A car accident is a frustrating and stressful experience, especially when the collision results in financial burdens, such as lost wages and medical expenses. If you were injured in a car accident in Merrillville or anywhere else in Lake County because of someone else’s wrongdoing, it is essential to contact Custy Law Firm | Accident & Injury Lawyers. Our compassionate Merrillville personal injury attorneys understand what you are going through and are ready to help fight for maximum compensation in your case.
Common Causes of Car Accidents
There are a variety of factors that can contribute to a car accident, including:
- Distracted driving: Distractions can range from texting, eating, etc. Anything that distracts the driver from the road is considered a distraction.
- Failing to follow traffic signals: Every driver is required to follow the rules of the road. Failing to follow the rules of the road can cause severe accidents.
- Tailgating: Following a vehicle too closely is known as tailgating and results in slower reaction time, a common cause of accidents.
- Speeding: Driving above the speed limit causes a lot of accidents every year because it can cause someone to lose control of their vehicle.
- Fatigued driving: The impact of fatigue is like driving while intoxicated because it reduces reaction time, causes poor decision-making, and reduces the chances of people recognizing hazards. This negligent behavior can cause serious collisions.
If someone is doing one of the above and causes a car crash, they will likely be found liable for the losses resulting from the collision.
Comparative Fault in Indiana
Indiana has a comparative fault rule. Suppose you were partially at fault for the accident that injured you. In that case, the comparative fault rule means that the compensation you receive for your injuries and losses will be reduced by your percentage of fault for the accident.
In Indiana, you are barred from compensation if you are found to be 51 percent or more at fault for the accident. However, if you are found to be less than 51 percent at fault for the collision, your compensation will be reduced by your assigned fault. For example, if it’s determined that you are thirty percent at fault for the accident and have compensable losses valued at $100,000, you will only recover $70,000.
Reporting a Car Accident in Merrillville
In Indiana, you are required to report a car accident immediately if the collision results in death or injury. Failing to report the accident immediately can be considered a hit-and-run regardless of who caused the accident, which may result in criminal penalties.
Minimum Car Accident Insurance Policy Limits
Each person licensed in Indiana and operating a vehicle must have insurance with certain liability limits and uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. The minimums are:
- Bodily injury: $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident
- Property damage: $25,000 per accident
- Underinsured motorist: $50,000 per accident
- Uninsured motorist coverage: $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident
Underinsured motorist coverage will come in handy if your injuries exceed the at-fault driver’s insurance limits because your insurance will kick in to cover the excess up to your policy limit. For example, if your accident-related losses come to $100,000 and the at-fault driver’s insurance covers $50,000, your underinsured motorist coverage will cover the remaining $50,000.
Suppose your underinsured motorist coverage does not cover the excess compensation. In that case, your attorney will inform you of your legal options, including potentially filing a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver for the remaining compensation.
Common Injuries Sustained in a Car Accident that Exceed Insurance Limits
With the rising cost of medical care and vehicles, even minor accidents can cause damage that exceeds the minimum insurance requirements. The more severe the injury, the more likely the losses will exceed the minimum limits. Significant injuries sustained during a car crash could include:
- Traumatic head injury: Head injuries can cause serious medical issues and long-term complications.
- Broken bones: Car accidents place force on your body, which can result in broken bones, which may lead to more severe issues such as respiratory issues and decreased strength in the limbs that sustained the broken bone.
- Whiplash or other spinal injuries: When you prepare for the impact, you tense up, and the forced movement of your body can result in what is known as whiplash, which can take a long time to heal and require long-term treatment. If you suffer more serious spinal injuries, you could have temporary or permanent paralysis.
Compensation for Car Accident Cases
You are entitled to compensation if you were injured in a collision because of someone else’s wrongdoing. Two common categories of compensation may be sought: economic and non-economic compensation.
Economic compensation is relatively easy to measure because it is based on the costs directly incurred by the injured party because of the accident, including:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Cost of repair or replacement of your vehicle
Non-economic compensation is usually more difficult to measure because it is based on how the injured party reacts to the incident and the injury. Common non-economic compensation includes money for pain and suffering or mental anguish.
How Long to File a Car Accident Lawsuit
The statute of limitations in Indiana for car accidents allows two years to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party. The statutory period begins to run on the date of the accident. A personal injury lawsuit must be filed within two years of the accident unless your case falls within one of the exceptions. An experienced attorney will review the facts of your case and determine when the lawsuit must be filed. To ensure your entitlement to compensation is preserved, you should contact one of our skilled attorneys as soon as possible.
Contact an Experienced Merrillville Car Accident Lawyer
If you were injured in a car accident caused by another driver, you might be entitled to compensation for your injuries and losses. The experienced attorneys of Custy Law Firm | Accident & Injury Lawyers fight for maximum compensation for injured parties and are ready to fight for your best interests.