Car Accident AttorneysPersonal Injury Law
Our car accident attorneys have spent more than 30 years fighting for injured people. All of our attorneys work on a contingent fee basis meaning we don’t receive our fee until a recovery is made in your case.
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Indianapolis Car Accident Attorneys
Though some of the points below apply to other types of accidental injuries, there are twists and turns in car accident cases that deserve highlighting. If you have questions please contact our experienced car accident attorneys.
Indiana is a comparative fault state. That means that the fault for an accident may be divided between plaintiff and defendant. In a car crash scenario, comparative fault issues can become magnified.
First, what is comparative fault? Let’s begin with an example.
Driver 1 is northbound in the left turn lane. They are at a green light stopped waiting for southbound traffic to clear so that he can turn left. Driver 2 is southbound approaching the intersection. The light for both northbound and southbound traffic turns yellow. Driver 2 attempts to enter and clear the intersection on the yellow, but the light turns red just before she enters the intersection.
Driver 1, seeing the yellow light, initiates his turn and is T-boned by driver 2. Driver 1 sues driver 2 for personal injury damages. Who is at fault?
In a trial, the judge would ask the jury to access percentages of fault to each driver between 0% and 100% with the total fault combined for both drivers equaling 100%. If the verdict was that driver 2 was 75% at fault for running the red light and driver 1 was 25% at fault for not keeping a proper lookout for oncoming traffic, then the plaintiff, driver 1, would recover 75% of his damages. If the jury found that each driver was 50% at fault, then the plaintiff would only recover half his damages.
However, if the plaintiff was found to be more than 50% at fault, then he would recover nothing.
Therefore, under Indiana’s comparative fault statute, the plaintiff runs the additional risk of gaining no recovery at trial because the jury determined him to be more than 50% at fault. This is where an experienced lawyer can help.
These cases turn on slight variables in the facts that can be determined by a complete investigation. Time of day and lighting conditions can make a difference. So can weather conditions. Was there any traffic obstructing driver 1’s view of driver 2? These are some of the variables that make a difference.
Other car accidents are subject to their own fact variables. Lane change accidents, all sorts of right-of-way accidents, pedestrian accidents, and bicycle accidents can all turn on specific condition issues.
Negligence per se
If driver 2 was speeding (in violation of any code or ordinance) when the accident happened, then she was “negligent per se.” This means the judge will tell the jury that it may assign a percentage of fault to driver 2 if the jury believes that speeding (or other violation) contributed to causing the accident.
Sudden emergency doctrine
Otherwise, negligent behavior becomes justified for sudden emergency conditions or circumstances not of a driver’s own making.
Example: In our intersection accident example, let’s say that driver 2 was a victim of a lightning strike to her car right at the point the light turned yellow. The judge would instruct the jury to decrease, as they see fit, the percentage of fault they access to driver 2 based upon the sudden emergency.
What are each driver’s insurance coverages? Who owns each car? Are both drivers insured for bodily injury? Will uninsured or underinsured motorist coverages come into play? What are the insurance policies’ limits of liability?
Insurance issues can become complicated in many car accident cases. Are any coverages “stackable”? You need an experienced car accident lawyer who knows all the places to look for favorable coverages. You can see how beneficial it would be for you to have competent legal representation to address many of these issues. The fact is, most folks would not know where to begin to find answers.
There are few “simple” car accidents. The lawyers at Garrison Law Firm, LLC know how to address each one of all these legal issues and more. It has been said, “The person who represents himself has a fool for a client.” Don’t let this be you; call the lawyers at Garrison Law Firm and get it done right.
Tips after you’ve been in a car accident
Anytime you are involved in a car accident, you should remember, first and foremost, not to panic! There are several things that you can do right away to help your potential personal injury claim:
- Gather contact information from any and all witnesses on the scene, and make sure you do this right away because witnesses have a tendency to leave before the police arrive!
- Call the police to make a police accident report. Even though police accident reports are hearsay and not actual proof, they can provide you with some important information, such as the other driver’s contact and insurance information.
- Take photographs of everything (i.e., the scene, the vehicles, and your injuries).
- Seek Medical attention if necessary
- Contact our Indianapolis Car Accident Attorneys
If you feel immediate pain following your car accident, you should seek medical attention right away. Only you know how you are feeling and whether you need to see a doctor or go to an emergency room. If you decide to seek treatment, then you want to do so sooner than later. The longer you wait to seek medical attention, the more of a gap in treatment you incur. Insurance companies love to see gaps in treatment because they like to use those gaps against you by arguing that something else could have happened during that time to have caused your pain or aggravated your injury. Remember to avoid gaps in treatment as best as possible, and always follow your doctor’s orders!
If you have recently been in a car accident contact one of the experienced Indianapolis Car Accident Attorneys of Garrison Law Firm today at 317-842-8283 or complete the contact form and an attorney will respond shortly.
For more information on our personal injury practice such as case timelines, fees, insurance and more click here.
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