Published in Personal Injury on January 14, 2022.
If you’ve been injured in an Indiana car crash, you understand that the recovery process can be a bit overwhelming.
Insurance policies are complicated, and trying to navigate an Indiana car accident lawsuit while recovering from your injuries is a lot to take on.
Below are some basics about Indiana car accident lawsuits that are helpful for accident victims to know.
Indiana Car Accident Laws
As a general rule, all motorists owe everyone else on the road a duty of care. This duty requires drivers to operate their vehicles in a safe and responsible manner by following all traffic signs and laws.
Drivers are also required to exercise good judgment. After a car crash, Indiana residents can file a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver even if the other driver’s actions didn’t rise to the level of a crime.
What Is a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
A personal injury lawsuit is a civil claim brought by someone injured in a motor vehicle collision. The injured party files suit against one or more parties who are responsible for the collision.
Drivers, passengers, motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians can all bring a personal injury lawsuit following a crash.
Unlike a criminal case, a personal injury claim doesn’t typically seek to punish the at-fault party. Instead, the focus is to provide the accident victim with financial compensation.
While every accident is different, state law allows accident victims to recover their economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages are the expenses you incur as a result of the accident, such as medical bills. They also include income that you could not earn because of your injuries.
Non-economic damages provide you with compensation for the emotional effect the accident had on your life. Compensation for pain and suffering is an example of non-economic damages.
Car Insurance Laws in Indiana
Indiana law requires all drivers to carry a certain amount of insurance coverage. There are several types of coverage; however, only the following are required by law.
Bodily Injury Liability: This covers injuries to other people if the insured party causes an accident. Indiana law requires all motorists have coverage of at least $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident.
Property Damage Liability: This covers damage to another’s property when the insured party causes an accident. Indiana law requires all motorists have coverage of at least $25,000 per accident.
Legally, you must have this minimum amount of insurance before hitting the roads of this state.
In addition, every new auto insurance policy in the state must contain uninsured motorist protection and underinsured motorist protection—unless you waive the coverage in writing.
By default, Indiana car insurance policies include coverage of $25,000 per person / $50,000 per accident.
Underinsured motorist (UIM) protection: UIM protection kicks in to cover your injuries if the at-fault driver does not have sufficient insurance coverage.
Uninsured motorist (UM) protection: UM covers your injuries if the at-fault driver does not have any insurance at all.
The Process of Bringing a Claim After Car Accidents in Indiana
Indiana law creates a fault-based insurance system where injured motorists can file a claim directly with the at-fault party’s insurance company.
The insurance company is obligated to defend the at-fault driver under the terms of their insurance policy.
Thus, when you bring a car accident case against a driver, it will almost always be that driver’s insurance company managing the claim.
The involvement of insurance companies is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, insurance coverage means that there will be money available to pay for your losses if you succeed in your claim.
However, on the other hand, dealing with an insurance company can make the recovery process quite challenging.
As a business, an insurance company operates for profit. Thus, insurance companies are often looking for ways to reduce the amount of money they payout.
Insurance companies may attempt to minimize your injuries or claim you were partially at fault for causing the crash. Other times, insurance companies may deny a claim based on a vague technicality.
To that end, insurance companies will try to get you to make statements they can later use against you. And they can be tricky.
One of the only ways to avoid falling into their trap is to hire a lawyer before speaking with any insurance representative.
Determining Fault in an Indiana Car Accident
While some accidents are solely the fault of one driver, it is also common for more than one driver to share responsibility.
In these situations, Indiana law uses a system called “modified comparative negligence” to determine compensation.
Under this system, your recovery will be reduced by the percentage of fault assigned to you. And if your fault is greater than 50%, all recovery is barred.
In sum, as long as you are not greater than 50% at fault if you are partially at fault, the court reduces your award by your percentage of fault.
For example, assume you sustain $150,000 in damages after being hit by another car. However, the jury determined you were 10% at fault, and the other driver was 90% at fault.
In this case, your take-home damages award would be $135,000 ($150,000 minus 10%).
What to Do After an Indiana Car Crash
If you recently suffered injuries from a car crash, you must take the necessary steps to protect your health and your ability to pursue a legal claim against the at-fault parties.
Below are a few steps you can take.
Report the Collision
You need to report an Indiana car accident immediately by calling 911 or the local police or sheriff’s department.
When you report an accident, an emergency response team comes to the scene to see if anyone needs medical treatment.
Reporting the accident also creates a paper trail, making it harder for an insurance company to deny your claim.
Obtain Immediate Medical Attention
The sooner you can get into a doctor, the better. Sometimes, car accidents cause serious and potentially long-term injuries that are not immediately apparent.
Additionally, the longer you wait to visit the doctor, the easier you make it for the insurance company to claim your injuries were not related to the accident.
If you can gather any evidence before you leave the scene, it can help you prove your case against the negligent driver.
Primarily, you should focus on getting the names and contact information of any witnesses and taking photographs of the accident scene, the property damage, and the road conditions.
Talk to an Indiana Car Accident Lawyer
The personal injury recovery process is not always straightforward. However, it is high-stakes. After a car crash, Indiana residents may have questions about how to proceed.
It is important to seek assistance from an experienced personal injury attorney. With your input, your attorney can handle all aspects of the case from beginning to end, allowing you to focus on your recovery.
Reach Out to Our Indiana Car Crash Lawyers
If you or a loved one was recently involved in a car accident, give Eskew Law, LLC, a call. We understand that you have questions, and we are happy to answer them.
We will provide you with one-on-one service throughout your case, and we are here to answer your questions 24/7.
We accept all Indiana car accident cases on a contingency basis, meaning we won’t ask you to pay us a penny unless we win your case.