You’re out for a ride with some of your friends in Hammond, Indiana when suddenly you’re hit by another driver. You bring your vehicle to a complete stop, check to see if anyone inside your car is hurt, and get out to assess the damage. What next? Should you call the police?
While you may feel fine and a little shaken up over the incident, you will want to call the police and take care of a few things while you wait for a law enforcement officer to arrive. Some of the things you will want to do at the scene of the accident given you are able to include:
- Exchange pertinent information with the other driver. This includes names, phone numbers, addresses, insurance company contact information, insurance policy numbers, registration number of the vehicles involved, etc.
- Write down any details you can about the accident. What part of your vehicle did the other driver hit? Who was at fault for causing it? Was the other driver following too close to you? Write down anything you can as you may forget it later on.
- If there are any witnesses be sure to get their names and phone numbers.
- Never admit guilt or try to settle the incident on your own while waiting for an officer to show up.
Why do I need to contact the police if the accident was minor?
You should always report an accident to the police, even if it is a minor fender bender and no injuries are identifiable. Why? Here are a few scenarios that support this.
- You may have suffered injuries in which the symptoms don’t show up immediately. Did you know that some accident victims don’t experience symptoms of an injury for a few days or even weeks following the wreck? Without a police report, it can make it rather difficult to recover compensation for your injuries from either your insurance company or that of the other driver.
- There may be some minor damage to your vehicle that you don’t notice right away but notice later after you have left the accident scene. Again, without a police report, it can be difficult to prove that the crash was responsible for damaging your vehicle.
- The other party may make false claims about the car accident at a later date.
- The other party may admit fault to you at the crash scene but later change their statement when speaking to their insurer.
- Under most circumstances, Indiana Law requires you to notify the police after having engaged in an automobile accident. In fact, if the crash results in an injury or death, you must report the accident to your local police agency. Failure to notify law enforcement officials following the occurrence of an accident could result in you being charged with a misdemeanor or felony crime so it always best to report the incident to the police right away.
What if the police did not respond to the crash? What should I do?
There will be times when a police officer will not show up for a minor fender bender. Some instances where an officer may not respond to the scene of an accident include:
- There were no injuries.
- The property damage was estimated to be less than $500.00.
Now, although the police may not come out to the accident scene, you should still take it upon yourself to file an incident report. You can contact the Hammond Police Department’s Traffic Unit at 219-852-2911 to find out what steps you need to take to report the crash.
Do I need to contact a car crash attorney at any point?
It would be in your best interest to at least consult with Hammond, IN car accident lawyer Marshall P. Whalley to find out if the compensation the insurer is offering you is, in fact, the right amount. And in the event you suffered injuries, it is especially important that you schedule an initial consultation to find out if your injuries permit you to file a personal injury lawsuit.
Marshall P. Whalley & Associates, PC is located at:
51 W. 112th Avenue
Crown Point, IN 46307