A personal injury caused by another person’s negligence can happen to almost anyone. The victim may be entitled to compensation, but if you’re seriously injured, the idea of dealing with the legal system may seem daunting. Let an Indiana personal injury attorney handle your case.
Exactly what kinds of cases do personal injury lawyers handle? When should you contact a personal injury lawyer, and what will that lawyer do on your behalf? For the answers you may need, especially if you’ve been injured by someone else’s negligence, keep reading.
What Cases Do Personal Injury Lawyers Handle?
Personal injury lawyers represent the injured victims of accidents that were not the victim’s fault but were instead caused by someone else who was negligent – for example, a distracted driver or a careless medical provider. Specifically, personal injury lawyers handle cases arising from:
- traffic accidents
- construction accidents
- slip-and fall accidents, swimming pool accidents, and other accidents on private property
- accidents caused by dangerous or defective consumer products
- medical malpractice and nursing home negligence
- dog bites and other animal-related injuries
- almost any injury that is caused by another person’s negligence
Most personal injury lawyers in Indiana also handle wrongful death claims and represent the surviving family members of wrongful death victims.
What Should You Do When an Accident Happens?
If you are unexpectedly injured, there probably will not be an attorney at the scene to offer you advice, so you must take steps to protect both your physical health and your legal rights. The first priority is seeking medical attention for yourself and for anyone else who has been injured.
If your injury happens in a traffic collision, summon the police, exchange contact and auto insurance information with the other driver, and ask the police how and when you’ll be able to obtain a copy of their written accident report.
If your injury happens on-the-job, report it to your employer as soon as possible. At a public location like a retail store or mall, a theater, hotel, restaurant, or theme park, report your injury as quickly as possible to the owners or management.
If you’re asked to complete an accident report form, make several copies for yourself before you turn in the report. Try to take photos (or ask someone to take photos for you) of your visible injuries and the accident site. In a traffic crash, also take pictures of the vehicle damages.
If there were eyewitnesses, try to obtain their names and contact information. Photos and eyewitness statements can often provide conclusive evidence of negligence in personal injury cases.
What Should You Do After Obtaining Medical Treatment?
Make and retain copies of the police, medical, and insurance documents, accident reports, and any other paperwork pertinent to the accident and injury, and schedule a consultation with an Indiana personal injury lawyer as quickly as possible.
You’ll probably be contacted – quickly – by the negligent party’s insurance company, and you’ll probably be offered a quick settlement. Don’t take it. Your attorney will almost certainly be able to negotiate a more generous settlement.
In fact, don’t even speak to the other party’s insurance company. Don’t make any statements or answer any of their questions. Refer their inquiries to your attorney. That’s another reason why you need a personal injury lawyer’s services as soon as possible after a negligence-related injury.
How Will Your Attorney Recover Your Compensation?
Your attorney will study the details of how you were injured and identify any party that may have liability. A trucking company, for example, may have liability in a truck accident, and a hospital may have liability for an incident of medical malpractice.
Your lawyer will then negotiate with the liable parties, their attorneys, and their insurance companies to obtain the maximum possible compensation amount on your behalf. Most personal injury claims in Indiana are resolved this way, in private, out-of-court negotiations.
However, if the other party disputes or denies your injury claim, and no reasonable settlement offer is forthcoming in the private negotiations, your lawyer will take your claim to trial, explain to a jury how you were injured, and ask that jury to order the payment of your compensation.
When Should You Speak to a Personal Injury Attorney?
As mentioned above, you should speak to an Indiana personal injury attorney as soon as you’ve been seen by a healthcare provider. After an accident, the other party’s insurance company will contact you, and you need to direct the insurance company to your attorney.
Furthermore, in order to prepare the strongest possible case on your behalf, your attorney needs to examine any physical evidence while it’s still fresh and question any eyewitnesses before their memories begin to fade.
While Indiana’s statute of limitations – the deadline for taking legal action – gives injury victims two years to bring an injury claim, you cannot wait two years and then scramble at the last moment to gather evidence and file a claim. Instead, speak to a lawyer as soon as possible.
What Will It Cost to Win Justice?
If you have been seriously injured, you could be out of work for weeks or months. The most catastrophic injuries are permanently disabling. How can you afford an attorney’s services if you’re unable to work and your medical bills are piling up along with your regular obligations?
An Indiana personal injury lawyer will not charge you “upfront” if you are an injured victim of negligence. Your lawyer gets paid when you receive your compensation, and if for any reason you are not compensated, you owe no attorney’s fee.
As part of that arrangement, your first consultation with a personal injury lawyer is offered with no cost or obligation. If you’ve been injured because another person was negligent, or if you’re injured by negligence in the future, take advantage of this first free consultation.
Get the Advice and Legal Help You Need Without Delay
That first legal consultation is your opportunity to receive sound, personalized legal advice about how the law applies to your own case. You’ll be able to make a more informed decision about moving forward legally.
If you and your attorney agree to bring a personal injury claim, your attorney will fight aggressively and effectively for the compensation you are entitled to by law.
If you’ve been injured by another person’s negligence, and if you and your attorney can prove it, the law will be on your side, and you will recover compensation for your injury-related medical bills, lost wages, personal pain and suffering, and related damages and losses.