Archive for the ‘ Auto Accident ’ Category

9
Mar

Do I Need a Witness for My Motor Vehicle Accident Claim?

March 09, 2020

Strictly speaking, if no one besides yourself can confirm that the other party in an accident was at fault, then you do not have a case in your personal injury claim. While having a witness can help your claim, it is not necessary that a third party (not involved in the accident) confirm your version of events related to the accident.

There are many different witnesses who naturally respond to a car accident. These witnesses exist to confirm who was responsible for the accident and the severity of your injuries. If you or someone you love has been injured in a motor vehicle accident in the state of Indiana, it is vital that you speak with an experienced personal injury attorney to help you collect witness testimony.

Witnesses on the Scene

If anyone has been injured in a car wreck, there will be witnesses. Some are required by law to respond to injuries in an accident, and others may volunteer assistance and provide observations regarding the cause of the accident.

Third Party Observers

In Indiana, people who witness a car accident are not required to stop and assist unless they are directly involved in the accident. However, many third party individuals who witness an accident will stop by their own accord and try to assist anyone injured on the scene. They may even take it upon themselves to give a statement to the police when they arrive. 

If you notice non-involved, third party observers volunteering to help those who have been injured, it is a good idea to ask for their names and contact information. Having witnesses who can testify that the other party was at fault for the accident can help your personal injury claim.

Drivers Involved

Whoever is involved in a car accident must stop and find out if anyone was hurt. All drivers should do their best to move their motor vehicles so as not to impede traffic. Anyone involved in a car wreck who does not stop to help the injured are violating Indiana state law. If you or someone you love are involved in a motor vehicle accident where the other driver did not stop, then you should report the color, make, and model of their vehicle, along with their license plate number, to police. To leave the scene of an accident is called a “hit and run” and is a crime.

Responding Police Officer

The police officer who arrives on the scene after a motor vehicle accident must take statements and determine who was at fault for the accident. That’s why it is important that you get a copy of the police report after the accident.

Because Indiana is a comparative negligence state, the officer may find both (or all) drivers at fault for the accident. In the case of comparative negligence, each driver is assigned a percentage of negligence contributing to the accident. If you’ve been found to be over 50% at fault, then you will not be able to file a personal injury claim. 

Expert Testimony

It is important that you seek medical attention after an accident. Your doctors will be able to provide evidence of your injuries. You should collect receipts and track all costs associated with your injuries (including lost wages). If you wait too long to see a physician, then the other party could make a case that you received your injuries after the accident.

In the Case of Preexisting Conditions

It may be that you were injured in a motor vehicle accident and were already suffering from preexisting injuries and conditions. Treating doctors are not usually able to provide a complete analysis in this case. However, your personal injury attorney can help you solicit necessary expert witness testimony to confirm that regardless of your pre-existing injuries, the at-fault driver is responsible for the current nature of your injuries.  

For more information about how an Indiana attorney can help you with your motor vehicle accident case, contact Stewart & Stewart Attorneys at 800-333-3529 or visit our website.

24
Feb

How to Avoid Accidents When It Snows in Indianapolis

February 24, 2020

Indiana winter weather usually brings with it a host of car accidents and related injuries. As a general rule, you should try to stay indoors during extremely severe weather. But if you must venture outdoors, here are a few things to help you avoid an accident in snow and ice.

Winterize Your Vehicle

There are vehicle components and fluids that merit changing as Indiana winter rolls in. It is best to check with a trusted mechanic to make sure that your vehicle is ready for the winter roads.

Check your tires. Depending on your vehicle, you may want to change to winter tires. At the very least, make sure that your tire pressure is where it ought to be. Remember that cold weather causes the air in your tires to constrict, lowering tire pressure. 

Change your fluids. Make sure that your vehicle is full of antifreeze as well as wiper fluid that has antifreeze.

Test your battery. Check your battery and clean it of any corrosion so that it will behave optimally during extreme cold. If your battery is old, you should probably replace your battery before winter approaches.

Keep supplies inside the vehicle. It is always a good idea to include a survival kit in your car, along with an ice scraper and hand warmers.

