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
What is the difference between a poor medical outcome and medical negligence?
Medical procedures—particularly invasive surgeries—always carry a certain amount of risk. Anything could go wrong, and the patient could be seriously injured or killed as a result. However, unless the doctor, hospital, or other medical professional was negligent in their actions, you will not have a claim for medical malpractice. We explain the difference between an unwanted outcome and medical negligence.
Mistakes Happen, and Procedures Don’t Work—but That’s Not Negligence
There are no guarantees when it comes to medical treatment, and sometimes the outcome a doctor is hoping for isn’t achieved, despite everyone’s best efforts. When this happens, the patient does not have grounds to sue the healthcare provider. Even when certain kinds of mistakes are made, such as not knowing about an allergy or misreading a test result, a medical malpractice lawsuit is probably not appropriate.
The Divide Between an Error and Negligence Is the Standard of Care
Healthcare professionals are expected to meet an acceptable standard of care with every patient. When a doctor fails to meet that standard and makes a mistake that a similarly skilled professional would have avoided, they might be considered to be negligent. To prove medical malpractice, you will have to show all of the following:
- You had an official relationship with the healthcare provider, meaning they agreed to treat you, and you agreed to their treatment.
- The healthcare provider failed to meet the accepted standard of care in a given situation.
- You suffered some kind of measurable harm or loss resulting from the healthcare provider’s failure to meet the standard of care.
If a medical procedure did not have the outcome you expected, but the doctor or hospital explained what went wrong and offered to fix it, you probably don’t have a claim for malpractice. However, if you suffered a serious injury or permanent disability and discovered that you were billed for unexpected procedures or treatments, you should talk to a medical malpractice attorney about what happened.
In New Mexico, Contact Keller & Keller
If you suspect that an avoidable and significant mistake was made in your or a loved one’s treatment by a medical professional, contact our Albuquerque office for a free case evaluation. We don’t take medical malpractice claims lightly, and we will be honest about the strength of your case.
What are the most dangerous driving behaviors in Indiana?
It’s not surprising to learn that driver error is the leading cause of accidents in Indiana. Far surpassing road conditions, vehicle malfunction, and bad weather, the actions drivers take behind the wheel cause the most collisions in the state each year. In 2018, driver actions were the primary cause of 86 percent of all crashes and 95 percent of fatal crashes. This means that if you were injured or a loved one was killed in a crash that was not your fault, the odds are that the other driver is to blame.
Driver Behaviors That Cause Accidents
There were over 215,000 reported vehicle crashes in Indiana in 2018. Of those, 789 were fatal, and over 32,000 resulted in serious injury. Driver actions that caused most of these crashes included following too closely, failing to yield the right of way, and driver loss of control. Most of these crashes could have easily been prevented by more cautious driving. Many dangerous driver actions are caused by the following behaviors:
- Distraction. Not focusing your full attention on the road can lead to any one of these dangerous actions. Texting or talking on a cell phone, eating and drinking, engaging with passengers, and adjusting audio or climate controls all require the driver to take his eyes from the road and can cause a collision.
- Impairment. Drivers who have been drinking or taking drugs—even prescription medications—can lose their ability to react quickly, judge distances, and perform simple driving tasks. Alcohol was a factor in almost 4,000 crashes in Indiana in 2018.
- Speeding. Speed is the leading cause of fatal crashes each year, according to the Insurance Information Institute. When a driver is exceeding the speed limit, he is unlikely to be able to react in time to prevent a crash. Also, excessive speed increases the damage caused by a collision.
- Aggressive driving. Aggressive and angry drivers speed, follow too closely and refuse to yield to drivers who have the right of way. Road rage incidents almost always result in a collision or other negative outcomes.
If you were injured in a crash caused by another driver, it is likely that they were engaging in one of these dangerous behaviors and should be held accountable for their actions. With the car accident team at Keller & Keller, you can be sure that your accident will be thoroughly investigated, and the driver who caused your injuries or your loved one’s death will be made to pay. You deserve compensation for your losses, and we will help you get it. Contact our Indianapolis office to schedule a free consultation.
Can I collect disability if I have been convicted of a crime?
Being convicted of a crime does not void your Social Security Disability benefits, but being in jail does. If you are incarcerated or confined to an institution by court order or more than 30 days, your SSDI payments will stop for the months you are in jail or a psychiatric hospital. However, whether you are sentenced to prison or not, you must inform the Social Security Administration (SSA) if you have been convicted.
