May 30, 2023 | Car Accidents
Most of us drive nearly every day, without putting much thought into how dangerous driving can be. Yet in 2020 alone, there were 175,816 car crashes in Indiana – 38,913 of which caused injury to one or more people. In many cases, these auto accidents are caused by other drivers being careless or even reckless.
If you were hurt in a car accident, then you may be able to file a claim against the at-fault driver and their insurance company. Through this type of personal injury claim, you can recover financial compensation for all of your losses, including your property damage, lost wages, medical expenses, pain and suffering, and more. Seeking prompt medical attention, consulting with a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible, and never accepting an initial lowball settlement can all help to ensure that you get maximum compensation for your injuries.
At Fountain Law Firm, we are dedicated to helping our clients get top dollar for their accident claims. For each case, we work hard to negotiate the best possible settlement for our clients – and take cases to trial when necessary to help our clients get the money that they deserve for their injuries. To learn more about how to increase your car accident settlement or to schedule a free initial consultation with an Indianapolis car accident lawyer, reach out to our law offices today.
Most car accident cases are based on a theory of negligence, or carelessness. A person may be considered negligent if they fail to use the level of care that a reasonable person would use in a similar situation. The injury victim (plaintiff) has the burden of proving that the at-fault driver (defendant) was negligent.
There are four elements to a negligence claim in Indiana. A plaintiff must show that:
A person may be negligent in a number of ways. For example, if a motorist runs a red light and slams into your vehicle as you go through an intersection, they would likely be found negligent. In some cases, an entity may be considered negligent. For example, if a government agency fails to properly maintain a road, then you could potentially file a lawsuit against them if poor road conditions caused a crash.
In every personal injury case, the plaintiff will have to prove that the defendant was negligent, or that they acted intentionally or recklessly. Even in negligence per se cases – where the at-fault driver can be held liable for violating a law and causing an accident – the plaintiff will still have to show that the other driver broke the law. As a result, it is important to take steps as soon as possible after a motor vehicle accident to protect your right to a fair settlement.
In a car accident case, you may be entitled to economic and non-economic damages. Economic and non-economic damages are compensatory, which means that they compensate you for your losses.
Economic damages cover your direct financial losses. Examples include property damage, lost wages, reduced earning capacity, medical expenses, and future medical treatment. These damages are usually supported with documentation like estimates, invoices, pay stubs, and medical bills.
Non-economic damages pay for intangible losses. While you won’t get a bill for these items, that doesn’t make them any less important or real. They may include pain and suffering, emotional distress, scarring, disfigurement, and loss of enjoyment of life.
Finally, punitive damages are available in rare cases where an at-fault driver acted intentionally or recklessly – such as a drunk driving accident. Because most personal injury claims are based on a theory of negligence, they are not awarded in the majority of claims. In Indiana, punitive damages are capped at greater of three times compensatory damages or $50,000.
Insurance companies are in business to make money. Part of how they do that is by paying out as little as possible on legitimate car accident claims. If you have been involved in a collision, there are certain things that you can do to ensure that you get the highest possible recovery.
First, you should gather evidence at the accident scene. Assuming that you are able to do so, this can mean taking photos and videos of the crash, your injuries, and the area around you. If possible, you should also get the names and contact information of the other driver and any passengers or witnesses.
Second, seek medical treatment immediately. Not only is this important to get the right diagnosis and treatment, but it also establishes a link between your injuries and the accident. These medical expenses will then be part of your claim for non-economic damages.
Third, if you are approached by an insurance adjuster for the other driver’s insurance company – whether in person, over the phone, or any other way – do not talk to them, give a statement, or sign any paperwork until you have had the chance to talk to an Indianapolis car accident lawyer. The adjuster’s job is to find ways to reduce the value of your claim, whether that involves arguing that you were partially at fault or getting you to sign something that gives up your rights. No matter how nice the adjuster may seem – and even if they tell you that they accept full responsibility – do not talk to them before you have consulted with an attorney.
Fourth, schedule a free initial consultation with a personal injury law firm as soon as possible. During this appointment, a lawyer will listen to your story and offer you legal advice on your rights and options for pursuing a claim. If you decide to hire the firm, then they will take over all communications with the insurance company for you and get to work putting together a strong claim.
Fifth, don’t delay hiring a lawyer or getting the claim process started. The sooner that you file a claim, the fresher witness memories will be. You also avoid the possibility of evidence being lost or destroyed with the passage of time.
Your attorney will investigate the underlying facts of the accident, gather evidence, and handle all communications with the insurance company. They will also research the law to prove that the other party is liable for the accident. Working with an Indianapolis car accident lawyer is the best way to get maximum compensation for your losses.
Being in a motor vehicle accident can be incredibly traumatic. In the weeks and months that follow, you may not know what to do or how to best protect yourself. Our law firm is here for you.
Based in Indianapolis, the Fountain Law Firm advocates for injury victims throughout the state. We handle all cases on a contingency fee basis, which means we never charge a fee until we recover money for you. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation with an Indianapolis car accident attorney, give us a call at 317-917-7873 or fill out our online contact form.
In Indiana, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims is 2 years. With a few exceptions, this means that you must file a claim within 2 years of the date of the car crash. If you fail to do so, then you could be prohibited from doing so.
2 years may seem like a lot of time, but it can go quickly when you’re dealing with doctor’s appointments, physical therapy, and other issues. There is also a benefit to filing a claim as soon as possible because it increases the likelihood that evidence will be available. Reach out to the Fountain Law Firm today to schedule a free consultation with an Indianapolis car accident lawyer.
The majority of personal injury claims – including those involving car crashes – are resolved outside of court. The settlement process can take some time as both sides exchange information and negotiate fair compensation, but in most cases, you will not have to go to court. Your lawyer may advise you that it is necessary to file a lawsuit to preserve your rights and continue the negotiations, but that doesn’t mean that your case will go to trial.
However, if the insurance company refuses to offer you a fair settlement, then you may take your claim to court to ask a jury to return a verdict in your favor. A seasoned Indianapolis car accident attorney will advise you of the likelihood of this occurring, and keep you updated throughout the process. Contact the Fountain Law Firm today to schedule a no-cost, no-obligation consultation for your car accident case.