Auto accidents account for the majority of personal injuries caused by negligence in Indiana each year, and many of those accidents unfortunately result in long-lasting or even life-altering consequences. Recovering financially for the full value of harm sustained in a car wreck is often a time-consuming and complicated ordeal involving insurance companies, multiple medical professionals and their billing departments, and protracted negotiations with the person or entity responsible for causing the wreck.
Navigating this web of documentation, legal roadblocks, and staunch opposition from various other people can be next to impossible without an experienced personal injury attorney’s support. By retaining a qualified Gary car accident lawyer, you could give yourself the best chances possible of securing a favorable resolution to your claim.
Establishing Fault for a Car Crash
In order to hold someone else civilly liable for a car crash and its ensuing consequences, an injured individual must prove that all four elements of legal negligence were present during their accident. These elements include duty of care, breach of duty, causation, and compensable losses.
Generally, the “duty” that is most relevant to a car crash claim is the obligation all licensed drivers have to act reasonably and responsibly whenever they are behind the wheel. Anyone who acts irresponsibly by breaking a traffic law, failing to pay attention to other vehicles, or driving while impaired in some way has “breached” the duty they owed to everyone else around them. This also applies to anyone who acts in an intentionally aggressive manner towards someone else while driving.
This “breach” must then have been the direct and primary cause of the collision the case is built around, and that accident must have subsequently been the direct and primary cause of the specific injuries and losses that the plaintiff is demanding compensation for. A Gary auto accident attorney could explain all these components of negligence in greater detail and provide more clarity about recovery options during a confidential consultation.
Recoverable Damages in a Successful Claim
The value of a settlement demand or lawsuit following a car accident in Indiana depends solely on what losses the plaintiff suffered in the crash and what effects—both short-term and long-term—those losses will have on their life. In accidents that cause comparatively minor injuries which will heal completely given time and proper medical care, recoverable damages may primarily be economic in nature and include losses like medical bills, lost work income, and personal vehicle damage.
In more serious situations involving permanently disabling or disfiguring injuries, recovery may need to focus more on long-term and/or non-economic damages like lost earning capacity, lost consortium, and lost enjoyment of life. Finally, in cases involving extreme negligence or grossly malicious conduct by the defendant, Indiana Code §34-51-3-4 allows courts to award up to three times compensatory damages or $50,000—whichever is greater—as punitive damages. Working with an attorney in Gary who considers the long-term impact of a vehicle wreck could ensure a plaintiff recovers the compensation they are owed.
How Long Do Plaintiffs Have to File Suit?
Importantly, people injured in motor vehicle crashes do not have an unlimited period of time in which to pursue civil compensation for injuries that another person’s negligence caused. According to I.C. §34-11-2-4(a), the longest a plaintiff generally has to start the litigation process after sustaining physical harm is two years after the date of their accident.
While there are exceptions to this rule under very specific circumstances, failing to file suit before this deadline expires almost always means the end of any chance of financial recovery through any kind of legal action. Because of this, contacting a seasoned lawyer sooner rather than later after a car accident in Gary is generally a good move.
Talk to a Gary Car Accident Attorney Today
Making the most of your circumstances following a car crash is never a simple endeavor, even if you only sustained minor injuries and/or property damage. If someone else’s reckless or careless driving has led to you or a loved one suffering harm, comprehensive civil recovery may be your best means of improving your future quality of life.
A capable Gary car accident lawyer could be the ally you need to achieve the positive case result you deserve. Call today to schedule a meeting.