Criminal SSDI Benefits Will Stop
The SSA will not pay benefits to people whose food, shelter, and medical needs are being met by a penal institution or court-ordered psychiatric hospital. Your benefits will be reinstated the month following your release. In addition to incarceration, you will lose benefits for the following reasons:
- You have an outstanding arrest warrant for escaping custody or evading prosecution or confinement.
- You have violated a condition of your probation or parole.
- You have been found not guilty by reason of insanity or have been found incompetent to stand trial.
If you participate in an approved vocational rehabilitation program while you are incarcerated, you might be able to continue to collect SSDI benefits. If your family is eligible for SSDI dependent benefits, they can continue to collect benefits while you are imprisoned.
Convicted Felons Are Eligible for SSDI
Being convicted of a crime does not prevent a person who is otherwise eligible for disability benefits from applying and being approved. In fact, in some situations, you can apply for benefits while you are still in prison through a pre-release application procedure so that they will start as soon as you are out. In other situations, you can apply once you are released.
Keller & Keller Helps With Social Security Applications and Appeals
If you are struggling to get the Social Security benefits to which you are entitled, contact our Indianapolis office for assistance. We work with clients to provide the most complete initial application possible and to build a case for appeal if the initial application is denied. You do not have to take on the Social Security Administration alone. Reach out to us to learn more.
Who is liable when a delivery driver causes an accident?
For people at higher risk of a poor outcome if they contract the coronavirus, home delivery services have become a lifeline. Having groceries, restaurant meals, prescriptions, and household goods delivered means that older people and people with dangerous pre-existing conditions can avoid being in crowded public spaces. However, this increase in demand—and the lack of experience many of these delivery drivers have—might mean an increase in car accidents.
If an Instacart Driver Causes a Crash, Who Compensates Injured Parties?
Many of these delivery services are contract employers, similar to Uber and Lyft. Drivers for Instacart, Shipt, UberEats, Door Dash, and similar companies are independent contractors, meaning they are not trained, monitored, or insured by the company they work for. While they are required to have personal car insurance, it’s possible that the insurance company will resist covering an accident they caused while making a delivery.
With fleets of inexperienced, untrained drivers delivering goods in a hurry in unfamiliar neighborhoods, the odds are good that there will be more accidents. If you were injured in a crash with a delivery driver, a call to a personal injury attorney should be your first move. If the delivery company’s insurer and the driver’s car insurance provider both deny liability, you could be left out in the cold.
What a Car Accident Attorney Can Do to Help
If the driver who caused the accident did not have a valid license, had a record of traffic violations, or had a history of drug or alcohol abuse, his employer could be held liable for negligent hiring practices—even if the driver is a contract employer. If the driver’s car insurance policy did not specifically exclude coverage of for-profit or commercial use of the vehicle, they should be expected to cover damages caused by the crash. As an injured victim, your attorney will pursue these avenues of compensation on your behalf.
Contact Keller & Keller When You Have Been Injured
If a careless or negligent delivery driver caused the crash that left you injured, you should not assume that an accident claim will work the same as a crash with a non-commercial driver. Reach out to our Indianapolis office as soon as possible to discuss your options for filing a claim for compensation. We fight for our clients to get the compensation they need to recover as fully as possible from their injuries.
How can I make sure I am treated fairly after a New Mexico motorcycle crash?
Because motorcycle riders often have undeserved reputations as risk-takers and thrill-seekers, they are often blamed for the accidents they are injured in. However, as attorneys who ride motorcycles and represent motorcycle clients, we understand that this blame is often unfounded. We know that bikers are usually more aware of their surroundings and are better defensive drivers than the typical automobile driver. That’s why we take their cases and fight for them in court.
How to Beat Biker Bias From the Insurance Company
Even when a motorcycle crash was clearly caused by the automobile driver, the at-fault driver’s insurance company will do their best to blame the rider. They will attempt to use unfair tactics to deflect fault from their client. Our motorcycle accident attorneys protect injured bikers by building a defense that includes:
- Evidence of the driver’s fault. Our team will conduct a thorough investigation of the crash, including talking to witnesses, watching traffic camera footage, examining the police report, and pulling up the driver’s previous record. Presenting irrefutable proof of their client’s fault is the best way to make an insurer take responsibility.
- Medical records. Motorcycle riders often suffer catastrophic injuries in collisions with cars and trucks. Presenting our client’s medical records showing the severity of his injuries and comparing them to the driver’s injuries and damages can be convincing evidence.
- Safe riding records. If our client owns and wears a helmet, has a clean record with no history of violating New Mexico motorcycle laws, and has attended riding safety classes, we will present this information to the insurance company as further proof of our client’s innocence.
