Call Us After Your Auto Accident in Indiana
After you’ve been in a motor vehicle accident in Indiana, you’ve got a lot to handle. There’s your insurance company to talk with and perhaps another driver’s, too. Indiana railroad accidents could also bring businesses and other groups into the mix. Whatever your unique circumstances, the stress related to an injury caused by a motor vehicle accident is a large burden to bear.
Our team of Indianapolis car accident attorneys has decades of experience representing clients across the state in a variety of different motor vehicle accident cases. Each one is different, but we know the basics of the process and what important details can make or break a case. From insurance claims to lawsuits and all the way to court (if necessary), Christie Farrell Lee & Bell has helped our clients fight for what’s fair.
Why Hire a Car Accident Attorney?
Auto Accident Cases We Handle
Every year, over 1.35 million people are killed in car accidents globally, and 6 million car accidents happen annually in the United States alone as a result of careless and dangerous drivers. Car accidents can have devastating effects on your physical and mental health. The injuries sustained may leave you unable to work, or even function normally on a daily basis.
Some types of auto accident cases we handle for clients throughout Indiana include:
In 2019 alone, there were 1,848 railroad accidents in the United States, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. The most common types of train accidents are collisions with other trains, collisions with passenger vehicles and pedestrians, and single train accidents. These types of accidents may be caused by improperly maintained crossings that aren’t properly marked, conductor inattention and error, or mechanical failure. Absent, inadequate, or malfunctioning warnings at railroad crossings cause and contribute to collisions as well. According to the Federal Railroad Administration, more than half of all railroad accidents occur at unprotected crossings and over 80 percent of railroad crossings don’t have adequate warning devices.
All Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) are 3 or 4 wheeled motorized vehicles used for off-road riding. ATVs are equipped with gasoline-powered engines and are designed for one driver only. This type of vehicle is very popular and is commonly used for recreation, rescue efforts in emergency situations, and agricultural maintenance. Every year, many people, including children, are severely injured due to ATV accidents. Serious physical injury, property damage, brain damage, paralysis, and death may result from an ATV accident.
The statistics concerning ATVs in the United States show that:
- In 2013, there were 590 reported deaths involving ATV accidents, 70 of whom were children under 16
- It has been estimated that ATV-related injuries have doubled in the last few years in the United States
- In a recent 5-year period, ATV-related injuries requiring emergency room assistance increased over 100 percent
There are many different factors that may cause accidents while operating an ATV. Some causes of accidents are related to the design or manufacturing of the vehicle. Other times, accidents are caused because there was a failure to properly instruct regarding the safe use and operation of the vehicle, or there was a failure to warn regarding a vehicle’s dangers. Other accidents are caused because ATVs are operated on land that is unsafe for motor vehicles, which means that a property owner and not the ATV manufacturer may be liable for any injuries sustained.
Motorcycles are an integral part of American culture, exuding an image of freedom, spirit, and hitting the open road. However, motorcycles have also proven to be extremely dangerous, and motorcycle accidents generally cause severe and/or catastrophic injuries and even death. Statistics show that in 2018 alone, 4,985 motorcyclists died in crashes, and according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), motorcyclists are 27 times more likely than occupants of passenger vehicles to die in crashes.
Roadway Design Litigation
Car accidents bring with them no shortage of stress and headache. Even in the best-case scenario, insurance claims and police reports alone can be tough to deal with. Serious injury and death add another layer of grief, pain, and financial burden. But what happens when it’s not just the negligence of a driver on the road that caused an accident, but the very design of the roadways you trust to carry you safely on your way?
Every roadway has several elements that must all be designed and maintained properly to work in harmony to keep drivers safe. Accidents can occur with increased frequency when those elements aren’t designed properly, including:
- Barriers and guardrails
- Exit and entry freeway ramps
- Lane and edge markings
- Road signs
Drivers in Indiana are required to keep their eyes and attention on the road. However, there are many reasons that may cause an Indiana driver to lose focus and potentially cause an Indiana car accident. Though it’s not uncommon for these distractions to occur, doing so could result in liability for an accident. One of the biggest culprits for distracted driving comes from texting and cell phone usage.
The state of Indiana has laws on the books against texting or calling on phones while operating a motor vehicle. According to Indiana code, drivers are prohibited from composing, sending, or reading texts while behind the wheel. Phone calls may only be made if a hand free tool is used, or in case of a 911 emergency. If a car accident occurs due to the use of cell phones, the driver may be found at fault.
Road Rage Accidents
It’s one thing to find yourself annoyed by traffic or another driver cutting you off. However, when drivers begin driving aggressively or dangerously, the situation becomes far more worrisome. Road rage in Indiana is a real problem, as a 2018 report found that the Hoosier state had more fatalities caused by road rage than anywhere else.
When Indiana road rage plays a part in a car accident, police take the matter seriously. Indiana driving laws define aggressive driving as:
- Passing in the right lane
- Excessive speeding
- Dangerous stopping or slowing
- Unnecessary use of the car horn
- Excessive flashing of headlights
- Refusal to yield
- Not observing traffic signals
- “Tailgating” or following other cars too closely
If road rage causes an accident, the aggressive driver may be found accountable.
