Car accidents happen every day in Indiana, but few people face the devastating injuries of a serious car accident more than once, if ever, in their lives. When our Indianapolis car accident attorneys at The Lockwood Legal Group, LLChelp injured individuals and families, we typically are providing legal representation to people who have been suddenly thrust into the unfamiliar world of hospitals, insurance companies, claims adjusters and paperwork.
Our attorneys and staff take pride in treating our clients like neighbors and providing personalized legal services. Every car accident case has different facts. Based on my years of experience as a personal injury attorney, I can tell clients generally what to expect from the Indianapolis car accident injury settlement process.
Below we outline a typical Indianapolis auto accident settlement process. If you have been injured in a car accident in Indiana, contact us for a free, no-obligation legal consultation as soon as possible. We can advise you about what to expect from your specific claim.
Our Objective in an Indiana Car Accident Claim
If you have been injured in a car accident that was not your fault, the at-fault driver should compensate you for your losses. Compensation, known as “damages,” is almost always paid through auto insurance. In most cases, injury claims are settled outside of court.
A proper car accident settlement repays you for the money you have spent or lost because of your injuries as well as accident-related expenses that you can be reasonably expected to incur in the future.
In our demand letter to the insurance company, we will seek compensation for your:
- Past, present, and future medical expenses
- Past, present, and future income losses, i.e., due to lost earning capacity
- Property damage, e.g., to your vehicle
- Out-of-pocket expenses, such as for renting a vehicle, hiring household assistance while recovering or for travel to medical appointments
- Physical pain, emotional suffering, and mental anguish
- Scarring, disfigurement, and permanent disability.
At the end of a car accident claim process, our goal is for you to have no remaining medical debts from the injury and to be financially stable as you move forward with your life. You deserve a settlement that provides you all of the compensation you are due for your costs and what you have been put through.
If we can settle your car accident claim through negotiations, you receive money sooner and there are fewer legal expenses, which are paid out of the settlement. When we cannot reach a settlement through negotiations, our law firm is prepared to take a car accident case to trial in an Indiana court.
An Indiana Auto Accident Claim Settlement Process
Every car accident claim starts with a free initial legal consultation. We will discuss what happened to you and explain how we can help. If we believe you have a claim that we can pursue for you, we will explain how we will proceed and what information we will need you to help us gather, such as your insurance information and medical records.
Once you have formally engaged us as your attorneys, we will handle all paperwork related to your insurance claim. We will also advise your doctors and other creditors that a claim is underway and ask that they delay any debt collection efforts while the claim is pending.
What will we to to pursue your car accident claim?
We will investigate the accident. We will determine who was at fault in the car accident and identify the insurance coverage that the at-fault driver has.
We will calculate the full extent of your losses. This includes adding up your medical bills and other losses and projecting future costs and losses. In cases of permanently disabling injuries, we work with medical planners to develop projections for the cost of a lifetime of care and medical needs. We also project your income losses based on your current income, education and work experience.
We will submit a demand letter. Once we have gathered evidence to support your claim and calculate your losses, we will submit a letter to the appropriate insurance companies with a statement of our case and a request for the amount you are owed. Usually, the insurer will respond by either denying liability for the claim or making a counteroffer.
We will file a lawsuit. If we cannot obtain an acceptable settlement, we will file a lawsuit that asks a court to order the defendant to meet your demands for compensation. The defendant then must answer the lawsuit, primarily to acknowledge that a legal claim is underway.
Typically once insurance companies realize that we are not going to be willing to settle the case for less then you are entitled to, they will be suddenly more interested in negotiating a settlement. We will present each settlement offer to you along with our advice about whether it’s a fair offer. The decision of whether to accept an offer is ultimately your decision. If you agree to a settlement offer, we can accept on your behalf and obtain a check quickly, sometimes within a few business days.
Discovery is a legal process in which each side in a lawsuit gathers evidence from the opposing side. You will likely have to answer questions from the defendant’s attorney in a deposition. We will prepare you for the types of questions you’ll be asked and be there beside you. We cannot tell you what to say, but we can advise you ahead of time about likely questions and will object to unfair or irrelevant questions.
If all else fails, we will go to trial
If we cannot reach a settlement that is acceptable to you, we will be prepared to take your lawsuit to court. We will be ready to present a persuasive case. We will make sure you understand what is happening every step of the way. After both sides present their case and cross-examine the other side’s witnesses, the jury will receive the judge’s instructions, then deliberate and render a verdict. If the jury awards you compensation, it will be subject to Indiana’s comparative fault laws, which might reduce the amount you ultimately receive if you are found to be partly at fault.
The process of settling a car accident claim can be resolved in a matter of months if the accident claim can be settled without filing a lawsuit. If the insurance company refuses to be cooperative, the process may take one to two years if a lawsuit is required and a trial has to be scheduled. Our attorneys
How Long Do I Have to File a Vehicle Accident Lawsuit in Indiana?
In most cases, under Indiana’s statutes of limitations, you must file a personal injury lawsuit within two years of a car accident. If the State of Indiana is a defendant – for example, a city worker on the job caused the accident – then you may have a little as six months to give notice and file a claim. That underscores the necessity of acting quickly to contact an experienced personal injury lawyer.
Keep in mind that a lawsuit is preceded by an investigation and that takes time. We urge you not to wait to contact an experienced Indiana car accident lawyer.
If you believe you might have a case, it is crucial you contact a qualified attorney immediately. Contact The Lockwood Legal Group for a free consultation today! You can call our office phone, cellular phone, or send us an email.