Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Personal Injury Laws in Indiana
Below are the answers to common initial questions many clients have when they first contact Keller and Keller. We hope that the information below address many initial concerns you may have, but if you don't find the answers here, please contact us with questions specific to your case. The consultation is free and confidential.
- Page 1
Does not wearing a helmet hurt my Indiana motorcycle accident claim?
Under Indiana’s motorcycle helmet law, only riders under the age of 18 are required to wear a helmet while riding. As an adult, you are free to choose whether you want to wear a helmet or not. However, if you suffer a serious head injury in a crash caused by another driver, you could be considered partially at fault for causing your injuries because you were not wearing a helmet. This could affect the amount of compensation you would be awarded by the at-fault driver’s insurance company. An experienced motorcycle accident attorney can help you fight for the compensation you deserve.
Helmets Prevent Some Injuries—But Not All
Motorcycle accident injury claims present several legal challenges. Bikers are often portrayed as risk-takers and are made out to be the bad guy in every accident. Even if the driver of the car was clearly at fault and has been charged with a traffic offense, his or her insurance company will do all they can to pin at least some of the blame on the motorcycle rider. One tactic they will use is to lower the damages offered to a rider who was not wearing a helmet. Even though the rider was not breaking the law, the insurance adjuster will argue that he is partially responsible for his own injuries because he was not wearing a helmet.
The motorcycle accident attorneys at Keller & Keller represent injured bikers and will fight for the compensation they deserve when another driver’s negligence caused the crash. If the most serious injuries are to areas that would not have been protected by a helmet anyway—such as the legs, hips, and torso—we will deny partial liability and fight for full compensation.
Talk to Keller & Keller About Your Indiana Motorcycle Accident
If you choose to wear a DOT-approved helmet when you cruise Indiana’s highways and bi-ways, we applaud your decision. However, we also support your right under the law to not wear a helmet. Either way, we represent motorcyclists who are injured by negligent drivers and will fight to get the maximum compensation possible. If you were injured in a motorcycle crash—or a loved one was killed—contact Keller & Keller in Indianapolis today. Fill out the form on this page and we will get back to you as soon as possible.
How do I get my car fixed after a crash that wasn’t my fault?
While getting the medical attention you need after an Indiana car crash is your top priority, you are also concerned about how to get your car fixed. If the crash wasn’t your fault and you are pursuing personal injury damages against the other driver, what does that mean for repairing your car? We take a look at property damage claims here.
Property Damage and Personal Injury Are Two Separate Claims
The first thing to be aware of is that getting your car fixed and getting yourself fixed are two different claims. If the other driver is found to be at fault, you can file a claim on their insurance policy to have them pay for the repair of your vehicle. However, if you have comprehensive or collision coverage on your own policy, you might want to just deal with your own company. Here’s what you should know:
- If you only have liability coverage on your own policy, you will have to make a claim on the other driver’s property damage coverage. In Indiana, every driver must carry at least $10,000 in property damage coverage.
- If the other driver’s insurance company denies that their client is at fault, you will have to provide police reports and witness statements, and the process can drag out for weeks.
- If you decide to file with your own company and they agree that you are not at fault for the crash, you will not have to pay the deductible, and your rates will not go up for filing a claim. They will “settle up” with the other driver’s insurer.
- You should not need a lawyer for a property damage claim, but if you are also pursuing a personal injury claim, your lawyer may assist with this claim as well.
Ask Your Keller & Keller Attorney About Your Property Damage Claim
At Keller & Keller, we are happy to help you with a straightforward property damage claim as we hold the negligent driver responsible for your personal injury damages. We can discuss the damage to your vehicle in our free initial consultation to get you off on the right foot. While property damage claims can be handled without an attorney, we do not recommend handling your own injury claim. Schedule a free consultation with our Indianapolis attorneys to find out how we can help.
How often will Social Security review my disability claim?