Driving Under the Influence of Prescribed Medication
DUIs are normally issued when a driver is intoxicated under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs. However, it is still possible for a motorist to be arrested for a DUI even when taking medication prescribed legally by their doctor. If a medication might lead to impaired driving, the prescription bottle will have a warning for patients to avoid operating heavy machinery, including driving a car. Anyone taking medication should speak with their physician or pharmacist to find out whether they might be at risk when getting behind the wheel.
Teen Driving Accidents
Though many Indiana teens are excited to hit the open road and cruise around with friends once they receive their license, the fact is that inexperienced teen drivers may be more susceptible to crashes and accidents. Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death for 16–19-year-olds in the U.S. With those frightening statistics in mind, Indiana has instituted the Graduated Driver Licensing Law (GDL). Intended to slowly introduce teen drivers to the road, the legislation prohibits those under the age of 16 from driving with any passengers for 180 days after receiving their license. The only exceptions are family members or driving instructors.
The hours, days, and weeks following a car accident can be a difficult and frightening time. Not only is there the psychological toll, but bills for medical expenses and repairs can pile up quickly.
What Strategy Will You Use for My Auto Accident Lawsuit?
When it comes to auto accident injury lawsuits, the devil is in the details. To begin establishing negligence, a worthwhile attorney will need to review every aspect of the case, beginning with the crash itself and following through to every injury, diagnosis, repair, and final bill. Though they probably can’t lay out their entire approach in a preliminary meeting, a seasoned attorney should easily explain the steps they take to determine the best defense.
This strategy preview is a great question for evaluation because it gives a glimpse into what level of critical thinking and ingenuity of the lawyer. Attorneys work best when they have access to a large number of resources, as any of these can prove vital to the success of a case. Yes, basic information like accident reports, victim testimonials, police records, and insurance claims are obviously a great place to start. But beyond that, an auto injury attorney may get a bit more creative and ask for some additional items.
These could include:
- Medical reports to detail extent of injuries
- Psychological evaluations for post-traumatic stress
- Photographs or videos of the accident scene
- Auto repair bill
- Additional testimonials from family or friends related to the accident
You may have many more questions, and that’s okay! These are only meant to be a good place to start when evaluating any auto accident attorney. By choosing someone with experience and know how, recovering from a car accident can be a lot less stressful.
What to Do After a Car Accident in Indianapolis
Your actions in the moments, hours, and days after a car accident can have a profound impact your health and your legal rights. If you have been involved in a car accident in the Indianapolis area, it is important you follow these key steps.
Step 1: Get To Safety
Your first priority after being in a crash should be to get to a safe place. If you are able to move your vehicle out of harm's way, do so. If you can, try to get a photograph of your vehicle's initial position before being moved.
Step 2: Call for Help
If you or anyone has been seriously hurt in the crash, call 9-1-1 and get emergency medical help. After that, call the police. The police will help to control the scene and create an official report of the accident. This report will be a key piece of evidence later when determining fault for the collision. Be sure to request a copy of this report for your records.
Step 3: Stay at the Scene
Never leave the scene of an accident until you are cleared by police to do so. Fleeing the scene of an accident is considered a "hit and run" and can expose you to serious civil and criminal penalties.
Step 4: Exchange Information
Get the contact and insurance information of all involved drivers, including their names, addresses, phone numbers, driver's license numbers, license plates, auto insurance companies, and insurance policy numbers. If there were any witnesses to the crash, ask for their contact information as well. Do not discuss the crash during this time.
Step 5: Collect Evidence
If you have access to a camera or smartphone, use it to capture photographic or video evidence of the accident scene. This includes damage to all vehicles and property, traffic patterns, road conditions and any other details that help show what happened. This will play a key role if you end up filing an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit later.
Step 6: Get Medical Treatment
If you are fortunate enough to "walk away" from the accident scene do not require emergency medical attention, seek treatment for your injuries as soon as you are cleared to leave the accident scene. See a doctor promptly even if you feel fine. It is possible that you have suffered serious injuries but are unaware of the symptoms due to your body's "fight or flight" response. Follow your doctor's treatment instructions closely and keep records of all expenses you incur as a result of your treatment.
Step 7: Call Your Insurance Company
You have a responsibility to inform your insurance company of your involvement in a collision as soon as possible. Stick to the basic facts and provide enough information to open a claim, but do not volunteer any more information than necessary. Do not consent to any written or recorded statements. If they press you for more information, direct them to speak with your attorney.
Step 8: Stay Off Social Media
Anything you post online in the aftermath of a car accident can potentially be used to damage or destroy your personal injury case. This includes posting details of the accident, your activities in the days after the crash, or your personal account of the collision. In most cases, it is best to stay off social media entirely until your case is resolved.
Step 9: Hire an Experienced Indianapolis Car Accident Attorney
It is in your best interests to hire an attorney after being involved in a serious collision. Insurance companies are not on your side and will do everything within their power to reduce, delay, or even outright deny your claim. An experienced lawyer who understands the process can explain your legal options, protect you against unfair treatment, and help you seek maximum compensation for your losses.
