Every car accident lawsuit is unique and will have its own pathway to winning.
A win might be simply getting the insurance company to cover your expenses without legal proceedings or firm negotiations. But those situations are rare.
Many cases settle outside of court, which is actually a big win for victims because it’s faster and requires less back and forth with the insurance company and courts.
Other cases need to go through the full court process to reach a resolution. Most car accident cases include four steps to win a lawsuit in Indiana. Here’s a look at those steps.
1. Hire an Attorney
Even if you’re just hoping to improve your discussions with the insurance company, meeting with an attorney is wise. An attorney can explain to you important things to look out for, areas of expense you should be seeking, and your rights.
Even if you never formally hire the attorney, it’s in your best interest to schedule a free consultation. The insurance company will certainly have an attorney who will try to confuse you with legalese and authoritative-sounding language.
2. Gather Evidence
Evidence will help you prove your case. Car accidents can have a variety of evidence, including:
- Witness accounts
- Expert witnesses
- Police report
- Medical records
- Employment data
- Vehicle damage
If you’ve hired an attorney, your attorney will be instrumental in collecting this information. But if you only attend a free consultation, you might just learn about what you should be doing to prove your case and ensure you get fair compensation for your claim.
3. Negotiate a Settlement Outside of Court
Sometimes injury victims from car accidents think that settling out of court means they won’t get as much compensation as they would if they took the case to court. However, avoiding the court system means avoiding the fees associated with the court system.
And, it means that your case will move faster than it would otherwise. That’s all good news for victims hoping to move on from the challenges and trauma of a car accident.
Negotiations can move quickly or they might take several weeks of back and forth between you and your attorney and the insurance company. Don’t feel discouraged if the first settlement offer you get is far too low to compensate you for your injuries.
You’ll use the evidence you have to calculate a fair counteroffer for the insurance company to consider. And from that, you’ll likely get another counteroffer from the insurance company. While the back and forth might feel overwhelming and uncomfortable, know that your attorney will have your best interests at heart to help ensure the best outcome.
4. Begin Court Proceedings if Necessary
Not all cases can be resolved with negotiations. When that happens, the court proceedings will move forward to protect your rights and your financial interests. Trust your attorney when they say that the settlement offers from the insurance company are not fair based on your injuries and expenses.
Filing a formal lawsuit can help motivate the insurance company to take your claim more seriously and negotiate again before the case goes before a judge. You’ll still have some negotiation opportunities even once your case begins.
While you can represent yourself in car accident settlement negotiations, we don’t recommend it. To be permitted to pursue damages from a car accident in Indiana, you’ll need to prove that you were not at fault for more than 50 percent of the accident. Without representation, the insurance company might prove your involvement in the accident with little evidence.
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Stewart & Stewart offers a team of excellent Indiana lawyers prepared to protect your rights and win your car accident case. Schedule your free consultation now.