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How Do Personal Injury Settlements Work?

Jun 16, 2021 | Personal Injury

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Suffering an injury due to someone else’s negligence is not a pleasant experience. Not only do you have to deal with the pain and suffering caused by the injury, but you may also face additional financial burdens. 

You’ll need to come up with a solution for financial recovery quickly. This is when most victims pursue an insurance claim. And sometimes, that’s all you need to recover from minor accidents.

However, oftentimes, the insurance company denies your claim, or the claim excludes payment for missed work or ongoing treatment for long-term injuries.

That’s where a personal injury lawsuit comes in. This can help cover a variety of expenses, including:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost income
  • Property damage
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress

Personal Injury Case Process

To understand how the settlement process works, you’ll need to understand what takes place before settlement negotiations. Here’s a look at the general process for starting a personal injury case:

1. Seek Medical Treatment

After suffering an injury, you should seek medical treatment for your injury. This will provide documented proof that you sustained injuries from the accident. In most cases, medical treatment and the associated bills are the basis for opening a personal injury case. 

2. Hire an Indiana Personal Injury Attorney

Once you have received the necessary medical care and are on your way to healing, it’s a good idea to consult an Indiana personal injury attorney. More than likely, you don’t yet know the severity of your injuries or the long-term impacts they will have. But getting an attorney involved early will protect your rights to pursue a lawsuit later if you choose to do so.

3. Attorney Begins Negotiations with the Insurance Company

A skilled attorney can negotiate with an insurance company before ever filing a personal injury lawsuit. This can help speed up the process of getting you the financial restitution you deserve.

At this point, you might be able to reach a settlement agreement with the insurance company. Your attorney will advise you on what a fair settlement is based on your circumstances.

But when the insurance company isn’t willing to negotiate, the attorney might need to file a lawsuit.

4. Attorney Files a Personal Injury Lawsuit

Filing a formal personal injury lawsuit will help formalize your claim and show that you are serious about seeking restitution. It also gets the court system involved in overseeing the case to ensure a fair outcome.

5. The Case Goes to the Discovery Phase

During the discovery phase, each side of the negotiation must present their claim or defense. Both parties exchange documentation and make requests. This process can be length—lasting up to one year depending on the case.

6. Mediation and Negotiation

Now, the lawyers from each side will meet to discuss settlements once again. Ideally, this is when you reach favorable terms and can close out the case without going to a formal trial. If you still can’t reach a favorable settlement, the case will go to trial.

Personal Injury Settlements Information for Indiana

Each state has its own laws regarding personal injury cases. Here are a few fast facts on what you should know about Indiana personal injury settlements.

  1.   Cases of $8,000 or less can be filed in small claims courts.
  2.   The statute of limitations for personal injury cases is two years from the date of the accident.
  3.   The state does place some caps on damages you can seek, such as a maximum of $50,000 in punitive damages. Additionally, medical malpractice lawsuits cannot exceed $1.8 million in damages.
  4.   Indiana uses a modified comparative fault rule. This means that if you were partially at fault for the accident, the settlement might be reduced by the percentage you’re found at fault. And if the courts find you to be more than 50 percent at fault, you can’t recover any damages.

Finding an Indiana Personal Injury Attorney

If you’re seeking an Indiana personal injury attorney, Stewart & Stewart is a trusted law firm for your needs. Schedule a free consultation to learn more about our firm and meet our attorneys.

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