After sustaining injuries in a auto accident in Greenwood, Indiana, you may be unsure of your next steps and worried about your physical and financial future. While it may be tempting to take a quick settlement from the insurance company to move on with your life, taking this settlement will legally close your case and leave you unable to get more money if the costs are higher than you estimated.
You only have a single chance to get the compensation you deserve, which is why it’s important to enlist the help of an experienced Greenwood car accident lawyer.
With over 6,756,000 police-reported motor vehicle crashes each year, it’s especially important to have an experienced legal representative from Greenwood, IN, on your side.
Car Crashes Injure Tens of Thousands of People a Year
According to the IIHS, there were 35,766 fatal car accidents in 2020 in the United States that caused 38,824 deaths, which is roughly 11.7 deaths for every 100,000 people. Also, the NSC showed that there were 2,260,000 disabling and non-disabling injuries as a result of car accidents throughout the country. This proves that your chances of sustaining some form of injury in a car accident is significant, making life-changing injuries a high possibility.
In Indiana, car crashes are on the rise. Research shows that there were 175,816 car accidents in Indiana in 2020, 808 of them resulting in fatalities.
The NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) showed that fatal car accidents increased in Indiana by 10.7% in 2020 than in 2019. The research also showed that speeding and driving under the influence of alcohol were the two most common reasons for these accidents, both causes having increased from 2019 to 2020.
Basic human error was another major cause of car accidents in the state. The study found that roughly 12% to 34% of all of the accidents were from environmental factors, such as slick roads, and between 4% and 13% were from vehicle issues, like tire problems or brake failure. At a closer look, our Greenwood car accident attorneys found that three large human factors played a role, including:
- Excessive speed
- Improper lookouts
Attorneys Making Negligent Drivers Pay
After you get into a car accident in Johnson County and you’ve suffered significant vehicle damages or injuries, you want to consider partnering with a Greenwood car accident lawyer and holding the at-fault driver responsible for any losses. In the state, you have to be mindful of:
- The two-year statute of limitations you have for filing most car accident lawsuits
- Indiana’s modified comparative negligence laws
Statute of Limitations for Car Accidents in Indiana
The statute of limitations is a law that puts a timeline on your right to file a lawsuit. Most car accident lawsuits in the state adhere to the same statute that personal injury lawsuits do. Indiana Code section 34-11-2-4 gives you two years from the date of the accident to file your lawsuit whether you were the driver, motorcyclist, passenger, bicyclist, pedestrian, or riding an electric scooter at the time of the accident.
However, if someone dies as a result of the accident, a personal representative of the deceased’s estate or family member has two years to file, but the clock starts ticking down on the day the victim dies. This death date could be later than the accident date.
Indiana’s Modified Comparative Negligence or Fault Ruling
Comparative fault is a situation or accident where more than one party contributed to the accident. There are two different approaches to this scenario that Indiana law follows. Indiana Code sections 34-51-2-5 and 34-51-2-6 state that, if you or your Greenwood car accident attorney files a personal injury claim, you can recover damages from the at-fault party. However, the amount the court entitles you to will be reduced by the percentage you were at-fault for. If your share of fault for the car accident exceeds 50%, you won’t be entitled to recover any damages.
For example, if you were going a few miles over the posted speed limit when another driver made a sudden left turn right in front of you, the court would find the other driver to be 80% at-fault for the accident. Since you were speeding, the court would find you 20% at-fault. If the court awarded you $10,000 in damages, you’d get $8,000 after they removed the 20% you were found to be at-fault.
This rule controls the jury or judge awards in a civil suit. However, before you get to this point, a claim adjuster from the insurance company will try to negotiate a settlement. You should keep in mind that, because there isn’t an exact method to decide the portion each party shares fault in the accident, the ultimate decision will lie with your car accident lawyer in Greenwood’s ability to convince a jury or judge or negotiate with the insurance company.
