After you’ve suffered in a car accident in Indiana, you may find yourself drowning in a sea of bills and insurance documents.You want to focus on your recovery, but you don’t know where to start.You filed an insurance claim, but you feel unsure about the legalese peppered throughout the thick paperwork you had to fill out.
The insurance company seems reluctant to pay you a fair settlement.You don’t know where to turn.You can’t afford your mounting medical bills and repair costs, but insurance coverage doesn’t even cover what you owe.
You’re hesitant to hire a lawyer – you want to handle this process on your own. Besides, you can’t afford retainer fees on top of your bills. However, many expert car accident lawyers in Indiana offer their services on a contingency basis– this means you don’t pay until you’ve settled your claim or won your lawsuit.
Is hiring a lawyer worth it after your Indiana car accident? In short, yes. Depending on the severity of your accident, you may need a legal expert to help you receive the full and fair amount of compensation you are entitled to under the law for your pain and suffering.
Indiana car accident facts
According to Statista, there are over 2.1 million registered vehicles on Indiana roads. In 2020, 38,913 people were injured in 175,821 car accidents involving 223,064 drivers in Indiana. 67 percent of these accidents occurred in municipalities, while 32 percent occurred in rural areas.
Although the Indiana Department of Transportation has many programs in place to promote safe driving, accidents still occur every day. You may find yourself the victim of a car accident whether you’re driving on urban Indianapolis roads or taking a leisurely drive through Rising Sun.
If you suffer personal injury or economic damages as a result of a collison, you may need to hire a lawyer if you want to make sure you’re getting the full value of your settlement.
Steps to take before you hire a lawyer
After your Indiana car accident, you may need a few days to collect your thoughts and determine your next steps. Before you decide to consult a lawyer, it’s vital to complete the following:
- File a police report: If you’re injured or your vehicle has over $1,000 in damages, Indiana state law requires you to file a police report.You can file your report with responding officers at the scene of your accident, or you can file it online within 10 days.Your filed police report provides the foundation for your car accident claim or lawsuit.
- Seek medical attention: If you’re injured in your accident, you’ll need documentation of any medical diagnoses or treatment to pursue a personal injury claim.
- Collect documentation and evidence: Gather photographic or video evidence of your accident. If you’ve lost wages or needed alternative transportation as a result of your collision, you’ll need proof to bolster your claim.
- File a claim with the insurance company: Before you hire a lawyer, file a claim with the at fault driver’s insurance company within 10 days of your accident. If the insurer offers a far lower settlement than you anticipated or hesitates to pay your claim, it’s worth your time to consult an attorney.
If you file your report at the scene of your collision, law enforcement will conduct a short investigation and add their notes to the report. For example, if they can determine fault, this information will be included in their official notes. Indiana is an at fault state; thus, if it’s determined that you’re over 50 percent at fault, you will no longer have a valid claim to compensation.
Examples of personal injury damages
By law, Indiana drivers are required to carry minimum liability coverage of $25,000 for personal injury to one individual or one fatality, $50,000 for injury or death of two, and $25,000 for property damage. You may quickly find that the extent of your injuries suprasses the settlement an insurer is willing to pay.
Some examples of personal injury claims that may require you to file a lawsuit against an insurer include:
- Emotional distress: You may suffer severe emotional trauma as a result of your accident. Car accidents can cause anxiety, depression, insomnia, or even PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). In the aftermath of your accident, diagnosis and treatment for these conditions may be cause for compensation.
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI): According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), car accidents are one of the most common causes of TBIs (including concussions, moderate, and severe brain injuries). A TBI can have both immediate and long-term negative impact on your life. These diagnosed injuries can provide cause for your personal injury claim or lawsuit. In severe brain injuries lawsuits in Gary, for example, the need for a specialized attorney becomes even more critical. Such injuries often require extensive medical treatment and can lead to significant life changes. An experienced lawyer can help navigate these cases’ complex legal and medical aspects, ensuring that victims receive the compensation they need for their long-term care and recovery.
- Disability or disfigurement: If your accident has left you temporarily or permanently disabled or it resulted in body disfigurement, you may be able to seek compensatory damages for personal injury and loss of quality of life (among other damages).
It may prove difficult to understand the nuances of compensation on your own. If the insurance company denies your initial claim or offers an extremely low settlement, you could grow frustrated. A car accident lawyer will fight for your justice when you’re too stressed and tired to do so on your own.
Why hiring a lawyer is worth it
When you file a personal injury or damages claim after an accident in Indiana, you’re engaging insurance companies with vast experience – the more compensation you seek, the more likely you are to meet resistance. After a minor car accident, you may not need a lawyer: If you haven’t suffered injury or your vehicle has minimal damage, you might find your claim is quickly settled.
However, after a major collision or an accident that causes injury, hiring a lawyer is worth it. If you choose to enter the legal process sans a car accident lawyer, you may feel like David fighting Goliath. An experienced attorney can help you:
- Determine the category and amount of your claim
- Discover forensic experts to give testimony in your case
- File vital legal paperwork
- Gather forensic evidence
- Negotiate with the insurance company and their legal team
- Seek the justice you’re owed
At Yosha Law, we are passionate about our clients alike and consider them part of our family. We will help with your car accident claim and fight for what you’re owed.
We also offer an initial free case evaluation where we can help you explore the merits of your case and guide you through the legal process.