Do I Need a Lawyer for a Rear-End Collision in Indianapolis?
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Imagine this. Your day was going well. You crossed off almost every item on your errand list. As you are about to turn onto the street that is adjacent to the shopping center you just visited, a car suddenly hits you from behind. At first, you do not think the impact was strong enough to cause you harm, but as the minutes pass, you begin to develop moderate pain in the neck and shoulders. The damage to your vehicle appears to be minimal and the other driver does not seem to be injured. Now, you have to answer an important question.
Do I need a lawyer for a rear-end collision in Indianapolis?
The answer depends on each victim’s unique circumstances. Since our example has you starting to develop pain in the neck and shoulders, working with a personal injury attorney can help you recover the costs of medical expenses. However, many rear-end accidents are nothing more than minor fender benders that cause little, if any, property damage or injuries. On the other hand, a rear-end collision at a high speed can produce serious injuries that require emergency medical care.
At Morgan & Morgan, we recommend that victims of rear-end accidents not only contact an attorney — regardless of the severity of the accident — but also seek medical attention even if they feel healthy. Rear-end auto collisions can generate delayed symptoms, such as the onset of a concussion and the pain that develops because of whiplash. Another reason to hire a personal injury lawyer concerns receiving help filing the most persuasive insurance claim.
For more than three decades, the experienced personal injury attorneys at Morgan & Morgan have recovered more than $14 billion in monetary damages for our clients. We help clients file convincing insurance claims, as well as civil lawsuits that seek compensation for the negligence committed by another party. Negligence often plays a pivotal role in determining the outcome of a rear-end collision case.
Schedule a free case evaluation today with one of the highly-rated personal injury attorneys at Morgan & Morgan to determine how to proceed with your case.
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What Does a Car Accident Attorney Do?
Before you decide whether you should hire a rear-end accident lawyer in Indianapolis, you should discover how one of the personal injury litigators from Morgan & Morgan can help you recover financial losses.
Gather and Organize Evidence
Your personal injury attorney reviews the formal police report issued by the law enforcement agency that responded to the rear-end car accident. The officer who signed the formal police report includes physical evidence and the statements made by witnesses. In addition to the formal police report, your rear-end collision lawyer in Indianapolis conducts a separate comprehensive investigation. At Morgan & Morgan, we have several investigators on our team that collect evidence and interview witnesses.
The key to winning a civil lawsuit that seeks monetary damages involves proving the other party committed one or more acts of negligence. Proving negligence requires your legal counsel to demonstrate the presence of four elements, which are a duty of care, breaching the duty of care, causation, and financial losses.
Duty of care establishes the other part had a duty to prevent you from sustaining injuries. Breaching the duty of care proves the other party violated the responsibility of preventing you from getting hurt. Causation shows the rear-end accident caused you harm and financial losses establish you lost money because of the rear-end collision.
Interact With Your Insurance Company
The one thing you do not want to do after a rear-end collision in Indianapolis is to contact your insurance company before you meet with a personal injury attorney. Insurance companies have deservedly earned a reputation for trying to force policyholders to sign off on significantly undervalued insurance claims. An experienced personal injury attorney acts as your intermediary to ensure you receive just compensation for lost wages, medical bills, and property damage. At Morgan & Morgan, our team of personal injury attorneys has established strong professional relationships with insurance adjusters based in Indianapolis, as well as throughout the United States.
Negotiate a Favorable Settlement
If your rear-end collision lawyer in Indianapolis proves the other party committed one or more acts of negligence, you might have enough evidence to file a civil lawsuit that seeks monetary damages. However, most civil litigation never sees the light of a courtroom. Instead, the attorneys representing both parties try to reach a settlement that appeals to both parties.
The personal injury attorneys from Morgan & Morgan who represent you submit an offer. Then, the lawyer representing the other party can accept the offer or send back a counteroffer. Both parties can make several counteroffers before either the case gets resolved or you move on to the trial phase of the litigation process.
Represent You During a Civil Trial
Although our law firm tries to negotiate settlements with other parties, we do not hesitate to take a case to trial if negotiations fail to produce a resolution to a case. Before the start of a civil trial, the rear-end accident lawyer from Morgan & Morgan prepares you to answer the questions you should receive from the other party’s attorney. Your legal counsel also presents convincing evidence that proves the other party committed one or more acts of negligence.
