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Indianapolis Car Accidents
Indiana is an at-fault state, meaning if you get injured in a car accident in Indianapolis or anywhere within the state, the party responsible for the accident should compensate you. In simpler words, you may be able to recover damages caused by the negligent party by filing a claim against their insurer. But there's no guarantee that your claim will be approved. This is why you need an experienced Indianapolis car accident lawyer.
Before we discuss the importance of working with an Indianapolis car accident attorney, let's first look at some essential facts you need to know about Indiana's car accident laws.
Indiana Is an At-Fault State
In an at-fault state, you can sue the negligent party to recover compensation for damages suffered due to the car accident. Examples of damages you may recover include:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
However, this isn't usually an easy process. Insurance companies make profits by limiting the amount paid to claimants following a car accident. In cases where their insured is clearly at fault, insurance companies often try to find ways to reduce the claim. For example, they might claim that their insured wasn't entirely responsible for the accident.
If proven true, the court could conclude that the accident occurred due to comparative negligence. This means that both parties share a certain degree of responsibility for the accident. So if you were 40 percent responsible for the accident, you will only recover 60 percent of the damages from the other party.
However, if your share of fault exceeds 50 percent, you can't recover anything from the other party. Remember, insurance companies have legal counsel as well. For this reason, all they need to do is convince the judge that you were more than 50 percent responsible for the accident.
Morgan & Morgan
What Type of Car Insurance Do You Need in Indianapolis?
In Indianapolis and the rest of Indiana, you must have the following insurance coverage when you drive a motor vehicle:
Property Damage Liability
This coverage helps settle the costs of repairing or replacing any damage you cause to another person's property, such as a vehicle, during a car accident. According to Indiana law, every motorist must have a minimum of $25,000 worth of property damage liability insurance per accident.
Bodily Injury Liability
This insurance coverage protects you if you've been found responsible for injuring someone in a car accident. It covers the victim's medical expenses, lost wages and might also help pay your legal costs if sued by the other party due to the accident.
Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury
Also known as UMBI coverage, it takes care of certain expenses if you're injured by an uninsured driver. Indianapolis law requires each person to have at least $25,000 worth of UMBI coverage and $50,000 per accident.
Uninsured Motorist Property Damage
In Indiana, you'll need a minimum of $25,000 worth of UMPD coverage. This coverage protects you if someone who doesn't have insurance or is underinsured hits your car or property on the road.
Underinsured Motorist Bodily Insurance
Drivers in Indianapolis must have UMBI coverage of $50,000 per person and $50,000 per accident. This type of coverage settles medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages caused to you or your passengers if injured in an accident caused by a driver with insufficient auto coverage.
Statute of Limitations for Car Accidents in Indianapolis
In Indiana, you have up to two years to file a car accident lawsuit against the other party. However, it's important to note that the statute of limitations only applies when filing a lawsuit against the party responsible for the car accident.
For this reason, insurance companies require that you inform them as soon as possible, usually within days or weeks at most after the accident. If you don't notify them immediately, the insurer could dispute your claim later.
Informing the insurance company about the accident doesn't necessarily mean that you're filing a claim at that very moment. In fact, an experienced Indianapolis car accident attorney will tell you that in most cases, it is not always advisable to file a claim right after an accident. This is because some damages take time to show, and you may not be able to recover them if you've already received compensation from the insurance company.
When you receive compensation for car accident damages, you'll be required to sign a release of settlement form. This form indicates that you've accepted the settlement offered by the insurance company and that you agree to waive your right to sue them over the same accident again.
This means you can't file another claim even if you discover that what the insurance company offered was less than you deserved. Also, suppose you find out that the injuries were more severe than earlier indicated. In that case, you can't file a claim with the insurer if you earlier signed the settlement release form and accepted payment from the insurance company.
At Morgan & Morgan, our car accident attorneys will review the extent of your injuries before filing a claim. We're not one of those personal injury law firms that are always excited to file a claim, close the case, and get their share of the deal. Instead, we take your health and wellbeing seriously, and that's why we leave no stone unturned in our pursuit of reasonable compensation. So even if it means spending more time acquiring the treatment you need to resume your normal life or at least be in a better place than you were after the accident, we'll do exactly that.
Back to the statute of limitations for car accidents in Indiana, anyone hurt in a car accident can file a lawsuit against the party responsible. The statute of limitations clock begins to count on the date of the accident.
Indiana Is a Modified Comparative Negligence State
Both parties may share responsibility for a car accident under certain circumstances in Indianapolis. Here's a quick example.
