What Is the Difference Between an Indiana Car Accident Claim and a Lawsuit?

Lawyer Presenting Lawsuit Paperwork to a Client in IndianaIf you were injured in an Indiana car accident that was not your fault, you may be wondering if you have to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party in order to be compensated for your medical bills and pain and suffering. When it comes to personal injury, there is a lot of confusion about when you file a claim against the liable insurance company and when you file a lawsuit. Our Indianapolis car accident attorney clears up the confusion here.

First Step: Call an Attorney

Before even worrying about whether you will need to file a lawsuit, you should contact an attorney. The experienced auto accident legal team at Keller and Keller will hear your story in a free initial consultation and take the first steps on your behalf, freeing you up to focus on your recovery. Our legal team will gather evidence such as police reports and witness statements to build a strong case for compensation from the at-fault driver.

Your Attorney Will File a Claim With the Insurance Company

Rather than jumping right into a time-consuming lawsuit, your attorney will first file a personal injury claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. This claim will seek damages for the injuries you have sustained, including pain and suffering, as well as compensation for lost wages if you are unable to work because of your injuries. As part of the demand letter, your attorney will present evidence of the other driver’s negligence and of the extent and seriousness of your injuries. Photos of the accident scene, police reports, your medical records, therapy bills, pay stubs, documentation of sick leave taken, and statements from loved ones about how you have been affected could all be presented to the insurance adjuster. If the insurance company does not immediately agree to your attorney’s demand, he will enter into negotiations in order to get you the compensation you deserve. Your attorney will argue for insurance policy limits to compensate you for the following:

  • Medical bills
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Loss of income

It is often in the insurance company’s best interest to settle with your attorney because the next step could end up costing them a lot more.

If an Agreement Is Not Reached, a Lawsuit Can Be Filed

If your attorney cannot come to an agreement with the at-fault driver’s insurance company through negotiations and your injuries are serious, the next step may be to file a lawsuit. A lawsuit can be a lengthy process and there are risks involved, so your attorney will not file a suit unless he is confident you have a strong case. If your injuries are not serious and your potential damages are not significant, your case could be dismissed by a judge.

An experienced Indianapolis personal injury attorney will have prepared for trial in the process of putting together a strong demand letter, but he will further prepare by building the strongest possible case. The burden of proof is on your attorney and, to prove that the other driver should be held accountable for your losses, he will present evidence such as the following:

  • Witnesses to the accident, including those involved
  • Police reports and police testimony
  • Medical records and medical experts
  • Photographs or diagrams of the accident scene
  • Statements from a crash reconstructionist or engineer
  • Driving records

Just like any other trial, the judge will hear from both sides and will issue a decision.

Keller and Keller’s Car Accident Attorneys Are Always Prepared to Litigate

When you work with our Indianapolis attorneys, you can be confident that we always have your best interests in mind. We will fight hard to settle your claim for the compensation you deserve rather than putting you through the stress of a trial. However, if we are not able to get you what you deserve through negotiations, we are always prepared to go to court.

James R. Keller
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Partner at Keller & Keller