What Are the Indiana Car Accident Laws?
Indiana has passed several car accident laws, with three laws having the most impact on a rear-end accident case.
Indiana is an at-fault state, which means the party responsible for causing a rear-end collision must assume legal liability for taking care of the financial losses. For example, if another driver struck your car from behind while texting a message, the other party might be 100 percent responsible for causing the collision. Not every car accident case delivers an outcome in which just one party assumes all the legal liability for causing a rear-end accident.
Comparative fault is a legal principle that assigns percentages of blame to the parties involved in a car accident. Let’s assume the other driver hit your vehicle from behind while sending a text message. However, your vehicle got hit while you sat at a green light. The judge hearing your civil lawsuit might rule that you should assume some of the responsibility for causing the accident. If you assume a percentage of the liability for causing a rear-end accident, the monetary damages awarded to you decrease by the percentage of the fault assigned to you by the judge hearing your case.
Statute of Limitations
One of the most important reasons to hire a rear-end collision lawyer in Indianapolis involves the statute of limitations. You have a limited amount of time to file a civil lawsuit, which in Indiana is two years from the date of the accident. However, Indiana has made a few exceptions to the two-year statute of limitations. The most common exception to the Indiana statute of limitations regards a legal principle called the discovery rule. According to the discovery rule, a plaintiff receives extra time to file a civil lawsuit if the plaintiff did not develop the symptoms associated with an injury until days or even weeks after a car accident.
Failing to meet the two-year deadline for filing a personal injury lawsuit means you no longer have a valid legal claim to take legal action. The clerk assigned to processing the paperwork that is associated with your lawsuit will dismiss the case.
Car Insurance Requirements
As with fault and statute of limitations, car insurance requirements differ among the 50 states. Indiana requires a motorist to carry a minimum of $25,000 worth of bodily injury coverage per person, as well as $25,000 per accident for property damage liability. You must carry a minimum of $25,000 per person for uninsured motorist bodily injury and $25,00 per accident for uninsured motorist property damage.
Because state laws change every year in regards to minimum car insurance coverage, you should ask your personal injury attorney to determine whether you and the other party involved in a rear-end car accident have adequate car insurance coverage according to Indiana law.
What Should I Do After a Rear-End Collision in Indianapolis?
Getting hit from behind by another vehicle can trigger confusion and even disorientation. However, you need to remain calm and collect your thoughts to follow the steps required after a car collision.
Contact Law Enforcement
As we mentioned, the formal police report represents the most important document filed with your insurance company, as well as the court where you take legal action. Contacting the nearest police department ensures the accident scene receives the attention it deserves. Law enforcement personnel also direct traffic to prevent a bottleneck at the accident scene. Make sure you obtain the names and contact information of every officer that responded to the rear-end auto collision.
Take Photos of the Accident Scene
Although the formal police report contains physical evidence, you can help your attorney with an investigation by taking photographs of the accident scene. Focus on tire marks and the damage done to both motor vehicles. Putting your smartphone to good use might provide you with the evidence you need to get an insurance claim approved quickly.
Speak With Witnesses
After you exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver, spend time with witnesses to acquire their names and contact information. You do not want to discuss the accident with the other driver or any of the witnesses. Leave the interactions with witnesses up to your rear-end collision lawyer in Indianapolis.
Receive Medical Care
If you sustained serious injuries, move this step to the top of the list. Otherwise, you must seek medical attention after taking care of the previous steps, even if you feel healthy. To receive compensation for sustaining injuries, your physician must document the results of diagnostic tests, as well as describe your treatment programs and physical therapy sessions.
Contact a Personal Injury Attorney
Before you speak with an insurance adjuster concerning a claim, you should contact one of the experienced car accident lawyers at Morgan & Morgan. Because we charge clients on a contingency fee basis, you do not have to pay any upfront legal fees. You concentrate on taking care of medical bills until you receive compensation from your insurance company and/or the favorable judgment issued by the judge hearing your civil lawsuit.
Act with a sense of urgency by scheduling a free case evaluation with one of the rear-end collision lawyers at Morgan & Morgan.