Personal Injury in Indiana
Personal injury cases arise when someone is injured by the actions of another person, and seeks money to pay for those damages. The most common type of personal injury lawsuits stem from car accidents.
If you've been injured in an accident, it's important to record as much information as you can about the accident. Do so while it's fresh in your mind.
Some important matters to journal include a description of exactly how the accident happened (include even seemingly minor details such as time of day, weather, and traffic conditions); the names, addresses and insurance companies of every party involved; and the names and phone numbers of any witnesses. Make sure to record the names of the police officers who responded to the accident, too.
Also, take pictures of anything that will help prove your injury. This could include photos of yourself, your car, items in your car that were damaged, and possibly even the clothes you were wearing.
Many professionals feel that if you've been injured, you should consult a personal injury lawyer before talking to any insurance company adjusters or representatives.
Why? For starters, insurance adjusters may not have your best interest at heart. After all, they do work for the insurance company, not you. Secondly, personal injuries can be tricky for a layperson to deal with, as damages can sometimes be hard to quantify.
Personal injury attorneys are able to review your case, determine its validity, advise you on how soon you must act, and help ascertain your actual and potential damages. Many times you won't have to pay for this legal advice unless you are awarded with a favorable judgment.
Keep in mind that insurance companies are used to dealing with these matters, and have their own, specialized teams devoted to these sorts of claims. They may pressure you to take an early settlement, which often may not adequately cover your needs, or be near the amount you are entitled to collect.
To prove a personal injury claim in Indiana, you normally need to demonstrate that the party who injured you failed to exercise ordinary care, or was negligent. You must show that he or she had a duty to perform, and failed to do so.
Furthermore, you also need to demonstrate that you incurred damages as a result of their negligence.
Even if you were partly to blame for the accident, you may still collect an award. Indiana has a "comparative negligence" law. This means that blame for an accident may be split between the parties involved.
For instance, if the other party was found to be mostly responsible for the accident, your award will be reduced by whatever percentage you were found liable.
As we mentioned, figuring how much you are owed can be difficult to determine. A lot of factors must be looked at, including:
- Property damage (primarily to your car)
- Lost work time (including time spent going to therapy)
- Any possible loss of future earnings
- Emotional distress
- Medical expenses (current and future)
- Any permanent physical changes, including disability
- Home healthcare and home worker costs
- Any other damages that stemmed from the accident
In addition, sometimes punitive damages are awarded when it is found that that the guilty party's actions were so reckless that you should receive compensation that goes beyond these actual costs.
If you've been hurt in an accident, you obviously have a lot to think about, and are probably not in the best shape―physically or mentally―to do so. It's important to take your time, and carefully consider all options before moving forward with your course of action. You have two years from the date of the accident to sue the person (or people) responsible for your injuries.
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