After a car accident in LaPorte, Indiana you may have a number of thoughts racing through your mind. Am I okay? Are my kids okay? How's my car? Will I be sued? Should I get a lawyer? Aside from these questions, there are a number of other issues that can come up following your accident. You not only have to address physical injuries and getting your car repaired, you also have to deal with law enforcement, hospitals, doctors, body shops and sometimes multiple insurance companies. in addition to addressing and recovering from any physical injuries that may have taken place.
This article will address some of the common situations that happen after a car crash and help you understand some of the issues that may come up if you choose to pursue a personal injury claim.
Even if you think that you are responsible or partially responsible for the crash, there are some steps that you should take to protect your legal interests. You should undertake these actions and you shouldn't depend on other folks, like law enforcement to gather the information, because sometimes law enforcement just drops the ball. If you are able, the first thing you should do following your accident is exchange information with the other folks involved int he crash. Do not get talked into just exchanging information with the other driver, without calling law enforcement to come out. Too many times, peoples stories change from the time of the accident until the time they speak with their insurance company, and if there is no documentation from an outside party, like a police officer, you have a difficult time showing what transpired.
When the police arrive, cooperate with them and follow their lead in dealing with the situation. When the police officer or deputy sheriff asks you what happened, do not make things up and give them an honest version of the facts. You do not want your version of what happened to contradict the physical evidence (like skid marks) at the scene.
When you speak with the other driver after a car accident, do not apologize or say things like “it was my fault” or “I didn't see you”, even if you think that you were partially responsible for the wreck. Instead, ask whether everyone involved in the crash is okay. Finally, do not discuss the accident with the other drivers or passengers involved. You do not want your words twisted or misinterpreted.
After your accident, you should also take video or pictures of the damage to all vehicles involved in the incident, as well as pictures damage to any property on the roadway, traffic signals, traffic signs, leaking fluids on the ground, or obstructions from shrubs, trees, etc. If you are injured and not able to take pictures or video, ask a friend or loved one to take pictures at their earliest convenience. The longer you wait the higher the chance evidence will be lost or destroyed. Also, make sure to get the names and contact information of any people in the area who may have witnessed the accident. Again, do not assume the police officer is going to get this information. I can tell you from reviewing thousands of accident reports, most do not contain witness information. Remember, if there is a dispute regarding the facts of the crash, a witness' testimony may make all the difference in the world if you have to make a claim for your after accident injuries.
Finally, you should also take your motor vehicle to a mechanic to determine whether a defect or mechanical failure may have contributed to the crash. Even if your vehicle is able to be driven, it is a good idea to have your car inspected by a mechanic within a day or two of the accident.
If you actively take these steps, you will help preserve important evidence and the information will all you to prepare if you have to make a personal injury claim or file a personal injury lawsuit. If you have any questions about a LaPorte, Indiana automobile accident, Call Guy DiMartino Law at (219) 690.8997.