Be More Alert

Don’t drive too close to other vehicles. You never know when a driver in front of you may break or move suddenly. On snow and ice, you will need more time and room to avoid an accident. 

Drive slower. Smart Indiana drivers lower their speed significantly over snow and ice. Just as creating extra space between you and the other vehicle increases your ability to maneuver, a slower speed gives you more time to react. 

Leave your phone alone. Texting and holding a phone is dangerous in normal weather conditions, but it is incredibly dangerous during snow and ice. While wearing a hands-free device is much safer, it is often best to avoid using your phone altogether so that you can focus on the road.

Keep distractions to a minimum. Depending on the severity of the weather, blaring music could distract you from responding carefully and avoiding an accident. Secure objects within your vehicle and make sure you have everything you need before you start your car.

Master Driving Techniques on Snow and Ice

Know if your car is front, rear, or all-wheel-drive. Rear-wheel-drive vehicles are the most susceptible to slips and skids. If at all possible, use a 4-wheel-drive vehicle if you must go outside during snow and ice.

Approach hills carefully. If you begin hitting the gas pedal while climbing, your wheels might spin. Also, if you try to brake while climbing a hill, your vehicle may start to slide backward. Be extra careful on hills by gaining the momentum you need to get up the hill and then pumping the brakes slowly as you descend. 

Turn in the direction of the skid. Most experienced winter drivers learn early on that they should turn the wheel in the direction of the skid to get out of it. If you try to turn the other direction, your car will spin in circles. 

Sudden movements might not work. As a general rule, if you need to turn, brake, or speed up quickly, the snow is likely to prevent your wheels from responding on the road. Always move slowly enough so that you have plenty of time to maneuver your vehicle properly. 

For more information about how an Indiana attorney can help you protect yourself in the event of a vehicle accident, contact Stewart & Stewart Attorneys at 800-333-3529 or visit our website.

10
Feb

Who Is Responsible for Damages After an Accident with a City Bus?

February 10, 2020

Public transportation is a convenient service, but it also poses a risk to passengers, other drivers, and pedestrians. For these reasons, bus operators and employers are required to take every precaution in order to prevent a city bus accident. Here is a quick guide to help you understand who is responsible for damages in the wake of a city bus accident.

The City Bus Driver

In public transportation systems, the city driver is expected to exercise great care and skill when driving the bus to lower the risk of an accident. Therefore, if there is an accident involving a city bus, there is usually negligence on the bus driver’s part.

 Sometimes the bus driver fails to observe traffic laws, or they fail to look out for other cars and pedestrians on the road before making a turn. In more serious situations, they may have been driving under the influence of alcohol or prescription drugs, or they may even have been driving without proper rest. Regardless, it is important that you speak with an attorney experienced in city bus claims if you or someone you love is injured in this type of accident.

The Driver’s Employer

Ultimately, the bus driver’s employer is responsible for any negligence on the part of the driver. It may be that the employer did not properly vet their driver or train them to handle situations in a way that could have prevented an accident.

Mechanical Failure

If the brakes failed when the driver tried to engage them, then an accident is likely to result in injuries for which the maintenance staff or even the parts manufacturer may be liable. There are a number of bus parts that, should they fail, could result in serious injuries to those inside and outside the bus. Typically, vehicle operators or businesses must keep a vehicle inspection schedule in order to identify potential mechanical failures and prevent a bus accident.

Other Passengers

In some cases, disruptive or violent passengers might be the cause of the bus accident. It is possible for other passengers to be faulted for a city bus accident.

Types of Bus Accidents

Due to the size and number of passengers being transported in a city bus, there are a number of different ways that people are injured in a bus accident. If a bus collides with or crashes into another car, then the car driver is likely to be injured in the accident.

If a city bus gets into an accident, many of the passengers may fall or even injure one another as the bus moves unexpectedly. Because of the nature of public transportation, passengers are not usually seat-belted for extra safety. Many people inside are likely to suffer injuries in the event of a collision. In cases where a bus actually flips, there may even be severe injuries and fatalities.