You can collect Social Security disability benefits for as long as you are unable to work due to illness or injury. However, once your condition has improved to the point that work is possible, you are supposed to inform the Social Security Administration (SSA) and return to work. To ensure that people are not taking advantage of the system, the SSA will periodically review cases to confirm that recipients continue to be disabled. How often that review occurs depends on the possibility of your medical improvement.
Frequency of SSDI Case Reviews
The SSA is an understaffed and overworked organization. Therefore, they will only review your case as often as necessary. If you are permanently disabled, you do not have to worry about intrusive annual reviews. However, if your injury or illness is not expected to be permanent, your case will be reviewed more frequently. In general, the SSA reviews cases according to the following schedule:
- If medical improvement is expected, your case will be reviewed within six to 18 months after your benefits start.
- If your improvement is considered possible, your case will not be reviewed sooner than three years after the start of benefits.
- Even if your disability is permanent and no improvement is expected, your case will still be reviewed, but no sooner than seven years after benefits start.
This schedule is not set in stone, and your case may be reviewed more or less frequently. If the SSA finds out that you have been working or they have monitored your behavior and found evidence that you are not disabled, you could be reviewed and you could lose your benefits.
Your SSDI Attorney at Keller & Keller Can Help
If you have received a Disability Update Report or a Continuing Disability Review Report from the SSA and have questions about continuing your SSDI benefits, contact the disability attorneys at Keller & Keller. We may be able to help you avoid losing your disability benefits. Contact us through the link on this page or call our Indianapolis office today.
What is a representative payee?
It is not unusual for a Social Security disability beneficiary to be unable to manage his or her own care and finances. When this is the case, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will appoint a representative to receive the funds and pay for the beneficiary’s needs. This role carries a great deal of responsibility and should only be undertaken by a competent individual.
What a Representative Payee Must Do
Only the person appointed by the SSA has the legal authority to negotiate and manage a beneficiary’s disability benefits. The duties of a representative payee include the following:
- Assessing the current and future needs of the beneficiary and paying for them with the benefits he receives
- Using disability benefits for the exclusive benefit of the disabled person
- Keeping a record of expenses and providing the SSA with a report accounting for the benefits
- Saving any unused benefits in an interest-bearing account for the beneficiary’s future use
- Helping the disabled person get medical treatment
- Reporting any changes in the disabled person’s situation which would affect his or her eligibility for Social Security disability benefits,
- Returning any benefits to which the disabled person is not entitled
Having a power of attorney or a joint bank account with the disabled person does not give a person access to a beneficiary’s disability benefits. In order to be a representative payee, you must apply to the SSA and be approved.
Limits on a Representative Payee’s Role
The role of the representative payee is limited to dealing with disability benefits, so he or she is not able to:
- Sign legal documents, other than Social Security documents, for a beneficiary.
- Access the beneficiary’s other earned income, pensions, or any income from sources other than Social Security
- Use a beneficiary’s money for their own personal expenses
- Spend funds in a way that would leave the beneficiary without housing, food, or medical care
- Put a beneficiary’s Social Security funds in their own or another person’s account
- Charge the beneficiary for services unless authorized by SSA to do so
How Keller & Keller Can Help
If you have been appointed as the representative payee for a disability recipient, you may need help fulfilling some of your responsibilities. As Social Security disability attorneys, we are happy to provide legal guidance. Contact us to find out how we can help you manage a disabled person’s benefits.
Who will pay if I need treatment related to car accident injuries years after the accident?
It’s entirely possible that you could develop a debilitating medical condition related to a car accident years after the accident. This could be a physical ailment—such as arthritis or chronic back pain—or an emotional disorder, such as anxiety or PTSD. However, even if the connection to the car accident is clear, you will not be able to seek additional damages from the at-fault party. If the settlement you agreed to at the time of the crash is not sufficient to cover these new injuries, you will have to use your own insurance or pay out of pocket.
