Car accidents, on average, occur every few minutes across the State of Indiana. A recent study conducted by the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that 94 percent of all automobile crashes today are caused by human choice or error. This statistic supports the notion that almost always, a car crash is caused by the fault of another human being. While car accidents range in severity, the loss of life or limb is always present. A car crash can impact every part of a person’s life. These incidents can result in severe physical injuries and life-altering impairments. But a crash can also inflict emotional trauma, devastate property, and cause a person to lose significant income and wages over weeks, months, years, or a lifetime.
If you have suffered harm due to the careless driving of another motorist, you are entitled compensation. And, according to Indiana law, you shall be made “whole” for your injuries and losses. To be made “whole” means placing an injured person in the same condition they found themselves before the negligent act occurred. While this is a lofty pursuit of Indiana’s civil justice system it is the intended goal. To make a plaintiff whole, the injured party is entitled compensation in the form of money justice.
In the wake of a car collision, hiring the best Indiana car accident attorney can make all the difference for your monetary relief. Receiving compensation for your sudden and unexpected medical bills and pain and suffering can relieve financial stress, which will allow you to focus solely on your road to recovery. When searching for an Indiana auto accident lawyer, pay close attention to what a lawyer or law firm’s former clients have to say. We are incredibly proud of our online Google reviews and what our clients say about us.
Things to Know Before Selecting An Indiana Car Accident Lawyer
Louis “Buddy” Yosha, Indiana Car Accident Attorney
1. Does Your Law Firm Take Cases To Trial?
At Yosha Cook & Tisch – Personal Injury Lawyers, we have a storied reputation for holding insurance carriers accountable and ensuring our clients receive proper compensation for their damages. We maintain a busy litigation practice and are routinely referred cases by other personal injury firms. Our greatest reward is being able to represent clients who were referred to us by past satisfied clients. Importantly, insurance carriers tend to give much better offers to clients of attorneys or firms that are known for aggressively litigating their cases and claims. The firms who fight till the end for their clients. To this point, our founder, Buddy Yosha has tried over 100 jury trials in his career, which is more than any attorney in Indiana’s history.
2. Not All Law Firms Are The Same.
If a particular firm or Indiana accident attorney does not have a reputation for regularly litigating car accident claims, the insurance carriers will exploit this fact by offering you less than full value for your losses. In fact, the insurance carriers are cognizant of which firms have a track record for litigating their cases and which ones are merely legal advertisers running a settlement mill. Without mentioning any name specifically, we know who these firms are. We feel compelled to address this reality with our fellow Hoosiers because Indiana’s civil justice system only allows an injured plaintiff one bite at the apple – you only get one day in court. You cannot come back with a different lawyer the next time around with the same injury claim. So, please make sure you do your homework and avoid hiring the billboard ad firm that repeatedly settles claims at a discount, leaving significant compensation on the negotiating table. You should never find yourself in this position. After all, nearly every car accident lawyer charges the same standard contingency fee of 33.3%, so why not go with the firm with a proven track record spanning several decades in Indiana?
The standard 1/3 attorney fee arrangement is assessed only once your case settles. But when it settles, the question then becomes, for how much? And the natural follow-up question is, “well, if I hired an experienced trial lawyer rather than a lawyer within a settlement mill, would I have gotten more?” The answer to this second hypothetical is almost certainly yes.
Your attorney should always take the time to understand your human story. Be sure they understand how this car collision has affected your life, as well as your loved ones. No matter how big or small.
3. Never Choose a Lawyer or Law Firm Based Solely Upon a Television Commercial
The majority of the high-volume television firms you notice advertising at all hours of the day are mass settlement mills. There are some exceptions. However, even the exceptions fail to deliver optimal results because most of their time and financial resources are tied up in marketing campaigns. That is not us. We exhaust our energy in the courtroom or at the negotiating table, not in front of the camera. We routinely visit with our clients in their homes, and we break bread with their families to better understand how this act of negligence has affected them. By adopting our approach, the judge, the jury, or the mediator, can feel our sincerity.
On several occasions, injury victims terminate relationships with “settlement mills” and once terminated, call us to represent them. These new clients tell us the main reason they left the settlement mill was because they never actually spoke with the lawyer about their case. Instead, they only spoke with assistants or receptionists. Again, since you only get one bite at the apple, you should be in frequent contact with your attorney.
At Yosha, Cook, & Tisch – Personal Injury Lawyers, we provide every single client with the cell phone number of our managing partner as well as the attorney handling your case. We strive to develop personal relationships with our clients. If you do not get to know your client personally, it becomes tougher to deliver the best result for them. From day one, we begin documenting your physical limitations and determine the impact this collision had on your activities of daily living. We spend the necessary time with you and your loved ones to hear what you can and can’t do since the car crash. We listen to your stories to understand what activities you can still perform but not without any associated pain or discomfort. For instance, you may still be able to complete tasks around the house (i.e., yard work, mowing the lawn), but you ultimately pay for it afterward.
