At Wagner Reese, our experienced and knowledgeable car accident lawyers in Indianapolis work hard to fight back against distracted driving, negligent driving, drunk driving, reckless driving, and all other types of preventable, accident-causing driving behaviors.
As a result, our firm has recovered millions for auto accident victims in Indiana.
After a wreck, you may be asking yourself, "Do I really need to hire a lawyer?" Handling your claim professionally will take time, but it could also mean a much larger recovery. Your car accident case will almost always be worth more when presented by legal counsel.
If you were injured or your loved one was killed in a car collision, contact Wagner Reese for a FREE consultation. Call (888) 204-8440 today.
Can Someone Other Than the At-Fault Driver Be Liable?
If you were injured in an auto accident, there may be parties other than the at-fault driver who share responsibility for what happened. If the accident occurred because the other driver was drunk and a business served alcohol to the visibly intoxicated driver before the accident, for example, the business may be liable under Indiana's dram shop law.
If a product defect in one of the vehicles caused or worsened the effects of the accident, the vehicle manufacturer may be responsible for the injuries that resulted. Or, a third party may have left debris in the road or caused one of the drivers involved in the accident to undertake a risky driving maneuver to avoid a collision. They may also be liable.
How Negligence Leads to Car Accidents
Studies show that there is an average of more than two people killed every day in Indiana as a result of car accidents. Most of these accidents are caused by negligence.
This can be seen in the most common causes of car accidents, which include:
- Distracted driving, including texting while driving
- Speeding or driving above posted speed limits
- Drunk driving/operating while intoxicated
- Reckless or aggressive driving
- Illegal driving behaviors (such as illegal lane changes)
- Defective car parts, including tires, brakes, airbags, and seat belts
- Dangerous roadways and conditions or faulty road design
In these and other common causes of car accidents, the negligence of another driver, auto manufacturer, or another entity can lead to serious consequences. When this is the case, victims and their families are entitled to take legal action against the negligent party.
How Much Money Is My Car Accident Case Worth?
Your case is worth either what you agree with the insurance company it is worth or the amount of a cash award by a jury following a trial. At Wagner Reese, we examine all of the conditions surrounding your case in order to arrive at a figure that we believe the insurance company should pay for your injuries. Generally, the dollar value is dependent upon:
- How strong liability is in your case
- The nature and extent of your injuries
Other factors influencing the value of your case are the amount of medical bills, length of treatment, the frequency of treatment, future medical bills, permanent disabilities, and whether you had any pre-existing medical conditions similar to your current injury. We study every detail so that we can get you the money you deserve for your injuries.
Will I Receive Three Times My Medical Bills?
The idea that someone will receive three times the cost of medical bills related to the car accident is a theory that has been going around for some time. However, it's not that simple; compensation will be determined by taking several factors into account.
Some of those factors can include, but are also not limited to:
- Lost wages or loss of earning capacity
- Medical bills related to injuries sustained in a car accident
- Future medical bills and ongoing medical expenses
- Pain, suffering, disfigurement, and disability
What If the Insurance Company Offers Me a Check Right Away?
Before you accept anything—or sign anything—from an insurance company, be sure that you are aware of your legal rights and options. Accepting a check may mean that you are giving up your right to sue later on if you need extra medical care or you have to miss a lot of work. Consult an Indianapolis car accident attorney before you try to negotiate.
How Do Policy Limits Affect My Compensation?
People who are seriously injured in car accidents may require long-term or lifetime care. In these types of cases, it is possible that the maximum amount available through a policy will be less than the total expenses. However, it is also possible that multiple policies exist, and other avenues to recover compensation can be pursued. The best way to ensure you receive maximum compensation is to hire a law firm to review your case.
If the Accident Was My Fault, Can I Still Recover Compensation?
Some states have no-fault insurance laws. This means that you may be able to make some recovery of economic damages from your own insurance company. In other states, if your percentage of fault is found to be over a certain level, it is more difficult to recover compensation. An attorney in your state can advise you on the rules in your area.
What Am I Entitled to Recover After an Accident?
You may be entitled to a number of different types of damages under Indiana law. Some of the more common types of damages in accident cases include reasonable and necessary medical expenses, lost earnings, reduced earning capacity in the future, future medical expenses and prescriptions, pain and suffering, and permanent impairment.
