Being involved in an accident and deciding to file a claim can leave you feeling overwhelmed, confused, vulnerable, and anxious. During this time, having as much insight into the upcoming legal proceedings will alleviate some of these negative emotions and leave you feeling better prepared to move ahead.
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During this process, attorneys often answer a few common personal injury questions from their clients. The following guide highlights some of these topics to help you better understand what is needed to move forward successfully. That way, you can focus on the two things that are most important: recovering from your accident and collecting the compensation you rightfully deserve.
What Kinds of Evidence Will I Need?
The type of evidence needed to support your case will be highly dependent on the type of accident incurred. For example, if you were in a car crash, your attorney might ask for photos of the scene, as well as the other party’s cell phone records (if they believed distracted driving was partially responsible for the accident). Conversely, if you were hurt in a medical malpractice case, they might request copies of medical records and footage from the hospital.
There are some types of evidence, though, that are universally applicable in personal injury claims. These include photographs of your injuries, medical records from your post-accident care, police reports, and eyewitness testimonies.
Can I Take My Time Filing My Claim?
Yes and no. You don’t need to file it the day after your accident, although it is advised you do so as soon as possible. But there’s still a time restriction on how long you have to take legal action. This is referred to as a statute of limitations, and in Indiana, it’s two years from the date of your accident or discovered injuries.
What Is My Claim Worth?
Although your attorney won’t be able to provide a specific monetary value from your initial conversation, they can share the types of damages they’ll use to determine this figure. Lawyers consider all economic and non-economic damages when figuring a claim’s worth. These include medical expenses, property damage costs, loss of income, pain, and suffering, and loss of consortium.
Am I Still Eligible to Collect Damages if I Was Partly Liable?
The state of Indiana follows the rule of modified comparative negligence. This means that the courts must determine you are no more than 50% responsible for the accident in order to seek damages. This also means that you can only collect compensation for the percentage the other party is responsible for. So, for example, if the courts found you to have 10% liability, you would only be able to recover 90% of damages.
Will My Case Go to Trial?
Although this is possible, it isn’t likely. In most cases, personal injury claims are resolved through a negotiation process managed by both party’s attorneys. While your lawyer will do their best to keep the proceedings as simple and stress-free as possible, their goal, ultimately, is to secure the most favorable settlement.
If they believe you stand a better chance of recovering the damages you deserve by presenting the case to a judge, they will do that. In this case, both party’s would present their findings and positions to show why you are or are not eligible to collect compensation. A judge will then evaluate these findings and determine the outcome.
As you prepare to move forward filing a personal injury case, the most important thing to remember is to stay calm and trust the advice of your lawyer. With proper preparation and communication, you can find success in collecting the damages you rightfully deserve.
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