- Refuting false statements. It will be very important to refute the insurance adjuster’s claims against our clients one by one and present evidence to contradict their version of the crash.
- Carefully selecting jury members. If we cannot get the insurance company to agree to a fair settlement, we will take the case to trial and select a jury that is sympathetic to motorcycle riders.
We have helped hundreds of bikers get the compensation they deserved from biased insurance companies and courts, and we can help you, too. If you were seriously injured in a bike crash caused by a negligent driver in New Mexico, call our Albuquerque office to find out what your next steps should be.
What should I do if I was hit by an uninsured driver while riding my motorcycle?
The cost of recovering from a motorcycle crash can be astronomical. If you suffered serious injuries, your medical bills could be in the thousands of dollars. If the driver who hit you did not have insurance, you are probably worried about how you will pay your bills. The good news is, your own motorcycle insurance policy likely has uninsured motorist coverage. Our motorcycle accident attorneys explain what this policy does and why you should not hesitate to file a claim if you have no other source of compensation.
What Is Uninsured Motorist Coverage?
Indiana car and motorcycle insurance policies automatically include coverage for uninsured and underinsured motorists. You can reject this coverage in writing, but most riders do not. Minimum liability limits for these policies are $25,000 per person for bodily injury and $25,000 for property damage. So if you have this policy and you were hit by a driver who had no insurance, your own insurance company then becomes responsible for compensating you for:
- The loss of your motorcycle
- Your medical bills
- Pain and suffering
- Any lost wages that resulted from the accident
To get this coverage, you will file a claim with your own insurance company.
Do Not Hesitate to File a Claim
Some bikers are hesitant to file a claim against their own insurance company because they are worried about having to file a police report and their premiums going up. Most of these reasons are misguided. Remember, YOU pay your insurance company money to protect you and your bike from uninsured drivers. This piece of your policy is designed to compensate you in these instances. Never think that you shouldn't file an uninsured claim simply because it's your own insurance company. This is faulty thinking that could cost you thousands.
Keller & Keller Can Help You Sort Things Out
If you were injured in a crash with an uninsured driver and your insurance company is pushing back on your uninsured motorist claim, reach out to the Indianapolis office of Keller & Keller. Some insurers do not treat motorcycle riders with the fairness and respect they deserve. We will help you get the money you deserve.
How long will it take to resolve my motorcycle accident case?
If you were seriously injured in a motorcycle crash in Indiana, you are probably anxious to get the case resolved and get the compensation you need to pay your medical bills and make up for lost wages. However, these claims can be more complicated than an average car accident claim and often take longer to settle. As your attorneys, we will do all we can to resolve your case quickly, but we will not rush the claim and compromise the outcome.
Factors That Can Complicate a Motorcycle Accident Claim
A straightforward motorcycle accident claim involving only minor injuries can often be resolved in just a few months. However, if the case involves any of the following factors, it could be a couple of years before you see any money:
- Bias against bikers. If the insurance adjuster or judge assumes that you are a risk-taker or reckless driver just because you ride a motorcycle, it can take time to overcome this discrimination to get you a fair settlement offer. Our motorcycle accident attorneys understand these biases and will use expert witnesses and irrefutable evidence to fight back.
- Serious injuries. Motorcyclists often suffer catastrophic injuries—such as paralysis, traumatic brain injury, loss of limbs, and serious fractures—which require ongoing, costly medical treatment. No insurance company wants to pay out on this kind of claim, so your attorneys will have to present a clear and convincing case for the severity of your injuries to justify the compensation you need and deserve.
- Liability questions. If the driver of the car that hit you is claiming that you were partially to blame, the case will drag out as your attorneys work to prove your innocence. It takes time to investigate the accident, locate witnesses, and document injuries and medical treatment so that fault is assigned as it should be.
If you meet with a personal injury attorney who promises you a quick resolution to your serious motorcycle accident claim, you should take the time to get a second opinion. It could be well worth the wait to get what you are truly owed rather than to settle quickly for less.
How an Indiana Motorcycle Accident Attorney Can Help
When you seek the help of an experienced Indiana motorcycle accident attorney, you can rest assured that you are in good hands. Although the case might take longer to resolve than you had hoped, our attorneys will make sure you are fully compensated for your losses. If you are a motorcyclist who was injured in a crash with a car or truck, call one of our Indiana offices today. We are dedicated to the rights of bikers and would be happy to discuss your case.
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.
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.