John runs a red light and hits a car traveling in the wrong lane. As a result, both drivers suffer serious injuries. When John files a car accident lawsuit against the other party, the court might rule that it was illegal for John to run a red light and that the other driver shouldn't have been driving in the wrong lane. Therefore, both parties will have to share a certain degree of responsibility for the accident, usually calculated in percentages. This ruling is known as modified comparative negligence.
However, it's also important to note that for one party to recover damages against the other following a car accident, they must not be more than 50 percent responsible for the accident. So, using the example above, John can't recover anything from the other driver's insurer if the court rules that John was 51 percent responsible for the accident and the other driver 49 percent liable.
How a Morgan & Morgan Indianapolis Car Accident Lawyer Can Help
Let's now discuss how a car accident lawyer, precisely from Morgan & Morgan, can help if a negligent driver injures you or your loved one in Indianapolis or anywhere else in the state.
Gathering Important Evidence
After a car accident, you must have enough evidence to hold the other party responsible for your injuries. The court won't rule in your favor just because you suffered more injuries than the other party. Instead, you'll need to prove that the other party is responsible for your damages.
When you contact Morgan & Morgan Indianapolis car accident attorneys for a free consultation, we'll evaluate your case and advise you on the way forward. If you have a case against the other party, we'll review the available evidence and decide whether it is strong enough to secure the compensation you need and deserve. If not strong enough, our investigators might be able to collect the missing piece of evidence to build a strong case against the other party.
Interpreting Car Accident Laws
Indianapolis car accident laws are expansive. What we've just discussed in this article isn't even half of everything you need to know about car accident laws in this state. However, an experienced Indianapolis car accident lawyer can help apply these laws in your favor, increasing your chances of filing a successful claim or lawsuit.
Insurance companies will most likely dismiss your claim if you don't have an attorney. But if the insured is responsible for the accident, the insurer will offer less than the actual value of your claim if you don't have legal counsel.
Providing Access to Important Legal Resources
Morgan & Morgan has been providing legal representation for victims of car accidents all over the US for more than three decades. For this reason, we've built great relationships with professionals from different fields. For example, after a car accident in Indianapolis, we can advise you on where to seek medical treatment.
Similarly, if your case is complex and needs the intervention of experts to provide their professional opinion in front of the jury, we know who to contact for this role.
Evaluating the Value of Your Claim
The first rule of filing a car accident claim is that you shouldn't trust what the insurance company says or offers. As mentioned before, insurance is a business like any other. Car insurance companies usually try to downplay the severity of an accident caused by their insured to avoid paying you what you deserve as compensation for the accident.
For this reason, you shouldn't expect the insurance company to be honest about the actual value of your claim. On the contrary, you need a car accident attorney who understands the importance of getting the actual figures right the first time. At Morgan & Morgan, our attorneys consider different factors when calculating the claim's value. We don't leave anything out if it can add more value to your claim.
Our attorneys understand that once you sign the release of settlement agreement, you can't sue the insurance company over the same accident all over again. The only way you can file such a lawsuit is if the insurance company committed fraud somewhere along the way. Unfortunately, this is usually a difficult thing to prove, and that's not the legal journey you want to take if you have the chance to get things right with an experienced car accident attorney from Morgan & Morgan.
Negotiating on Your Behalf
It's frustrating to deal with insurance companies. Such companies use different tactics to avoid paying what they owe the injured party. At Morgan & Morgan, we've handled different types of insurance companies, big and small, and we don't settle for less than what you truly deserve. We know every tactic insurance companies use to avoid paying what they owe. As a result, we are always ahead of them when fighting for what you're entitled to as compensation.
Representing You in Court
Some insurance claims are more straightforward than others. For example, when the insurance company is clearly at fault for the accident, they'll most likely want to settle out of court. However, in some cases, insurance companies may decide to have the case decided by a judge.
When you hire a Morgan & Morgan attorney, they'll always represent you in and out of court. Some insurance companies threaten car accident victims with legal action to discourage them from fighting for what they deserve as compensation. Such companies usually hope that the accident victims will consider the costs of hiring an attorney and the time needed to pursue a claim in court and choose to settle for less than what they deserve. Sadly, some accident victims fail to recover anything.
At Morgan & Morgan, you don't have to worry about fighting the insurer in court. We'll be with you throughout the journey. In addition, you don't need to worry about the costs of pursuing such a claim in court; you don't owe us anything unless we win.
Contact a Morgan & Morgan Car Accident Lawyer in Indianapolis
Don't suffer in silence due to injuries caused by another driver's negligence. An experienced Morgan & Morgan car accident lawyer in Indianapolis is ready to review your case and help you seek the compensation you need and deserve. All you need to do is fill out our free case evaluation form online.