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10 steps you should take after a car accident

Shards of car glass on the street

After a bad crash, protect your rights

In the aftermath of a car accident you may be injured, upset, and confused — but the actions you take (or don't take) at the crash scene and when dealing with the insurance company can have repercussions when you file a claim for damages.

If you or a family member has been in a motor vehicle accident caused by another driver, it’s critical that you take certain actions to protect your rights.

Here's what you should know...

What to do after a car accident in Indiana

Check for potential injuries and call 911

If you're healthy enough to do so, check to see if anyone has been injured and needs an ambulance. Call the police to let them know you were in a crash and notify the dispatcher of any injuries. Once first responders arrive, get checked out by an EMT or paramedic at the crash scene, even if you feel fine. Due to adrenaline, you may be injured and not even realize it. Always make sure to make an appointment with your doctor too, then make sure you follow your doctor's advice. Whether it’s taking time to rest, undergoing additional medical tests to diagnose what’s wrong, or receiving follow-up medical care to document your progress, follow your doctor’s instructions. Failure to do so could jeopardize the outcome of your claim and prevent you from fully recovering.

Don’t discuss your accident

Other than the police officer investigating your crash, don’t talk about your accident with the other driver, anyone at the scene of the crash, or post anything about it online – especially on social media. Anything you say about your crash could be used as evidence to dispute your claim. You can exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver(s) and get the names/contact info of any witnesses, but don't start talking about the crash or arguing about who's at fault.

Gather evidence

Evidence matters in a car accident claim. Be sure to take pictures of the crash scene from different angles and get photos of the damage, along with any injuries. Written documentation of your accident and your injury can also support your case. From medical bills to the official police accident report, make sure you have printed copies of everything related to your crash. That way, you can refer to them or provide copies of these documents as proof of your injury.

Keep all accident records

If an insurance company adjuster or anyone else asks for written documentation related to your accident, make sure you keep the original documents or make a copy of such records for yourself. That way if something gets lost you will still have a record of what happened and have evidence in support of your case.

Review your accident report

When you get a copy of your official police accident report, carefully review every detail in the report. If there’s a mistake, insurance companies sometimes point out such errors and try to use them as evidence to deny or dispute accident claims. Your lawyer can help you review your accident report and verify that everything’s correct. If there are any errors, your attorney can also take steps to set the record straight.

Don’t talk to the other driver’s insurance company

Soon after your accident, the at-fault driver’s insurance company might contact you. Often, they say they simply want to ask you a few questions. Don’t trust them. They’re most likely searching for information that they can use to dispute or deny your claim. You do not have to talk to the other driver’s insurance company. Simply tell them to talk to your lawyer.

Don’t sign anything

Don’t let insurance companies or anyone else pressure you into signing any documents related to your accident. If someone insists that you have to sign something related to your accident, ask them to provide you with a printed copy of the document so you can review it carefully with your attorney.

Carefully review any settlement offers

Another approach insurance companies take is to make a quick settlement offer soon after an accident. The insurance company for the at-fault driver might contact you and offer to pay you a certain amount of money to settle your case. Be very careful about agreeing to accept any settlement offer. In many cases, these offers fall far short of covering you're your accident-related expenses and represent only a fraction of what you truly deserve. And once you agree to accept an offer, that’s it. You can’t go back and ask for more money after you sign on the dotted line.

Don’t miss important deadlines

There are often many important deadlines when it comes to car accident claims. In Indiana, you generally only have 2 years from the date of your accident to file a lawsuit or take other legal action, though there are some exceptions. In most cases, if you miss this deadline you could miss out on your only opportunity to obtain the money you deserve for medical bills, replacement income, and other accident expenses.

Hire a car accident lawyer

Car accident claims can be very complicated. The at-fault driver and their insurance company will likely have an attorney working for them. You should do the same. When you have a lawyer in your corner, you take an aggressive approach right from the start. Instead of insurance companies or anyone else dictating what happens, you call the shots.

Get a proven fighter on your side

At Boughter Sinak, LLC, our highly skilled car accident lawyers won't let the insurance company back you into a corner.

If you were injured in a crash that wasn't your fault, you shouldn't have to pay for someone else's mistake — but if you leave it up to the insurance company, that's exactly what might happen.

Attorneys Robert Boughter and Kenny Sinak know the games insurance companies play with crash victims, and they don't stand for them. As lawyers who practice exclusively in the area of personal injury law, Robert and Kenny have the knowledge and experience to handle every detail related to your claim and fight for the compensation you're entitled to.

You don't have to fight this battle alone. Contact us today for a free consultation to learn your legal rights and options. With offices in Fort Wayne and South Bend, our law firm serves clients throughout Indiana.

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