Usually, the most tragic bus accidents occur when the bus strikes a pedestrian in the street or on the sidewalk. These pedestrians are likely to suffer severe injury or death.

If you or someone you love has been injured or died in any of the bus accidents described above, a number of people may be liable for their injury or death. You may be eligible to receive compensation for medical bills, lost wages, wrongful death, and a number of other qualified damages in a personal injury claim. 

For more information about how an Indiana attorney can help you with your city bus accident case, contact Stewart & Stewart Attorneys at 800-333-3529 or visit our website.a

3
Feb

How Will a Motor Vehicle Accident Affect My Insurance?

February 03, 2020

It is no secret that those who have not been in any traffic accidents in many years (or not at all) can find great insurance premiums. Still, some are concerned about how an accident will affect their vehicle insurance payments.

Understanding how insurance works can help you pick a plan that works best for you. Choosing a plan carefully can help you strike a reasonable balance between paying less each month and protecting yourself financially after a major accident.

Determining Who Is at Fault for the Accident

Indiana is an at-fault state, meaning police will draft a report naming the party at fault. While insurance will take the police report into account, they will hold a separate investigation with a claims adjuster in order to determine which insurance company must pay for injuries and damage to property.

In some cases, the police and/or the insurance company may distribute fault comparably. This means that there is enough negligence in more than one party to declare each one at fault comparably, or by percentage.

Accidents that involve property damage may remain on your driving record for up to three years. If the police determined that you violated traffic laws resulting in an accident, the citation will also go on your record and have a greater negative impact. Both can also have negative effects on your insurance.

Your Insurance Could Change

If you are accident-prone, your insurance will cost more. Without accident forgiveness on your policy, insurance companies are permitted to increase your premium if you are involved in an accident (whether or not you were at fault). 

It is more likely that your insurance will increase premiums if you are found at fault for an accident. That being said, you may or may not see an increase in your insurance if the other driver’s insurance company claims responsibility.

How Accident Forgiveness Works

Many insurance companies offer their customers accident forgiveness. This is typically an extra charge that keeps your insurance premiums from increasing should you be involved in a car accident. Depending on the insurance company, the accident forgiveness is usually a small, extra charge that makes it a reasonable upgrade to keep insurance premiums from rising in the event of another vehicle accident.

Insurance Claim Limits

If you or someone you love is involved in a major car accident, regardless of who was at fault, damages can exceed insurance limits and leave you to pay the balance of bills owed. For example, if the cost of repairing/replacing your car after an accident exceeds $25,000 (the Indiana state liability minimum), you are liable for anything over $25,000. 

For this reason, many people increase their insurance liability amount so they don’t get stuck paying for extra costs in the wake of an accident. While this will protect you financially after an accident, it also means that your insurance will cost you more.

Injuries Suffered from the Accident

Injuries after an accident prove even more difficult when it comes to insurance payouts. Any significant injuries can easily cost more than the state minimum injury liability of $25,000 per person. 

If you or someone you love is injured in a traffic accident, and the other driver was found at fault, you may be eligible for compensation in a personal injury lawsuit beyond what that driver’s insurance will provide. 

That said, of greater concern than your rising premium should be the cost of injuries after a traffic accident. It is important that you consult with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible after your accident.

For more information about how an Indiana attorney can help you with your motor vehicle accident case, contact Stewart & Stewart Attorneys at 800-333-3529 or visit our website.

19
Dec

How is Fault Determined If There Are Multiple Vehicles Involved in an Accident?

December 19, 2019

In a vehicle accident that involves only one or two vehicles, it is pretty simple to determine who was at fault. However, in a multi-car pileup, it is not always clear who was ultimately or partially responsible. 

Determining At-Fault Driver or Drivers

Every motorist in Indiana is expected to exercise a reasonable “duty of care” with regard to traffic laws and defensive driving.  