What If Insurance Refuses to Pay for My Vehicle Damage?
Contact your insurance company to start the process of getting your car repaired. Let your company request compensation from the other insurance company. If you don’t have collision coverage, contact an experienced attorney to help guide your next steps.
Who Will Pay My Bills If the Other Person Has No Insurance?
Even if the other driver doesn’t have insurance, you may still be covered. Check with our office. We can look at your auto insurance policy and advise you whether there is coverage for your property damages and medical bills. Optional coverage for medical payments and uninsured motorist coverage, for example, may provide coverage to compensate you if you are involved in a motor vehicle accident with someone who has no insurance.
Uninsured motorist (UM) or underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage is an optional coverage you may have under your auto policy which protects you if the driver who caused your accident was uninsured or did not have enough insurance to pay your claim.
Underinsured motorist coverage helps make up the difference in a negligent driver’s insurance policy limits and the damages you suffered from your injuries. This is important because the emergency room bill alone could easily be many times higher than the $25,000 minimum liability coverage Indiana drivers are required to carry. At the end of the day, it could make the difference in keeping your family afloat while you’re recovering.
Will the Insurance Company Pay for a Rental Car?
Typically, yes. However, you usually have to make your own arrangements and provide documentation to recover compensation for the rental cost.
How Long Will My Car Accident Claim Take to Settle?
The answer to this question truly depends on you and if you are willing to fight for what you deserve. If you are looking for a quick and easy settlement, you will be happy to know that insurance companies will toss out low-ball offers almost immediately following an accident in the hope of settling quickly and with the lowest payout possible.
But, if you want to recover the maximum amount of compensation available for your car accident, it will require more time to settle your claim. The primary factor impacting the length of time it takes to settle a claim is the seriousness of injuries sustained in the car accident and how long the healing process is for those seeking compensation.
As car accident attorneys in Indianapolis, we know how quickly debt can accrue after a serious wreck. However, it is important to understand that if you settle with the insurance company prior to being fully released by your medical provider, you will become financially responsible for any future medical costs. No further compensation will be granted.
Property Damage Claims vs. Personal Injury Claims
Indiana state law requires drivers to carry a minimum of $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident in personal injury coverage, and a minimum of $10,000 in property damage coverage. Just as there are separate claim allowances, these claims are also handled separately and paid out separately by the insurance company after an accident.
A majority of the settlement will come out of the personal injury coverage; however, any property damage claims are paid out of the required minimum $10,000 in property damage coverage. Typically, it is best to handle property damage claims on your own. Attorney fees would absorb most of the settlement awarded in a property damage claim.
Most property damage claims are easy to file and typically offer a fixed amount. If the other insurance company denies the claim, you can request repairs through your own insurance company and let your insurance company seek retribution from the other company.
What Can I Claim in Property Compensation?
The insurance adjuster will determine the value of your vehicle prior to the accident, as well as the vehicle’s value after the accident. In most cases, you are entitled to recover the difference in value. If the insurance company decides to repair the vehicle, you can make arrangements with the auto body shop of your choice to get the vehicle fixed.
What If the Repairs Cost More Than the Vehicle Is Worth?
If estimated repairs cost more than 75% the Kelley Blue Book Value of the vehicle, it will be "totaled" by the insurance company, and they will pay you the value.
In most cases, you can still keep your car, even if it is declared to be totaled. However, the payout for the vehicle tends to be less. Also, future resale of the vehicle is typically affected, and the title must be sent to the DMV for proper notation of salvage.
If you owe more than the car is worth, contact your lender to discuss alternate forms of collateral. Once an agreement is reached, you can use the insurance money towards the purchase of a replacement and use the new vehicle as security in the loan.
Can I Get Additional Compensation for Extras on the Car?
You can be compensated for new stereos and other non-stock items installed. The amount determined is the difference in the values of the non-stock and stock items.
Call Wagner Reese for Your Free Consultation
If you would like to discuss your car accident with an experienced attorney, contact Wagner Reese and request a free consultation today. We offer contingent fees, meaning you do not pay unless we win your case. We also offer legal services in Spanish, and we can travel to meet you if you are not able to make it into our office for your consultation.
Contact our Indianapolis car accident lawyers at (888) 204-8440.