Contact Our Team Today
When you’re involved in an accident, it’s difficult to know what to do first and how to handle it. What is the right car accident procedure? How do you navigate your insurance policy? What do I say to the insurance company? How much time do I have to file a claim or lawsuit? There are many confusing stages in a car accident lawsuit. That’s why our Indianapolis car accident attorneys can be with you every step of the way and help you understand all the rules of the road Indiana has.
Call now for your free consultation at (317) 245-3709.
Q:How much is my car accident case worth?
A:Unfortunately, there is no way to predict the value of your car accident case without discussing your situation in detail with an attorney. Every case is different and will vary in value depending on factors such as the nature and severity of your injuries, the amount of available insurance coverage, the strength of evidence proving the other party's liability, the willingness of the insurance company to reach a settlement, and the negotiation skills of your attorney. Generally speaking, car accident cases involving catastrophic or life-changing injuries will yield higher settlements or jury awards than those with comparatively minor injuries. It is advised you speak with an attorney to get a more accurate estimate of your case's worth.
Q:How long do I have to file a car accident lawsuit in Indiana?
A:After a traumatic auto accident injury, there may be a need for some rest and recovery. However, it’s a good idea to contact an auto accident attorney sooner rather than later. Personal injury laws in Indiana state that victims of auto injuries have two years to file charges. This extends to anyone suffering from injury, including passengers or pedestrians. This also applies if the victim passes away from their injuries and a victim’s family pursues a wrongful death lawsuit. If the two years have passed, it’s likely that the claim will be dismissed by courts. However, a car accident attorney can help in any case. While two years may seem like a long time to file a lawsuit, there may be some good reason to hold off. Certain physical injuries such as nerve damage or chronic pain conditions may take time to develop. In the event a personal injury accident is filed days after it occurs, it’s possible the injury could worsen, limiting the potential for damages in the case.
Q:How long will my car accident negligence lawsuit take?
A:It’s understandable for a client to ask an attorney for a timeframe after an auto accident. Victims are anxious to return to normalcy and take care of medical and repair bills that arise. However, the truth is that these cases are all unique and have varying levels of complexity. If a lawyer starts throwing out guarantees on how quickly their car accident cases are settled, it’s probably too good to be true. Lawsuits change, develop, and extend; an honest attorney will not be able to give a hard timeline as they want to focus on providing you with the best level of legal care possible. But while they may not be able to give you an end-date, this question can shed light on the reality of their workload. It’s not unheard of for lawyers to take on multiple cases at a time, even if this means significantly delaying the start dates of each suit. A trustworthy attorney should be focusing on a lean number of cases so that they can devote an equal amount of time to each one. Just ask point-blank how full their docket is; if it’s backed up several weeks or months, it’s another factor to consider.
Q:Will I have to go to court for my auto accident case?
A:In most cases, no. The vast majority of car accident cases do not require litigation and are instead resolved in the form of an out-of-court settlement negotiated between you, your attorney, and the at-fault driver's insurance company. Generally speaking, you will only need to file a lawsuit and appear in court if some sort of dispute arises or if the insurance company refuses to offer you a settlement that fully compensates you for your injuries. While a lawsuit may sometimes be necessary to yield a higher monetary award, there is always the possibility that you may lose at trial and leave empty handed. Our attorneys will review your situation and help you pursue a course of action that maximizes your chances of success.
Q:What are punitive damages?
A:Personal injury trials are based on whether damages are awarded to the plaintiff, the person injured. Defendants, the person or entity found responsible, pay these out to cover things like medical bills, property damage, or lost wages. However, in extreme cases attorneys and their clients may seek out what are called punitive damages. When a judge or jury chooses to award these damages, it is usually to set an example. These are often difficult to receive and may also be capped at a certain amount. Unless the case is strong enough, plaintiffs in Indiana don’t typically seek them.
Q:I'm partly responsible for the crash that caused my injuries. Do I still have a case?
A:Potentially, yes. Indiana uses a system called "modified comparative fault" which allows injured motorists to recover damages even if they were partially responsible for causing their own injuries, though their eligible compensation will be reduced according to their level of fault. For example, say you were found to be 30% at fault for causing a car accident that resulted in you suffering $100,000 worth of damages. Under Indiana's modified comparative fault rules, in this situation, you would still be eligible to receive up to $70,000 in compensation (or $100,000 less 30%). As long as you are less than 51% at fault for the collision, you may still recover damages.
Q:How much does it cost to hire an Indianapolis car accident lawyer?
A:Nobody should be denied the opportunity to seek justice after a car accident due to the inability to pay. Our Indianapolis car accident lawyers at Christie Farrell Lee & Bell accept cases on a contingency fee basis, meaning there are no out-of-pocket fees to retain our services. Instead, our firm will cover all upfront costs of handling your case and will only receive payment if we are successful in securing a favorable outcome for your case. If we are not successful in your case, you will not pay us a cent for our services. This helps ensure that our interests are aligned with yours, allowing you to focus on your physical recovery with peace of mind.