An Indiana Injury Attorney Gets Justice for Victims
If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident, you should be focused on recovery, not on legal processes and medical expenses. That’s where an Indiana injury attorney can come into play. Personal injury lawyers know the law, understand how insurance companies operate, and can help accident victims get the compensation they need to get their lives back on track.
Too many accident victims feel pressured to settle with the person at fault for an accident or the responsible insurance company. If you follow this path without consulting with a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer, you may only be getting a fraction of what you are entitled to. Do not let this happen to you. The trained personal injury lawyers at Keffer Hirschauer LLP know how to prepare and present your case so walk away with fair and full compensation.
Personal Injury Law and the Role of an Indiana Injury Attorney
Personal injury law has been around in some form for just about as long as the state of Indiana itself. The law has changed over the years and continues to change with the times as the Indiana General Assembly passes new laws and Indiana courts issue opinions interpreting them. While Indiana’s Civil Law and Procedure statutes provide some definitions and guidelines around what constitutes a personal injury and what level of damages are available, every case has its own unique set of facts, making no case black and white.
A skilled Indiana injury attorney knows the law but also understands how to navigate its gray areas and get the most for their clients. Working with such an attorney gives you the best chance of recovering compensation that can make a difference in your situation.
What Is Considered Personal Injury in Indiana?
Personal injury is a category of civil law that allows victims to hold accountable the person responsible for injuries arising from an accident or an intentional act and seek compensation for the harm caused. Not every injury incurred because of another person’s actions is eligible for compensation as a personal injury. Generally, the victim must prove that the injury arose because the wrongdoer was negligent or acted intentionally or with reckless disregard for the consequences.
In Indiana, there are four primary elements of negligence. First, you must show that person or entity owed you a duty of care. In other words, the other person or entity had a legal responsibility to act a certain way in the context of the incident. Second, you must show that the other person or entity breached that duty of care. Third, you must prove causation between their injury and the defendant’s actions, which means showing that the other person’s or entity’s action or inaction caused your harm. Finally, you must you prove that suffered an injury and how the injury can be compensated with money.
It is a common misconception that if both parties bear some responsibility for the ultimate outcome of the incident, the wrongdoer is immune from liability. It is true that, if some part of the accident is the victim’s fault, the damages awarded may be reduced accordingly. This legal theory is known as comparative fault in Indiana, codified at Indiana Code chapter 34-51-2. However, as long as you are not 51 percent or more responsible for the accident, you are still eligible to seek damages, although any amount awarded would be reduced by the proportion of fault attributed to you.
An experienced Indiana injury attorney knows how to collect the evidence that is needed to prove all four negligence elements in court, work to minimize any comparative fault exposure, and prevail in getting the compensation you deserve in your case.
Types of Cases an Indiana Injury Attorney Can Pursue
All businesses and people have some duty of care to those around them. Companies and individuals must act in a responsible way that prevents injury or harm to others. An offender who fails to act responsibly could end up causing an accident and may be held liable for damages in a personal injury case. Common types of personal injury cases in Indiana include vehicle accidents, premises liability, and nursing home abuse and neglect.
Car accidents happen every day, and not all of them entitle victims to compensation for personal injury. However, if the other driver was driving drunk, driving distracted, or was otherwise not exercising a reasonable level of care when driving, you may have a personal injury claim against them.
Another type of common case is premises liability. This occurs when someone gets injured on the property of another person. Property owners have a duty to ensure that their property is safe for people who have a right to be there. Failure to fix dangerous hazards and failure to warn people about hazards are two common ways that property owners breach their duty of care.
The elderly are among the most vulnerable in our population, often partially or wholly relying on others for daily care as well as medical treatment. Nursing home abuse is particularly egregious because residents are often isolated and lack access or the communication skills needed to report their injuries and mistreatment.
