Have you suffered from injuries in an Indianapolis car accident? When drivers act negligently, they endanger other road users and can cause significant harm. Depending on the severity of a motor vehicle accident, these incidents can be life-altering.
After enduring auto accident injuries, you may be struggling physically, emotionally, mentally, and financially. Having an experienced Indianapolis car accident lawyer at your side can help make the healing process more manageable.
If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident that was not your fault, you may be eligible for financial compensation. The Indianapolis car accident lawyers at Wilson Kehoe Winingham are available to help you with your car accident case.
Auto accident cases can quickly become complicated. There are often many factors at play, and determining liability is difficult when there might be more than one driver at fault. You need to be represented by a law firm with the experience and resources to build a strong case so that you can secure full and fair compensation for your injuries.
A car accident settlement negotiation is an agreement between the parties involved in an auto accident. The settlement can be between a victim and the negligent party or the negligent party’s insurance company. To negotiate a settlement:
Car accident settlement timelines vary case by case, but they typically last one to three months. Settlements—as opposed to court cases—can save both parties time and money.
A thorough investigation is the first step in any car accident claim. When the lawyers at WKW investigate an accident, we always start at the actual crash scene. Engaging with an attorney as soon as possible after the crash will help with preserving the scene. Reporting the accident to the police is an important step to take after a car accident. However, police reports are considered inadmissible in court.
In personal injury lawsuits, the more high-quality evidence there is in your case, the better. Experienced auto accident attorneys can assist in investigating car accidents to prove your eligibility for compensation.
After a car accident, you may feel overwhelmed—medical bills, car repairs, calls from insurance agents, and low settlement offers can all pile up until it seems impossible to get the compensation you deserve. The Indiana car accident lawyers at WKW can help you understand your rights and walk you through the process of the car accident lawsuit in order to build a successful case so you can focus on your recovery.
When possible, we will negotiate a settlement. However, if all parties cannot agree on a fair settlement offer, we will take our significant trial experience to court and fight for the compensation you deserve.
Car accident litigation differs case by case because your experience is unique to you. Although cases are independent of one another, the general order of proceedings is as follows:
Once a settlement number is agreed upon by both parties, it should not take long for the insurance payment to come through. It is typically sent to your attorneys and they will keep the agreed-upon contingency percentage as their payment.
After you receive the remainder of the proceeds, you may need to repay the money that you owe to others. Examples would be to your health insurance company or to another entity that provided services with the understanding they’d be compensated post-settlement.
It is also possible that you may be asked to sign a release, such as a confidentiality agreement. It’s important to have your car accident lawyer review anything before you sign it, in case the other party is asking for something you didn’t—or shouldn’t—agree to.
Indiana uses tort liability, which is at fault liability. Tort law means that fault is determined based on the percentage of fault each driver has. The percentage you are at fault is the amount that you will either pay or receive in compensation.
Indiana requires all drivers to have insurance minimums of $25,000–$50,000 for injury and $10,000 for property damage. Fault is determined by establishing a driver’s negligence, which is proven by presenting evidence. An experienced lawyer will be able to review your evidence and help present it to insurance companies.
Car crashes and other auto accidents can be very scary, especially if there are injuries and severe damage involved. If you have been in an auto accident, take the following steps:
The first thing you should do is get to a safe location as quickly as possible. If you can, move your vehicle to the side of the road. If not, leave your car where it is and make sure you and your passengers are at a safe distance and out of traffic.
Additionally, try to warn oncoming vehicles of the collision to avoid further accidents.
Check yourself, your passengers, and people in the other vehicles for injuries. Seek medical attention immediately if anyone is seriously injured. Do not try to move someone who is badly hurt unless there is immediate danger; doing so could further injure them.
Contact law enforcement to file an official accident report. Notify them of any injuries so medical personnel can be dispatched, if necessary.
Unless you are injured, it’s important to stay at the scene and cooperate with the officer(s).
Record the following information concerning the accident:
These notes are crucial to building a successful case because your attorneys will use this information in their investigation.
Use your phone to take pictures and videos of the scene. Record a walk-around of your car. Also, photograph the other driver’s car, the road, skid marks, broken signs, broken guardrails, and other aspects of the accident scene.
It is also helpful to keep a diary of all significant details concerning the accident. This evidence will be helpful for your auto accident case. Make a list of damaged property, write down traffic and weather conditions, and describe the position of cars and the length of any skid marks you see.
If you are injured and would like to file a lawsuit, continuing to document your injuries on a daily or weekly basis can act as evidence for your case. Keep detailed descriptions of how your daily life has been impacted. This can help to verify your experience to the judge and court.
Be sure to grab any essential items—such as glasses, insurance records, and your garage door opener—from your car before leaving it at the scene.
It’s important to get checked out by a doctor, even if you don’t have any noticeable injuries. Injuries from a car accident could take days or months to appear. Also, immediately-obvious injuries can worsen over time. Don’t wait until you are in pain to see a doctor. Get a quick checkup as soon as you can after the accident.