In some cases, expectations of driver responsibility can be higher. For example, drivers with limitations that could impair driving are expected to compensate for those limitations or not drive at all. Similarly, car drivers are expected to be extremely vigilant when looking out for pedestrians and motorcyclists, due to the fact that that pedestrians or motorcyclists may be harder to see and are less protected when involved in a car accident. Lastly, commercial truck drivers are expected to exercise even greater care since their larger vehicles pose a greater risk of injury in the event of an accident. 

After a multi-car accident, any driver(s) discovered to have been negligent may be faulted for the accident. Police officers that respond to the scene typically examine damage to vehicles and the area where the accident occurred. They will also take statements from anyone involved or who witnessed the accident.

In the state of Indiana, more than one driver can be faulted for the accident. Particularly in a multi-car pileup, there are sometimes a few drivers who were not exercising an appropriate level of care to prevent the accident.

Indiana Is a Comparative Negligence State

What is Comparative Negligence?

In the event that more than one driver is faulted for the accident, Indiana applies fault on a sliding scale, meaning that they assign each at fault driver a percentage of negligence. For example, Driver A was deemed 50% at fault, while Drivers B and C are deemed 20% and 30% at fault respectively. 

If you or someone you love was injured in a car accident that involved multiple vehicles and found at fault for less than 50%, you should consider filing a personal injury claim against the other drivers.

Insurance Liability vs. Negligence in a Personal Injury Lawsuit

In most situations, an Indiana police report names the at fault driver (or drivers), files a report, and each at fault party’s insurance assumes their percentage of liability. When a driver’s insurance company accepts liability for the accident, then they agree to pay for damages according to the driver’s policy stipulations.

If you or someone you know was injured in an accident, and the other driver’s insurance has claimed liability, insurance claim limits may keep you from receiving full compensation for your medical bills. Additionally, if there were lost wages and other damages, the at-fault driver’s insurance may not be set up to pay those bills either.

In that case, you may be eligible to seek compensation for those bills and damages in a personal injury lawsuit. Typically, once the at fault party (or parties) have been named, the same fault is applied in the courtroom. This is provided, of course, that you and your attorney are able to demonstrate that your injuries and damages are directly linked to the accident.

However, there are cases where a police report faults one driver, and the insurance adjusters attempt to fault another driver instead. Insurance companies will conduct their own investigation and may discover things that they believe the police missed. It is important that you follow-up with the police report that was filed after your accident, and that you provide as much evidence as possible to your own insurance company to prove that the other driver was at fault.

For more information about how an Indiana attorney can help you with your motor vehicle accident case, contact Stewart & Stewart Attorneys at 800-333-3529 or visit our website.

13
Dec

3 Things to Know When Filing a Claim After an Auto Accident

December 13, 2019

If you or someone you love has been injured in an auto accident, here are three things you should know before filing a claim.

There is a Difference Between an Insurance Claim and a Personal Injury Claim

When it comes to personal injury lawsuits and insurance claims, the terminology surrounding the word “claim” can be confusing. After an accident, it is important that you get your insurance company involved as soon as possible. It is their job to help you seek compensation for damage to your vehicle and any medical bills.

 However, if your injuries (and the injuries of your passengers) exceed claims limits, you may be liable for those costs. Depending upon the severity of damage and injuries, these costs could end up being tens of thousands of dollars beyond claim limits.

Insurance Claims Limits

In Indiana, insurance liability minimums are on the low side at $25,000 per person (up to $50,000 total). If your injuries end up costing you $60,000, then, after insurance pays for $25,000 of your medical bills, you will still be left with another $35,000 to pay on your own. 

Indiana requires drivers to carry uninsured/underinsured (UI/UDI) coverage to deal with situations where the other driver doesn’t have insurance. However, there are also claims limits for UI/UDI coverage as well.

 That’s why it may be in your best interest to file a personal injury claim after a car accident. If the other driver is at fault for the accident (and hence, your injuries), then you will be able to seek compensation for damages. These damages include medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.

Personal Injury Claim Process

Many people injured in an auto accident reach their insurance claims limits and seek additional compensation in a personal injury lawsuit. Much of the evidence you will need has already been supplied to your insurance company. Additionally, the responding police officer will have drafted an accident report naming the other driver as the at-fault party.