Maximum Medical Improvement and Future Damages
Being unable to cover future medical expenses with car accident settlement money could be the result of poor planning at the time of the accident. When you work with a personal injury attorney from Keller & Keller, you can be sure we will consider the possibility of future expenses and will do all we can to get you the compensation you might need to cover future losses. Our team always considers the following when negotiating accident claims:
- Maximum medical improvement. In the immediate aftermath of a car accident, it can be difficult to know what your total medical expenses will be. A forward-thinking attorney will wait to agree to a settlement until the extent of your recovery and future medical expenses are clear.
- Future damages. Injuries that result in permanent disabilities will require lifelong medical expenses and limit your ability to earn a living. Your attorney should consider potential future costs—including medical bills and lost earning potential—when negotiating a settlement with the at-fault party’s insurance company.
- Financial planning. If compensation from the at-fault driver is received in a lump-sum, you will need a plan to protect some of the money for future medical needs. Your attorney should be able to provide this invaluable advice.
Working with an experienced attorney at the time of your accident will save you the worry about paying for possible future medical expenses. The car accident team at Keller & Keller knows how to determine the value of a claim and when to plan for future expenses. They also help their clients make a plan for putting money aside to pay for future costs.
Come Back to Keller & Keller Any Time!
Even if it has been many years since you worked with Keller & Keller to settle your car accident claim, you can always call us with questions and concerns. We stand by the work we do for our clients and are happy to hear from former clients, especially when they need help.
What would cause my disability payments to stop?
Due to a chronic illness or disability that prevents you from being able to work, you were approved for SSDI benefits. Your condition is not expected to get better, so you assume that your benefits will continue for years to come. However, in order to stay on disability, you must remain eligible. Your benefits could be terminated by the Social Security Administration for several reasons.
Your Checks May Stop If These Things Happen
SSDI is intended to provide financial support to pre-retirement aged people who have paid into the system over their working life and are now unable to work because of a disability. These benefits will stop if:
- You return to work. While you are allowed to engage in some amount of paid work while collecting disability, you cannot exceed a certain earning level. If you do, you will be considered ineligible for SSDI. If you are working a lot but not earning above the threshold, the SSA could determine that you are capable of substantial gainful activity (SGA) and cut off your benefits.
- You reach retirement age. Once you reach 66 years of age, your disability benefits will stop, and you will begin receiving Social Security retirement benefits instead. You cannot collect both of these benefits at the same time.
- You go to prison. Being incarcerated or institutionalized will also render you ineligible for SSDI benefits, as will being convicted of certain felonies even if you do not receive a prison sentence. Your benefits will be reinstated in the month after your release.
If you are a minor collecting dependent benefits under a parent, your checks will stop once you turn 18 or get married.
Worried About Losing Your Benefits? Call an SSDI Lawyer!
You count on your disability payments to support yourself and your family. If you’re worried that you’ll do something to lose your benefits, contact the SSDI attorneys at Keller & Keller in Indianapolis. We can help you stop worrying and stay eligible. If you have received a letter from the SSA saying that your benefits are in jeopardy, or your checks have already stopped and you don’t know why, we can also help! Start a chat or fill out our contact form to get the answers you need.
What will I receive in damages if I sue the driver who caused my motorcycle crash?
The answer to this question depends on a number of factors. Every accident claim is unique, but a skilled motorcycle accident attorney will be able to build a strong case for maximum compensation when it can be proved that another driver caused your crash. The value of your claim will primarily depend on the following:
- The severity of your injuries. Your attorney will fight for enough money to compensate you fully for the cost of treating your injuries. If you suffered serious injuries, such as traumatic brain injury, spinal cord damage, or amputation of a limb, that cost will be high, and your compensation should reflect that. A permanent disability resulting from the accident could mean you will need a lifetime of expensive care.
- The value of your losses. If you are unable to return to a high-paying job because of the injuries you suffered, your wage loss compensation will be significant, but any loss of wages and future earnings should be fully compensated.
- Your dependents. If a spouse and children are dependent upon your earnings, that could multiply the value of your claim. Also, your family may be able to make a loss-of-relationship claim in certain situations.
An experienced attorney will know how to assess the value of your claim and will work hard to make sure you are fully compensated.
