Car Wreck Attorney Helping Auto Accident Victims In Portage
With over 30,000 auto accidents taking place across the United States each year, your chances of being caught up in an accident involving a car, truck, or motorcycle are sadly pretty high. Causes can range from an inattentive driver to mechanical fault, and the long-term injuries faced by many victims can be catastrophic.
If you find yourself injured in an auto accident, it is important that you receive the justice you deserve. Proving liability can be difficult, but here at Hilbrich Law Firm, we are dedicated to taking the steps you need for the outcome you deserve.
What Are The Consequences of An Auto Accident?
Any accident involving an automobile has the potential to be fatal. Survivors are often left with life-changing injuries, and these may include:
- Spinal injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Bone and facial fractures
- Partial or complete paralysis
- Facial disfigurement
- Permanent impairment or disability
- Soft tissue injuries
- Limb fractures
- Headaches and neurological deficits
Who Is ‘At-Fault’?
Under Indiana law, a driver must be proven to be ‘at-fault’ – or negligent – in an auto accident in order to be liable for any damages. In many cases, this can be easily proven from police reports, witness statements taken at the scene, damage to the vehicles (e.g. in the case of a rear-end accident, one car will clearly show damage to the rear, the other to the front), or tests conducted after the incident. If the other driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, distracted by texting or not paying attention, breaking traffic violations, or driving a vehicle they knew to be unsafe, they may be found to be negligent. In this case, they can be pursued for damages.
Will They Have A Defense?
Some parties found liable may try to claim that you must bear some responsibility for the accident and any injuries; this is known as comparative negligence.
Essentially, for a viable claim, the claimant needs to be deemed to be no greater than 50% at fault. If this isn’t the case, you will be unable to claim damages. If you are 50% or less at fault, your damages will be reduced by the percentage of blame attributed to you. As an example, if you are found to have been 10% responsible for the auto accident, your damages will be reduced by 10% to reflect this. Certain exceptions exist, for example, against governmental agents or employees.
What Can Cause An Auto Accident?
Negligence is the primary cause of auto accidents, and can take a number of forms:
- The other driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- The other driver is distracted, for example by calling or texting on a mobile phone
- The other driver fails to pay due care and attention to the road or other vehicles
- Violation of local or state traffic laws and regulations, such as ignoring a red light or stop sign, going the wrong way down a one-way system, speeding, or ignoring road markings
- The vehicle is damaged or faulty, and the other driver was aware of this before setting out on the road
- The other driver is overtired or drowsy
All of the above can, and have, been found to cause auto accidents across Indiana and Illinois. Proving one of them means you have proven liability, and you are then entitled to damages.
What Is ‘No Pay, No Play?’
The state of Indiana recently adapted the “No Pay, No Play” law. This means that if a habitual uninsured motorist is injured or suffers damages in a car accident for which the insured driver is found to be liable, the uninsured driver will not be permitted to claim financial compensation for physical injury, pain, suffering, or mental anguish.
The “No Pay No Play” principle is only applicable to motorists who were uninsured at the time of the accident, and who have received a prior violation in the state. Liability insurance can cover the driver of the insured vehicle in question even if they are not the registered owner. This can allow family and friends to be protected, as well as neighbors, coworkers, and anyone else with permission to drive the car. The policy will also cover damages, injuries, and medical bills for passengers, pedestrians, and any other drivers.
Motorists should be aware to make sure they are covered by uninsured/underinsured motor coverage; this allows compensation and protection if the driver is involved in an accident where the liable party is uninsured or underinsured.
What Can I Do?
If you find yourself involved in an auto accident, there are steps you can take to ensure that you receive the compensation and damages you need. Here at Hilbrich Law Firm, we have been working for years across the Portage area assisting victims of auto accidents. Get in touch today at (219) 924-2427, and see how we can help you take the important next steps after an auto accident.