These are just a sampling of the most common types of personal injury cases. Many other types of injuries or accidents can form the basis for a personal injury claim, including:
- Wrongful death
- Serious back injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
If you are not sure whether your situation rises to the level of a personal injury case or when to hire a personal injury lawyer, the best thing you can do is contact an Indiana injury attorney right away. Indiana Code § 34-11-2-4 only allows you two years from the time of the accident to file your case. Failure to institute legal proceedings before that deadline bars your claim forever. Hiring an attorney as soon after your accident as possible can be critical to allowing your Indiana injury attorney time to review the circumstances of your case, present you with all of your available options, and timely pursue damages in court.
How an Indiana Injury Attorney Helps Deal with Insurance Companies
In many personal injury cases, the first step is communicating with the relevant insurance company to seek compensation for your injuries. For example, in a car accident, you can submit a claim to the insurance company of the other driver. The insurance company will conduct its own investigation and make an offer to settle your claim. It is the goal of the insurance companies to pay as little as possible, so they will almost always make a very low offer.
Having an attorney represent you in insurance negotiations can make the difference between recovering what you are entitled to and recovering only a fraction of your losses. Experienced Indiana injury attorneys gather their own evidence to rebut the insurance company’s claims and do not settle for less than what their client deserves. Attorneys know the tricks the insurance companies use to deny your claim or get you to settle for less than you deserve and can prevent them from taking advantage of your lack of experience with insurance claims and the legal aspects of personal injury.
Steps in a Personal Injury Lawsuit
If the insurance company does not present a fair offer, you may be better off taking your claim to court.
Step one in a personal injury lawsuit is filing a complaint and serving the defendant in one of the manners described in Rule 4 of the Indiana Rules of Trial Procedure. To contest the claims in your complaint, the defendant(s) must timely file and answer. Thereafter, both parties move into the discovery phase, during which they each gather evidence that supports their position. Evidence gathered in personal injury cases may include items such as:
- Phone records
- Video recordings
- Witness statements
- Medical records
- Medical bills
- Police reports
Part of the investigative process may also include hiring an expert witness who can speak on your behalf regarding the details of the accident or the nature of the injuries sustained.
At any time in the litigation process, but especially after discovery is concluded, the parties may partake in settlement negotiations, during which they try to reach an agreement to resolve the issues raised in the case. If a settlement cannot be reached, the final step is taking your claim to trial and making your case in front of a judge and jury. Trials can take days, weeks or months, depending on the complexity of the case, and you will likely be expected to testify in front of a jury and/or judge.
Fighting your case in court is not a short and easy process, but it is sometimes the best option to hold the wrongdoer accountable and to ensure you get the compensation that makes you whole again.
An Experienced Indiana Injury Attorney Can Make All the Difference
In personal injury cases, there is a lot at stake. You may be left with lasting physical impairments, lost income, and significant, perhaps ongoing bills for medical expenses. Inexperienced attorneys may tell you that your case is straightforward, but even the most seemingly clear-cut cases can be a challenge to prove in court. Do not leave your case to chance; bet on experienced an Indiana injury attorney to handle your claim.
A successful personal injury claim can fight for both economic and non-economic damages for you. You may be compensated for:
- Damage to your property
- Medical bills and treatment
- Loss of income
- Loss of future earnings
- Household expenses
- Pain and suffering
A personal injury case will not erase your injury or take away the pain from your accident, but it can help alleviate some of the financial stress and set you up to move on with your life.
Experienced Indiana injury attorneys know how to craft a strategy that gets you the maximum compensation possible. Not every case is black and white, and sometimes the injured party may be partially at fault. If you contributed to the accident, that does not mean you are out of legal options. Skilled personal injury lawyers can reduce your exposure and still help you walk away with compensation.
Injured? Contact Your Trusted Indiana Injury Attorney at Keffer Hirschauer LLP
If you or a loved one has been injured because of someone else’s conduct, an Indiana injury attorney from Keffer Hirschauer LLP can help take some of the burden off your plate by pursuing a personal injury claim. Our lawyers and staff have the compassion and experience required to guide you through the personal injury case process successfully. We are ready to stand with you every step of the way, whether your case lasts a few weeks or several years. If you have been injured, get in touch with us by calling (317) 455-4043 or by filling out our online contact form.