Anyone could be seriously injured by a negligent driver, an accident on the job, or in any other accident scenario. If you are injured in the State of Indiana because someone else was negligent, an Evansville personal injury attorney can explain your legal rights and options.
What are the rights of injured negligence victims in Indiana? How do personal injury claims work? What compensation can a victim acquire? How long does the legal process take?
If you’ll continue reading, you will learn what you should do if you are injured by negligence in this state, and you will also find out how long you can expect the legal process to take.
What Are Your Rights as an Injured Victim of Negligence?
When one person’s carelessness injures another person, the victim may file a personal injury claim that seeks compensation for his or her current and future medical expenses, lost wages and projected future lost wages, and all related damages including personal pain and suffering.
It begins by discussing the case with a personal injury attorney who can review the details and determine if the victim can move forward with an injury claim. At that first meeting, your attorney will explain your rights under Indiana’s personal injury laws.
In Most Cases, What is a Personal Injury Lawyer’s First Step?
If an accident attorney and a personal injury victim agree to proceed with an injury claim, the attorney will initiate negotiations with the “defendant” (the presumably negligent party) for the damages that the victim (called the “plaintiff”) is entitled to under Indiana state law.
These private, out-of-court negotiations are typically conducted by the plaintiff’s injury attorney and the defendant’s attorney or insurance company. It’s the way that most personal injury cases are resolved in Indiana. Personal injury trials are not “rare,” but most cases never go to court.
However, if no acceptable settlement amount is offered, the plaintiff’s personal injury lawyer can take the case to court, explain to a jury what happened, and ask the jurors to order the payment of damages.
What Can Delay the Progress of a Personal Injury Case?
How long do personal injury cases take? That depends on a number of factors. Merely hiring a lawyer is sometimes all that it takes to motivate a defendant to come forth with an acceptable settlement amount.
The compensation a victim of negligence receives and the amount of time it takes to receive it will be determined by factors that include:
1. Causation: Can the cause of an injury be traced directly to a particular accident – as the plaintiff claims? Or was the injury pre-existing? What do the medical records indicate?
2. Liability: After some accidents, it’s obvious who was at fault, but after other accidents, there are disputes over liability. Indiana follows the “comparative fault” system, so after a traffic accident, victims may win damages even if a victim was up to fifty percent at fault.
3. Damages: Another factor that determines how long the legal process may take is the extent and scope of the losses and injuries. Does a defendant have insurance coverage or other financial resources? What amount will constitute full compensation?
Many personal injury cases can be resolved in just a few weeks or within several months. When a personal injury case goes to court, a final resolution may take a year or even longer, and when a jury’s verdict is appealed, a case could run as long as five years and sometimes more.
What Determines How Long a Personal Injury Case Takes?
But that’s rare, and such prolonged cases usually involve millions of dollars. The amount of time that it takes to resolve a personal injury case in Indiana depends on the answers to these questions:
1. When, where, why, and how was the victim injured?
2. For how long will medical care be required?
3. How much and what parts of the victim’s claim are disputed?
4. How long will it take to evaluate the testimony and evidence?
5. Will the claim be settled or go to trial?
Do Not Be Tempted By a Quick Settlement Offer
If you seek compensation for a personal injury, you will need patience. The negligent party’s insurance company may offer you an immediate settlement. Don’t be tempted by it. First offers are usually “lowball” offers in amounts far below what personal injury claims are actually worth.
Allow your accident attorney several weeks to develop the best possible case. Your attorney can find a way to win a more generous settlement than an insurance company’s opening offer.
What is Important for Personal Injury Plaintiffs to Remember?
To sum up, the three main reasons why personal injury cases are delayed include:
1. Factual or legal complexities – like different defendants represented by different lawyers – may slow the progress of a case.
2. As a general rule of thumb, the more compensation a victim seeks, the longer the process will take.
3. The final compensation amount the victim should seek can’t be calculated accurately if the victim is still receiving treatment for the injury.
Every personal injury case has a unique timeline. Medical test results may not be immediately available. Your accident lawyer may need time to contact expert witnesses and obtain their statements or testimony.
The Law Takes Its Time – But Victims Can’t Take Theirs
While your case may take its time, you can’t take yours. Indiana’s statute of limitations for personal injury claims is two years, but you can’t wait two years and then try to put an attorney on the case.
Don’t even wait two weeks to speak with an attorney. Make the call as soon as possible after you’ve received treatment for your personal injury or injuries. Your first legal consultation comes with no cost or obligation, and you’ll learn how the law applies to your own situation.
If You Think That You Can’t Afford an Attorney, Think Again
If you and your lawyer move forward with a legal action, you will pay no attorney’s fee until and unless you are compensated with an out-of-court settlement or a jury verdict.
Indiana’s injury attorneys work on a contingent fee basis that allows everyone to seek justice, so it doesn’t matter if your circumstances are affluent or modest. Every injured victim of negligence in our state has the ability and the right to seek compensation and justice.
A personal injury case takes time. Take advantage of that time for regaining your health, and let an Evansville personal injury attorney handle the details of the case on your behalf.