If you or a loved one has recently been in an accident, you may be confused, upset, and overwhelmed. One of the best things you can do right away is to contact a Fishers personal injury lawyer.
A skilled legal representative can help you determine if you have a legal case against the party responsible for your injuries. They can also work with you to obtain damages to offset expenses you have incurred, which can help you get your life back.
Our Fishers personal injury law firm welcomes the opportunity to speak with people in Hamilton County who wonder if they have a personal injury case that requires legal representation.
What Is Personal Injury?
As experienced personal injury attorneys in Fishers, IN, we find that most people think of injury to the body when they talk about personal injury and the laws that pertain to it. But personal injury also includes injury to your emotions or reputation. For example, an injury could cause you to suffer from lack of sleep, distress, or anxiety. Or it could affect your ability to get work or maintain your standing in your Hamilton County community.
Three grounds of personal injury
There are three grounds on which a personal injury case may be brought:
- Negligence — the most common type of personal injury claim. Negligence is defined as failing to take the same level of care that most people would in a given situation, such as failing to leave a “wet floor” sign on a slippery, freshly mopped area where customers are entering a store.
- Strict liability — when a person is held liable for an action, regardless of their intention or mental state. If you are injured by a defective piece of equipment at work, the manufacturer may be held responsible by virtue of strict liability.
- Intentional wrongs — when the defendant acts on purpose to commit an injury. Intentional wrongs may include many torts, such as assault, battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, false imprisonment, and various types of trespass.
What Are Examples of Personal Injury Claims We Handle?
At our law firm, we handle a variety of personal injury claims for our clients in Fishers, Indiana, and in Hamilton County. These are some of the most common claims we assist with.
Car Crashes and Automobile Accidents
Unfortunately, car accidents are quite common in Indiana, and they affect people of all ages in all professions. It’s been our experience — and this is corroborated by Indiana law enforcement and research — that most car accidents involve the same four factors:
- Impaired driving, which can include driving under the influence of alcohol, prescription drugs, and nonprescription drugs
- Aggressive driving and lack of experience, often by young drivers
- Speeding, which is a prime cause of motor vehicle accidents across the country
- Pedestrians and bicyclists, who make up a tiny percentage of accidents but involve a significant percentage of fatalities
Another issue our Fishers personal injury lawyers in see more of lately is accidents caused by inattentive drivers talking on their phones or sending text messages, which is against the law in Indiana unless you’re using a hands-free device.
To put local car accidents in perspective, consider these sobering statistics:
- According to the Indiana State Police and the Automated Reporting Information Exchange System (ARIES), which maintains blood alcohol test results, in 2020, 124 people died in alcohol-impaired driving crashes, which made up 14 percent of traffic fatalities in the state. Thirty-four percent of these alcohol impairment cases involved pickup truck drivers.
- Collision rates are highest among 15- to 20-year-olds in Indiana. This demographic was involved in 8.5 percent of Indiana crashes in 2020, with 13.5 young drivers killed for every 100,000 licensed drivers.
- In Indiana in 2020, speeding-related deaths constituted 9 percent of all collisions and 1/4 of all fatal crashes.
- Pedal cyclist deaths have increased recently, rising from 2 to 3 percent of all car accident fatalities in Indiana.
What are the most dangerous places in Fishers when it comes to car accidents?
- The roundabout at Olio Road and Southeastern Parkway — the most dangerous roundabout in Hamilton County, often due to confusion and multiple entry/exit points
- The intersection at 126th Street and Enterprise Drive — the most hazardous intersection in Fishers, with five lanes of traffic and poor visibility
- The intersection at 96th Street and Allisonville Road — risky because of the “no left turn” there, where drivers must go to the next intersection and make a U-turn
Truck Wrecks and 18-Wheeler Accidents
It seems that no matter where you drive these days, you see big rigs on the road everywhere. These giant trucks, along with their heavy loads, can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. That’s 40 tons!
Large semis make visibility and passing on some highways difficult, and they require extra stopping distance for their weight, making it nearly impossible to stop urgently if necessary. Also, some truck drivers routinely speed, which is a known contributor to crashes, because they are in a hurry to get to their destinations. This is a major problem in the industry, compounded by impossible deadlines, unpredictable traffic, severe weather, supply chain issues, and lack of sleep.
Statistics about truck accidents are alarming. In the decade ending in 2016, the state of Indiana saw 2,835 truck accidents, which resulted in 1,206 deaths of truck drivers, other motorists and their passengers, cyclists, and pedestrians. In 2020, fatal accidents increased in Hamilton County, and there were 26 fatalities in 24 crashes.
Some types of roadways contribute more than others to truck crash statistics. Narrow roads, highways that reduce lanes, construction areas, and those with poor upkeep are typically problematic, along with those that are heavily trafficked, either by trucks and cars or bicycles and pedestrians.
