How easy is it to be injured in a traffic accident? Consider that more than 264 million vehicles are registered in the United States, and more than 218 million drivers have licenses. In 2015, more than six million traffic collisions were reported in this nation.
In the state of Indiana, according to the Indiana University Public Policy Institute, 821 traffic fatalities, and more than 52,000 serious traffic injuries were reported in 2016. This is where an Evansville car accident law firm can help.
If you’re injured by a negligent driver here in Indiana, how can you know whether or not to take legal action and seek compensation for your medical bills and lost wages?
WHAT STEPS SHOULD YOU TAKE WHEN A TRAFFIC CRASH HAPPENS?
When a traffic accident happens, it is important for you to try to think clearly. You must take the steps listed here to protect yourself because there will not be an attorney at the crash site to advise you:
- Summon medical help at once. Even if you do not believe that you’ve been injured, have a medical exam within twenty-four hours after the crash. You may have suffered a latent or hard-to-find injury that could later become a serious medical condition.
- Summon the police. After the officers arrive, find out when and how you will be able to obtain a printout of their written accident report.
- Get the other driver’s name, address, phone and driver’s license numbers, and insurance company contact details. If the other driver is uncooperative or is too incapacitated or impaired to help you, ask the police to help you get the details you need.
- Take as many photos as you can of the vehicles, the damages, the license plates, your own visible injuries, and the overall accident scene. If there were eyewitnesses, your attorney might want to speak with them, so try to get their contact information.
WHEN SHOULD YOU SPEAK WITH AN EVANSVILLE CAR ACCIDENT LAW FIRM?
When will you need an attorney’s help? That answer is easy. If you’ve sustained any kind of injury in the accident, you will need to discuss your rights and options with a personal injury lawyer.
If a medical exam indicates that you have not been injured in the accident – but you did sustain damage to your vehicle – you should file a damage claim, and for that, you probably will not need an attorney’s help.
WILL YOU NEED A LAWYER’S HELP WITH A PERSONAL INJURY CLAIM?
Most people find that it is more expedient to pursue a simple damage claim on their own and without an attorney. If the other driver was at fault, you should be able to file your damage claim with the other driver’s auto insurance company.
However, if you’ve been injured by a negligent driver, have an experienced Evansville personal injury attorney protect your rights, explain your options, investigate your accident and injury, review the evidence, question the witnesses, and help you pursue the compensation you need.
In many cases, if you’ve been injured, the best way to move forward will be with a personal injury lawsuit.
WHAT IF YOU WERE INJURED BY AN UNINSURED MOTORIST?
However, if the driver who injured you has no auto insurance, and if that driver is the only party with liability for the accident, a lawsuit may be futile. People have no auto insurance for one reason – because they can’t afford it.
Indiana does not require motorists to carry uninsured motorist (UM) coverage, but an injury attorney will confirm that it really is smart to have UM insurance. It covers your medical costs if you’re injured by an uninsured driver – up to the policy limit, which is typically $25,000.
Without uninsured motorist coverage, if you are injured by an uninsured driver, you’ll have to file a claim with your own auto insurance company based on your own injury and collision coverage.
What the insurance company can pay you will hinge on the conditions, terms, limits, and details of your auto insurance policy.
HOW CAN PERSONAL INJURY LAWYERS HELP YOU?
However, in most cases, the injured victim of another driver’s negligence in Indiana will be able to – and, in fact, should – pursue a personal injury claim and seek compensation with the help of an experienced Evansville personal injury attorney.
Personal injury lawyers negotiate with auto insurance companies routinely. They know what tactics auto insurance companies use, and they know how to acquire the compensation – and the justice – that the injured victim of a negligent driver will need.
However, your accident lawyer will have to review the facts and speak with any eyewitnesses at once. If you do not contact an attorney right away after a negligent driver injures you, the evidence deteriorates, the memories fade, and it becomes more difficult to prove your case.
A good accident lawyer can explain how this state’s complex comparative fault and negligence laws apply to your own situation. Let your attorney do all of the negotiating with the insurance company, and if the company calls you, refer the caller back to your attorney.
IF YOU’RE INJURED AND NOT WORKING, CAN YOU AFFORD A LAWYER?
Even if you’ve been injured by another person’s negligence, you may think that you can’t take legal action because you can’t afford a lawyer’s help, but that is not actually the case. Every injured victim of negligence in Indiana can afford to have his or her day in court.
That is because this state’s accident attorneys provide the victims of negligence with a free first legal consultation, and if you choose to move forward with legal action, you pay no attorney’s fee until your attorney has acquired a settlement or judgment on your behalf.
IS THERE A TIME LIMIT FOR TAKING LEGAL ACTION?
As mentioned previously, it is imperative for an injured victim of negligence to contact a reliable personal injury lawyer as quickly as possible. Indiana has established a two-year statute of limitations for taking action in a personal injury case, but you can’t wait two years.
In fact, if you’re injured and away from work, you really must take action as quickly as possible.
If you are injured by a negligent driver in Indiana, unless that driver is uninsured, taking legal action – with a good attorney’s help – is the right thing to do, and in fact, your health and your future could depend on it.