Life can change in a matter of seconds. When an accident, injury, or wrongful death occurs, it is devastating to everyone harmed. The injuries can be painful and disrupt everyday activities. They can affect you for the rest of your life or prevent you from working and living the way you are used to. You are the one left scrambling to get your life back on track.
The personal injury attorneys at Christie Farrell Lee & Bell have spent over 25 years fighting for people injured by the negligence of others. We have built a rapport and relationship with the people of not just Indianapolis, but throughout Indiana, as a leading personal injury firm. Fighting for our clients in Indiana personal injury cases isn’t just one thing we do, it’s all we do.
If you’ve sustained a life altering injury due to someone else’s error, you’ll need someone to help you right that wrong. While a lawsuit can’t fix your injury, receiving compensation that you deserve can help you to move on.
You may be wondering what goes into building a personal injury case, or even what injuries might qualify for legal action with the help of personal injury attorneys. Let’s take a look at what types of accidents require the attention of Indiana personal injury attorneys, as well as what to plan for when a personal injury lawyer takes on a case.
The Basics of Personal Injury Cases
A personal injury case occurs when an individual is injured or killed in an accident and another party may be at fault. When someone is found to be legally responsible for another person’s injury, that is usually because the person being sued was negligent. The role of a personal injury attorney is to prove this negligence led to the accident that caused the victim physical and/or mental harm. Unlike criminal acts like robbery or murder that lead to jail time, personal injury attorneys prove the damages their client suffered and get them compensation to pay medical bills and meet other needs.
According to recent statistics, only around 4% of personal injury cases end up going to trial. The other 96% are settled in what is called “pretrial,” when legal teams agree about the damages and compensation without a jury or judge making a ruling. Personal injury attorneys like us at Christie Farrell Lee & Bell work hard to build cases that represent a client’s best interests and the truth, to earn fair and rightful compensation for our clients before or during a trial.
Common Indiana Personal Injury Cases
There are no shortage of dangerous accidents in the world. The Center for Disease Control reports that 29.2 million people visited emergency rooms due to accidental injury in 2018. But when you review the numbers, the causes for these incidents are widespread. If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in Indiana, it is always good to reach out to Indiana personal attorney lawyers. Though this list is not exhaustive, here are some of the most commonly found injuries in these kinds of cases and what you need to know when contacting an attorney:
Slip and Fall Injury Attorney in Indiana
This is the most commonly seen accident in a personal injury case. A slip and fall applies to anyone who trips, slips, or falls due to negligent surroundings. According to statistics published by the National Floor Safety Institute, falls are the number one cause for emergency room visits, with slip and falls making up around 8 million ER trips. The same statistics found that the most common slip and fall injury is a bone fracture.
These accidents can occur in countless ways, both on private and public property. There may be uneven paving and sidewalks, an errant object left out, an unexpected hole, or even surfaces left slick from rain or snow. In order to pursue a court case in a slip and fall, you’ll need to demonstrate the unsafe conditions that led to the fall. This might mean photographs of the area, accounts of eye witnesses or anyone working at the location or nearby, or a physician’s report confirming the severity of the injury following the fall. An expert Indiana slip and fall attorney will work to gather all this evidence on your behalf.
Electrical Injury Due to Negligence
Most of us have experienced a small shock in our lives, whether it’s from touching a doorknob with too much static electricity or perhaps touching an outlet with a metal object. But when it comes to large-scale electrocution, severe damage can be done. In fact, electrical shock can cause severe injury in a variety of ways, some obvious and others unexpected. You might experience:
- Cardiac Damage
- Neurological Dangers
- Physical Trauma
- Broken Bones
Many of these accidents occur on the job, such as in construction. The Electrical Safety Foundation International reports that there were over 2,300 electrical injuries on the job in 2017, with 136 of those resulting in deaths. However, these types of injuries can happen in the home, as well, especially if an apartment or rental property is not adequately wired.
Evidence needed to pursue a personal injury case for an electrical shock will include photographs, documentation, and medical reports. An Indiana personal injury attorney may also contact an electrical professional to act as an expert witness and testify of any unsafe conditions.
Dog Bite Lawsuits in Indiana
Being attacked by an animal can be a terrifying experience. Dog bites are a commonly reported injury in personal injury cases when the animal has an owner or caretaker. These incidents are actually more common than you may think, as the Center for Disease Control has reported that 4.7 million dog bites happen in the US every year, with 800,000 of those leading to the need for medical care.