Kinds of Damages That Can Be Recovered
In Indiana, you are entitled to recover for the following expenses:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Future medical expenses
- Probable loss of wages in the future
- Property damage
- Loss of relationship with your spouse
- Other out-of-pocket expenses due to your injuries
In some cases, in which the other party's conduct was unusually heinous, you may be able to recover punitive damages.
Our Indianapolis Attorneys Will Fight for You
Experienced personal injury attorneys understand the losses you have suffered—and those you will continue to suffer—because of your motorcycle crash. Our motorcycle crash team will not settle a claim until you are offered everything you will need to return to as normal a life as possible after a serious crash. You have nothing to lose by meeting with us for a free consultation. We will take a look at your case and let you know what we can do for you. If you decide to hire us, you won’t owe a fee until we successfully resolve your case. Fill out our contact form or call today to get started.
What evidence is needed to prove fault in an Indiana motorcycle crash?
You enjoy the days when the weather allows you to ride your motorcycle in Indiana, whether it’s to work or just for fun. However, you are always aware that you are at the mercy of other drivers. If your luck runs out one day and you are hit or run off the road by a careless driver, you need to be prepared to protect your claim for compensation. If you are physically able, we recommend that you do your best to gather some evidence of the other driver’s fault at the scene of the crash.
Important Evidence to Collect at the Scene of an Indianapolis Motorcycle Crash
Unfortunately, motorcycle accident victims are often unable to take steps to protect their recovery at the scene because of the seriousness of their injuries. However, if you are conscious and able to move around, your claim against the negligent driver will be strengthened by the following types of evidence:
- Pictures. Use your cell phone to take pictures of the scene before anything is moved. You will want pictures of your bike from a variety of angles to show the damage and shots of any other vehicles involved in the crash. You should also take pictures of the entire scene from a distance and document your own injuries with photos.
- Witness statements. Get statements from any and all witnesses that will collaborate the date, time of day, road conditions, actions of the other driver, and other details of the crash. You should also write down your own observations about weather conditions, type of road, speed of travel, and so on.
- Medical records. It is important that you see a doctor as soon as possible after the crash. Not only will you get the medical treatment you need, but your visit will also establish the nature and extent of your injuries, which can be presented as part of your injury claim later on.
You can be sure that the defendants’ attorneys will try to establish that some other factor contributed to the accident, so you must be prepared to refute that.
How the Motorcycle Accident Attorneys at Keller & Keller Will Help
Along with the evidence you have gathered, a prompt investigation is essential. This is because the insurance company will always attempt to prove that the motorcyclist was to some extent at fault to diminish the value of the motorcyclist’s claim.
The law offices of Keller and Keller will make use of extensive resources and ensure that no evidence is lost or tampered with in regard to your injury claim. It is important that evidence not be lost in motorcycle accident claims, as it is imperative that we present this evidence to the insurance company. Fill out the contact form on this page to learn more about motorcycle accident claims in Indiana.
Who is liable in my Indiana motorcycle crash?
While it’s true that motorcycle riders are at a greater risk of serious injury and death than drivers and passengers in cars and trucks, that doesn’t mean they aren’t owed the same duty of care by the people they share the road with. Unfortunately, drivers are often either unaware of bikers near them or are openly hostile towards them. When a driver’s actions cause the crash that injures a motorcyclist, he or she may be held liable and made to pay for the damages they have caused.
Driver Actions That Cause Motorcycle Crashes
Because of the lack of protection afforded by a motorcycle, riders are among the most vulnerable motorists on the road. This doesn’t mean they deserve special treatment, but they do deserve the same space and respect that drivers give one another. When drivers do the following, they can contribute to a potentially fatal motorcycle crash:
- Fail to yield. One of the most common causes of motorcycle crashes is being cut off by a car whose driver either doesn’t see the bike or simply refuses to yield. Motorcycles are harder to see than cars, so drivers must check mirrors and blind spots before changing lanes or merging onto the highway to look for motorcycles.
- Follow too closely. If anything, motorcycles require an even greater following distance than cars because they are designed to stop very quickly. If a much larger car or pickup truck rear-ends a motorcycle, the results could be deadly.