Make a thorough accident report to your automobile insurance company. However, when speaking with the insurance adjuster, don’t sign any documents or give any statements. Anything you say could be used against you in the future.
If necessary, take your car to a repair shop for an estimate. If you have a trusted mechanic, we recommend going there before you go to one an insurance adjuster recommends. Don’t forget that you do have a choice in the matter.
When speaking with the insurance adjuster—or really, anyone—don’t sign any documents or give any statements. Anything you say could be used against you in the future.
Contact an experienced Indiana auto accident attorney as soon as possible after your accident. At WKW, we specialize in assisting people who have been injured in a car wreck in Indiana. Our team can help you navigate the complexities of personal injury law and determine if you can seek compensation for your injuries.
Indiana can be a hotspot for accidents because of its proximity to cities, long highways, and driver negligence. Looking at the state of Indiana as a whole, 43% of fatalities and 70% of non-fatalities happen in cities like Indianapolis. In 2019, Indiana drivers experienced 217,396 collisions, 739 of which resulted in fatalities.
Although weather conditions can contribute to accidents, most of these Indiana collisions happened on clear days:
Fatal car accidents are traumatic and devastating. The grief one may feel after losing a loved one in a car accident can be heavy and come on suddenly. If a loved one has been in a fatal car accident, you may be eligible for a wrongful death lawsuit.
Driver-related factors contributed to 86% of all collisions and 96% of fatal collisions in Indiana. These statistics make drivers’ actions the primary cause of car collisions, injuries, and fatalities in Indiana.
Dangerous driving includes distracted driving, speeding, reckless and/or aggressive driving (like swerving lanes and cutting other cars off), and violating traffic rules.
Dangerous driving in Indiana contributed to 142,162 accidents in 2019 (the most recent statistics available). Unsafe actions in our state are the leading cause of traffic collisions, making up 53% of total fatal accidents and 65% of non-fatal collisions. If you have been in a car accident because of someone else’s unsafe driving, you may be eligible to get the compensation you deserve.
According to the most recent Indiana Crash Facts Book, 739 of the total 217,396 collisions in Indiana were fatal. The top three reasons for car-related fatalities are:
The rate of fatalities is calculated per 1,000 crashes. Other notable reasons for crashes in recent years include right-angle collisions, which lead to 114 deaths; 85 deaths were the consequence of rear-end collisions in 2019.
The Indianapolis car crash lawyers at WKW have experience in every possible scenario. Some of the most common types of car accidents we see include:
Car accidents of all types can lead to severe injuries, significant property damage, and even fatalities.
The majority of car accidents happen due to human error, along with a variety of contributing factors. Some of the main causes for car accidents include:
Knowing the most common causes of motor vehicle accidents can help keep you and your family safe on the road. Preparing for safety before getting in the car is an important part of being proactive about avoiding potential collisions.
The following are examples of the most common Indianapolis car accident injuries:
Some of these injuries—like back or neck injuries—may not be apparent in the immediate aftermath of the accident. Instead, they could show up days or weeks later.
If you were injured in an Indiana car crash and your accident was caused by the negligence of another driver, you may be entitled to compensation. Car accident settlements vary depending on the damages and injuries that result from the crash. The compensation you may receive can help support you as you cover your expenses and begin restoring your life.
There are two main types of auto compensation you may be entitled to following an accident: economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages, which are also called special damages, cover losses that have a quantifiable dollar amount. These types of damages include:
Non-economic damages, also known as general damages, do not have an exact dollar amount attached to them. These types of damages may include the following:
Some damages are straightforward to calculate due to their economic nature. Other costs, such as pain and suffering, are more difficult to quantify. An experienced Indiana car accident lawyer can help you determine what compensation you could receive.
Compensation costs for economic damages are easier to calculate because there is a quantifiable number. Non-economic damages, on the other hand, can be more complicated to estimate because they are not quantifiable. There are two methods of calculating compensation for general damages:
Calculating general damages can seem subjective, so having an experienced attorney to present evidence to your insurance provider or in a settlement is strongly advised.
Indiana has a set of laws dictating when you can file lawsuits in court. These deadlines are called statutes of limitations. Statutes of limitations differ among states and are based on the type of claim you are filing.
The Indiana statute of limitations for an auto accident is two years from the day of the incident. There are some exceptions to this rule, including if your accident involved a government vehicle.
Because of this strict deadline, we recommend that you contact an experienced Indianapolis car wreck lawyer as soon as possible after your accident.
Indiana is what’s known as an at-fault state, meaning the majority of claims are governed by the Indiana Comparative Fault Act. This means you can seek damages from the at-fault driver’s insurance as opposed to filing on your own policy. In some accidents, both parties may be found partially at fault, which would affect the settlement.
For instance, if you are found to be 20% responsible, then you are only eligible to receive 80% of the settlement. As an example, if damages are $50,000, but you are deemed to be 20% at fault, the most you could recover is $40,000, or 80%. Note that any driver who is determined to be 51% or more at fault is not eligible to receive compensation from an auto accident.
