Car Accidents: Answers To Frequently Asked Questions
Many Indiana residents are involved in a motor vehicle accident at some point in their lives. Unfortunately, it’s common for accident victims to not fully understand their rights and options under Indiana law. Not knowing can have serious repercussions for your health and financial well-being.
At Sarkisian Sarkisian & Associates, our attorneys have more than 50 years of experience addressing car accident and other personal injury claims. Let us provide the answers you need to confidently address your case. Below we answer some frequently asked questions about car crashes.
If you have additional questions, call our Portage and Valparaiso offices at 219-841-5689 or contact us online to schedule a free initial case consultation. Our team serves clients throughout Northwest Indiana and Chicago.
How does fault play a role in my Indiana car accident claim?
Indiana follows a modified comparative fault rule. This means that each party’s relative responsibility for the collision determines who is responsible for the damages and to what degree.
For example, if the other driver is determined to be 80% at fault for the collision, he would be required to cover 80% of your sustained damages. To be eligible for compensation, the defendant driver must be at least 51% responsible for the crash. If you are determined to be more than 50% responsible, you cannot collect damages.
Can I still file a car accident claim if I was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash?
While Indiana law requires all drivers and passengers to wear seat belts, whether you were wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash does not factor into your personal injury claim.
Since 2015, defense attorneys have not been able to have seat belt use factor into comparative fault for the accident. If the other driver is 51% or more at fault for the accident, you may still be eligible for compensation.
I was hit by another car who slid on black ice. Can I still hold them liable for damages?
Regardless of road conditions, Indiana drivers may still be held liable after an accident. Heavy rain, black ice, snow, fog and other poor driving conditions are not absolute defenses for the collision. If you were injured by a driver who hit you in inclement weather, you may be eligible for compensation.
In Indiana, how long do I have to file a personal injury claim after my car crash?
In Indiana, you typically have a two-year window to file a personal injury claim from the date of the accident. There are exceptions to this two-year statute of limitations. For example, If you have a claim against a city, county, or other municipality, you often only have 180 days to file a claim for personal injuries. On the other side of the coin, if you are a minor, you often times have two years from the date of your eighteenth birthday. No matter what the situation, it is important to contact an attorney as soon as possible to ensure the appropriate time is satisfied.
Do I always have to file a police report after an Indiana car accident?
We recommend always contacting the local police department after a crash. This will allow you to have a police report on file in case you choose to file a personal injury claim. The extent of your injuries may not be apparent at the time of the crash, so it is better to be prepared.
However, Indiana law only requires you to report the crash to the police if someone was injured or killed in the crash, or if there was more than $1,000 in property damage.
Is this a fair settlement offer from the insurance company?
It is impossible to say whether a settlement offer is fair without taking a deep dive into the facts surrounding your car accident. An experienced personal injury attorney will evaluate many factors, including:
- Medical bills
- Ongoing rehabilitation costs
- Property damage
- Lost wages from missed days of work
- Pain and suffering
Do not accept a settlement offer without first speaking with a personal injury attorney. This becomes more significant as the severity of your injuries increases. You want to make sure that your settlement offer will cover your ongoing care and expenses.
How much will it cost to hire a car accident attorney?
Car accident claims are accepted on a contingency fee basis. If you partner with Sarkisian Sarkisian & Associates to pursue damages after a crash, you will not owe us any attorney fees unless we successfully recovered compensation on your behalf.
Additional Questions? Ask Us In A Free Initial Consultation.
Call us at 219-841-5689 to discuss your options in a free case consultation. You can also contact us online. We will give you an honest assessment of your situation and advise whether it makes sense to pursue damages.