You will need to demonstrate the costs of your injuries, which would include medical bills, transportation costs, lost wages from missing work, and even emotional trauma you suffered as a result of the accident. If you are considering a personal injury lawsuit, it is important that you seek assistance from an experienced personal injury attorney to help you file your claim.

A filed claim signals your intent to sue the at-fault party. The other person has an opportunity to respond before the discovery process takes place. If the at-fault party belongs to a commercial truck company, the employing company usually offers you a settlement to prevent the claim from going to trial. Your personal injury attorney will be able to advise you on whether or not it is in your best interest to accept a settlement.

There is an Indiana Statute of Limitations on Personal Injury Claims After a Car Accident

As with any personal injury claim, you must file your claim within two years of the accident and subsequent injuries. While there are exceptions to this statute of limitations, they are rare and unlikely. It is vital that you seek medical attention immediately following an accident and leave yourself time to file a personal injury claim should it be necessary. 

Indiana is a Comparative Negligence State

Comparative negligence means that both (or all) parties were at fault for the accident. Driver 1 may have been going too fast while Driver 2 merged without signaling. In this kind of scenario, each driver will be faulted for a certain percentage of the accident. This approach of comparative negligence is usually considered in some insurance claims as well as in personal injury claims.

If you were assigned fault of 50% or more for the accident, then you are not eligible to receive compensation in a personal injury lawsuit. If you were less than 50% at fault, but more than 0%, then whatever damages would have been awarded to you are simply decreased by the percentage for which you were at fault. For example, if you were at fault for 20% of the accident and total damages amounted to $50,000, then you would be awarded $50,000 minus 20%, which is $40,000.

For more information about how an Indiana attorney can help you with your car accident case, contact Stewart & Stewart Attorneys at 800-333-3529 or visit our website.

9
Dec

How Can I Get My Motor Vehicle Accident Report?

December 09, 2019

After a car crash, it is typical that all involved drivers want a copy of the accident report. Police officers on the scene take statements, declare who was at fault, and then file their report later on that day or within a week. 

That being said, the paperwork that Indiana police officers give to involved drivers on the scene is NOT the vehicle accident report. It does, however, contain each driver’s contact and insurance info, along with a report number. These details are crucial and should be passed on to your insurance company to file a claim. You can also use the report number to locate your vehicle accident report online.

When Motor Vehicle Accidents Must be Reported

It is highly recommended that you always contact the police after a vehicle accident. However, it is legal to not report the accident as long as there were no injuries and property damage amounted to less than $1,000.

Sometimes, though, it can be difficult to know the costs of damage to property in the wake of an accident, so it’s always important to report the accident to the authorities.

How Indiana Accident Reports Work

The state of Indiana partners with BuyCrash.com to help drivers access their vehicle accident reports. Indiana state drivers should first visit IN.gov (see here) and select the button “Request Your Vehicle Crash Report Online.”

Non-Indiana drivers involved in a motor vehicle accident while traveling through Indiana would essentially need to follow the same instructions demonstrated in this article. All Indiana police reports following an accident are uploaded the same way.

Guide to Using BuyCrash.com

After selecting the button “Request Your Vehicle Crash Report Online,” your browser will redirect you to BuyCrash.com. Since BuyCrash.com supports many state and municipality reports, you must first select Indiana from the “Start Search” dropdown menu.

Those looking for Indiana Vehicle Crash Reports are then redirected to the Indiana page on BuyCrash.com. You may choose to either enter the report number (which should be listed on the paperwork the police gave you on the scene) or search via your name, plus the date or police department that issued the report.

After entering the correct information, select your report from the results page and follow the instructions for delivery and checkout. The cost to retrieve your report can vary. 

If you wish to avoid the online fees altogether, you may try speaking directly with the police department that filed the report. However, it is not guaranteed that the reporting agency will agree to give you your report.

Indiana is an At-Fault State: What Does That Mean?

Indiana police officers who arrive on the scene must take statements from the drivers and declare a party at fault in the accident. If you were in an accident where the other driver was found at fault by the police, it is vital that you request a copy of the vehicle accident report and submit it to your insurance company. Though this does not necessarily guarantee that the other driver’s insurance company will accept liability, it does carry a lot of weight.