Some of the most dangerous roads recognized by our legal team in Indiana include:
- Interstate 90
- Interstate 70
- Interstate 65
- Interstate 80/94 (the Borman Expressway)
- Indiana Highway 60
- Hoosier Heartland Highway
There is also a long list of intersections with high crash statistics, largely in Indianapolis. However, serious accidents occur all the time in Hamilton County and right here in Fishers.
Bicycle and Pedestrian Accidents
If you ride a bicycle or do a lot of walking, you probably know how dangerous it can be today. Not surprisingly, crashes involving pedal bikes and pedestrians tend to have high numbers of fatalities, as the victims are unprotected, unlike motorists.
Pedestrian accidents can include a vehicle hitting someone who is walking or standing and often happen in crosswalks. But pedestrians can also be hit on sidewalks and other areas where motor vehicles are not supposed to operate, like private yards, often due to speeding, carelessness, or impaired driving.
Making a claim for a pedestrian accident can be complicated, given the unbalanced nature of the crash. Proving negligence on the part of the motorist can be difficult, which is why many victims turn to a Fishers personal injury attorney for help.
What are some other reasons pedestrian accidents happen?
- Bad weather causing slipping and sliding
- Poor visibility due to inclement weather or time of day
- Confusion about who has the right of way in a crosswalk
Bicycle accidents often happen for many of the same reasons. In addition to negligence, pedal-bike-versus-vehicle crashes occur due to:
- Inadequate space for both bikes and cars on the road
- Motorists not respecting designated bike lanes
- Low visibility (including the cyclist not wearing reflective gear)
- Right-of-way conflicts
- Dooring (the operator of a parked car opening a door into a bike lane or other path where cyclists are traveling)
There has been an uptick in bicycle accidents and related fatalities both across the US and in Indiana over the last few years. Nationally, bike accidents account for over a half million ER visits annually and hundreds of deaths. (You can reduce the likelihood of a bike accident fatality by always wearing a helmet.)
Why are bike accidents increasing? Aggressive driving is one reason. Also, more people are biking to avoid commuter traffic, save gas, reduce carbon emissions, and get more exercise; and some people switched from taking public transportation during the pandemic.
Wrongful deaths constitute a leading cause of fatalities in the US every year. These are deaths that are preventable but occur due to someone’s negligence. In Indiana, some of the most common types of wrongful death include:
- Car and semitruck accidents, as discussed above
- Medical malpractice, when a practitioner or group is negligent with a diagnosis or treatment
- Nursing home negligence, such as falls, improper monitoring, infected sores, etc.
- Defects in consumer products, like medications and household goods
- Faulty railroad crossings
We’ve sadly seen many dog bite claims in Fishers and Hamilton County that leave the victims not only physically injured but also emotionally traumatized. In the entire country, more than four million people are bitten by dogs every year, and 1/5 of these cases require medical attention.
Dog bites have a number of negative consequences, both individually and collectively:
- Often, children are injured (about half of all cases).
- Dog bite wounds frequently have complications, particularly infection due to bacteria in the dog’s mouth.
- The worst dog attacks result in fatalities.
- Injuries related to dog bites cost insurance companies nearly a billion dollars every year.
- Communities have to resort to contentious breed-specific legislation to prevent attacks by certain dog types that are statistically more likely to inflict wounds.
While there are some breeds that contribute more to dog bite statistics, any dog under the worst circumstances can attack and cause damage to a person, regardless of their breed or size.
How Can an Attorney Help You?
In all the injury cases described above, an attorney can mean the difference between getting damages to which you are entitled and getting nothing. This type of legal professional can assist you in multiple ways.
Determining if you have a case
The first thing we do at SLG Accident Attorneys is to meet with you to assess whether or not you actually have a case. We never charge for an initial consultation because we don’t know the details of your situation yet.
Explaining your rights
Most folks who consult an injury law firm don’t work in the legal field themselves. It’s up to us to explain your rights to you and how they were violated in your accident or injury.
At SLG, we have years of experience interpreting and applying Indiana laws. We can tell you if we believe negligence was involved, who is to blame, and how much you might be able to recover. You may be entitled to compensation for:
- Medical bills
- Rehabilitation costs
- Medication and equipment expenses
- At-home care
- Lost earnings
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Punitive damages
- Loss of companionship
- Funeral expenses
We can also talk about the statute of limitations for filing a claim or lawsuit, which is the amount of time you legally have before you can no longer pursue the case.
Advising you about how to proceed
We don’t want you to make decisions based on fear, anger, or other emotions but rather on the merits of your unique case. Our law firm can offer advice based on our extensive knowledge of the law in Indiana and the likelihood of a positive outcome for you.
