Indianapolis Car Accident Attorney
Need an Indianapolis car accident attorney? The attorneys at Goodin Abernathy LLP are experienced in handling all types of auto accident cases. If you’ve been hurt in an accident, contact us today to set-up your free consultation.
Why choose Goodin Abernathy attorneys for your personal injury claim?
We consider your case unique and treat you as a person, not a number. We are Indianapolis attorneys that handle Indiana cases. Our legal team handles your case from beginning to end: we don’t sign you up and then refer you to another attorney. Our car accident attorneys are aggressive litigators with actual court room experience in front of 100’s of juries. Our legal fees are reasonable and more competitive than most “big box” personal injury firms. We use experts, take depositions and use the Indiana Rules of Procedure to investigate and develop your case. Along the way, you’ll find out that we really care about you and your recovery.
Common Types of Car Accidents
There are several different types of auto accidents. These include:
- Head-on Collisions: Car accidents when the two front ends of vehicles crash into each other.
- Rear-end Collisions: Car accidents when a car crashes into the backside of another unsuspecting vehicle.
- Side-Swipes: When two vehicles that are parallel to one another come into contact.
- Rollovers: A car accident that involves a car flipping and/or rolling.
A car accident is also categorized by single-car or multi-car crashes. Pile-ups are a common type of multi-car accident on highways or freeways and involve many cars crashing into one another. This type of car accident is known to occur in bad weather conditions like rain, snow or fog or during heavy traffic. Single-car accidents take place when a car does not hit another car, but instead hits an object or loses control. Typical types of single-car accidents include hitting trees, fire hydrants, light and utility poles or pedestrians. Single-car crashes are not always the result of driver error, but can be caused by dangerous road designs, vehicle defects, or other conditions.
Common Car Accident Injuries
Car accident injuries range from minor to severe. Whiplash and minor neck strain are common injuries of a minor car crash, frequently when one car rear-ends another. Broken bones are another injury, while severe injuries can include amputation and head and spine trauma. Many severe injuries can cause permanent damage, such as brain damage and paralysis or wrongful death.
How do I make a legal claim for injury or damages after a car accident in Indiana?
The phrase Motor Vehicle Accident (MVA) typically includes any type of collision involving a car, truck, semi-truck, motorcycle or other type of motorized vehicle – even boats, tractors or off road vehicles. An MVA may also include vehicle and pedestrian accidents. Indiana law calls these “negligence cases” because another driver neglectfully caused the collision. Indiana’s law allows injured or damaged participants to make various legal claims to recover damages. When we meet, Goodin Abernathy’s Indianapolis car accident lawyers collect your information and identify the different damages the law allows for your own case. Then, when you hire us, we aggressively work to collect money to cover your damages.
In Indiana personal injury cases, Goodin Abernathy LLP attorneys first examine the liability or fault that causes a collision. Indiana law uses a Comparative Fault law that assigns blame to each party in a lawsuit. A judge or jury decides who is at fault for the car accident by looking at and listening to evidence describing how a crash occurred. It is important that our attorneys get involved very early in a case to collect evidence. Be careful because over time, witnesses disappear, memories fade and evidence gets lost. Our attorneys work to collect and preserve the evidence you need to support your case.
Damages for car accident victims include compensation for physical pain and mental suffering, lost income when you are unable to work, the costs of medical treatment, property damage and future physical problems. Goodin Abernathy uses experts to testify about these damages and explain to a jury why your injuries are real and why you should be compensated for them. In an MVA case, experts we hire might include a car accident reconstructionist to calculate speeds, angles of travel and the force of impact. They might be a traffic expert who explains traffic signal sequences, visibility and braking distances. Other experts include your medical providers – the doctors, nurses and therapists that know your case and helped you recover. If you or your business will suffer future financial loss from your MVA injuries, we use vocational rehabilitation experts, financial planners and other economic experts to explain why you should also be compensated for those damages.
How do you charge for legal services? Because I don’t know if I can afford an attorney for my personal injury case.
Goodin Abernathy charges a percentage of the money we recover for you. Please contact and compare our contingency legal fees to other firms before you sign up with another attorney. Many law firms charge a much higher percentage than we think is reasonable.
Indiana allows attorneys to enter Contingency Fee agreements with clients. That means we charge a percentage of the money we recover for you. If you win – we win: if you lose – we lose. Contact us for more information about our fees. You will learn how we structure our percentages based on the status of your case. When you compare our fees to other law firms, you will also learn we do not start at 40% or more of your recovery. Goodin Abernathy understands each case is different and our fee structures should depend on various factors unique to the case. We have a written agreement that we explain and give you comfortable time to evaluate before making a decision to hire us.
Who is to Blame for the Car Accident or Injury?
