Personal Injury Attorneys in Indiana
After being injured in a vehicle crash, you will need to try to get compensation from the car insurance company. However, this can be difficult to do on your own. Getting the help of a personal injury lawyer can ensure you don't settle for less than you're entitled. It's important to take certain steps after an accident to build a strong case and also to understand how fault will play into the damages you may receive. Finally, make sure you know the time limit for filing a personal injury lawsuit and hire an attorney before this period is up.
NOTE: The content of this website is intended solely for informational purposes. It is not a source of legal advice and should not be used as such.
Personal injury cases arise when someone is injured by the actions of another person, and seeks money to pay for those damages. When you've been injured, a personal injury attorney can help you get compensated for your injuries and any effects of those injuries.
Consulting a Personal Injury Lawyer
Many professionals feel that if you've been injured, you should consult a personal injury attorney before talking to any insurance company adjusters or representatives.
Why? For starters, insurance adjusters may not have your best interests 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 lawyers can:
- Review your case and determine its validity.
- Advise you on how soon you must act.
- Help ascertain your actual and potential damages.
- Make sure you provide the documentation to create a strong case.
It might be tempting to deal with the insurance company on your own, but keep in mind that insurers are used to dealing with personal injury and have their own, specialized teams devoted to these sorts of claims. They may pressure you to take an early settlement, which may not adequately cover your needs and may be far lower than the amount you are entitled to collect.
Steps to Take After an Accident
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. This will help you and your attorney present the strongest possible case.
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).
- Names, addresses and insurance companies of every party involved.
- Names and phone numbers of any witnesses.
- Names of the police officers who responded to the accident.
Also, take pictures of anything that will help prove your injury. This could include:
- Photos of yourself and your injuries.
- Your car.
- The scene.
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. Your attorney can explain how the comparative negligence law may affect you and your case.
Determining the Damages
As we mentioned, figuring how much you are owed can be difficult to determine. A lot of factors must be looked at, including:
- 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 2 years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit against the person (or people) responsible for your injuries.