Auto Insurance Requirements in Indiana
Any claim you make after a car accident typically involves car insurance in some aspect. Indiana requires any vehicle owner to carry at least liability insurance, if not full coverage. This way, your insurance company can help pay the other party if you cause an accident, and they can help with your vehicle bills.
Common Types of Automobile Accidents And Crash Claims
Every car accident has a risk of sustaining injuries or dying. However, the following are the top high-impact accident types which our Greenwood car accident lawyers see that cause injuries in ordinary and commercial vehicles. They include:
- Distracted Driver Accidents – Distracted driving is a fast-growing trend as people continue to eat or drink, use cell phones, or wear items to obstruct their vision as they drive. These things can cause them to speed, miss road signage, get in another driver’s way, or go through stop lights.
- Fatal and Catastrophic Car Accidents – Being under the influence of alcohol and speeding are the two main causes of catastrophic and fatal car accidents. These accidents can have life-changing consequences for all involved, and they’re very common throughout Indiana.
- Head-On Crashes – This is an extremely dangerous car accident that happens when two vehicles move straight toward one another and collide. Running red lights, speeding, and swerving are the biggest causes of these accidents. It can cause severe injuries like spinal cord damage, major organ trauma, and broken necks.
- Highway and Interstate Accidents – Greenwood is home to many prominent highways or interstates, including US 31, Interstate 65, and State Road 135. These busy roads set the perfect conditions for a car accident. Commercial and noncommercial vehicles traverse these roads at higher speeds, increasing your chances of an accident.
- Rear-End Accidents – When the front end of your car strikes the rear of another car, you get a rear-end accident. It’s very common in stop-and-go traffic conditions, but they also occur on highways. How severe the crash is will depend on the speed at the time of impact, and more modern car designs include a bumper system with crumple zones to help shield the passengers in these accidents.
- Rollover Accidents – The driver’s maneuvering or handling while driving are the cause of this accident. The car can roll once or multiple times, depending on the turn and speed. You’re subjected to impact from various sides with this accident, and this can result in spinal, brain, and head injuries.
- Uber, Lyft, and Taxi Accidents – Ride sharing has been popular for years, but they can lead to complex cases if you’re in an accident while in a Lyft, Uber, or taxi. A car accident attorney in Greenwood can help you figure out who is at fault and how to get compensation for your injuries.
- Wrong Way Car Accidents – Any driver going the wrong way on a busy road or interstate can have disastrous consequences, and they can cause catastrophic injuries. It can also be difficult to prove who is at fault, so having an auto accident attorney in Greenwood to help handle your case is key to ensuring you get the compensation you deserve.
Understanding The Insurance Claims Process in Indiana
Once you report your car accident, the insurance company will launch an investigation. They’ll send an adjuster to determine what caused the accident and which party was at fault. Next, they’ll try to determine how significant your injuries were. Your injuries can have long-lasting and severe impacts on your quality of life. The insurance agent may review medical records and interview experts to support or contest your claim.
Once the insurer gathers all of the necessary information, they’ll offer you a settlement. This settlement should cover the costs of any damages, like hospital bills and vehicle repairs. Keep in mind that insurance companies are for-profit entities, and this means they place their profits over your health.
If this occurs, you may be able to file a lawsuit against the insurer. If they refuse to settle fairly or at all, the car accident lawyer in Greenwood you are working with can step in and negotiate on your behalf.
How Are Settlements Handled in Collision Cases?
If you want to get a settlement after your car accident, there is a process you have to go through. An experienced car accident attorney in Greenwood can help guide you through this process.
Filing a Formal Claim
You want to file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurer after an accident. This is a third-party insurance claim since you’re making your claim with their company, and not yours. Many companies offer an online claims process. Additionally, you want to let your insurance company know about the accident as soon as you can, and reach out to your attorney for any questions and concerns.
