Home / Blog / What is the Car Accident Claims Process in Indiana?

If you have been in a car crash, you may be eligible to recover damages for your injuries. However, filing a car accident lawsuit can take months or even years, depending on the case’s complexity. This process involves an extensive investigation by the at-fault driver’s insurance company, where they will be trying to argue your injuries and losses are not as serious as they actually are so they can justify denying your claim or offering a too-small settlement.

You must prepare for every stage of the proceedings to get a fair settlement. You can work with the Indianapolis car accident lawyers at Wagner Reese to guide you through the steps to safeguard your legal rights.

What Do I Need to File a Car Accident Claim?

If you are planning on filing a claim after an accident, you need to be proactive with your claim. These items can help strengthen your case:

  • Insurance policy number: You need to provide your insurance policy number from your insurance card when you file your claim with the other party’s insurance company.
  • The accident’s time, date, and place: Note when the accident took place for reference. You can refer to your police report to find the officer’s official recorded date and time of the accident.
  • Detailed sequence of events leading up to the accident: A statement of your actions, road conditions, and the other driver’s behaviors before the accident can help you when you speak to the adjuster. Ideally, you should direct the adjustor to speak to your lawyer rather than speak to them yourself, as they may try to trick you into speaking against yourself.
  • Insurance and contact information of the other party involved: Obtaining the other driver’s insurance policy number from the police report or asking directly can help your insurer identify their policyholder faster.
  • Name of police department and incident number: Before leaving the scene, the investigating officer will provide you with a receipt with the police report identification number. The insurance company can then obtain the police report.

How Does a Car Insurance Claim Work After an Accident?

The other driver’s insurance company will assign you an insurance adjuster who will perform these steps to determine who was at faut and the compensation you could be offered.

  • Police report review: A police report can tell the adjuster where the accident occurred, the type of collision, and who was likely at fault.
  • Interview parties and witnesses: The claims representative will speak with witnesses who saw what happened before and after the crash. They will ask for their version of events.
  • Investigate the accident scene: A visit to the accident site may be needed to corroborate an assessment of the damage to the vehicle. An adjuster may search for skid marks and damage to the pavement and guardrails.
  • Take photos of your car’s damage: Photos of your car’s damage can help the adjuster verify the accident’s severity.
  • Request a release form so they can view your medical records: If the adjuster needs to see your medical records, you may need to complete a release form for them to access your records.
  • Contact medical providers about injury costs: Medical providers will work with the claims representatives to estimate your medical care costs. You may incur medical bills for emergency surgery and hospitalization if you sustain severe injuries like head or spinal trauma.
  • Verify medical records, expenses, and wage loss: An adjuster will review your medical records and expenses to calculate compensation. Paystubs and tax returns will determine the wage loss you suffered while in recovery.
  • Check your social media to verify your claims: Insurance companies may look at your social media to see whether your claim matches your recent posts. For example, if you claim you have a back injury because of the crash but post pictures of yourself rock climbing, it could jeopardize your claim. In some cases, insurance companies may even hire private investigators to determine whether your injury is impacting you the way it has been presented in your claim.
  • Interview you for your side of the story: The adjuster needs to learn what you were doing before and during the accident to help determine liability.
  • Assess who is at fault and how much insurance will pay: An insurance claims representative will conclude fault based on the documentation of your injuries and damages. The insurer will look up the policy limits of their policyholder to approve compensation.

Meanwhile, your own lawyer will also be working to collect evidence proving the other driver was at fault and justifying your settlement demands through your losses and pain and suffering following the accident.

How Long Will It Take to Settle My Car Accident Case?

Most clear-cut automotive accident cases are resolved within several months. However, numerous factors affect the timeline of your car accident settlement. These include:

  • General timing of settlements: The insurance company will likely resolve the claim quickly if the evidence and damages demonstrate clear liability. However, disputes over fault and settlements with insurance companies can take years to resolve, especially when they go to court.
  • Nature and severity of injuries: The insurer may question your injury and refuse to settle without further investigation if your medical records do not validate your claim.
  • Insurance company: Some insurance companies will investigate a claim immediately. Others will take a conservative approach and require extensive reviews regarding settlements.
  • Factors relevant to the accident: Estimating fault may be difficult depending on the accident’s details and the parties involved. Liability issues may result in an adjuster initially denying your claim. Indiana is a comparative fault state, allowing you to claim damages even if you are up to 50% at fault for the accident. However, your total compensation will be reduced by your percentage of fault.

Investigating a Car Accident with the Help of a Lawyer

Our car accident lawyers at Wagner Reese can investigate your accident and determine the value of your claim based on your financial losses. Our legal team also handles negotiating with the insurance company once we conclude our investigation.

Call us today to schedule a free consultation and learn how we can maximize your compensation for your injuries.