4. Let Our Dedicated Team Help You In Your Road to Recovery. We Ensure All Your Medical Bills are Resolved At The End Of Your Case
Our firm has dealt with the insurance industry and medical providers since 1963. We hold over one-half of a century worth of experience handling personal injury claims for injured persons. With this experience, we have mastered the art of dealing with subrogation rights and medical liens that are commonly associated with your medical care. By hiring experienced counsel, you can rest assured you are not paying any more than necessary for these medical liens.
5. Our Firm Has The Financial Resources To Battle The Largest Corporate Defense Firms And Insurance Giants.
Every day our firm arranges depositions, mediations, and trial dates against some of the largest insurance carriers in the country: Geico, State Farm, Progressive, Farmers, Liberty Mutual, among many others. Our trial attorneys have litigated cases against Fortune 500 companies like AES, the parent company of AES Indiana (formerly known as Indianapolis Power & Light Co.). Recently, Yosha Cook & Tisch obtained a $20.3 Million damage verdict against IPL for a client who sustained an electric shock injury while working on IPL’s power plant. In short, our firm is extremely comfortable standing toe to toe with the big, bad insurance industry.
Our team of Indianapolis car accident lawyers are prepared to take the lead on your case and start fighting for you today. From day one, a local personal injury attorney will investigate the incident, explain your legal rights, measure your losses, and demand appropriate compensation from all responsible parties.
Statistics for Car Collisions in Indiana
The Indiana University Public Policy Institute published a report concerning traffic safety in Indiana in 2018. The result of this report was startling. Between 2009 and 2018, between ten and 13 people out of every 100k living in Indiana have died in a traffic accident. Additionally, between 45,000 to 50,000 people per year will suffer some form of non-fatal injury while on the road.
Data from 2014 to 2018 indicates a drop of fatal car accidents in which one or both parties was under the influence of alcohol. Similarly, there has been a marked reduction in collisions where due to speeding. This data indicated that despite drivers making increasingly responsible decisions to avoid drunk driving or speeding, the rate of accidental injuries and deaths remains consistent. An Indianapolis car accident attorney could provide more information about the statistics that explain the rate of collision in Indiana.
Common Causes of Motor Vehicle Wrecks
Every car crash that occurs in Indianapolis or anywhere else in the state is someone’s fault. With that being said, it is important to understand the common factors that can lead to these collisions. These can form the building blocks for developing claims against other drivers.
Many collisions are the product of a driver violating a rule of the road. Traffic laws such as speed limits, prohibitions on texting while driving, or yield signs exist to protect the welfare of all people on the road. A driver who violates these laws and is involved in an accident is likely to blame for all resulting damage.
The other leading cause of motor vehicle wrecks is simple carelessness. Even if a driver is not openly violating a traffic law, their distraction, drowsiness, or eating while behind the wheel endangers all other travelers. Proving either that a driver was violating a rule of the road or that they were distracted while behind the wheel is sufficient to prevail in a demand for compensation.
Proving Fault for a Car Accident Can be a Complicated Matter
Any person who wishes to collect compensation for their losses following a car crash must be able to prove that the accident was another driver’s fault. These other people can be behind the wheels of their own vehicles or even drivers of the car in which an injured person was a passenger. It is essential to be able to collect key evidence that can speak as to another driver’s fault for the collision. This may include:
- A police report
- Traffic camera footage
- Witness statements
- Proof of a driver being intoxicated or under the influence
- Accident reconstruction reports
An Indianapolis car accident attorney could help to gather this vital information. This is even more important when considering the state’s law concerning modified comparative negligence. According to Indiana Code § 34-51-2-5, injured people can only collect compensation if they do not carry more than half the blame for a collision. It is a common tactic for defendant drivers to argue that an injured person shares some or all of the responsibility for a collision.
What Should You Do After Being in a Car Accident?
The moments, hours, and days that follow a car accident are vital to both a person’s health and legal rights. Of course, the primary concern should be to seek out all necessary medical attention for both oneself and other injured parties. This gives people the best chance to make a full recovery as well as ties injuries to the incident.
However, the time following a car crash is also essential to building a case against another motorist. This may be a person’s only chance to:
- Take pictures or videos of the scene
- Provide a statement to police
- Discover the names and contact information of witnesses
- Document the current weather or lighting conditions
Finally, it is important to contact one’s insurance company immediately. This could result in the release of funds to pay for initial medical care or set a person up with a rental car. However, be cautious when providing an official statement concerning the crash or when talking with the other driver’s insurance company. An Indianapolis car accident lawyer could provide essential guidance during the days following a car crash.
