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The Four Cs of Car Accident Survival

As friends and family travel to visit one another over the holidays, one cannot understate the importance of safe driving. Unfortunately, accidents can happen to anyone by no fault of their own. Hensley Legal Group wants everyone to make it home safe and have a happy 2017, so this week we’ll be posting all about what to do in the event of a car accident. We hope that, if an accident happens, our information will make a hard day a little more bearable this holiday season. Stay safe out there! 

You’ve just been in a car accident. The other driver hit you and sent your car spinning out of control, and now it seems as though the rest of your life is going to follow suit. How are you going to get through these next few weeks?

We’ve put together a quick, no-nonsense survival guide to get you through your first few weeks after a car accident.

car accident damageCar

If you’re not injured to the point of being unable to drive, you’ll need wheels again to keep your life from spinning out of control. Go to a car rental place and rent a car. The at-fault driver’s insurance company should pay for it, but they probably won’t want to until they have completed their investigation. You don’t have time to wait for that. Rent a car anyway and make it clear to the rental place that you intend to transfer the payment responsibility to the at-fault driver’s insurance.

Choose a rental that’s comparable to your wrecked car. This is not the time to see how cool it would be to drive a Ferrari for a week. Don’t purchase the added supplemental rental insurance—the at-fault driver’s insurance company will not reimburse you for it.

If your car is damaged but still able to be driven, stop at your insurance company’s drive-through center for a preliminary estimate of the damage. This will likely be based on an exterior walk-around only. The body shop of your choice will give you a comprehensive breakdown of your damages. The body shop will communicate with the at-fault driver’s insurance company and get work orders for the repair of damages not found in the preliminary estimate. Get your car fixed. Insurance adjusters might claim that your collision was too minor to cause serious injury if you delay in fixing your car.

If your car is totaled, the at-fault insurance company’s job is to pay you the replacement value of your vehicle. You are owed an explanation of how they determined that value.


Immediately following an accident, it is absolutely crucial to see a medical professional. Amidst the mental trauma and emotional disorientation that follows any car accident, you may not have noticed your own physical damage. Serious physical issues may not present signs for several days. Common delayed injuries following car accidents include:

  • Headaches
  • Back pain
  • Stiffness
  • Neck/shoulder pain
  • Numbness
  • PTSD

Emergency rooms are not designed to diagnose and treat whiplash or other car-related injuries. ERs may simply give you pain killers or muscle relaxers and send you home. It’s important that you have a physician actually assess your pain and bruises and determine the extent of your injuries.

doctor's noteCareer

People injured in crashes typically miss a few days or even weeks of work. Even if you’ve returned to work, you may have restrictions on how much you can lift. A note from your doctor can prove highly useful in collecting wage loss reimbursement from the at-fault driver’s insurance company.

What if your car is part of your work? If the car is your work vehicle (e.g. a work truck or limousine), there are out-of-service costs to you. The insurance company is responsible for reimbursing you for those costs as well.

calculating costs of car accidentCost

You may have to pay some of your initial bills out of pocket, knowing that insurance will reimburse you later on. Your health insurance might cover some or all costs for your treatment and put a lien on your settlement money, which allows them to seek reimbursement.

Under Indiana law, if another driver caused the accident, that driver is financially responsible for your medical and repair bills. Investigating any accident and determining who was at fault can take a long time, so you may have to wait for reimbursement.

The most important thing for you to do is to get whatever medical assessments and treatments you need. Keep detailed documentation of every visit, every test, every scan, every MRI. Collect a signed report form from every practitioner who sees you. This will help your personal injury attorney make certain you get the compensation you deserve.

You usually can’t foresee a car accident. It takes you by surprise and turns your life upside-down. But with the Four Cs of Car Accident Survival, you can get back on your feet in no time. If you or a loved one has been in a car accident, contact Hensley Legal Group today for a free, no-commitment consultation.