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Why You Should Hire A Car Accident Lawyer

Car accidents are horrible and can change your life forever. If you've been involved in a car accident, we can help. Our experienced car accident lawyers at Emerson Divorce and Accident Injury Attorneys have been helping Hoosiers who have been hurt in car wrecks obtain money to help with medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and other related damages.

Jill Bracken-Emerson and her car accident team have been fighting for Hoosiers for over twenty years and have recovered millions in settlements for people injured in car accidents. We fight the big insurance companies so you don't have to.

We represent car accident victims throughout Indiana including in Fishers, Westfield, Zionsville, Noblesville, Greenwood, Anderson, Evansville, Bloomington, Lafayette and Fort Wayne. To get your FREE consultation, you can message us or call us at 1-317-969-8000 today.

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An Indianapolis Car Crash Lawyer Can Help You

The job of an experienced car accident lawyer is to take care of all the legal stuff for you, so you don't have to worry. They will work hard to make sure you get the best outcome for your situation. Of course one of the first things your attorney will want to do is to obtain a copy of the police report from the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department.

From there your car crash attorney can assist you in various ways.

  • Gather evidence to prove who was at fault for the car crash;
  • Identify everyone liable (at fault) who was involved in the car accident;
  • Communicate with the negligent driver's insurance company;
  • Keep a full accounting of your medical bills and out-of-pocket expenses;
  • Estimate your future medical bills and other future accident-related losses;
  • Speak with your medical professional to obtain your complete records;
  • Recover any lost wages from your time away from work;
  • Represent you throughout the process, including at court hearings and depositions;
  • Negotiate with any lien holders and debt collectors;
  • Reduce your portion of medical bills (physical therapy and surgeries cost a lot of money);

When Should I Talk to an Car Accident Lawyer in Indianapolis?

The best time to consult with an Indianapolis car accident attorney is right after your car accident.

If you require medical treatment after a car accident, it's important to prioritize your health. While it may seem daunting to hire a lawyer for your car accident to begin the legal process, it's crucial to act promptly. When you engage our Indianapolis car accident attorneys on a contingency fee basis, you won't be charged by the hour and won't pay any legal fees to your attorney unless we secure compensation for you.

Dealing with the different aspects of a car accident claim, even one that seems simple with minor injuries and minimal property damage, can take longer than you might expect. If you have serious injuries, it's best to focus on recovering as quickly as possible. Making a mistake in the process could reduce your chances of getting the maximum compensation.

Remember: Insurance companies are among the largest and most profitable companies globally. Their insurance adjusters are trained to delay, underpay, and deny your claim.

It's definitely worth consulting with an experienced car accident attorney regarding your situation. Our personal injury attorneys will also assess your case for free.

What a truck accident lawyer can do for you

Should I Hire an Indianapolis Car Accident Attorney If I Wasn't Hurt?

Even if a car accident injury doesn't seem serious right away, it can still be deceptive, especially when it comes to certain types of bodily injuries and brain trauma. And just because you feel okay immediately after an accident, it doesn't mean you aren't injured. Symptoms of a potential injury may show up later. As a good rule of thumb, it's best to get medical treatment and then talk to an experienced attorney after a car accident.

Not consulting with an Indianapolis car accident lawyer could be a significant mistake on your part, which could play into the hands of the insurance companies.

Even if you were in a low-speed collision, there is substantial evidence indicating that such accidents can lead to long-lasting injuries, such as whiplash and concussions.

The National Institutes of Health discovered that the "biomechanical approach" utilized by insurance companies significantly underestimates the real-world risk of low-speed impacts, as reported in a 2021 article.

New research suggests that there is no such thing as a "mild" concussion. People may experience headaches, fatigue, brain fog, memory issues, and other symptoms of post-concussion syndrome. These symptoms can continue for months or even years. Similar symptoms, which can also last for months or years, maybe the result of a whiplash injury. Both whiplash and concussions can occur even in low-speed wrecks.

It's important to remember that even if you think your accident is "minor," insurance companies may push you to settle your claim quickly so they don't have to cover all your damages. Don't fall for this. If you need help dealing with the insurance company after your accident, get in touch with our car accident lawyers as soon as possible.

Can An Attorney Still Help Me If the Car Crash Was My Fault?

Under Indiana law, you are entitled to receive compensation for a car accident, provided that you are not more than 50 percent at fault. This means that if your fault is 50% or less, you can still receive money to pay your expenses, such as medical bills and property damage.

