The main reason people hire a car accident lawyer in Indianapolis, Indiana is to get compensation for their injuries. Some may say they want justice against the other driver. However, unless the accident was intentional, there isn’t much in the way of justice. Unlike a criminal case, there’s nothing personal about it. This is why it’s a good idea to consider hiring an Indianapolis injury attorney to handle things for you. They are unbiased and can take an independent look at your case. Sometimes, it’s best to have a set of impartial eyes and ears evaluate your case.
If your attorney thinks you have a valid claim for damages, they may be willing to represent you. As long as you’re not too close to the statute of limitations period expiring, they should be able to help you. Of course, if you don’t have a legitimate claim for damages, your car accident lawyer in Indianapolis, Indiana will tell you upfront. They don’t want to waste your time or their own. However, as long as there’s enough evidence to prove the other driver was at fault, it may be worth your time to proceed with legal action.
Before You Can Discuss Damages, Your Indianapolis Injury Attorney Must Prove Fault
As much as we would love to jump right into the types of damages you can demand, we first need to discuss fault. If you expect to receive a dime from the other driver, you’ll need to prove that they were negligent.
In order to demonstrate negligence, your Indianapolis injury attorney will need to prove the following four things:
- The other party owed you a duty of care. This may sound strange. What duty does a person owe a virtual stranger? When it comes to driving, however, we all owe a certain duty of care toward other motorists. At a minimum, we have to obey all the traffic laws in Indiana.
- Your car accident lawyer in Indianapolis, Indiana must also show that the defendant breached their duty of care. They’ll need to take the duty defined in their case and prove that the other driver did something to violate it. For example, if the duty of care is to obey all the traffic laws, you could show that the defendant was cited for speeding at the crash scene.
- You must prove that you were injured. Being involved in a car accident doesn’t automatically entitle you to damages. You must show that you suffered a specific injury. This can include a physical injury or a financial one. For example, if you can submit medical records showing that you suffered a herniated disc as a result of the crash, that would suffice.
- Finally, your Indianapolis injury attorney will have to demonstrate that your injuries are directly related to the defendant’s breach of duty. If the defendant’s lawyer can show that something other than the crash caused your injuries, you could lose your case.
Once your lawyer proves the elements of negligence, you can move on to discussing damages.
Every Car Accident Case is Different
Since every car accident case is different, there’s no way to know for sure what damages you’ll be entitled to. This is why we suggest that you meet with a skilled car accident lawyer in Indianapolis, Indiana before you file suit. They’ll need to see not just what damages you’ve suffered, but also what damages they can prove.
We have handled cases in the past where our client tells us they missed several months from work. However, before we can list damages for lost wages on their complaint, we need to verify this information. If we learn that the victim had scheduled this time off long before their accident, we can’t list it as part of their damages.
There are Certain Factors that Can Impact Your Damages
In a textbook car accident case, it’s easy to prove negligence. It’s also easy to prove damages. However, very rarely do the cases we handle fall into the category of “textbook car accident case.” Instead, they are complicated and convoluted. We may have to dig deep to prove your damages.
Some of the various factors that can impact your claim for damages include the following:
- You were partially at fault for the crash
- Your injuries were not very serious
- You suffered from an injury that is impossible to prove, such as whiplash or emotional distress
- You didn’t go to the hospital after your accident so we have no idea what injuries were directly caused by the crash
- You didn’t call the police so we have no way to talk to eyewitnesses
- You have a history of filing car accident lawsuits
All of these things can impact your damages. The ones listed here would likely decrease the damages you received. The most important one – that you were partially at fault – will be discussed in detail below.
Our Car Accident Lawyers in Indianapolis, Indiana Typically Demand the Following Damages
Most of our car accident victims are entitled to similar types of damages. If there is ample evidence in your case, you may be entitled to the following:
- Medical bills
- Future medical bills
- Property damage
- Lost wages
- Lost future income
- Pain and suffering
Of course, since every case is different, you may not receive every type of damages listed above. However, this should give you a good idea of what you may claim in your lawsuit.
Your Damages May Be Reduced if You Were Partially at Fault
It’s important to discuss what will happen if you were partially at fault for your crash. It is very rare that any one driver is 100% responsible for their car accident. It’s almost always possible to point to something the plaintiff did to contribute to the accident.
The good news is that Indiana follows the contributory negligence rule. This means that, as long as you’re less than 51% at fault for the accident, you can still collect damages. However, your damages will be reduced by your percentage of fault. Therefore, if you sued someone for $100,000 and were found to be 30% at fault, your damages would be reduced by $30,000.
Sit Down with an Experienced Indianapolis Injury Attorney Before You File Suit
We suggest that anyone who has been injured in a car accident call our office right away. As long as you meet with your Indianapolis injury attorney before you file suit, you should be in a good position to receive the compensation you deserve. We do offer our clients a free, initial consultation so it costs you nothing to meet with one of our associates.