Each car accident case is unique, so there is no set answer to this question. The dollar amount sought will depend on a number of factors, including the severity of the property damage and injuries, including any long-lasting impacts.
It will also depend on the parties involved and their level of insurance. The experienced Indianapolis car accident lawyers at WKW have served as counsel on all types of these lawsuits and will not leave money on the table.
The scene and circumstances of every auto accident is unique. If you’ve suffered an injury or property damage in or near Indianapolis due to someone else’s negligence, it’s worth pursuing to see if you have a valid claim.
At WKW, we offer a free case evaluation, so why not reach out and learn more? Our car accident lawyers can do a thorough assessment of the circumstances to ascertain the situation and determine next steps. There’s no need to suffer in silence if you may be eligible for financial compensation.
It’s important to have a qualified attorney negotiate a claim with insurance companies on your behalf. Our years of legal experience will be put to work to stand up against the aggressive tactics of insurance companies.
Avoid communicating with anyone other than your attorney and your insurance company about the accident. If you get a call from another lawyer or an agent from the other driver’s insurance company, direct them to your attorney. Talking to anyone could negatively impact your case, and anything you say now could be used against you later.
Don’t forget that an insurance adjuster works for a profit-driven enterprise, so it’s their job to reduce compensation as much as possible. This will include making lowball offers with the hope that the case will quickly go away. They may also use unscrupulous tactics like pretending to act like a friend and care about your injuries when they’re actually just working to get details to use against you later.
This could even include visiting victims in the hospital before they even have legal representation. They can also dig around on social media to try to uncover previous dangerous behaviors to put more onus on the victim, or see if you’ve complained about something that could then be tagged as a pre-existing condition.
Don’t let concern over the cost of legal fees put you off from getting the help you need. The Indianapolis car accident lawyers at WKW work on a contingency fee basis, meaning there’s no out-of-pocket cost to you.
Instead, our attorneys only get paid if you win a settlement, which aligns both parties’ interests. It’s a true win-win that allows you to focus on your recovery while not adding more stress to your plate.
From a legal standpoint, there is nothing stopping you from representing yourself in a car accident case in Indiana. However, it is strongly recommended that you hire a lawyer to help you through this process. While this will likely be the first time you are encountering filing a claim, an experienced car crash lawyer at WKW will have years of experience.
This not only allows you to focus on your health, it also will likely result in a larger settlement. And since our lawyers work on a contingency basis—meaning no up-front costs for you—there’s really no reason to go it alone.
It’s crucial that you choose the correct law firm to represent you following your Indianapolis car accident. Remember, you only have one chance to get compensation; there are no do-overs, so choose your legal representation carefully.
You’ll want to find a law firm that has experience with your personal set of circumstances. Lots of experience. A lawyer who focuses on this type of work will leave no stone unturned and will know every type of damage that can be awarded to maximize your settlement amount.
In addition to experience, you will want a firm that’s truly invested in your case and help you get your life back on track. WKW was built on the foundation of “restoring lives” for our clients so they can move forward. That and 30 years of experience are what make us an obvious choice to represent you or a loved one following a car accident in the Indianapolis area.
Lastly, remember that if negotiations break down between the parties and an agreement cannot be reached, then the case may proceed to trial. This is rare, but it does happen. Trials are time-consuming and expensive for everyone involved, and also run the risk of no payout if you end up on the losing side of the verdict. WKW has significant trial experience, so you can rest assured that you are in caring, competent hands if your case does go to trial.
There are many law firms out there who loudly advertise successful settlements, but what you really need to prioritize is quality of experience. Frankly, it’s easy to brag about getting settlements for clients, as insurance adjusters are motivated to quickly close each claim—though definitely not for maximum payout.
In fact, insurance adjusters are aware of which firms are savvy and which easily fall prey to fast and low settlements. An adjustor’s job is to maximize profits for their employer and they are trained to take advantage of less experienced or uncaring lawyers. So be wary of those who advertise their quantity of settlements. Look for quality instead.
We are proud of our case results and winning record. With more than 30 years of experience, the auto accident attorneys at WKW will investigate and analyze every part of your case and make sure you get the assistance you need to be successful. Whether your case is negotiated at settlement or brought to trial, WKW is ready for any challenge.
Our dedicated team of lawyers has been recognized and awarded for their work. Three of our attorneys have been named Indiana Super Lawyers, two of whom have been included in the Top 10 Indiana Super Lawyers list.
WKW partners Bruce Kehoe and Bill Winingham have also been recognized as “Lawyer of the Year” for Indianapolis in Best Lawyers. It is this standard of excellence and dedication that we will bring to your car accident case.
With extensive experience in auto accidents and injuries, the Indianapolis car accident attorneys at Wilson Kehoe Winingham can help you get the compensation you deserve.
We serve clients throughout the greater metro area. In the event of a tragic car accident, let the legal team at WKW work toward the best possible outcome for your case.
Call 317.920.6400 today or fill out our online contact form for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.
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