What Must You Do After a Motor Vehicle Accident in Indiana?

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Motor vehicle accidents can be frightening and overwhelming experiences.  In Indiana, like in most states, it’s crucial to know the necessary steps to take following an accident to protect your well-being, your legal rights, and ensure a smooth claims process.  Perhaps you think you already know the answer to this question.  We will list the items, followed by a more detailed description of what you should do.

  1. Ensure Safety First:

Your safety and the safety of others involved should be your top priority. If possible, move your vehicle to a safe location and turn on hazard lights to alert other drivers. Check for injuries and call 911 immediately if medical attention is required.

2. Exchange Information:

After an accident, it’s essential to exchange information with the other parties involved. This information should include names, addresses, phone numbers, driver’s license numbers, license plate numbers, and insurance details. Be polite and cooperative, but avoid admitting fault or blaming others at the scene.

3. Document the Scene:

If you are able, use your smartphone or a camera to document the accident scene.  Take photos of vehicle damage, license plates, road conditions, traffic signals, and any visible injuries.  This photographic evidence can be valuable for insurance claims or legal proceedings.

4. Contact the Police:

In Indiana, it’s crucial to report the accident to law enforcement if it results in injury, death, or property damage over $1,000.  Having an official police report can provide an objective account of the accident, which can be helpful in insurance claims and legal matters.

5. Seek Medical Attention:

Even if you don’t appear to have significant injuries, it’s advisable to seek medical evaluation.  Some injuries may not be immediately apparent but could worsen over time.  Medical documentation is vital for insurance claims and personal injury cases.

6. Notify Your Insurance Company:

Promptly inform your insurance company about the accident.  Provide them with the details of the accident and the other parties involved.  Cooperate with their investigation and follow their instructions for filing a claim. Remember, Indiana follows a fault-based insurance system, which means the at-fault driver’s insurance typically covers damages.  It is also possible that you have medical payments coverage, or Medpay, that can assist in the payment of you or your passenger’s medical bills during the pendency of your claim.  This is true even if you are at fault.

7. Consult an Attorney:

If the accident resulted in injuries, loss of income, or disputes with the insurance company, it’s wise to consult with a personal injury attorney.  An experienced lawyer can help you navigate the legal process, negotiate with insurance companies, and protect your rights.

8. Preserve Evidence:

Keep all documents related to the accident, including medical bills, repair estimates, correspondence with insurance companies, and any other relevant records.  This will be valuable if you need to pursue a legal claim.

9. Be Cautious with Social Media:

Avoid posting details of the accident or your injuries on social media.  Insurance companies and opposing parties may use this information to dispute your claims.  It’s best to refrain from discussing the accident online until your case is resolved.

Follow Indiana Law Regarding Deadline for Filing a Claim

In Indiana, there is a law called the statute of limitations for personal injury claims.  You generally have two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit.  It’s important to be aware of this deadline and consult with an attorney well in advance to ensure you meet all legal requirements.

In the aftermath of a motor vehicle accident in Indiana, taking these steps can help protect your interests, facilitate a smoother claims process, and ensure your rights are upheld.  Safety, documentation, and timely reporting are key to navigating the challenging aftermath of an accident.  Always consult with a legal professional if you have questions or concerns about your specific situation, as they can provide personalized guidance based on Indiana’s laws and regulations.