Contact With Insurance Companies
It is essential that you not talk to the insurance company representative for the opposing party. Such communication could jeopardize your case and make our representation difficult. In short, this is our job, and you should let us be your spokesperson. Your own insurance company may wish to have some information from you, and you should report your accident to your own company. If your company wishes to take a tape-recorded or handwritten statement from you, you should contact us for further advice. As to your health insurance company (if you have health insurance), you can maintain communication with them regarding the payment of medical bills unless we advise you otherwise.
Seek Medical Treatment As Soon As Possible
To present a claim for personal injuries, it is critical that you seek and receive medical treatment for any claimed injuries sustained from this incident. You should advise us of all the doctors you see, any hospitals you visit, or any clinics or physical therapy center you attend to treat your injuries. You should make every effort possible to keep your appointments as scheduled. On occasion, please call our office to let us know how your treatment is progressing. If you feel that your treatment is not progressing as it should, you may need to see a specialist or another physician. That said, you should never decide to change doctors without notifying your attorney of your intentions and reasoning for changing providers.
You should also note that some doctors are unwilling to get involved in the civil justice system and, therefore, it is important you are up-front with providers that you are currently apart of a lawsuit to obtain recovery for your injuries. You should never receive treatment from a provider who is reluctant to provide testimony about their care and treatment of your injuries should their testimony become necessary. Besides discussing how you sustained your injuries with the doctor, you should refrain from discussing “your case” with the doctor. Often doctors will interpret this as a desire on your part to be more interested in your case than in receiving medical treatment (defense attorneys like to refer to this as “seeking secondary gain”).
Prior Medical Treatment
Often times, your previous medical history or treatment becomes relevant to your present case. The goal of a defense attorney or insurance adjuster is to persuade a judge or jury that the injuries you present with currently were pre-existing injuries you suffered before the car crash occurred. A seasoned personal injury lawyer knows how to handle these sorts of arguments and can use these common defense tactics against them if the case ever proceeded to a jury trial.
Under well-established law, a defendant must take a plaintiff as he finds him. This means, if the plaintiff has pre-existing back issues with disc degeneration, before the car collision, and he is then struck by a negligent driver on the roadway, the plaintiff can argue that he was easier to hurt. He was more susceptible to serious injuries. This is referred to as the “eggshell plaintiff” theory of tort law. In short, the plaintiff is easier to crack, and the law must account for his or her vulnerabilities. Thus, you should never let an insurance adjuster tell you your claim is worth less because you had impairments which pre-existed the car crash.
You should also take the time to outline your entire previous medical history, including the nature of the injury or illness, the doctor or doctors who treated you, and any hospital from which you received treatment. This information will help us carefully analyze whether there is any relationship between any prior condition and that which you have from your present accident.
Collecting Appropriate Compensation is Possible, but Only if People Act Quickly
The first concept concerns medical bills that result from physical injuries.. At the core of the case is a physical injury. These may be as mild as cuts and scrapes or as severe as spinal cord damage. Frequently during the course of a case you may find yourself unable to do certain activities you were once able to do before your injury. As these events occur, you should jot them down on a note pad or whatever is handy so that you do not forget what has happened to you.
Concerning any physical complaints, it is imperative that you tell your treating doctor as much as you can about your injuries so he or she can make accurate notes in their medical chart for later reference. Of course, this also aids him greatly in giving you proper treatment. If you feel limited doing certain activities you otherwise would do, share these limitations with your doctor.
Costs of Medical Care
Liable drivers must provide payments for all needed medical care. To present this portion of your case properly, we must have a copy of all of the medical charges related to the injuries you claim to have suffered from your accident. If you have access to a copying machine, you can collect your bills over a period of time and bring them to us or mail them, so we have them for your file. This is so even if health insurance has paid any of these bills. It is necessary that we know which bills have been paid by health insurance and which have not been paid.
Concerning the payment of medical bills, there tend to be several ways to pay those bills before the case settles. For instance, you may have health insurance personally or through your employment, which can be utilized. You may also have other forms of insurance that you were unaware of, which will take care of all, or a portion, of those bills.
We can advise you as to how the bills can and should be paid. In the event there is no available insurance to pay medical expenses, in some cases, doctors and hospitals will allow us to delay the payment of these bills so long as we agree to pay them out of any potential settlement of your case. Do not let the status of your medical expenses turn into a situation where you are being harassed by collection agencies or being sued. We will make every effort possible to eliminate this sort of harassment, if at all possible.
The second key concept involves demonstrating the other ways in which an accident has changed a person’s life. While it can be difficult to place a dollar value on these experiences, they are no less valid a reason to demand compensation than a physical injury. For example, many people find that they are experiencing significant pain connected to an injury. However, this pain will not appear on any medical bill. Nevertheless, it represents a significant drop in a person’s quality of life for which they may demand payment.
