Indiana Car Accident Claims: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
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.
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Is there a time limit on filing an Indiana car accident case?
Yes. Each state has a time limit to officially start an injury lawsuit in the civil court system, called the statute of limitations. In Indiana, the statute of limitations on car accident or personal injury claims is two years. The two-year limit usually begins on the date of the accident.
There are some exceptions to the two-year rule. For instance, minors who are injured in car accidents cannot file lawsuits on their own behalf, so the statute of limitations will begin on his or her 18th birthday. If your accident case involves an injury claim against a city or county, you have only 180 days to file a formal claim. If your claim names a state government agency, you have 270 days to file your lawsuit with the court.
The statute of limitations can affect your right to seek compensation for:
Injury. The state of Indiana allows remuneration for people who are injured in a car accident. This can include drivers, passengers, motorcyclists, skateboarders, bicyclists, and pedestrians. If a child is injured as a passenger or pedestrian, his or her parents can seek damages on the child’s behalf. Possible damages in these cases can include pain and suffering, costs of permanent disability, loss of companionship, and loss of the ability to earn a living as an adult.
Property damage. Accident victims have two years from the date of the accident to recoup the costs of damage to their personal property. Courts can award compensation for damage to a person’s vehicle, home, yard, contents of the crashed vehicle, or other belongings that were lost in the crash.
Wrongful death. Relatives of a person killed in a crash have two years to file an Indiana wrongful death claim. However, the two-year timespan begins on the day of the accident victim’s death rather than the date of the accident, so relatives may have a longer filing period.
It is always a good idea to begin your car accident case as soon as possible. If the deadline passes, the person named in your lawsuit can have the case dismissed, and you will lose your right to compensation forever. Early filing also gives you a greater chance of winning your case, as evidence may be collected before it is destroyed and witnesses can be tracked down before their memories fade. Contact us today to talk to an attorney about your legal options.
How Long Does a Personal Injury Case Take to Settle?
Every personal injury case will have a unique set of facts and circumstances. There is the possibility that a case may settle relatively quickly while another similar case will require time-consuming litigation. Until you speak with an experienced accident attorney, provide full details about your accident and health, there' simply no way to know how long your case may take.
It's never advisable to settle a case until your doctors have released you from treatment, and the reason for this is simple: signing a release means you waive your rights to recover for future damages related to the accident. If your injuries are much worse than they originally appear, a quick settlement puts you at risk of losing out on compensation that you are entitled to receive. Unfortunately, many injured individuals give in to pressure from the insurance companies to settle quickly, giving up their right to seek additional compensation when the injury worsens in the future.
Once you have finished treating, and we have received all of your medical records, our attorneys will begin to prepare a demand package on your behalf to begin negotiations with the insurance company. It's highly recommended that any discussions with an insurance company be handled by your personal injury attorney, as they will have experience with similar claims and will work to protect your interests. Remember, anything you say to an insurance adjuster may be used against you in the future.
If the insurance adjuster refuses to pay a fair settlement, or suggests that their insured is not liable for your injuries, we may determine that a lawsuit must be filed against the negligent party, however, this doesn’t mean that your case is necessarily going to trial. We are able to settle most injury cases before trial, whether by informal discussions, facilitative mediation, or further case evaluation.
In the rare instance your case DOES require a jury trial, there are several additional steps required to ensure procedure is followed, and ultimately, the case may then take years to settle.
When should I go to the doctor after an accident left me injured?
Victims of automobile accidents, slip and fall, dog bites, etc. may be unsure as to when or if they should see a doctor. In determining when you should see a Doctor in Albuquerque, Las Cruces, Santa Fe or elsewhere in New Mexico, it is always better to be safe than sorry. If you have a possible claim for injuries suffered, your damages will be determined in part from a medical provider's assessment. Thus, if you don't see a doctor, often times it is difficult to establish a value for your accident. It is also important to consider future health problems.
"John Smith is shopping at his local grocery store and there is unknown liquid on the floor that he overlooked until he slipped. He gets up, dusts himself off, and thinks maybe I have a couple bruises but I am otherwise ok. John files an incident report with the store and the store's insurance company contacts him. They offer him a cash value or advise the store to give him credit to cover for their negligence. Then they give him a form to sign that prevents him from suing them them in the future. Six months later, he is exercising, or playing with his dog, and he feels a sharp shooting pain. John goes to the Doctor and finds that as a result of the fall in the store he had a hair-line fracture or a torn ligament that had gotten worse with time but could have been identified had he seen a Doctor right after the accident."
The moral is, if you have been in an accident, it is in your best interest to see a medical provider either immediately or soon thereafter. You may need to report the incident, but there is no harm in following up with your primary care physician.
If you have questions and would like to discuss your claim with New Mexico personal injury attorneys, contact Keller & Keller at 1-800-2-KELLER.
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