In the event of an accident, it's recommended to limit your communication with other parties until you've had a chance to consult with a skilled car accident lawyer in Indianapolis. While you may need to exchange insurance details and provide a statement to the police, it's important to stick to the facts. Even a seemingly innocent statement such as "I didn't see the other driver" could be interpreted as an admission of fault. If you're unsure about what to do or say, remember that you have the right to seek the advice of an attorney at any time. Check out the brief video below for more information.

Your insurance company will collaborate with the other driver's insurance company to ascertain fault based on the facts. Once again, your statements about who caused the car accident could be detrimental to you. Even if you believe you are at fault, new details may emerge that indicate the other driver was actually at fault, either entirely or partially. Most importantly, refrain from making a statement to any insurance company—whether it's yours or the other driver's.

Remember that you might need to report the accident to your insurance company within a specific timeframe. However, it's important not to rush because new information may come to light that could support your case. Even if you are found to be at fault for the accident, you may still have significant injuries. In this scenario, your insurance will be required to provide coverage for your injuries.

Remember that despite any reassurances, the insurance company is not on your side. Therefore, it's advisable to consult with your attorney before speaking to them.

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Most common types of car accidents in Indianapolis

What Are the Most Common Types of Car Accidents in Indianapolis?

There are several different types of car accidents that occur in Indianapolis. Here are some of the most common:

Head-On Car Accidents

Head-on collisions are extremely dangerous and can lead to life-altering injuries like traumatic brain injuries (TBI) or spinal cord injuries. TBIs and the spinal cord can have long-lasting effects on the individual's health and well-being, often requiring extensive medical treatment and rehabilitation. It's important to always drive attentively and follow safety guidelines to minimize the risk of such devastating outcomes in the event of a collision.

Rear-end Car Accident

Rear-end car accidents are the most common type of roadway accidents, often occurring in congested traffic or due to distracted driving. These are the most common types of roadway accidents that most often occur in congested traffic or in the context of distracted driving.

Rollover Car Accident

Rollover Car Accidents typically involve SUVs and other tall vehicles and are often the result of excessive speed and loss of contact with the pavement.

Fatal Car Accidents

Fatal car accidents can occur in various situations and are caused by factors such as not wearing a seatbelt and high-speed impacts.

Hit-and-Run Car Accident

Hit-and-runs typically involve two or more parties, with one or more drivers leaving the scene of the accident.

18-Wheeler-Car Accidents

Accidents involving cars and large commercial vehicles or 18-wheelers can result in catastrophic damages, requiring the expertise of a qualified car accident lawyer to handle complex legal and insurance issues.

Uber/Lyft/Rideshare Car Accident

Uber/Lyft/Rideshare Car Accident: Rideshare drivers are usually classified as "contractors." Insurance coverage from Uber/Lyft may be an option, but proving fault in a rideshare accident may necessitate the expertise of a personal injury attorney.

Motorcycle Accidents

Motorcycle crashes are some of the most tragic and devastating types of vehicular accidents, often resulting in the most severe injuries and even fatalities given the lack of physical protection compared to other vehicles.

Drunk Driving Accidents

In Indiana, hundreds of lives are tragically lost, and thousands of individuals sustain injuries annually due to the actions of drivers who are under the influence of alcohol.

Work Zone Car Accident

Indiana's work zones are a place of significant danger, featuring heightened congestion, lumbering heavy equipment, temporary barriers, and vehicles that frequently make sudden stops. These conditions create a recipe for potential accidents.

Texting and Driving Accidents

Engaging in texting while driving poses a significant threat to road safety and is a leading cause of numerous car accident-related deaths and injuries annually.

Drugged Driving & DUI Car Accident

Drugged driving includes illegal substances like marijuana and cocaine, as well as over-the-counter and prescription medications, and is every bit as dangerous as drunk driving.

Speeding Accidents

Indiana has the unfortunate distinction of a large number of speeding-related fatalities. Driving at higher speeds leads to larger changes in velocity, resulting in more severe injuries and, in the worst cases, death.

Uninsured/Underinsured Driver Accident

In Indiana, state law requires all vehicle owners to have a minimum level of insurance coverage. However, despite this legal requirement, there is a significant number of drivers on Indiana roads who do not comply with this regulation and drive without insurance.

Intersection Car Accidents

Over the course of the past few years, nearly 5,000 fatal crashes and 34,000 serious injury crashes resulted from intersection car accidents in the state of Indiana.

Severe Weather Car Accidents

Indiana typically experiences relatively pleasant weather most the year. However, the state is also prone to thunderstorms, fog, tornadoes, strong winds, hail, ice and snow storms. These weather conditions can increase the likelihood of severe car accidents.

