After an auto accident, it can be difficult to know what steps you should take in order to preserve your right to seek financial compensation and, ultimately, to file a car accident claim. The following are some frequently asked questions about auto accidents, along with answers to help you begin the process of planning your claim. When you have been involved in a collision, it is important to seek representation from an experienced auto accident lawyer who can advocate for you through the insurance claims process and, if necessary, in a lawsuit against the at-fault party.
Immediately after an auto accident, it is essential to gather information at the scene and to seek medical attention. If you are able to do so, you should take photographs with your smartphone at the scene of the collision, and you should obtain contact information from anyone involved in the crash as well as from any witnesses.
Yes, you should contact your insurance company as soon as possible to report the accident. However, you should only provide the insurance agent with objective facts about the collision. You need to remember that the insurance company is not on your side, and the insurer may use any subjective information you provide against you later on.
For most auto accident cases, the statute of limitations in Indiana is two years. The “clock” on this statute of limitations will start to “tick” on the date of your injury, and it will continue ticking for two years. You must file your lawsuit within that two-year time window. Once that two-year time window has closed, you will have a time-barred lawsuit and you will not be able to obtain compensation through a civil lawsuit.
Most auto accident victims can seek compensatory damages, which include economic and non-economic damages. What this means is that you may be able to recover for a wide variety of losses, including hospital bills, lost wages, future lost earnings, and pain and suffering. If the at-fault driver’s behavior was particularly reckless or intentionally harmful, such as in a road rage crash, you may also be able to seek punitive damages.
It depends upon your percentage of fault. Some states bar a plaintiff from any type of recovery once that plaintiff is even 1% at fault, but Indiana is not one of these states. Instead, Indiana follows a modified comparative fault law, which allows a plaintiff to recover damages as long as she or he is not 51% or more at fault. As long as a plaintiff is 50% or less at fault, she can recover damages, but her total award will get reduced by her percentage of fault.