- Engage in distracted driving. Glancing down at a cell phone or GPS screen for even a second can mean a driver could miss a motorcycle that is turning, changing lanes, or merging onto the road in the car’s vicinity.
- Drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs. An impaired driver is less observant and has slower reaction times, putting any motorcyclists near them at particular risk. Speeding and erratic driving is also a threat to motorcyclists as they are harder to see.
When a driver’s actions cause a motorcycle crash, he or she can be held liable for the injured rider’s medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Other Potentially Liable Parties
In some motorcycle crashes, no cars are involved at all. In these cases, if a motorcycle rider causes a crash that injures his passenger, he could be held liable for the passenger’s damages. If potholes, debris, road surface, construction zones, or other dangers cause a motorcyclist to crash, the municipality responsible for the road could be held liable.
Discuss Your Motorcycle Crash With Keller & Keller
If you were injured or a loved one was killed in an Indiana motorcycle crash, talk to the attorneys at Keller & Keller in Indianapolis. We protect the rights of motorcycle riders in Indiana.
How do I know when to take the keys away from my aging parent?
Your elderly parent values his or her independence, and driving is a big part of that. Losing driving privileges is a difficult transition, but when an elderly person is no longer capable of safe driving, you are doing them—and others on the road—a big favor by taking away the keys. At Keller & Keller, we have represented victims of tragic car crashes caused by elderly drivers, and we want to do what we can to prevent these unnecessary accidents. Learn to recognize some of the signs that an elderly person’s driving days are over.
When a Senior Should Stop Driving
If you are not a part of your elderly parent’s daily life, you may not know there is a problem with their driving until they’ve been involved in an accident. They probably won’t volunteer the information, so you should inspect their car for dents and scrapes and be tuned into tickets they may have been issued or mentions of court appearances. If you are able to observe their driving, you should be on the lookout for the following signs that they are no longer able to drive safely:
- Becoming lost in familiar areas
- Driving at an inconsistent speed
- Forgetting to use a turn signal
- Fear and hesitation when merging and changing lanes
- Not stopping or yielding at signs or traffic lights
- Failure to acknowledge the right of way
- Not keeping track of speed limits
- Feelings of rage, anxiety, and stress towards routine driving tasks
Losing the ability to drive is hard on the person who has lost his freedom, but it is also hard on his family members, who must now assist with transportation. This is why many people put off this difficult conversation for as long as possible, risking an accident that could leave your loved one injured—or responsible for someone’s death.
Be Sensitive but Firm
When it’s time to have this talk with your elderly parent, experts advise that you are empathetic, but don’t give in when you know it’s just not safe for them to drive anymore. Let them know that you are worried about them and ask open-ended questions about their driving experiences, such as:
- How do you feel when you drive?
- What challenges have you faced when driving alone?
- How do you feel when you get lost on the way to a familiar place?
- Have you noticed other drivers honking or getting angry at you?
- What changes have you noticed in your ability to do tasks that used to be much easier?
When you start a conversation and ask for your loved one’s input, you may be able to help them come to the conclusion that their driving days are over on their own.
Keller & Keller Is Committed to Driver Safety
The car accident attorneys at Keller & Keller in Albuquerque represent injured victims of vehicle crashes. We take on the at-fault driver and his insurance company to make sure our client is compensated for his losses. We don’t want your mom or dad to be our next target. We urge you to protect the safety of everyone involved by taking this difficult step when it’s time.
What are some of the most common motorcycle crash injuries in New Mexico?
The bright sun and clear blue skies of New Mexico tempt bikers of all ages and abilities out onto the long, straight roadways. Whatever brings you out on your motorcycle in the Albuquerque area, you should be able to ride without worrying about another driver causing a crash that leaves you seriously injured. Unfortunately, injury crashes are all too common for bikers in New Mexico. Here, we discuss the kinds of injuries riders often sustain and how to get the compensation you deserve from the negligent driver.
