Car Accidents And Possible Compensation
Sadly, thousands of people are injured or killed in motor vehicle accidents on Indiana roads and highways every year. Many of these accidents occur when a motorist isn’t paying attention, is violating traffic laws, or is otherwise acting negligently.
If you were injured in a car accident and you believe the other driver was at fault, you may be able to bring a personal injury claim. At Garau Germano, P.C., our skilled Indianapolis car accident lawyers have a long history of success helping auto accident victims secure justice. Having been loyally representing injured clients throughout Indiana since 1997, we have the knowledge and determination to help you pursue the compensation you need.
Who Is At-Fault In A Car Accident In Indiana?
Indiana follows a traditional tort-based system, or at-fault system when it comes to car accidents. This means that drivers who cause an accident (or more accurately, the at-fault driver’s insurance company) must pay for any damages related to medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and pain and suffering, resulting from the collision.
Because of this tort system, all drivers in Indiana are required to purchase auto insurance to legally operate a motor vehicle on the state’s roads. While drivers can pick the coverage they prefer, the state does impose a minimum coverage amount.
Minimum Insurance Coverage In Indiana
Every Indiana motorist must carry the following minimum insurance coverage:
- Bodily injury liability: $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident
- Property damage liability: $25,000 per accident
- Uninsured motorist bodily injury: $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident
- Uninsured motorist property damage: $25,000 per accident
- Underinsured motorist bodily injury: $50,000 per person and $50,000 per accident
Liability coverage pays for damages you cause to another party in the event of an accident, while uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage pays for damages other drivers cause in the event that they do not have insurance or do not have enough coverage to pay for the full cost. Liability coverage is always required, though drivers may decline uninsured/underinsured motorist coverages in writing.
What To Do After A Car Accident
Immediately following the accident, it is important that you seek medical attention, even if you feel that you were not severely injured. You should also try to take down the contact and insurance information of the other involved driver, as well as statements from any witnesses that may have been present. Take pictures of the accident/your injuries and notify your own insurance company. However, you should refrain from speaking to the other party’s insurance adjuster until you have first discussed your case with an experienced Indianapolis car accident attorney.
Compensation For Car Accident Victims
All too often, car collisions result in serious, long-lasting injuries and death. This is especially true when individuals are involved in accidents with large commercial vehicles, including semi trucks, or when motorcyclists are hit by other drivers.
While every case is different, you may be able to recover compensation for the following damages if you were injured in a car accident caused by someone else’s carelessness or recklessness:
- All medical expenses related to the accident, including immediate emergency treatment and ongoing care, pain management, and required medical equipment
- Lost income and/or wages from time taken off work to receive medical treatment and/or recover from your injuries
- Lost or reduced earning ability if your injuries prevent you from returning to or obtaining gainful work, either temporarily or permanently
- Pain and suffering, which includes both physical pain and emotional distress related to the accident and/or your injuries
Please note that this list is not exhaustive; the exact type and amount of compensation you may be able to recover will depend on the various factors involved in your case. These factors may include the percentage of fault you are deemed to have for the accident, the extent of your injuries, and more.
Indiana Car Accident Statute Of Limitations
If you were not the at-fault party in your car accident, you may need to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party to compensate you for your losses. You will need to act quickly, however, as there is a time limit on your right to sue known as a “statute of limitations.” Under Indiana Code 34-11-2-4, you only have two years from the date of your accident to file a lawsuit against the responsible party. This time limit applies to any party injured in a car accident, including drivers, passengers, pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcyclists.
Property damage lawsuits related to car accidents are also subject to this same time limit. Wrongful death lawsuits related to car accidents are also subject to a two-year statute of limitations starting on the date of death, which may be different from the date of the actual accident. For injury cases involving minors, the two-year statute of limitations will begin on the person’s 18th birthday, though parents of minors may file a personal injury lawsuit on their behalf.
Complying with the statute of limitations is crucial to the success of your case. If you attempt to file a claim after the statute of limitations has expired, the court will likely refuse to hear your case and you will be unable to pursue further legal action. For this reason, it is important to contact an attorney early on after a car accident to guard your rights and minimize your chances of encountering costly legal pitfalls.
Can I File A Car Accident Claim After Insurance Pays?
Since most insurance settlements include in the settlement that no additional compensation will be paid out after the agreed-upon amount, once you sign a settlement agreement it can be difficult to recover more compensation. This is still true even if you discover your injuries are more serious than you initially thought.
Contact Garau Germano, P.C., Today To Get Started
Our Indianapolis car accident attorneys can help you understand your legal options for recovery. We offer compassionate, client-focused representation and an uncompromising approach to litigation. We are here to serve as your advocate and guide throughout the legal process. Contact us online or call us at 317-978-9973.