Vehicle Defect Accidents

The majority of car accidents are due to an error by the driver, but some can are caused by mechanical issues such as problems with tires, brakes, steering, and suspension.

Dangerous Roadway Accidents

Poor road conditions like deteriorated surfaces, potholes, and inadequate drainage, as well as unclear lane markings and problems with signs, lights, and signals, can cause more car accidents. This can lead to legal action against the government, maintenance companies, or other groups responsible for the roads.

Wildlife and Livestock Accidents

Each year in Indiana, there of collisions involving animals. If a driver is harmed in an accident involving wildlife or livestock, they may have the option to pursue a claim against the owner of the animal or their own insurance provider.

Most common types of car accidents in Indianapolis

What Types of Injuries Normally Happen in A Car Accident?

A wide range of severe injuries and medical issues can arise as a result of vehicle collisions. Some commonly occurring car accident injuries include:

If you have experienced any of these types of injuries as a result of your accident, we highly recommend seeking immediate assistance from one of our knowledgeable car accident lawyers in Indianapolis.

Is There A Difference Between a Personal Injury and a Bodily Injury Claim?

Yes, there is a difference between a bodily injury claim and a personal injury claim. Understanding these differences can help you navigate legal situations better if you ever need to file a claim.

Bodily Injury Claim

A bodily injury claim specifically refers to physical injuries to a person's body. These injuries might happen due to car accidents, slips, and falls, or other incidents where someone else's negligence caused harm. When you file a bodily injury claim, you're seeking compensation for:

  • Medical Expenses: This includes costs for hospital stays, doctor visits, surgeries, medications, and physical therapy.
  • Lost Wages: If your injury prevents you from going to work, you can claim compensation for the income you lost.
  • Pain and Suffering: Financial compensation for your physical and emotional pain caused by the injury.

Personal Injury Claim

A personal injury claim is a broader term that includes bodily injuries but also covers non-physical harm. Personal injury claims come from:

  • Defamation: If someone damages your reputation through false statements, you can file a personal injury claim.
  • Emotional Distress: You can claim compensation for severe emotional suffering caused by someone else's actions.
  • Loss of Consortium: If your injury negatively impacts your relationship with family members or your spouse, you may be entitled to compensation.

In essence, while all bodily injury claims fall under the umbrella of personal injury claims, not all personal injury claims are about bodily injuries. Personal injury claims can address a wider range of harms, including emotional and reputational damage.

Key Differences
  • Scope: Bodily injury is limited to physical harm, while personal injury includes both physical and non-physical harm.
  • Compensation: Bodily injury claims focus on medical costs, lost wages, and physical pain, whereas personal injury claims can also cover emotional and reputational damage.
  • Legal Context: In car accidents, insurance policies often have separate bodily injury coverage, but personal injury laws cover a wider range of cases, from workplace accidents to defamation.

Understanding these differences can help you make the appropriate type of claim to file and what compensation you might be entitled to.

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How Does the Car Accident Settlement Process Work?

After being involved in a car accident that was not your fault and sustaining injuries that require medical attention, you decide to file an insurance claim against the at-fault driver. Below is a potential best-case scenario outlining how the insurance claim process might unfold:

  • After the accident, the other driver's insurance company will conduct an investigation into the claim.
  • As part of their investigation, an insurance adjuster will reach out to you to gather evidence and information about the accident.
  • They will request your account of what transpired and may ask for photographic evidence of the accident scene and any injuries you sustained.
  • Additionally, they will require documentation such as medical records, proof of medical expenses, and verification of lost wages.

Upon completing the investigation, the insurance company will create a report as to whether their insured driver is at fault for the accident.

If it is established that their insured is indeed liable, and once you have finished all necessary medical treatments for your injuries, the insurance company will offer a financial settlement to you. This offer will be based on the total cost of your losses (including medical bills and lost wages) up to the limit of the policy.

The concept seems straightforward in theory. However, in actuality, the claims process can be quite complex and rife with potential issues, including:

  • If the insurance company will not accept responsibility for the accident, whether in part or in full and claims that you are liable for the collision, it can lead to a dispute. Additionally, disagreements may arise regarding the severity of your injuries and the amount of compensation you are entitled to from your insurance claim. The insurance company might deny your claim and say that your injuries were not caused by the crash because they existed prior to the accident. Furthermore, they may delay the settlement of your bodily injury claim and disregard your attempts to communicate with them.
  • In such situations, it's important to know that you have the right to consult with a car accident lawyer in Indianapolis at any stage of the injury claims process. It's advisable to seek legal counsel before filing your insurance claim, especially if you have sustained serious injuries. A knowledgeable accident attorney will help you gather the necessary documentation and negotiate a fair bodily injury claim settlement. They can also handle all interactions with the claims adjusters and insurance company on your behalf, fighting for you and your rights and helping you navigate the claims process.
  • In the event that you find yourself without a car accident lawyer and are unable to reach a settlement through negotiations, it may be crucial to seek legal representation and initiate a personal injury lawsuit.