In some cases, Indiana may declare comparable at fault. That is, more than one driver is partially at fault for the accident. This would have an effect upon rulings in a personal injury lawsuit where one party seeks damages from the other party as a result of injuries and property loss after the accident.

For more information about how an Indiana attorney can help you with your car accident case, contact Stewart & Stewart at 800-333-3529 or visit our website.

25
Nov

Do I Need Special Insurance If I Drive Both a Car and a Motorcycle?

November 25, 2019

In short, the answer is that you need to meet state minimum insurance requirements for both your car and your motorcycle. Both vehicles must also be registered with the Indiana Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) before you are permitted to drive them.

Vehicle Insurance

Before you can register your car or motorcycle, you must have the proper insurance for each vehicle. Every driver will need to bring proof of insurance to their local DMV. Here is a quick rundown of minimum insurance requirements. A licensed insurance agent can help with making sure a vehicle will have appropriate insurance.

For a car, the minimum insurance requirements are as follows:

  •       Liability coverage for injuries to first person: $25,000
  •       Liability coverage for injuries to additional persons: $50,000
  •       Liability coverage for property damage: $25,000
  •       Uninsured or underinsured coverage (in case the other driver is uninsured or underinsured): $50,000

For a motorcycle, the minimum insurance requirements are as follows:

  •       Liability coverage for injuries to first person: $25,000
  •       Liability coverage for injuries to additional persons: $50,000
  •       Liability coverage for property damage: $10,000
  •       Uninsured or underinsured coverage: $50,000

Drivers can often save money each month by bundling insurance plans for multiple vehicles with the same company. It is important to keep in mind that the cost of many accidents can exceed the above coverage limits. Additionally, should a vehicle become harmed or destroyed in an incident other than a traffic accident, drivers won’t likely be covered unless they have proper comprehensive coverage.

For those reasons (and more), many choose to carry insurance coverage for both their car and motorcycle that exceeds state minimum requirements.

Vehicle Registration

In Indiana, drivers must register cars and/or motorcycles within two months of purchase or moving from out of state. If purchasing either vehicle from a dealership, sellers may be able to handle vehicle registration directly with the DMV on their customers’ behalf. Buyers should confirm this before assuming vehicle registration has been completed.

In order to obtain car registration, vehicle owners must complete a VIN inspection, present a valid driver’s license, and be prepared to complete an emissions inspection within two years of registering (an emissions inspection will need to be completed every other year to retain your vehicle’s registration). Be sure to bring the car title (or if held by the auto lender, proof of ownership such as the lien agreement), proof of residency and proof of insurance.

For motorcycle registration, drivers must complete a VIN inspection, as well as have a valid motorcycle driver’s license. Additionally, proof of home address (residency), proof of social security number and proof of the state’s motorcycle insurance minimum liability and uninsured/underinsured coverage is required. Currently, the cost for registering a motorcycle in Indiana is less than $30 before taxes.

For more information about how an Indiana attorney can help you with your motorcycle accident case, contact Stewart & Stewart Attorneys at 800-333-3529 or visit our website.

 

5
Nov

3 Tips for Choosing the Right Indianapolis Car Accident Attorney

November 05, 2019

If you were injured in a car accident, you should start working with a personal injury attorney right away. You may be eligible for compensation for medical bills and more. Here are three tips to help you find the right attorney for your case.

Check Years of Experience

First, the attorney that you select to help you with your car accident case should have a thorough understanding of Indiana traffic laws. The top car accident attorneys know how unique each car accident can be. They will be able to spot and address each crucial nuance involved in your case.

Second, your attorney should have a good intuition when it comes to investigating. That is, knowing the right questions to ask, the right evidence to collect, and even the right attitude during the discovery phase of personal injury claims. Gathering evidence and testimonies can be tedious. Good attorneys know how to prioritize their investigation and get key evidence fast.

