In the U.S., there are almost 4 million miles of public roadways that are traveled by millions of Americans every day. While vehicles are being made safer every year, and accidents are generally preventable, with so many miles of asphalt and concrete filled with vehicles, there are bound to be accidents—some minor, some severe, and some fatal. Unfortunately, these happen every day.
Studies show that there is an average of more than two people killed every day in Indiana as a result of car accidents. Most of these accidents are caused by driver negligence and distraction. At Wagner Reese, our experienced and knowledgeable Indianapolis car accident lawyers work hard to fight back against distracted driving, negligent driving, drunk driving, and all other types of preventable, accident-causing driving behaviors.
If you were injured or your loved one was killed in a car collision, contact our firm for a free consultation. Call (888) 204-8440 today.
How Negligence Leads to Car Accidents
Car accidents occur for a wide variety of reasons. However, the most common factor in the majority of car accidents is negligence.
This can be seen in the most common causes of car accidents, which are as follows:
- Distracted driving, including cell phone use and texting while driving
- Speeding/driving above posted speed limits
- Drunk driving/operating while intoxicated (OWI)
- Reckless or aggressive driving
- Illegal driving behaviors (such as illegal lane changes)
- Defective car parts, including tires, brakes, airbags, and seat belts
- Poorly maintained roads, dangerous conditions, and faulty road design
In these and other common causes of car accidents, the negligence of another driver, auto manufacturer, or another entity can lead to serious consequences. When this is the case, victims and their families are entitled to take legal action against the negligent party.
What to Do If You Are Involved in a Car Accident
Collisions and car wrecks are frightening experiences, regardless of how major or minor they may be. Many people are unsure of what to do immediately after a car accident, but there are a few things you can and should do in order to protect your health, safety, and rights.
If you are involved in a car accident, make sure you do the following:
- Stay at the Scene: Never leave the scene until you have been cleared to do so. If you flee the scene, it is considered a hit-and-run. You can face serious criminal penalties, especially when injuries are sustained.
- Check on All Drivers and Passengers: If you are able to, check on all parties involved in the accident to determine if anyone is in need of medical attention. Never move an unconscious person or someone complaining of neck or back pain, unless their life depends on it. Call for help if medical attention is needed. If everyone is okay, assess property damage.
- Call the Police: Whenever there is evidence of property damage, injury, or death, the police must be called. Always gather officer names and badge numbers and request that a police report be filed.
- Exchange Information: Get names, phone numbers, addresses, drivers’ license numbers, license plate numbers, and insurance information from all drivers involved. If there are passengers, also obtain their names, numbers, and addresses. You also want to gather contact information for any witnesses at the scene.
- Inform Your Insurance Company: Review your insurance policy and then contact your insurance company immediately. Explain the facts of the accident clearly. Obtain and review any police report filed so you can check for accuracy and determine who was at fault. Keep a detailed account of all conversations with insurance company representatives and be sure to take note of their names, phone numbers, and job titles.
- Seek Medical Attention & Keep Track of Your Medical Treatment: Seek medical attention immediately and anytime you have been involved in more than a fender bender. Note any doctors or other medical professionals you received treatment from. Keep a detailed record dates, times, treatments, and/or medications you receive. Request a copy of all medical reports and expenses. Keep a record of how your injuries have impacted your daily life. Include any time off work, missed routine activities, and how the injuries have affected your family life and personal life.
- Take Pictures: If you are able to, take pictures at the scene of the accident, all vehicles involved, and any damage to your vehicle and the other vehicle related to the accident. Be sure to get photos of any injuries as well. Photos will help determine who is at fault in case of disputes, serve as important pieces of evidence if your case goes to court, and can help determine compensation for your claim.
- Request Vehicle Valuation: Request insurance adjuster’s estimation of vehicle valuation. If you are satisfied, proceed with getting estimates from body shops for repairs. If you don’t agree with the insurance adjuster, get at least two independent valuations and report back to the initial insurance company. Contact an experienced Indianapolis car accident attorney if you still can’t agree on a value.
- Avoid Discussing the Accident: You should not discuss the accident with anyone except your attorney, your insurance company, and the police. Never talk to the other insurance company; refer the call to your attorney instead.
- Reject Early Settlement Offers: Never sign a release with the other insurance company. Refer all offers to your attorney. Never accept an offer until all medical treatments have concluded and you have been fully released by your medical provider. Always consult with an experienced personal injury attorney prior to signing any legal documents related to your accident.
- Consult with an Attorney to Answer Your Questions: Auto accident claims can be complicated, especially if injuries were sustained in the accident. A personal injury attorney can help ensure you receive a fair settlement and recover maximum compensation for your injuries.
If you would like to discuss your car accident case with an experienced and highly skilled attorney, contact Wagner Reese and request a free consultation today. We offer contingent fees, meaning you do not pay unless we win your case. We also offer legal services in Spanish and we can travel to meet you if you are not able to make it into our office for your consultation.
Contact our Indianapolis car accident attorneys online or by phone at (888) 204-8440 today.