How Much Time Do I Have to File a Car Accident Claim?

Under the laws of Indiana, if you wish to file a lawsuit against the responsible party for your injury, you must take legal action within two years from the date of your accident.

If you discover your injuries after the accident, this two-year deadline may be extended. However, this situation could raise questions from insurance companies about the delayed discovery of your injury. That's why it's crucial to seek prompt medical attention after being involved in a car accident.

It's essential not to delay reporting a car accident to your insurance company. In Indiana, insurance companies have 35 business days to settle a claim once it's been filed. They also have specific time frames within which they must acknowledge car accident claims and make a decision about whether to accept them before paying a settlement.

If you are dissatisfied with a settlement offer and the insurer refuses to offer more, your only recourse may be to file a lawsuit. However, if you wait more than two years to file, the statute of limitations may have already expired.

car accident faqs

Common Car Accident Questions

What should I do if I had to get medical treatment after my car accident?

If you or someone you care about had to undergo medical treatment for injuries sustained in a car accident, we urge you to get in touch with us promptly. If the accident was not your fault and you are unable to afford medical expenses, a car accident lawyer will help you get the full compensation you deserve.

What should I do if my vehicle is damaged?

In the event that your vehicle is damaged or completely totaled in a car accident, it is crucial to seek the help of an experienced car accident attorney promptly. The costs associated with purchasing a new vehicle or repairing the existing one can be significant.

By consulting with a car accident attorney, you can increase the likelihood that you receive complete compensation for the property damage incurred. This can provide you with the means to replace or repair what you have lost due to the car accident.

What records do I need to prove the other person is at fault for the car accident?

After an accident, it's important to keep the following documents to help support your case:

  • Police Report
  • Pictures of the entire scene (your car, their car, damages, etc.)
  • 911 call records
  • Surveillance videos
  • Phone records
  • Medical records
  • Any additional/miscellaneous records

What documents do I need to prove my damages?

It is important to keep all records related to costs you have incurred due to the accident. This includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Medical and billing records
  • Insurance records
  • Prior medical records
  • Payroll records from your job
  • Pictures (see above)

How much insurance coverage should I have?

Indiana has minimum insurance coverage requirements. As of 2023, Indiana requires at least:

  • $25,000 in bodily injury coverage per person
  • $50,000 in bodily injury coverage per accident
  • $25,000 in property damage coverage per accident

What if the other driver doesn't have enough insurance coverage or no insurance at all?

In the state of Indiana, it is mandatory for every driver to carry a specific level of insurance coverage. This entails a minimum of $25,000 for each individual injured, up to a total of $50,000 per accident, and $25,000 of coverage for property damage in each accident.

If you find yourself in a car accident and the other driver is either underinsured or has no insurance at all, we are ready to support you in pursuing legal action against them to secure the compensation you deserve.

There are instances where legal action becomes necessary to help you receive adequate funds to cover your medical expenses and other losses or damages.

If you have insurance, it may include coverage for accidents involving uninsured or underinsured drivers (uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage). This signifies that your insurance policy could assist in covering the costs you have incurred.

Collisions involving uninsured or underinsured drivers are complex, even for the most seasoned attorney. Our team of car accident lawyers in Indianapolis is dedicated to assisting you through the process and helping ensure that you receive the rightful compensation.

Is Indiana an at-fault state?

In the state of Indiana, the rules for liability in car accidents are based on the "at-fault" system. This simply means that each person who caused the collision is also responsible for any resulting damages and injuries. As a result, drivers are required to have liability insurance to cover potential claims. In Indiana, the minimum liability insurance limits are:

  • $25,000 for bodily injury per person
  • $50,000 total for bodily injury per incident
  • $25,000 for property damage

When filing a claim, insurance companies have 15 days to either approve or deny the claim. If the claim is denied, the insurer must provide a clear reason for the decision. If any part of your claim is approved, the insurer must make the payment within five business days.