Third, a skilled car accident attorney will feel at ease in high-pressure situations, including depositions or jury trials. They are not easily discouraged or intimidated by changing circumstances or strong opposition.

Research Fee Structure

While the standard fee structure for personal injury is around 30% of awarded damages, some car accident attorneys may charge more. An attorney that charges more may or may not be worth the extra cost. However, in many cases, attorneys with the highest amount of experience and success charge more because their clients tend to win more.

On the flip side, just because a car accident attorney charges less than someone else doesn’t mean the attorney lacks the experience or ability to get the job done. Either way, you should definitely examine the firm or attorney’s fee structure in addition to the track record to get a better idea of whether or not those fees are worth the investment.

Establish Trust

A qualified attorney will need to know all the details of your car accident case. As such, you need to feel that you can trust the attorney you choose. An attorney who makes you feel small and insignificant may not inspire the honesty and courage your personal injury claim will require of you.

Additionally, car accident lawsuits can be a long and arduous process. Those who remain patient are the ones who win their cases and receive compensation for damages. Furthermore, the best attorneys will help you manage your expectations for the long journey ahead so that you do not feel misinformed or alone.

Attorneys who build a strong relationship with their clients will remain in contact with them, providing regular updates and making sure that their clients’ questions and concerns are addressed at all times. You need to feel that your personal injury attorney is deeply invested in your case, even while they juggle other cases. The right attorney will make sure that you know you are a priority to them. 

For more information about how an Indiana car accident attorney can help you with your case, contact Stewart & Stewart Attorneys at 800-333-3529, or visit our website.

 

25
Oct

Is There a Statute of Limitations for a Motor Vehicle Accident Claim?

October 25, 2019

In the state of Indiana, personal injury claims for motor vehicle accidents have a two-year statute of limitations from the date of the accident. 

What Is a Statute of Limitations?

In personal injury law, a statute of limitations is the time limit in which the plaintiff (the individual suing for damages) may file a claim for a personal injury lawsuit. Individuals suing the responsible party for damages must do so within the statute of limitations, or else they risk losing an opportunity to seek compensation.

Those injured in a car accident must seek medical assistance as soon as possible to determine the extent of the injuries. Waiting too long could result in Indiana courts dismissing the claim since it is more likely that any injuries were caused by events after the car accident.

What Are Some Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations?

There are some exceptions to the standard two-year statute of limitations. However, most exceptions actually shorten the time frame rather than extend it. Here are a few examples:

  • Individuals who seek to hold an Indiana government organization responsible for injuries and property damage are allowed a nine-month statute of limitations from the date of the car accident.
  • Individuals who seek to hold an Indiana city or county responsible for damages in a car accident case are allowed only a six-month statute of limitations.
  • Minors are not allowed to file a personal injury claim for themselves. Therefore, they are allowed a two-year statute of limitations from the date of their 18th birthday.

While there have been rare exceptions granted to plaintiffs seeking damages after the standard statute of limitations, most people who attempt to file a personal injury claim late often see their case dismissed by Indiana courts.

What Is Involved with Filing a Personal Injury Claim?

When filing a personal injury claim after a car accident, Indiana courts grant the defendant (the individual or organization you claim to be at fault for the accident) an opportunity to respond to the claim.

If the defendant does not admit guilt, then your attorney will begin building your case. Both sides proceed to gather evidence through the discovery phase before taking your personal injury case to court.

Most personal injury lawsuits take anywhere from six months to three years in the state of Indiana. Because of the length of time it may take to defend their case, as well as court costs, many defendants make a settlement offer to the plaintiff early on in the process. 

Is It a Good Idea to Accept a Settlement Offer?

Not all settlement offers are fair. That’s why you should allow a personal injury attorney to guide you through the process. They will be able to advise you whether it is in your best interest to take the settlement or to settle your case in the courtroom.

Your entire personal injury case doesn’t need to be resolved within the two-year statute of limitations. It is only required that you file your intent to sue (known as your complaint) within the statute of limitations.

For more information about how an Indiana car accident attorney can help you with your case, contact Stewart & Stewart Attorneys at 800-333-3529, or visit our website.