Drivers are typically to blame for a car accident due to negligence or driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. However, other factors can play a role in determining fault of a car accident. For instance, some victims have sued a city or state if a highway road condition was found to be unsafe or if improper notice was provided about a potentially unsafe condition. If a car problem due to a faulty part resulted in the car accident, the car manufacturer may be to blame. In Indiana, there is also potentially liability for owners of land whose crops or other types of plants obstruct a driver’s view of an intersection.
Should I Contact an Indianapolis Car Accident Lawyer?
Determining if you should contact an experienced car accident attorney might be a difficult decision. If there is clearly another party to blame in your car accident, you should contact a car accident lawyer immediately to discuss your options. In addition, if you are unsure of who is to blame or need to sort through the events of the car accident, seeking legal counsel might be a wise course of action due to a lawyer’s experience in investigation and fact finding via local and state government sources.
Safety and Prevention From Auto Accidents
Indiana law requires drivers to use reasonable care to avoid car accidents. These are a few suggestions to help you stay safe while driving. Make sure you are awake and fully alert before getting behind the wheel of a car. Do not drive under the influence of alcohol, drugs or heavy medications. Put away distractions like cell phones. Obey the speed limit and provide a proper amount of distance between yourself and other drivers. If weather conditions are bad, take extra precaution and reduce your speed or avoid driving entirely. Stay alert to what other drivers are doing around you to avoid getting near those driving recklessly. Make sure your vehicle is safe to be on the road with frequent checks of the tires and fluids. But perhaps most importantly, wear your seatbelt to prevent injury and death in the event of a car accident. If another driver causes a car accident because he or she was distracted or driving impaired, you suffer for his or her negligence.
Unfortunately, Indianapolis car accidents happen all the time. If you have been injured in a traffic accident or someone you love suffered a fatal accident in Indiana, schedule a free consultation with our team of highly-rated Indianpolis car accident lawyers.
Can I just handle my case directly with the insurance company?
Insurance companies are in business to collect premium payments and avoid paying out money for damages. You should have a healthy dose of skepticism when dealing with an at fault driver’s insurance company. Our attorneys know what to do and will handle this relationship for you.
After a car accident, an insurance company representative will probably contact you to ask questions. They are typically referred to as claim representatives (“claim reps”) or adjusters. These insurance employees are specially trained to interview and manage claims. Their goal is to minimize your claim and pay you the least amount of money they can. The adjuster might even tell you their own investigation shows they do not owe you anything and will not pay for your damages. Instead of dealing with insults like this, contact our car accident attorneys at the start of your case. We are trained to deal with these cases and unlike an adjuster, we’re licensed to take your case into court and present it to the judge. Goodin Abernathy’s Indianapolis car accident attorneys will take that stress off your shoulders and help you focus on recovering from your injuries.
What happens if my family member or loved one dies in a car accident?
Indiana law recognizes Wrongful Death claims. If a person is killed in a car accident or as the result of their injuries, then extra legal steps are required to make a claim. An Estate must be opened using a legal process with an Indiana Probate Court. This step creates a legally recognized entity that holds the interests of the deceased person. Additionally, a wife and dependents may include their legal claims for the loss of love, affection and income they reasonably anticipated enjoying had their family member lived a full life.
Goodin Abernathy LLP car accident attorneys manage the legal steps for opening an Estate and then pursuing a negligence lawsuit against the at fault defendant(s). We are experienced handling Wrongful Death cases and have learned the importance of listening to widows and grieving family members to best understand their damages. This often requires additional investigation like video compilations of friends and co-workers to demonstrate how loved and vital the deceased was to a family. We may hire experts to calculate the economic damages caused by their loss of employment or business income. And in fatal car accidents, we make sure to collect police reports, photos, witness statements that show any other possible defendant involved in causing a catastrophic car accident.
Where do I file a lawsuit for an Indiana car accident case?
Before we get too far, filing a lawsuit is not always necessary. We often make a claim and negotiate before deciding a lawsuit is necessary.
When we must sue someone, then as a rule of thumb, a lawsuit is filed in the Indiana county where the car accident occurred. This is a “venue” issue. For example, if a family from Marion, Indiana is hurt in a car accident while driving through Indianapolis and the at fault driver is from Terre Haute, then your case likely needs to be filed in a Marion County Superior Court (Indianapolis). This is a preferred county of venue under Indiana’s Rules of Trial Procedure.
Then there are “jurisdiction” issues. Sometimes one or all of the car accident participants are from out of state and you must use a Federal Court. Since Indiana’s official motto is the “Crossroads of America”, many car accidents occur along Indiana’s interstates and highways – while people passthrough for work or personal travel. In this situation, your lawsuit might be filed in a Federal Court that manages cases for the district (the part of Indiana) where the car accident occurred.
Do I need an Indiana attorney?
