The Indiana car accident settlement process and timeline looks different for everyone, as each case comes with its own facts and circumstances. However, generally speaking, they typically consist of:
- Consulting a law firm and getting a free consultation
- Your lawyer investigating the accident and identifying the liable party
- Assessing your economic and non-economic losses
- Sending a demand letter and filing a personal injury lawsuit
- Negotiating sufficient compensation for your losses
If your lawyer settles or wins your case, you could receive your check within a few weeks or months later. Once the case resolves, you cannot ask for more compensation.
Consult a Law Firm That Handles Car Accident Cases in Indiana
After filing your police report, research law firms that deal with Indiana car accident cases. Look for things like:
- Their success rate and case outcomes
- Their achievements and awards
- Their client testimonials
- Their experience
Once you find a law firm you like, give them a call, and one of its staff members can give you a free consultation. This conversation is your chance to:
- Ask more questions about their law firm.
- Tell them what happened to you.
- Get a better idea of the car accident settlement process and timeline.
- See if your case qualifies for compensation.
If you and the law firm decide to work together, one of the lawyers will discuss the responsibilities they will take on for you.
For a free legal consultation, call 317-636-7777
Investigate the Car Accident to Identify the Liable Party
Your lawyer will start gathering evidence to build a solid case file. Typical types of evidence in car accident cases are:
- The crash report
- Your medical records
- Traffic citations
- Photographs that document your injuries, the crash scene, and the road conditions
- Traffic camera footage that captured the accident
- Statements from eyewitnesses
This information will lead your attorney to establish who is responsible for the accident. It could be:
- The other driver
- The other driver’s employer
- A parts manufacturer
- A government agency
- A mechanic
Keep in mind that more than one party could have played a role in causing your car accident.
Assess Your Economic and Non-Economic Losses
Damages typically split into two different categories:
- Economic damages
- Non-economic damages
Your Settlement Will Be Largely Based on Your Economic Damages
Economic damages are tangible losses that have a fixed price attached to them. Examples are:
- Past and ongoing medical treatment costs
- Income losses
- Lost future earning potential
- Property damage expenses
- Other out-of-pocket costs
Your medical bills, car repair invoices, pay stubs, and other receipts will help assess how much you can request for your economic damages.
You May Also Be Entitled to Collect Non-Economic Damages
Non-economic damages, on the other hand, are the intangible losses that have affected you physically and psychologically. Some of them are:
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Reduced quality of life
Your economic damages will help your attorney determinephase, which is when each how much you can ask for in non-economic damages.
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Send a Demand Letter to the Insurer or File a Personal Injury Lawsuit
After your lawyer has compiled evidence and quantified your losses, they will send a demand letter to the insurance company. This letter will request the amount of compensation you are entitled to receive. The insurance company can either pay out the claim, refuse to pay it, or come back with a counteroffer.
Another option you have towards financial recovery is filing a personal injury lawsuit. There is not much time to take legal action, as Indiana enforces certain time limits. Under IC § 34-11-2-4, car accident claimants typically have two years to bring their lawsuit against the liable party. Failure to comply might prompt the court to throw out your case, leaving you little to no routes for compensation.
Your lawyer should be able to help you complete your lawsuit before the deadline passes.
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Negotiate a Settlement with the Other Party’s Insurer
If you are not satisfied with the other party’s insurer’s counteroffer, your lawyer will continue to negotiate a settlement until you find common ground. Sometimes, this step requires you to go to the discovery phase, when each side presents evidence from the other party.
The other party’s attorney may ask you questions about your perspective of the car accident. Although it can be intimidating, your attorney should prepare you for this meeting. They will be beside you throughout the discovery process and object if the other lawyer asks you anything irrelevant or unfair.
Your Car Accident Case Could Proceed to a Jury Trial
Negotiations could continue following this meeting, or the other attorney might want to settle your case. If you’re still not happy with the amount they offer you, your lawyer could take your case before a jury. Usually, when the other side sees a court date coming up, they may just award you a settlement to avoid court fees.
Although going to trial is rare, it does happen. You can expect your lawyer to present your case and cross-examine witnesses. After hearing both sides, the jury will then reveal its verdict.
Receiving Your Settlement Check
The car accident settlement process and timeline vary for each person, as your case could settle at any time. If and when it settles, the insurance company will send your check to your lawyer a few weeks or months later.
If your lawyer works on a contingency-fee basis, they will deduct their payment from that amount and pay the doctors who treated your car accident-related injuries. They will then send the rest of your compensatory award to you. You cannot ask for more money once your case is closed.
Contact Sevenish Law Firm, P.C., for Help with Your Indiana Car Accident Case
Figuring out the Indiana car accident settlement process and timeline alone isn’t easy. There are a lot of deadlines to meet and legal jargon to learn. Sevenish Law Firm, P.C., is no stranger to securing car accident settlements and verdicts, so allow us to manage your case.
Reach out to us today at (317) 636-7777 for a free case review. We work based on contingency.