Car accidents are an unfortunate reality in the United States, with million occurring each year. These incidents often lead to a complex web of insurance claims, as victims seek compensation for their losses. However, dealing with insurance companies can be a daunting task. These entities, focused on their financial bottom line, often employ tactics to minimize their payouts, leaving victims struggling to cover their expenses.
This article explores the importance of having a car accident lawyer to handle the insurance company on your behalf, ensuring that you receive the compensation you deserve.
The Role of Insurance Companies Post-Accident
Insurance companies are pivotal entities in the aftermath of a car accident. Their primary responsibility lies in compensating victims when their policyholders are found to be at fault. However, the process is not always as straightforward as it seems. Insurance companies, like any business, aim to minimize their expenses, which often translates into employing various tactics to reduce their payouts.
One such tactic is offering a settlement at the policy limit, even if the damages exceed the amount of insurance coverage. This approach is often adopted because many people lack sufficient assets to pay additional damages, even if a court were to award them.
Holding Responsible Parties Accountable for Your Injuries
In this complex landscape, a car accident lawyer can help victims navigate the intricate process of dealing with insurance companies, ensuring that they receive fair compensation for their losses. This compensation often includes coverage for medical bills, lost wages, and property damage.
Moreover, a car accident lawyer can help victims understand the full extent of their injuries, which is a crucial factor in determining the value of their claim and fighting against unfair offers from insurance companies.
What a Car Accident Lawyer Does for You
When you have a lawyer on your side, they take on the responsibility of dealing with the insurance company on your behalf. This process involves several crucial steps that aim to secure the best possible outcome for your case.
1. Evidence Gathering
The first step a car accident lawyer takes is gathering all the necessary evidence to support your claim. This includes police reports, medical records, witness statements, and any other relevant documentation. They may also work with accident reconstruction experts or medical professionals to build a strong case.
In addition, the type of accident and the circumstances surrounding it can greatly influence the evidence required. For instance, in cases of drunk driving accidents, your lawyer may need to gather evidence such as breathalyzer results, surveillance footage, or witness testimonies that prove the other driver’s impairment.
2. Claim Submission
Once all the evidence is compiled, your lawyer will submit the claim to the insurance company. This claim will detail the circumstances of the accident, the extent of your injuries, and the damages you are seeking.
Insurance companies often respond to the claim with a settlement offer. However, this initial offer is typically lower than what you may be entitled to. Your lawyer will negotiate with the insurance company, using the gathered evidence to argue for a fair settlement.
If a fair settlement cannot be reached through negotiation, your lawyer will prepare to take your case to court. In Indiana, according to the Statute of Limitations, you have two years from the date of the accident to file a personal injury lawsuit. Your lawyer will represent you throughout the court proceedings, advocating for your rights and interests.
5. Securing the Settlement
Once a settlement is reached or a court verdict is given, your lawyer will ensure that the insurance company promptly pays the agreed amount. They will also handle any necessary paperwork related to the settlement.
By entrusting these tasks to a car accident lawyer, you can focus on your recovery while your lawyer fights for the compensation you deserve.
Understanding Insurance Policies and Coverage Limits
When an accident occurs, the at-fault party’s insurance company is typically responsible for compensating the victim for their losses. However, these payouts are often limited by the policy’s coverage limits.
For instance, if the at-fault driver’s insurance policy has a limit of $50,000 for bodily injury liability, that’s the maximum amount the insurance company will pay for medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages related to physical injuries. If your losses exceed this limit, you may need to seek additional compensation through a personal injury lawsuit or other means.
It’s also important to note that insurance companies often try to minimize their payouts to protect their bottom line. They may offer a settlement at the policy limit, even if your damages exceed this amount. This is where a car accident lawyer can be invaluable. They can help you understand your rights, evaluate the fairness of the settlement offer, and negotiate with the insurance company to seek a higher payout if necessary.
The Impact of Indiana’s Comparative Fault Law on Your Claim
Indiana operates under a “modified comparative negligence” rule in car accident cases. This means that the amount of compensation you can receive may be reduced if you are found to be partially at fault for the accident.
Under this rule, your compensation is reduced by a percentage equal to your share of fault. For example, if you are found to be 20% at fault for the accident and your damages amount to $10,000, your compensation would be reduced by $2,000, leaving you with $8,000.
However, if you are found to be more than 50% at fault, you will be barred from recovering any compensation at all under Indiana’s comparative fault law. This is why it’s crucial to have a legal team on your side. Lawyers who specialize in car accidents can help gather evidence to prove the other party’s fault and defend you against claims of shared fault.
At Christie Farrell Lee & Bell, we understand the complexities of Indiana’s comparative fault law and how it can impact your claim. Our experienced lawyers are committed to fighting for your rights and ensuring you receive the compensation you deserve as a victim. We work tirelessly to gather the necessary evidence, negotiate with insurance companies, and if necessary, represent you in court.