Owners have legal responsibilities to ensure their dogs don’t injure people. This might include adequate fencing around their property, keeping their dog on a leash or chain, providing signage on private property to indicate that a dog is there. The evidence needed to pursue these cases would include photographic evidence of the property, medical accounts to confirm the extent of injuries, and any information on previous attacks by the animal on others.
Vehicle Accident Injury in Indiana
Getting into a car crash is one of the most upsetting and affecting experiences anyone can have. Not only can these incidents cause debilitating injuries, but they can also cause death to the driver or others. Indiana statistics show that in 2017 alone, over 3,500 incapacitating injuries due to car crash were reported in Indiana, and nearly 1,000 more led to fatalities. There are many reasons that may lead to a car crash, such as impaired driving, inattentive driving, speeding, seatbelt violations, and even large vehicles like trucks driving improperly.
When a car crash occurs, it’s vital to provide as much physical evidence as possible. This would include photographs of the crash scene and damage to vehicles, police reports, eyewitness accounts, and medical records. The goal here is to provide proof of negligence on the road. These are sensitive cases, and it’s a great reason why victims should seek out an experienced Indianapolis personal injury attorney like the professionals at Christie Farrell Lee & Bell.
Negligence Leading to Assault & Battery
While assaults and physical attacks by others are usually considered criminal charges, they can still result in personal injury cases. This occurs when property owners fail to provide reasonable security measures. If an assault occurs on public or private property owned by another, a personal injury attorney will attempt to demonstrate negligence, especially if the area is missing:
- Adequate lighting
- Security cameras
- Working locks and alarms
- Security personnel
- Emergency phone lines
If the property owner does not provide reasonable security measures, a victim may be able to sue for further compensation.
Evidence Needed in a Personal Injury Case
The first step to building any injury or accident case is gathering information. Photos of any visible injuries or trauma, along with medical records, are the beginning of this process. It’s important for the plaintiff and their loved ones to keep photos of the injury as the healing process occurs. They can document experiences in a journal or make video diaries.
Outside capturing the short and long-term specifics of any injury or medical need that resulted from negligence, it’s also essential to collect evidence of negligence from the scene. Any police report from the incident will reveal the details documented by the first responders. In cases related to property or premises liability, an insurance claim may serve a similar role. In addition to these written accounts it’s essential to have a representative visit the scene personally and take photos as soon as possible. This is especially true in cases like Indiana trucking accident injuries. Cleanup crews may remove evidence within mere hours after an incident. Eyewitness statements and video footage from security cameras can be other valuable sources of proof when building an injury case, especially a car accident case.
Indiana Personal Injury Statute of Limitations
A statute of limitations is a law that gives a timeframe for how long a crime or accident can be reported and prosecuted. Indiana has a 2-year statute of limitations on all personal injury, medical malpractice, and product liability cases. An Indiana city or county being sued for negligence must be given written notice, called a tort claims notice, within 180 days of the incident. The State of Indiana must be given notice of any claims it has been negligent within 270 days of the incident.
Social Media in an Indiana Personal Injury Case
Many people don’t realize that social media posts may negatively impact a personal injury suit. These cases can be complicated, especially when it comes to how much damages should be awarded to a plaintiff. When a big life event happens, it’s common to post about it on social media. But if a victim’s posts contradict or are out of line with arguments being made in court, that might mean trouble for a personal injury attorney. For example, if a person is unable to walk due to an injury in a car accident and seeks damages for medical bills and lost wages, but then has photos of themselves running a marathon or dancing, that could be used against them.
Though it is your personal social media account, these sites are public and are admissible into a court of law. By sharing a photograph, video, or written opinion, you are essentially entering the document into the public domain. Because these sites are free, companies like Facebook or Twitter actually own the content you post on your page. In fact, even if your page is set to private it can still be used as evidence in the court of law, just as long as it wasn’t accessed in a deceitful way, such as creating a fake profile in order to view the posts. In a nutshell, it’s best not to post about legal matters online.
Punitive Damages in an Indiana Personal Injury Case
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.
This page may have answered many of your questions about injury cases in Indiana. For more information about our team of personal injury attorneys and our approach to personal injury representation, contact us today.
Free Resource: The Beginner’s Guide to Personal Injury Cases
Click the image above or the button below for a free download of our introductory guide to personal injury cases. Find definitions for technical legal terms, an exploration of what happens leading up to a case, and what to expect should you speak with an attorney about your situation.