You were seriously injured in a crash that wasn’t your fault, but how do you convince the insurance companies that you were not to blame and that your injuries require expensive medical treatment? The more evidence you have to prove your claims, the stronger your case will be. You should make every effort to gather this evidence as soon as possible after your accident. An experienced Indiana car accident attorney can help.
Evidence of Fault after an Indiana Auto Accident
Under Indiana’s comparative fault law, more than one party could share the blame for the crash. If a percentage of fault is assigned to you, your settlement from the other driver’s insurance company will be reduced by that amount. If you are certain that your actions did not contribute in any way to the cause of the crash, it is vital that you gather evidence to prove it. The following artifacts can help:
- Police report. Even though the police probably didn’t witness the crash, they will examine the scene and write an official report. They may issue traffic tickets to drivers for speeding, reckless driving, running a red light, or any number of other violations. If the responding officer did not ticket you or assign fault to you, this report can be valuable evidence.
- Photographs or video of the scene. If you are well enough following the crash, you should take photographs of the cars and the area surrounding the crash with your phone before anything is moved. If you are unable to do this, efforts should be made to track down photographs that may have been taken by other parties. There may also be surveillance cameras in the area that captured the accident.
- Expert testimony. A crash reconstructionist or other traffic expert can examine the scene—or photographs and witness statements after the fact—to draw conclusions about what happened to cause the crash. If he finds that your actions did not contribute to the cause of the crash, his testimony could be very beneficial.
- Witness statements. Anyone who witnessed the crash—including bystanders and passengers—could provide valuable information about what happened. These witnesses are particularly convincing if they are impartial third-party observers.
It will be very difficult for you to gather this information while you are recovering from serious injuries, but when you hire an attorney immediately following the accident, his team will do the legwork for you.
Evidence of Injury
If you were seriously or permanently injured in the crash, your medical expenses could be astronomical. Ambulance or medical flight transportation, emergency treatment, surgical procedures, and long-term rehabilitation and care can total in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Unfortunately, you will not be able to collect more than the at-fault driver’s insurance policy is worth, but you want to be sure all of your expenses are considered so that you can collect the maximum amount. To do this, you will have to present the following:
- Medical records. Your basic medical file will provide documentation of visits to the emergency room and follow-up appointments with your doctor or specialists. Medical records are vital to establishing the extent of your injuries. Only records related to the accident should be presented to the insurance company and in court. Imaging scans and results of testing should also be included with your medical records.
- Doctor testimony. Your doctor can be called to discuss your injuries and the treatments you have undergone. She can also provide a prognosis and plan for future treatments to further prove the extent and costs of your injuries.
- Medical expert testimony. Your own doctor may be seen as providing biased testimony, so an objective medical expert could also be called upon to examine your test results and provide his opinion on your injuries and recovery options.
- Economic expert. An economic expert can will provide an analysis of your financial losses due to the crash, including medical expenses, loss of income, and loss of potential earnings. This testimony can support your claim for maximum damages.
Many people who decide to go it alone with the insurance company do not go beyond their own doctor’s statements to prove their claim. This may be a mistake. An attorney will have access to the experts needed to present a strong claim.