Motorcyclists Are Vulnerable
You may feel powerful and free when you are riding your motorcycle, but the lack of protection around you—even if you are wearing a helmet and safety gear—makes you very vulnerable to serious injury if you crash. Distracted, impaired, and just plain lousy drivers can make your life as a biker very difficult. When a car cuts you off, clips you, or runs you off the road, you may sustain one or more of the following injuries:
- Broken bones. When a biker hits the pavement, the impact can break any number of bones. A serious compound fracture or a broken pelvis or vertebra could result in permanent disability.
- Spinal cord injury. When the spinal cord is damaged in a motorcycle crash, the rider could be left partially or completely paralyzed.
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI). Even when wearing a helmet, a biker can suffer brain damage when the impact of the crash rattles his brain in his skull. Loss of cognitive ability and motor control are possible outcomes of a motorcycle crash TBI.
- Road rash. While it may not sound serious, when bare skin hits pavement, the rider can lose layers of flesh, requiring skin grafts and risking deadly infections.
- Internal injuries. The rider may look fine on the outside but may have suffered organ damage or other internal injuries from the impact of the collision. He or she will need immediate medical treatment to diagnose these serious injuries.
Any of these injuries may be catastrophic enough to require extensive medical treatment, surgery, rehabilitation, and ongoing care for many years. This kind of treatment can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars and, whether you have private insurance or not, you should not have to pay when someone else caused the accident.
Our Attorneys Will Fight for the Motorcycle Accident Recovery You Deserve
The motorcycle attorneys at Keller & Keller get bikers because we are bikers. We support your right to be on the road and will fight to get you the compensation you deserve when a careless driver causes your crash. Contact our Albuquerque office as soon as possible after your injury. We are here for you when you need us most.
Can I get Social Security disability for arthritis?
If you have arthritis that prevents you from being able to work, you may be approved for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. In fact, musculoskeletal and connective tissue disorders are the most common disabling conditions supported by SSDI. We take a look at some of these conditions.
Musculoskeletal System Disorders Eligible for SSDI
The Social Security Administration (SSA) maintains a listing of conditions that can qualify the sufferer for disability benefits. The first entry in the Listing of Impairments, also referred to as the Blue Book, is Musculoskeletal System Disorders. The musculoskeletal system is made up of your bones, muscles, cartilage, tendons, ligaments, joints, and other connective tissue. We place stress on the components of the musculoskeletal system daily, particularly if our work is physically demanding. This likely explains why more SSDI claims fall into these diagnoses than any other category:
- Arthritis. Osteoarthritis causes the cartilage in joints to break down. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that targets the lining of joints. Symptoms include joint pain and stiffness, which can become debilitating. Many people live with arthritis and can manage the symptoms. However, when a person’s osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis limits their ability to work, they may be eligible for SSDI.
- Back pain. While you may suffer from general upper or lower back pain, you will need a diagnosis of an approved condition such as degenerative disc disease, spinal stenosis, scoliosis, or another spinal disorder. If the condition prevents you from being able to function normally and is expected to last for at least a year, you may qualify for benefits.
- Carpal tunnel syndrome. Often caused by repetitive use, carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition in which nerves in the wrist become compressed. Symptoms include tingling, numbness, and pain in the wrist, fingers, and thumb. When it becomes difficult to grip objects, and the pain extends to the elbow, it may interfere with the ability to work.
- Fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia is a disorder that is characterized by widespread, chronic pain in the joints, tendons, muscles, and soft tissue. Many sufferers are unable to find a treatment to ease the pain and are unable to perform any type of gainful work.
Injuries and disorders involving soft and connective tissue can be hard to provide medical evidence for. These claims are often denied because the applicant isn’t able to adequately document the disorder. With the help of our experienced SSDI attorneys, however, you can build a strong case to convince the SSA of the severity of your disorder. Contact our Indianapolis office today to learn more.
Request Free Consultation
"At every juncture of the process... everyone involved, were more than thorough. I never had any questions. It was just matter of fact, straight to the point, and taken care of."by Jill S.