Similarly, it is likely that an injury has impacted a person’s ability to earn a living. If a person has missed time at work to attend doctors’ appointment or make their recovery, they deserve reimbursement for these lost wages. In more severe cases where an injury results in a permanent disability, at-fault drives must provide compensation for future lost earnings. An Indianapolis car accident attorney could take the lead in measuring a person’s losses and demanding appropriate compensation.
Common Injuries After a Car Accident in Indianapolis
Car accidents are traumatic events that have the potential to change every part of a person’s life. They may range in seriousness from relatively minor harms that require only a single trip to an emergency room to those that will require medical care for the rest of one’s life.
Thankfully, many people are fortunate enough that they could escape an accident with minor cuts and scrapes. Here, a trip to the emergency room and a follow-up with a general practitioner may be all that is necessary. Sadly, more serious injuries can and do occur. These may include:
- Broken bones
- Concussions or other traumatic brain injuries
- Separated joints
- Sprains or strains
- Spinal cord damage leading to paralysis
It is important to remember that an at-fault driver must provide full compensation for all injuries resulting from their actions. This applies regardless of how severe these injuries may be. An Indianapolis car accident attorney could provide more information about the common injuries that could result from car crashes.
Compensation For Damages
Additionally, many cases demand compensation for more than medical costs. Emotional trauma, pain, suffering, and property damage are all common sources of payment following an accident. Another common type of recoverable damage is compensation for lost wages.
Often your injuries will either prevent you from working your regular job or from obtaining employment. Maintaining an accurate and up-to-date record of your lost income or lost time from work due to your injuries is essential to your case. We will generally verify this information with your employer or explain alternative ways to calculate your lost income. If you are self-employed we can use other methods to calculate your lost earnings.
Please listen to your treating physician when he or she determines whether you can return to work or not. Generally, if advised you can return to work, you should follow this advice. The treating physician will know the best course of treatment for your injuries and tend to be best suited to determine your work limitations. If circumstances should arise where you must act against your doctor’s advice, please discuss this with our firm ahead of time.
If you change jobs or apply for a different job or position, please let your attorney know ahead of time so he or she can advise you on how you should fill out your employment applications. Many times, medical questions are asked on these employment applications, and you must answer these questions carefully. This caution also applies to any applications for unemployment benefits.
An Indianapolis car accident lawyer could help to pursue cases for their full value.
Demanding Compensation for Injuries
The second is proving that the time to demand compensation is appropriate. Indiana Code § 34-11-2-4 is the state’s statute of limitations. It says that people who suffer injuries in car accidents must demand compensation in court no more than two years from the date of the injury. This also applies to situations where a person seeks payment through an insurance settlement. Acting quickly helps to avoid a case failing due to this law.
Length of a Car Accident Case
Each case is different because people are different. You may heal quickly or it may take you longer to get over the effects of your injury, depending upon what injuries you have and other medical factors. You should not become impatient with the idea that your case is taking “a long time” to be completed. It is essential that, before your case is resolved, your injury has reached a point where your doctor has either released you and has indicated that you either have recovered or will not totally recover.
It is important that we have a complete picture of what has happened to you, how you have been treated, and what the future reasonably may be from a medical standpoint. Once your case is resolved, it is resolved for all time and cannot be reopened. Therefore, it is important that you allow us to advise you as to the proper time to conclude your case.
Paying For Legal Services
Our attorneys’ fees for representing you in this matter is structured using a contingency fee system. That means our recovery in attorney fees hinges on whether you obtain money justice for your injuries. If we receive compensation for you, you will be charged a percentage, as stated in your contract, of the gross amount recovered. In addition to this percentage, you will pay us from the proceeds of the recovery (after the fees are deducted) the expenses that we have advanced on your behalf for your case.
Our office keeps a separate record of your case, and all expenses advanced on your behalf are paid by check for documentation. If you have any questions regarding the attorney fees or the expenses advanced in your case, please do not hesitate to ask.
People Who Suffer Injuries in Car Accidents Deserve Full Compensation from At-Fault Drivers
Few incidents that can occur in your life can be as disorienting and damaging as car accidents. Not only can these incidents result in severe physical injuries, but they may also interfere with your returning to work or enjoyment of life. When this is the case, and another driver was responsible for the crash, you deserve the compensation that you make a new beginning.
An Indianapolis car accident lawyer could help you to pursue your case. This includes evaluating how the accident affected your life, gathering evidence concerning the crash, and demanding fair payments in and out of court. The law places a strict time limit of two years following a crash to collect compensation. Contact an Indianapolis car accident attorney today to get started.