Are you wondering, what is the average Indiana car accident settlement amount?
Are you unsure how to begin the process of starting a claim for your injuries?
Unfortunately, there is no average car accident settlement amount in Indiana. Your settlement will depend on the circumstances of your individual case.
Your Indiana car accident attorney will help you navigate the unfamiliar network of insurance companies, claims adjusters, and court processes.
They will also be able to help you determine the factors that affect your settlement and get a grasp on your damages.
Types of Possible Damages in Indiana Car Accident Lawsuits
Indiana auto accident damages can be both economic and non-economic.
Economic damages are easily measurable and can include:
- Medical bills from the accident and future medical expenses for the injuries,
- Lost wages (past, present, and future) because of your injuries,
- Vehicle repairs,
- Travel expenses to get to your medical appointments,
- Rental costs while your vehicle is being repaired, and
- Cost for household assistance to help while you recover.
It is possible to figure out economic damages because they are financial losses that can be added up. You should save all bills and documentation of any costs you had resulting from the accident.
Non-economic damages are not as easy to quantify. They include pain and suffering, emotional and mental anguish, loss of the enjoyment of life, etc. A jury is usually responsible for determining the amount of non-economic damages.
One of the biggest factors that will affect how much you can recover will be the other driver’s insurance coverage. If they do not have liability coverage, that could dramatically reduce the amount you can recover.
If the driver is underinsured (they do not have a high policy limit), that fact could also affect the amount of damages you could likely recover. Your attorney will discuss these issues with you, as well as present other possible options to overcome these potential limitations.
Purpose of Your Auto Accident Legal Claim
The purpose of a successful auto accident claim is to compensate you for your losses, both those that you incurred directly from the accident and related losses you can expect to deal with in the future.
Generally, these cases settle outside of the courtroom. Settling out of court is a way for parties to resolve the dispute quicker and with fewer legal expenses. If negotiation is not possible, your Indiana auto accident attorney will take your case to trial in court.
What You Should Do After an Accident in Indiana
Your first priority is your health. Get medical attention within 24 hours of the accident. Your second priority is to make a record of your injuries and treatments received as evidence. This is especially important if you have any pre-existing conditions or old injuries.
The injury you are requesting compensation for must be directly related to the accident. Next, try to gather as much evidence as possible. Keep records of all bills or costs that you incur as a result of the accident.
Take photos of your vehicle and the scene of the accident. Make notes of what happened that day while it is still fresh in your mind. If there were any witnesses, try to get their contact information.
It is important that you not make any statements to the insurance company. Even if they tell you it’s mandatory—know that it isn’t. If they reach out to you, get the contact information of the person handling your matter and tell them your attorney will be in touch.
Finally, contact an Indiana auto accident attorney as soon as possible to discuss your case during a free consultation. You can ask any questions you may have and learn about the value of your potential car accident settlement.
Get a Free Case Evaluation From an Indiana Car Accident Lawyer
Statute of Limitations
In Indiana, injured parties only have two years from the date of the incident to open a personal injury lawsuit. After two years pass, it is not likely that the court will hear the case.
Furthermore, the longer you wait to file, the harder it may be to prove your case. Evidence can be lost or damaged, and witnesses may be harder to get in touch with or not remember the events.
Your best chance to receive compensation for your losses is to get your case started right away.
Determining Fault for the Accident
Indiana is a “modified comparative negligence” state.
This means that you can only recover damages for the percentage of the accident that was not your fault, and if a party is found to be 51% or more at fault, they cannot recover for damages at all.
The jury decides the percentage of fault for each party out of 100% total. If either driver violated any Indiana motor vehicle laws, that creates a presumption that that driver was negligent.
A simple way to think about it is to ask, If the driver had not violated that law, would the accident still have happened? For example, let’s say you were driving, but you were texting on the phone and distracted. Another driver doesn’t see a stop sign and hits you on the passenger side of your car.
You sue the other driver for $100,000 for your injuries and vehicle damage, and the other driver countersues for the same amount for their injuries and damage.
The jury believes that you could have avoided the crash if you had been paying attention to the road, and they determine that you are 45% at fault. You are entitled to 55% of your damages, or $55,000. Someone who is 51% or more at fault would not receive anything.
What Your Attorney Can Do for You
Your attorney will begin the process of putting your case together to negotiate a fair Indiana auto accident settlement with the insurance company. If your attorney cannot come to an agreement with the insurance company that satisfies you, they will represent you in court at trial.
Your lawyer will:
- Investigate the incident by examining the police report, any evidence and documentation you kept, witness statements, etc.;
- Determine the extent of your damages by adding up your present bills and losses and projecting future costs;
- Send a demand letter to the at-fault party’s insurer, explaining the evidence you have against their policyholder, your injuries, medical expenses, and other costs to back up the amount of compensation you are requesting.
The insurer will likely respond with a first settlement amount and their own reasons for presenting that amount, including whether they believe you are at fault and why.
Your attorney and the insurer will then attempt to negotiate an amount that both you and the insurer can agree on.
If they cannot work out an amount, your attorney will file your lawsuit in court, and you will go to trial against the insurance company. Filing a claim in court does not stop you from settling with the insurance company prior to trial.
The Trial Process
If your case ends up going to court, both sides will conduct discovery to gather evidence from each other. Your attorney will prepare you to answer any questions from the opposing party and will go to any depositions with you to make sure you are treated fairly.
At trial, your attorney will present the most persuasive case possible. Each side will present evidence and cross-examine the other side’s witnesses. The judge will instruct the jury on the law; the jury will deliberate and render a verdict.
Gerling Law Injury Attorneys Are Ready to Represent You
Gerling Law Injury Attorneys have a history of obtaining successful results for our clients who were injured in auto accidents. Our past settlement amounts range from $225,000 for a pedestrian whose shoulder was injured when they were hit by a driver to $7.5 million for a child who suffered a brain injury in a tractor-trailer collision.
Gerling Law has over five decades of experience and has represented tens of thousands of injured people. We are willing to take on insurance companies and large corporations to fight for your case.
Go with Experience. Go with Gerling. ®