Most of us have been held up in traffic at some point due to an auto accident around the bend. Depending on our schedules and temperament, we sometimes feel impatient having to wait for the police, ambulance, fire and other emergency personnel to arrive and get the victims and vehicles transported from the scene so we can be on our way. While radio, cellphones, etc. help occupy our time as we wait, little thought is given to the difficulties caused to those involved in the calamity just ahead. But what if it were you who had just been shoved into the guardrail, or hit head on by a drunk driver? Perhaps a passing semi got a bit too close on the interstate and caused you to veer into another car. Have you given any thought to the proper procedures to take if you found yourself in that situation ‘around the bend?’
There are numerous scenarios that can happen to cause an auto accident, and while some may be little more than a fender bender with no injuries involved, others can be of a life and death nature! Shock, fear, injury… any traumatic experience can decrease our capability of thinking clearly when involved in an accident. However, the best time to collect evidence of injuries and damages incurred is at the scene. Even if it means those impatient types must sit a while longer in traffic, you should always follow these steps as required by Indiana law and report the accident to pertinent authorities:
Unless you are seriously injured, try to be calm and do not leave the scene!
If able, assess the situation, such as traffic around you, potential risk of fire, etc.
Attempt immediate assistance to other motorists, passengers, or pedestrians who may be injured. Do not move anyone (even yourself if feeling injury or pain) unless there is risk of further injury.
Contact 911 immediately and wait for emergency personnel.
If all parties are ok and there are no injuries, and if vehicular damage is minimal, move vehicles to farthest lane to allow traffic to pass while waiting for police and other emergency personnel.
Speak to anyone who witnessed the accident and gather information along with their name and contact information. You may need them to testify later.
Exchange certain information with the other parties involved if possible, such as:
Name, address and contact details of all people involved in the accident.
Driver license numbers of all drivers involved.
License plate number, make and model of the vehicles involved
Auto insurance information for the motorists involved.
Names and contact details of witnesses.
Names and badge numbers of all police officers who were at the scene of the accident.
It’s always a good idea to take pictures at the scene, and especially before moving any vehicle away from blocked lanes, etc. If you hit an unattended vehicle, (even if just a fender dent in a parking lot) you must make an effort to find the owner or driver, and follow these same procedures. If you are unable to locate the owner of an unattended vehicle, you are required to leave a note indicating your name and contact information, and a brief description of the accident. The same rules apply if you’re in an accident that damages someone’s property (other than a vehicle).
All drivers involved in an accident in which an injury, death, or property damage of over $1000 occurs must file a crash report within 10 days of the accident with the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles. A passenger or owner of the vehicle may file it on your behalf if you are hurt and can’t do it yourself. Failure to file can result in a suspension or revocation of your license. In the event that another driver offers to pay for damages and asks you not to report an accident, you are still required to file a report.
The thought of being the victim of an auto accident is certainly not a pleasant one; however, no one can predict when they may be facing that situation, or if they will be able to proceed appropriately at the time. In the event you find yourself in this unfortunate position, do not hesitate or wait too long to contact an Indiana personal injury lawyer. No matter where in the state of Indiana your accident occurred, our experienced attorneys will advocate for your rights and demand the compensation you deserve. Contact us right away for a free case evaluation!