world a safer place. If you have any questions, give us a call, 317-632-3642.