In addition, Indiana follows the modified comparative fault rule. If both drivers are found to be at fault, the person making the claim can still receive damages as long as they are deemed to be 50% or less at fault. However, the financial compensation awarded will be reduced by a percentage equivalent to the claimant's degree of fault, as determined by the courts after a thorough investigation.

If someone who is not on your insurance wrecks your vehicle, you may still be able to submit a claim with your insurance company. This is because insurance coverage is often connected to the vehicle rather than the specific driver. Therefore, with your consent, the individual driving your vehicle is typically covered in the event of an accident.

In the event of an accident, the driver deemed "at fault" is primarily responsible for addressing any resulting damages or injuries. If the person you allowed to drive your vehicle was not at fault, there shouldn't be any issues. However, if they were found to be responsible for the accident, they might bear liability.

It's important to note that while some insurance policies cover any driver operating the insured vehicle, others may only cover designated drivers. For the specifics of your coverage, it's best to consult with your insurance provider.

What if I don't have medical insurance?

In the event of being injured in a car accident without health insurance, it is crucial to seek assistance from a knowledgeable attorney at the earliest opportunity. You may require assistance in filing a personal injury claim to secure funds to cover your medical expenses. Medical bills can accumulate rapidly, and individuals may even face financial hardship when attempting to settle them. An experienced car accident lawyer in Indianapolis can give you guidance and support during this challenging period.

What injuries are considered serious in car accidents?

Severe car accidents can lead to a wide range of injuries, including bone fractures, internal bleeding, spinal damage, and burns, which are commonly observed. Additionally, other serious injuries such as traumatic brain injuries, paralysis, and amputations can occur. In the most serious cases, fatalities can also occur, making it a truly tragic situation.

What if someone dies in a car accident?

There are serious legal consequences in Indiana for car accidents that result in a fatality.

Please see the page linked below for more information on car accidents that involve a death: Fatal Car Accidents.

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How Much Will It Cost to Hire a Car Accident Attorney?

Car accident attorneys normally work on a contingency fee basis and only get paid for their work if they successfully recover compensation for you. They are responsible for covering the initial costs associated with handling your car accident claim. If they secure a settlement on your behalf, they will then subtract their fees from the amount recovered. Typically, contingency fees range from 33% to 50%, varying based on whether the case is resolved through settlement or proceeds to court.

It's essential to note that the majority of cases are settled outside of court. Additionally, attorneys will not initiate a lawsuit without obtaining explicit consent from their client.

Here's an example of how it works: if your attorney negotiated a $20,000 settlement on your behalf, 35% of that ($7,000) would be paid in attorney fees.  You will then receive the remaining $13,000.  From that $13,000, your medical bills and any other outstanding debts will then need to be paid (by law), and the remaining amount goes back into your pocket. If no settlement is reached, then there would be no cost to you.

Settlement offers are almost always paid out in one lump sum by the insurance companies as they don't typically like to split the amount into smaller payments.

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How Much Will I Get from My Car Accident Case?

Each personal injury case is unique, and several factors determine the amount you can receive from your settlement. The circumstances of the accident, the severity of your injuries, and other specifics related to your claim all play a role.

That's why it's crucial to thoroughly document everything and maintain all records related to your car accident case.

Factors that can impact the payment amount of your settlement include:

  • Medical expenses that you have incurred as a result of the personal injury
  • The anticipated cost of future medical treatment necessitated by the car accident
  • Disabilities, impairments, or disfigurement resulting from the accident
  • The need for ongoing physical therapy
  • Lost wages and potential future income loss due to the accident
  • The emotional and physical distress caused by the car crash
  • The expertise and experience of your car accident attorneys

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How Long Will My Car Accident Case Take to Settle?

Car accident claims involve several stages and can vary significantly in duration and outcome. While most cases are resolved relatively quickly, typically within 2-12 months, some may extend over several years.

In the case of a serious accident resulting in major injuries, the resolution process may be prolonged due to the need to address the victim's long-term prospects, such as their ability to return to work and the ongoing costs of medical treatment. This often involves collaborating with specialists, intricate financial assessments, and protracted negotiations. Furthermore, if the case proceeds to trial, the litigation process will unfold in court, further extending the timeframe for resolution.

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Indianapolis car accident lawyer, Jill Bracken-Emerson has been helping Hoosiers, for over 20 years, fight insurance companies and claims adjusters to get her clients the compensation they need and deserve.

Our law firm has personally recovered millions of dollars in restitution for injured Hoosiers involved in vehicle accidents.

In every accident case, we operate on a contingency fee basis, meaning you only pay if we win. Our attorneys offer free consultations, so don't hesitate to call or message us today.

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