You might very well be a cautious and responsible driver. Unfortunately, all of your precautions may still be inadequate to protect you against an accident. If you sustain car accident injuries in Indiana, you’ll need the help of a personal injury lawyer to fight for fair compensation.
In the U.S., an average driver will be involved in an accident and will file an insurance claim about every 17.9 years. From knowing what to do at the accident scene to how to deal with insurance companies, a little preparedness and knowledge of how the insurance system works can mean the difference between a fair outcome and your claim being denied.
Most people who have never been in a car accident don’t know how to deal with insurance companies. A driver’s inexperience, coupled with an insurance company’s focus on maximizing profit, almost always leaves the accident victim with insufficient compensation to cover recovery expenses. This is why you should immediately contact a knowledgeable Indiana accident attorney and let them deal with the insurance company.
Who Pays for Losses and Damages in Indiana?
Indiana follows the at-fault rules in car accidents and insurance coverage. Under Indiana’s at-fault rules, the driver responsible for the accident is also financially responsible for all damages and losses.
This gives the injured person more recovery options, and you can:
- file a claim with your insurance company,
- file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company,
- file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver.
Indiana has set a basic minimum liability insurance. This might not adequately cover all expenses in case of a severe accident, but you can buy additional coverage for extra protection.
How Do I Report an Accident in Indiana?
When dealing with insurance companies, timing is everything. Once the accident occurs and has possibly resulted in injury or death, don’t waste any time before reporting the crash to the police and your insurance company. You could call 911, the office of the county sheriff, or the local police department.
The at-fault driver may try to talk you out of reporting the crash and even offer to pay your repair bills on the spot. Without an accident report by the police, this driver can, later on, deny everything. It would be hard to prove responsibility in such a scenario and, consequently, difficult to get the insurance company to pay for damages.
What Do I Say to Insurance Adjusters?
Always keep in mind that when dealing with insurance companies, insurance adjusters are really never on your side– despite their friendliness. Remember that insurance companies are for-profit companies aiming at taking in more money from their customers in the form of monthly premiums while paying out as little as possible in claims.
Insurance adjusters might trick you into admitting partial fault or deny coverage with the hopes that you are unfamiliar with the process. While you can always challenge an insurer who denies coverage through an Indiana personal injury lawsuit, it’s best to allow an attorney to handle your interactions with the insurance company from the beginning.
If an insurer contacts you before you are able to hire a legal representative, only report the accident without giving any additional information about what happened. Also, don’t apologize or make statements that indicate you aren’t hurt, because some injuries could become apparent later.
The Consumer Federation of America (CFA) recommends that you decline to record any statements regarding the crash as the adjuster might distort facts and use that to cut down your settlement amount.
What Is the Release of All Claims and Liability Form, and Should I Sign It?
This form is the last document that insurance companies typically ask car accident victims to sign before receiving a settlement. Your Indiana automobile accident lawyer may help you prepare this form; otherwise, your insurer will prepare it and present it to you for signing.
Remember that once you sign this form, you likely won’t be able to seek reimbursement for your injuries. It is, therefore, crucial to avoid signing this form if you’re still receiving medical treatment. Work closely with your accident lawyer to avoid being pressured by the adjuster.
What Should I Do if an Uninsured Driver Hits Me?
Get uninsured motorist insurance (UMI) and protect yourself from uninsured drivers. It is meant to cover your lost wages, medical expenses, physical pain, property damage, and emotional suffering caused by an uninsured driver. This coverage may also protect you from a hit-and-run.
It would be unwise to voluntarily opt out of UMI, because that means that you become financially responsible if an uninsured driver is at fault in an accident. In this case, like most others though, consider meeting with a car accident lawyer in Indiana to help make sure you have strong representation when negotiating your claim.
What Should I Do if an Insurance Company Fails to Pay a Claim and Wrongly Denies Coverage?
Sometimes insurance companies wrongfully deny a legitimate claim. This practice is called “Bad Faith” and can happen in Indiana, often hurting the finances of many motorists.
If you’ve suffered a denied insurance claim and the company wrongly denied coverage, the best way forward is to talk to an Indiana bad faith insurance attorney. Other than recovering the policy’s face value, you may also be able to recover punitive and compensatory damages.
Should I Agree to the Offer Made By the Insurance Company?
The period after an accident can be tough and confusing, especially if you sustained severe injuries. Some insurance companies might take advantage of this period and try to push you into accepting a quick settlement. Most of these quick offers are a fraction of a fair value of the claim.
You shouldn’t sign or accept anything until you speak to a personal injury lawyer in Highland. Your injury lawyer will evaluate your present and future losses before advising you on a fair settlement.
Legal Counsel to Protect Your Rights and Ensure a Fair Settlement
Not all accident cases will end up in court. However, your settlement process might be problematic if the insurer is acting irrationally. If you’re unaware of your rights, you may not receive fair compensation for you or your loved ones’ injuries.
Dealing with insurance companies can overwhelm you and leave you feeling anxious. That’s why you should allow an experienced Indiana car accident attorney to help you.
At Hilbrich Law Firm, we can handle your case and interactions with the insurance company. Contact us today to talk to our personal injury lawyers in Highland, Crown Point, and Portage.