Should you decide to proceed with working together, we will continue to advise you every step of the way. We can interpret legal terminology for you and make recommendations in the event a settlement is offered. Often, an initial settlement is low, but we have a track record of negotiating for higher amounts, which you wouldn’t be able to obtain on your own.
Negotiating with insurance companies or individuals
Frequently, the first thing we do once we take a case is to negotiate on your behalf with the insurance company involved in your case, whether they represent an employer, trucking business, doctor, or private individual.
Insurance companies are notorious for trying to pay as little as they can in personal injury cases, so having an attorney on your side is essential in getting the payout you deserve.
Sometimes the negligent party wants to settle out of court. They may not want the damage to their reputation or to take the time necessary for a court battle. We can help you negotiate a private settlement that respects your rights and secures appropriate damages.
To get a better sense of your case and what damages you’re truly entitled to, we often conduct our own investigations. We have the staff and resources to do this, along with the experience to know what is relevant that you might have missed. Some of the things we follow up on include:
- Doctor’s notes and medical records
- Photographic evidence
- Law enforcement reports
- Witnesses to the accident
- Defendant’s legal history and background
- Outside experts
Representing you in court
If you desire to go to court to pursue your case, we can represent you as a plaintiff at the civil trial. Personal injury cases are too complex for victims to represent themselves, and you’ll be happy you have a seasoned legal team on your side.
Helping with legal documents
Throughout the process, we can assist you with any legal paperwork that needs to be filed. Whether you’re recovering from injuries or trying to get back to regular life, you won’t have to deal with time-consuming documentation that our team at SLG can handle much more efficiently for you.
What Do I Do After an Accident?
Have you or a loved one had an accident or injury recently? Here is what you should be sure to do right away:
- Get required medical treatment. Even if you think your injuries are minor and you don’t need to see a doctor, you should get checked out anyway. Sometimes serious injuries don’t show symptoms until later.
- Document whatever you can, ideally with photos or video, whether it’s your vehicle after a truck accident or your leg after a dog bite. If an incident happens at work, make sure you have personal copies of any emails or correspondence pertaining to the accident, as access to work could suddenly become difficult.
- Contact an attorney who specializes in personal injury cases, like SLG Accident Attorneys.
- Help the injury attorney with the investigation. We can do quite a bit for you, but we still need your help putting together the pieces of what happened. The maximum compensation depends on assembling the best case possible.
- Discuss possible compensation based on the one-of-a-kind aspects of your case.
One other piece of expert advice we give all our clients: never say the accident was your fault or take the blame for an injury out of guilt or fear. You may actually believe you were partially responsible for an injury, or perhaps you were in shock, but until your attorney looks at all the elements, you can’t be sure of that. You may not have played any role in what happened after all.
What Type of Settlement Can I Expect for My Personal Injury Case?
Every personal injury case is unique. We always discuss what we think is an appropriate settlement with our clients before going forward with a case, so you can decide if it’s worth it. There are many factors that influence the settlement you may obtain:
- Type and severity of injuries or illness
- Whether or not the injury has future repercussions on your ability to work or lead a normal life
- Defendant’s insurance policy cap
- Involvement of worker’s compensation
- How well we are able to document what happened and prove negligence, strict liability, or intentional wrongs
We can promise you that SLG Accident Attorneys will fight to get you the best possible settlement for your case.
How to Choose an Injury Lawyer
How do you select the best attorney for your case? Ask these questions:
- How are the attorneys reviewed by both clients and peers?
- Do they get referrals from other injury lawyers, a sign of industry respect?
- Are they “ambulance chasers,” attorneys who hound victims after an accident (a definite negative)?
- Do they only charge their clients if they recover damages or negotiate a settlement?
- Does the injury law firm have the staff and financial resources to pursue your case?
- Does the firm specialize in personal injury, or do they do all kinds of cases?
- What level of experience do they have in personal injury law?
- What kind of settlements have they gotten in the past?
- Do they have experience litigating personal injury cases in court?
- Do the attorneys teach or provide continuing education for other lawyers?
- What legal organizations do the attorneys belong to?
- Are the attorneys certified by the National Board of Trial Advocacy?
Indiana Personal Injury Law Firm
Have you or a family member in Fishers or Hamilton County been involved in an accident or incident that caused an injury? Don’t let the statute of limitations run out on your case!
There is no charge and no obligation to consult with the legal team at SLG Accident Attorneys. Call us today at 317-762-4186 to set up an appointment, or reach out online anytime to tell us more about your case.
Some of the locations in and around Fishers which our attorneys serve include Lake Stonebridge, Rolling Meadow, Sumerlin Trails, Sawgrass, Spring Dale Estates, Hawthorn Hills, Quaker Ridge, Rolling Knoll, Windermere, Limestone Springs, Walnut Creek, Pine Bluff Overlook, Sunblest, Carmel, Noblesville, Indianapolis, Greenwood, and more.