Generally speaking, yes – you need a licensed Indiana attorney for your courtroom representation. If you are an out of state resident, you likely have questions about trust and logistics. How can I trust an out of state attorney that I have not met? How will I even deal with a lawsuit far from where I live?
First, TRUST: Goodin Abernathy LLP recognizes every new client needs a level of trust before engaging our services. Similarly, our attorneys also want trusting clients that work hand in hand with us on their case. We want a superior business relationship with each of our clients: your satisfaction is our job’s goal and most important for our reputation.
We build this trust though interaction. Our attorneys prefer to meet with you in person and review your case. Visit our office and see for yourself how we run our business. If time and distance are too much, we also handle initial consultations by video conference. We can connect with you using What’s App, Zoom, Facetime, Webex or about any other video communication platform. You’ll find our attorneys responsive and clear communicators.
We often work as local counsel for out of state attorneys. Perhaps you have a personal attorney that you are comfortable using. We will work with that attorney to coordinate legal representation across state borders. And you do not pay “double” for legal fees in this scenario. This should give you both the access and confidence you need to proceed with your Indiana MVA or personal injury case.
Must I file a lawsuit? Because I don’t like to sue people.
Many clients are initially concerned about the idea of filing a lawsuit. Most of our clients are not “litigious” people. They are not looking for a fraudulent payday by making fake or trumped-up claims. They are concerned about their reputation for being honest and often feel tension about making a legal claim. We discuss these thoughts with our clients to explain why they shouldn’t feel that way about our legal services. And most certainly, our firm does not generate fake damages. Our legal services protect your rights and we often accomplish this with settlements that satisfy our client’s needs.
Normally we negotiate an out of court settlement before filing a lawsuit. But if the insurance company or at fault driver is not responding reasonably to your settlement demands, then we must use the court to sue them.
Do I have a case if the other driver does not have c insurance?
A significant part of our legal practice involves insurance claims. If an at fault driver does not have insurance, we check on a few things for you. First, we check to see if the at fault driver had insurance but that insurance company is 1) denying your claim; or 2) denying they owe that driver coverage. We handle both of those situations.
If we determine the other driver does not have auto insurance, then we explore whether your own automobile insurance covers damages. Often clients carry these types of insurance coverages: Uninsured Motorists, Medical Payments and Collision. You may use your Uninsured Motorist coverage if you get hurt in an auto accident where the other driver does not have insurance. In this “Uninsured” claim, your own insurance company takes on the responsibilities of paying for damages the other driver owes you. Be mindful, in this scenario your own insurance company’s interests are competing with your recovery interests.
Medical Payments (“Med Pay”) coverage offers money for medical bills when you are injured in a motor vehicle accident. Whether you are injured by another driver or suffer a one car accident, you may use Med Pay to handle medical bills associated with your injuries.
Finally, Collision coverage helps pay for your car’s property damage – even if the other driver does not have insurance. Indiana recognizes automobile replacement values offered by on-line websites like the NADA and CCC
How long will my personal injury case take to finish?
The most important part of your personal injury case is a successful physical recovery. We can not settle or take your car accident case to court before you are finished with medical treatment. Immediately after your injury, we will notify the insurance company(s) and medical providers that we represent you for legal claims. Then we support you with legal help during your medical treatment and recovery. If that recovery takes three months, then we start more of our legal work when you finish treatment. If your medical treatment lasts more than two years, then we must go ahead and file a law suit before you are finished. Indiana’s Statute of Limitations requires that a plaintiff file their lawsuit within two years of the car accident. If you do not get your lawsuit on file with a court, then you lose your legal rights. Considering many people learn it’s going to take longer to recover with medical treatment than they initially think, they make a point to engage Goodin Abernathy right away- so we can protect your legal interests.
I was injured by a drunk driver. Is there anything different about my case?
Drunk driver cases involve additional issues of insurance coverage and damages. These legal questions are definitely something you need us to evaluate. We do not want you to jeopardize your case by failing to understand the issues at the very beginning of the claim. For instance, do you know whether any insurance will cover damages caused by a drunk driver? If not, who will pay for your damages? With respect to damages, Indiana allows claims for punitive damages when an at fault driver was intoxicated. But do you know who eventually gets the money collected for punitive damages?
Also, where did the intoxicated driver get served alcohol? If the driver was at a bar drinking alcohol, then you might have a separate legal claim against the bar for damages. This is known as a DRAM Shop case. For example, Goodin Abernathy LLP represented a girl that was struck by a drunk driver who fled the scene. We worked with police to investigate and identify the driver through broken car parts left at the collision scene. Then we investigated where and when the man had been drinking. Using credit card receipts and then collecting sales information from the bar, we successfully sued the bar for overserving the driver.
Attorneys with a Focus on Auto Accident Injuries