Protecting Your Well-Being After An Indiana Car Accident
Maybe someone driving in the car ahead of you stopped abruptly. You reacted quickly – quick enough to stop before colliding with them. Unfortunately, the driver behind you was using their phone and didn’t notice in time, so they smashed into you.
A little while after the car crash, you realize your neck has begun to bother you, ever since that accident and the pain isn’t going away. Apparently, the wreck did more than damage to your car. It also damaged you. Whether you suffered broken bones or the jolt that comes from whiplash, Sarkisian Sarkisian & Associates P.C. can work to help you receive compensation to make amends. With offices in Portage and Valparaiso, we serve clients throughout Indiana.
The Steps To Take After An Accident
There are a few important steps to take after a car crash that can greatly increase your likelihood of recovering a high settlement or award. If you can, please try to:
- Call for emergency medical care if necessary.
- Call the police: File a police report to document the accident.
- Seek medical attention as soon as possible: If you did not receive emergency medical care, visit your chosen medical provider. Some serious injuries may not be apparent until later.
- Take pictures at the scene of the accident: Photograph vehicle damage, injuries, dangerous road conditions and other contributing factors.
- Exchange information with the other driver: Document names, phone numbers, addresses and insurance information of all involved parties.
- Talk to witnesses. Ask witnesses for their names and contact information in case you need their testimony to verify what happened.
- Do not speak with any insurance company before speaking with an attorney: Insurance companies often look for opportunities to reduce your settlement or minimize your claims. Allow a qualified and experienced personal injury attorney to speak to the insurance adjusters for you. Hiring an attorney does not harm your case or negatively affect you.
- Speak with an attorney: Contact a qualified personal injury attorney to discuss the situation and any potential claims.
- Compile all necessary paperwork: Create a folder or binder that can hold all of the important documents that will be generated following a crash. Such documents include police reports, photographs, medical records/bills, insurance information, contact information of the other party/witnesses and much more. You must assume that every document has relevant information and should be preserved.
Even if you did not do all these steps, do not give up your hope of recovering compensation. You may still have an actionable claim. Speak with a car accident lawyer to learn more about your options and your rights following a crash.
Car Accidents: Answers To Frequently Asked Questions
Car accidents are always unexpected, so it’s natural that you feel shocked and unprepared after a crash. Below, our attorneys have provided answers to common questions about Indiana car accidents.
Is Indiana an at-fault state?
Yes, Indiana is an at-fault state. The insurance provider of the at-fault driver is required to pay the other party’s bills.
Fault is not “all or nothing.” You may be considered partially responsible for the crash. If that happens, the at-fault driver will only reimburse you for a certain percentage of the total damages.
Do you have to file a police report after a car accident in Indiana?
You are required to file a police report after a car crash if the accident results in:
- Property damage (to anything other than the vehicles)
However, we recommend always filing a police report after a crash. The information documented in the police report will be valuable in a personal injury claim should you choose to take legal action.
Should I file a personal injury claim after my car accident?
Filing a personal injury claim is not the right course of action after every car accident. However, it can be incredibly beneficial in the right circumstances – protecting your physical and financial well-being.
We recommend scheduling a consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney after your crash. A lawyer can evaluate the facts of your case, determine fault and advise whether filing a claim is in your best interests.
At Sarkisian Sarkisian & Associates P.C., all case-related recommendations are made with your best interests in mind. You will get the same advice that we would give a friend or a family member.
What benefits can I pursue with an Indiana car accident claim?
The exact available benefits will vary depending upon the specifics of your case. You may be eligible to pursue compensation for:
- Medical bills
- Rehabilitation costs
- Lost wages
- Loss of future earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Disability or disfigurement
- Emotional distress
- Punitive damages*
*Punitive damages are only available in select circumstances. To pursue punitive damages, the other party must have acted recklessly or maliciously.
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 that 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 18th birthday. No matter what the situation, it is important to contact an attorney as soon as possible to ensure the appropriate time is satisfied.
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.
Why Should You Get Medical Attention After A Car Crash?
Our motor vehicle accident attorneys have been litigating car accident claims, motorcycle accident claims and other personal injury cases for over 65 years combined. We have seen minor fender benders and major collisions involving passenger cars and commercial trucks. Time and again, we have seen people make the mistake of delaying or forgoing medical treatment. It can harm your case.
Here are a few things that can help make your case stronger (this also includes situations involving workers’ compensation and Social Security Disability benefits):
- Get medical attention as soon as possible: Insurance companies often argue that your injuries must not be serious if you could wait to get treatment. Don’t delay going to the doctor and establishing your medical record as soon as possible.
- Don’t minimize your pain: Do not just think about your pain on a scale of 1 to 10 – the higher the number the higher and worse the pain. When you are living day to day at a level 7, a level 5 day doesn’t seem quite as bad. Don’t simply tell your doctor you are fine or that you are hurt – it is imperative that your physician understands the entire picture. Continue giving complete descriptions of the levels of your pain and avoid reducing it to just a number.
- Tell your doctor everything: Do not just say that “it hurts.” Personal injury cases might take some time, during which you may begin to heal or you may begin to notice permanent damage. Tell your doctor how the pain affects your life. Make sure you mention whether you are able to do chores, if your back starts hurting or if you are no longer able to stand for periods of time. Not only will this help establish the true extent of the damage, but it can help your doctor diagnose related problems that may require treatment.
- Follow the entire treatment plan: This is best for your personal health and your case. Don’t forgo a surgical procedure because you are afraid you cannot pay for it out of pocket now or that it will leave you out of work too long during recovery. Part of our care is that we help make sure your compensation award covers the expenses you need to get better and whether we can force insurance companies to advance any costs.
Talk With Our Car Accident Lawyers About Your Right To Compensation For Free
A major benefit of contacting an attorney early is that you can get the guidance you need to help protect your case and maximize your claim. With our free initial consultations, you can get the legal advice you need without incurring any costs. When you become our client, we don’t charge anything unless you recover compensation.
Call our offices in Portage and Valparaiso at 219-265-6061 for representation throughout Northwest Indiana and Chicago. You can also send us an email, and we will contact you to schedule your free consultation. We can meet at home, hospital and after-hours when your circumstances require.