Allowing the Insurer to Investigate
The insurer will start conducting an official investigation after you file a claim. They may review the report put together by the Greenwood police department, have experts come in, take your statement, and review your medical records of the accident-specific injuries you sustained. However, they may try to overstep their bounds and ask you to sign a medical authorization to give them access to your full medical history. This can potentially damage your case, so it’s a good idea to have a car accident attorney in Greenwood help you through this process.
Conducting Your Independent Investigation
While the insurer’s investigation can be thorough, they’re also looking out for their client and themselves. You don’t want to rely purely on the insurer’s finding and investigation, and you should perform your own investigation into who is liable and the cause of the accident. You’ll want to get your own copy of the police report and records, obtain video footage and review accident scene photos, and consider hiring your own expert witnesses.
Receiving an Approval or Denial for Claim Coverage
When the insurer finishes their investigation, they’ll deny or approve coverage for your claim. When they approve it, they’re agreeing that the conduct of the at-fault driver falls under their policy. However, this doesn’t mean that the insurer is agreeing to compensate you reasonably and fairly for any injuries. If the insurer denies the claim, they’re usually claiming that the at-fault driver’s conduct isn’t covered by the policy. If this happens, it’s time to retain the services of an auto accident attorney in Greenwood.
Getting and Negotiating a Settlement Offer
If the claim gets approved, you’ll get an initial settlement offer. The first offer is usually low, and you don’t have to accept it. You can deny it and ask for a higher amount to help cover your expenses and injuries. Negotiating a settlement with an insurer can be daunting when you’re going up against car accident attorneys and adjusters who are experienced in personal injury and insurance law.
Mediation and Settlement Finalization
If you can’t reach an acceptable settlement offer, you may have to attend mediation. The insurer’s representatives and yourself will meet with a mediator, which is an objective third-party. You can bring a Greenwood car accident lawyer to mediation to discuss your damage claim with the mediator helping to keep the conversation on track.
If you come to an agreement with the insurer, you can finalize it. This usually involves signing a release of liability that waives your rights, including your right to go to court for more money. If you filed a personal injury lawsuit, you might have to drop the case.
Filing a Lawsuit
If the insurance company refuses to make a reasonable offer for your settlement, you may want to file a lawsuit. A car accident attorney in Greenwood can help you file a suit and gather evidence to support your position and the claim for damages in front of a jury or judge.
The City of Greenwood, Indiana
Greenwood places very important emphasis on infrastructure investments, and they often transform roadways and streetscapes throughout the city during the summer months. This makes them easier to traverse, and it also gives motorcyclists and other vehicles more direct ways to get to their destination. For example, Worthsville Road, just east of I-95, underwent a project that extended the east-west connector on the south side of Greenwood, improved how it handles stormwater, and widened the lanes. There are also plans to:
- Add various trails and improve pedestrian access to routes through the city
- Create a connector road through downtown Greenwood to Market Plaza and Surina Way
- Create a roundabout at Madison Avenue and Smith Valley Road
- Improve pedestrian redevelopment on Madison Avenue street
- Improve the intersections at Meridian Street and Main Street
While these improvements make the city more accessible, it also draws more traffic. This includes commercial vehicles, motorcycles, and passenger cars. This brings visitors to the city and helps small businesses, but it also increases your chances of being involved in a motorcycle accident. When you combine the influx of traffic with highway speeds, you have the potential for a severe collision.
Contact Our Indiana Lawyers Today
If you sustained injuries as a result of a car accident in Johnson County or Greenwood, contact us for a free case evaluation. Hasan Shah is an experienced and dedicated car accident lawyer in Greenwood who will look into the details of your case, answer your questions, discuss your options, and help you get the compensation you deserve for your accident.
In addition to Greenwood SLG Accident Attorneys serves Fishers, Carmel, Noblesville, Indianapolis, Fort Wayne, Anderson, Avon, Hammond, Gary, Highland, Munster, Portage, Lawrence, East Chicago, and more.
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES FOR CAR CRASH VICTIMS