Indiana has seen a significant surge in traffic-related fatalities and serious injuries in recent years. Between 2019 and 2022, the state experienced a staggering 18% increase in traffic fatalities, a concerning trend that parallels national statistics. This escalation in fatal and severe accidents has not only a human toll but also a substantial economic impact. In 2022 alone, Indiana faced an estimated $47 billion in economic and quality-of-life costs due to severe traffic crashes.
A car accident victim in Indiana can pursue a claim for damages against the at-fault driver who caused them harm. Understandably, most victims want to know details about the average car accident settlement and what they can expect during the claims process. Read on to learn more about how car accident settlements are calculated and what factors will impact your claim.
Average Settlement For A Car Accident In Indiana
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.
Is Indiana A No-Fault State For Car Accidents?
No, Indiana is not a no-fault state. That means you can present a personal injury claim to all parties who contributed to your injuries in the accident. With no-fault claims, you present a claim directly to your insurance company, regardless of who caused the accident. You cannot pursue fault-based damages, such as pain and suffering. Indiana is what’s called a modified comparative negligence state. Your percentage of fault cannot be greater than the other party to collect compensation. If you’re 25% at fault, you can collect 75% of your damages. If you’re 55% at fault, you receive nothing.
Common Car Accident Injuries And How They Impact Your Potential Case Value
Typical car accident injuries can range from mild to severe and significantly impact the value of a legal claim. Mild injuries might include things like bruises, cuts, and whiplash. While painful, minor injuries typically do not result in long-term consequences.
Moderate injuries could involve broken bones or concussions, leading to more substantial claims due to increased medical costs and potential time off work.
Severe injuries include things such as spinal cord damage, traumatic brain injuries, or internal organ damage. These injuries drastically affect your case value due to their life-altering nature. Most people with severe injuries require extensive medical treatment and are long-term or permanently disabled, both of which have a significant impact on quality of life.
The severity of the injury directly correlates with the potential compensation, as more severe injuries generally lead to higher medical expenses, more extended recovery periods, and more significant pain and suffering.
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 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 lawsuit settlement amount. When you have a lawyer representing you, the other driver’s insurance company cannot speak directly with you. All communication will go through your lawyer.
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, would the accident still have happened if the driver had not violated that law? For example, let’s say you were driving but 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.
Frequently Asked Questions About The Average Car Accident Settlement In Indiana
How Much Money Can You Get from a Car Accident in Indiana?
Car accident settlement amounts in Indiana vary based on the specifics of your case, including the severity of your injuries, the extent of property damage, lost wages, medical expenses, and the impact on your quality of life.
How Do You Calculate the Settlement Amount for a Claim?
Calculating a settlement amount involves considering several factors: medical expenses (both current and future), lost income, potential future lost earnings, pain and suffering, property damage, and any other financial losses resulting from the accident.
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. ®