After a car accident with no damage or injuries, you may be tempted to do nothing and carry on with your life. However, if you are in an accident with no visible consequences, you should still keep records of what happened. Some injuries take days or even weeks to manifest. You will want to protect your legal rights from the moment your accident happens in case you need to pursue compensation later on.
The Importance of Documentation
The legal system thrives on paperwork, and records can help possible accident cases from devolving into “he said, she said” arguments. You are, in essence, protecting yourself should you need to authenticate your version of events. You will also want to take prompt action regarding your legal matters since Indiana only gives you two years from the date of your accident to file a car accident lawsuit, per Indiana Code 2019 §34-11-2-4.
Some documentation that could serve your legal interests include:
The Police Report
The person who hit you may claim that calling the police is unnecessary. It may seem reasonable to agree. After all, Indiana law does not require a police report after an accident with no apparent damage or injuries. Yet, do not let this sway you!
Having a police report on record can provide:
- Verification that an accident occurred
- An official account of what happened
- A possible traffic citation against the other party
If you decide later that you would like to pursue compensation against the other party because injuries or property damage developed, without the police report, they could argue that the collision never happened––or at least not in the way that you described.
In that situation, a police report can back up your claim. You may choose to work with a car accident lawyer who can gather the necessary forms of evidence on your behalf.
Many insurance companies are hesitant to pay out claims. Not having records of an accident can be used against you if you file a claim later. Most insurance companies require immediate notification of any incident.
If you report damage or injuries too late, your insurance company may not help you because you failed to report the accident in a timely manner. Furthermore, notifying an insurance company provides additional proof that an accident occurred.
When you call and give your statement, be prepared to describe:
- What you were doing when the accident occurred
- The cause of the accident
- The location of the accident
- The conditions at the location of the accident
- The weather conditions and time of day that the accident happened
- Whether the police were called
When speaking to an insurance representative, you should only volunteer information that is absolutely necessary. Anything that could be misconstrued into an admission of fault could work to your disadvantage. If you face any problems with the insurance adjuster, again, you may decide to team up with a car accident lawyer.
For a free legal consultation, call 317-636-7777
What to Do if Injuries Occur Later
Some injuries take time to be noticeable, just as some property damage may not be visible until further investigation. Just because your symptoms were delayed does not mean that your injuries are minor. In fact, some major injuries have delayed onset with complications that could greatly impact your life.
Some injuries that may take time to develop after a car accident include:
This neck injury occurs when the head is snapped back and forth in a sudden, whip-like motion. The jolt puts stress on the soft tissue as well as the bones in the neck. Whiplash may take days to present symptoms. In the hours after the crash, you may feel fine.
According to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms that may occur with time include:
- Neck pain
- A limited range of motion
- Shoulder and upper arm pain
- Sleep disruption
- Changes in mood
- Hearing or vision problems
Even low-speed rear-end crashes can cause whiplash. Be aware of this possibility following an accident with no obvious damage.
Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), like concussions, may not be felt for days, weeks, or even months after the initial incident. While the more obvious signs (such as loss of consciousness) are noticeable immediately, other symptoms such as anxiety, change in sleep patterns, and difficulty thinking clearly may be more subtle.
Get Legal Help
If you have been in a car accident with no damage or injuries, you should not make any assumptions regarding your health and well-being. Instead, file a police report, notify your insurance company, and seek medical help. You should also consider how a personal injury lawyer at Sevenish Law Firm, P.C. could help you.
Minor car accidents can still make you eligible for compensation. Call us today for a free consultation at (317) 636-7777.