What To Do After A Car Accident (Not Your Fault)

Jan 11

If you drive regularly in Indianapolis and other communities in the state, you know we have our share of car accidents. Indiana ranks 10th in the country for the most traffic accidents in 2022, and 9.6% of Indiana drivers have at least one accident on their record where they were at fault.

If you are ever in a car accident in Indiana, it is important to understand what to do. It’s a stressful experience, and it is easy to forget critical steps that could affect your case.

Learn about what to do after a car accident below, and speak to an Indiana car accident attorney at Blackburn Romey if you have questions.


See If Anyone Is Hurt

After an Indiana car accident, the first priority is to check yourself and others for injuries. You’re required under Indiana law to render aid to anyone injured in an auto accident and call 911 if that is the case. You should always wait for the police and first responders to come to the accident scene. If you leave before they arrive, you could be charged with leaving the scene of an accident.


Get Out Of Danger

If you are uninjured and the car accident was a fender bender, move your car out of traffic to a safe location. Keep your hazard lights on and put out flares if you have them. But if the accident is more serious and someone is hurt, leave your car where it is.

Even if you think you are not hurt, use caution when leaving the car. It’s common for an accident in a busy area to lead to more accidents, so ensure you do not enter traffic.


Call 911

It’s always wise to report car accidents to the police, but police may not respond to every call. Some police departments use online reporting and will not necessarily send an officer to the scene. But you should try to contact the policy regardless.

If they come to the scene, write down the officer’s name, badge number, and contact details. Also, get an accident report from the police officer because it could be useful when making a claim or filing a lawsuit.


Collect Evidence

Having a successful car accident claim or lawsuit involves gathering evidence that the other party was at fault. Use your cell phone camera to take photos of the accident scene, vehicle positions, your injuries, and anything else you think is relevant. Take photos of the impact area of the vehicles, and don’t forget to take photos of any skid marks on the road.

These pictures before the vehicles are moved could be vital to your case. Also, obtain the names and contact information of anyone else in the accident and witnesses. Eyewitnesses are especially important for determining how an accident happened. Don’t rely on the police to write down the names and contact information of all witnesses.


Get Medical Attention

It’s common for people not to go to the doctor or ER after a car accident. After all, who wants to spend hours or the whole day in a doctor’s office? But while you could feel perfectly fine after the accident, it’s not unusual for people to feel pain a day or two after the incident. For example, you could have a serious head or neck injury and not be aware of it for at least a few hours or even days. If you delay going to the doctor, the condition could become worse. There also is a chance that the insurance company will question your injuries and refuse to pay because you did not see a doctor immediately.


Don’t Talk About Responsibility

Emotions will run high after a car accident, and everyone will probably be upset and confused. This is not a time to trade blame for who was responsible. Staying in your vehicle and avoiding interacting with the other driver is best. Most importantly, provide others involved in the accident with your name, phone number, and car insurance information. Remember, you could say something that damages your claim after the accident, so it’s best to say as little as possible.


Call A Tow Truck If Needed

Your car could need a tow, depending on the damage. Many Americans belong to AAA or other motor club organizations, which is helpful when you have an accident. Or, the police can call a tow truck for you. Some vehicle manufacturers now offer accident assistance, too.


Call Your Auto Insurance Company

It can be tempting to work out a deal with the other driver to avoid calling insurance companies, but you should always notify your insurance company if you were in a car accident. Even if it was the other driver’s fault and their insurance will likely pay for your damages, you should promptly inform your insurance company. Better yet, have a car accident lawyer handle this for you.

Indiana is a fault-based state for car accidents, meaning the at-fault driver is responsible for paying the damages to other parties involved in the accident. However, not every Indiana driver has car insurance, so having underinsured or uninsured coverage on your policy is a good idea. This coverage ensures that at least some of your damages will be covered in an accident with an uninsured driver. If the other driver is uninsured or underinsured, your attorney can work with your insurance company to get your injuries and other damages covered.


Don’t Talk To The Other Driver’s Insurance Company

Talking to your insurance company after an accident is required, but that doesn’t apply to the other driver’s insurer. You should not talk to the other driver’s insurance company if you can avoid it. Don’t be surprised if the at-fault driver’s insurance company calls you within hours of the accident. It is best to say as little as possible about what happened. Their goal is to get you to take a small settlement and close the case, or make you say something that puts fault into question.

The best course when the other insurance company calls you is to say you have hired an attorney and give them his or her number.


What Shouldn’t You Do After A Car Accident?

Now that we have covered what to do, here are things you should never do after an Indiana car accident:

  • Leave the accident scene: Driving away from the crash scene is always unwise. Suppose you agree with the other driver for each of you to cover your own vehicle damages. You don’t know the other person, and he might turn around, call the police, and accuse you of fleeing the scene. You should always call the police after an accident and wait for them to tell you it’s okay to leave.
  • Underestimate your injuries: Unless they are bleeding, many people will say they are fine after an accident but may not be. You will be upset when you are first in a car accident, and your body will surge with adrenaline. You may not feel any pain for hours, so that’s why it’s always best to go to a doctor. Any injuries you have will be documented, which will be useful when making a claim.
  • Admit fault: It’s understandable after an accident to apologize, even if you aren’t responsible for what happened. Anything you say about admitting fault for an accident can be used against you later. As noted earlier, you can still receive compensation for accident injuries if you were partially at fault, but if it’s more than 50%, you may not be able to get anything. Never discuss fault with the other driver. Instead, call the police, your insurance company, and a lawyer.
  • Not call for medical attention: You always should call 911 after an auto accident. When you do, ask for an ambulance if you or anyone else has injuries.


How Is Fault Determined After A Car Accident?

After you file a claim with your insurance company and provide all the information you have, adjusters will argue over who was at fault. In Indiana, you can be partially at fault for a car accident and still receive compensation. However, if there is a dispute about who caused the accident, your personal injury attorney may need to file a lawsuit.

Speak To Our Indiana Car Accident Attorneys Today

Were you in a car accident recently? You could have unpaid medical bills, lost work time, and significant pain and suffering. If another party caused the accident, you may be compensated for your losses. You could be entitled to money for your medical bills and other losses. For example, the other driver’s insurance company may be required to pay for your medical bills, lost earnings today and in the future, and pain and suffering. Please contact an Indiana car accident attorney at Blackburn Romey today for a free consultation.


Tom Blackburn

Blackburn Romey founding partner Tom Blackburn graduated with honors receiving a degree from Indiana University at the Robert H. McKinney School of Law. Initiating his legal career in 1977, he has been active in practicing law and currently serves as a member of the Indiana State Bar Association on the Ethics and Advertising Committees, the American Bar Association, the American Association for Justice, as a board member at the Indiana Trial Lawyers Association, and as an appointed member of the Executive Committee for the State of Indiana for the National Trial Lawyers Association.

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This page has been written, edited, and reviewed by a team of legal writers following our comprehensive editorial guidelines. This page was approved by Founding Partner, Tom Blackburn, who has more than 47 years of legal experience, including over 39 years specializing as a personal injury attorney.