Even a “Fender Bender” May Come Back to Haunt You
Let’s say you’ve just had a car accident, but it’s nothing too serious. In other words, you don’t think anyone seems to be hurt badly enough to call 911. For that matter, the damage isn’t even worth crying over. All of that is great. However, it’s still an accident, and, therefore, it immediately places you in an unfamiliar situation with a certain degree of risk—particularly with regard to your health, the law and insurance-company practices. So, what should you do?
Call 911 anyway, and get the police on the scene. In Indiana, like most states, the law requires calling the police after an accident that involves injury or death. But when it appears the crash initially only involves vehicle damage or maybe none at all–what are you to do? The safest choice is calling the police so they will record the accident in a report.
It’s not simply about following the law.
It’s about the reasons why you should have an official record of the event—a record that may prove invaluable down the road, so to speak, when unforeseen problems may surface and, otherwise, make life miserable.
- What if you’re hurt and don’t know it? - Not all car-accident injuries are evident right away. Sometimes people are in shock or are running on adrenaline and do not feel injuries until later in the day or even the next morning. Some injuries take time to rear their ugly heads. Without a police report, it will be harder to file a claim for injuries.
- What if you later find damages that you missed at the scene? - Just like injuries, some damages to your vehicle can go undetected at first. Filing a police report on the scene can allow more time for damage assessment. And, again, like in the case of injuries, if damages don’t become evident until later, the report will be necessary if you want to file a claim for repairs. Your insurance is more likely to cover property damages with a police report.
- What if the other driver gets greedy? - It can happen. An accident seems harmless, so both drivers go their separate ways and no one makes a report. Then, weeks later, you get a letter in the mail from the other driver’s attorney or insurance company, threatening you with false accusations about what happened. A police report can be the foundation of your defense and will often steer the parties in a certain direction regarding who was at fault for the crash, any damage that was visible to the officer and any witnesses who may have seen the crash.
Any questions? Please don’t hesitate to contact our Langer & Langer offices. We’re always pleased to share the knowledge we’ve gained over the years to keep you and our other Indiana neighbors informed and safe.