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  • Writer's pictureRobert Schuerger II

How to File a Lawsuit for Personal Injury in Indiana

Accidents happen all the time. However, some accidents can cause a lot of damage to a person's physical or mental health. Should they waste time and money on recovering from mistakes other people made? The short answer is no. 

Indiana law protects victims of the negligence of third parties from covering the economic and non-economic damages they caused. That's what personal injury lawsuits are for. 

When someone, for example, has a car accident and severely injures the victim and their passengers, they would have to cover medical bills and property damage. They weren't prepared to cover those things, and truthfully, they shouldn't do it. Hence, they have the legal chance to sue the culprit. 

Many people avoid suing others because the process of filing personal injury lawsuits is overwhelming at times. However, everything becomes easier when the victim has a good lawyer by their side. 

This page means to help people understand how personal injury claims work and how to file one. Victims of any kind of accident in Indianapolis, Indiana, looking for a lawyer should call Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys. They also have expertise in how to file a lawsuit for workers compensation in Indiana.

What Is a Personal Injury? 

What Is a Personal Injury? 

The first thing to understand about the whole suing process is that "personal injury" is a legal term. It represents the emotional, physical, or financial damage people suffer because of the negligence or intentional wrongdoing of another party.

Personal injuries, as a concept, exist so people have a chance to legally recover compensation for what happened. Thanks to that, anyone who suffers any damage that falls into that description can file a personal injury lawsuit against the negligent person who caused everything. 

Legally, a personal injury doesn't need to be physical. Abstract concepts such as anxiety or sadness are worth compensating, too. However, it's important that anything that happens is due to someone else's negligence. 

Personal injury law lets victims file a civil lawsuit against people, companies, or legal persons. The idea of the whole legal process is for someone to be held accountable - or legally at fault - for the damages the victim needs to cover. 

What Damages Can People Cover with Personal Injury Lawsuits?

Similar to a workers' compensation claim with an insurance company, personal injury cases are meant to cover economic and non-economic damages. The former are things people can give a price to and the latter are more abstract concepts with not an actual physical worth.

Some examples of economic damages are medical treatment, property damage, or lost wages. As for non-economic ones, they include emotional distress, depression, anxiety, or pain. 

Is There a Compensation Cap for Personal Injury Cases in Indiana?

The state of Indiana does have a cap for how much compensation injured people can ask for. However, economic and non-economic damages don't have a limit. 

Caps go for punitive damages, medical malpractice cases, and claims against government agencies. Anyone willing to file a lawsuit in Indiana needs to take these things into account to understand how much money they can actually get.

When Can People File a Personal Injury Lawsuit in Indiana?

According to how personal injury cases work, victims can file a claim whenever they suffer financial, physical, or emotional damage due to another person's negligence or intentional wrongdoing. These are the most common accidents where people can sue the at-fault party:

  • Car accidents 

  • Slip and fall accidents

  • Medical malpractice

  • Defective products 

  • Dog bites 

How to File a Personal Injury Claim in Indiana

How to File a Personal Injury Claim in Indiana

Filing a personal injury lawsuit is almost the same in all states. The steps of the process are highly similar, but some things, such as the statute of limitations, change. Below, people will read how to pursue a personal injury claim the best way possible in Indiana. For more information, an injury law firm in Indianapolis may be able to help.

Get Medical Help

Victims in personal injury cases need to get medical attention right after the problem happens. They need to do this regardless of how severe their injuries are. The main reason to do this is that these kinds of accidents often cause injuries that develop over time. 

Symptoms of whiplash, for example, could show weeks after the accident. Once the victim gets to that point, the medical treatment to address everything may be more expensive and challenging. The same happens to other spinal cord or traumatic brain injuries. 

Strategically, it's also good for victims in personal injury cases to get medical attention quickly. Doctors will tell them the exact problems they are suffering from so that they can include them in their claims. Apart from that, they could give them an estimate of how much money they may need for the treatment. 

Hire a Personal Injury Attorney

Right after seeking medical help, victims of an accident need to hire a personal injury lawyer to take the case. They are the ones who will handle all the paperwork and gather evidence to support the victim's claims. 

It's important to specifically hire a personal injury lawyer. Other legal professionals may know the tort law in the state but that's not enough. Attorneys who focus on this legal matter already know where to find evidence and which strategies may work best for each case. They're also able to assist with how to file a lawsuit for premises liability in Indiana.

When someone contacts a personal injury attorney, they will try to schedule a first case evaluation to establish legal standing and discuss fees. There, the victim will decide if they want to work with them and what the next steps of the process will be. 

More than one lawyer can work in a personal injury case. The law firm the victim contacts may assign a legal team to take the case. Clients should never settle for an attorney who doesn't make them feel like they are their main priority.  

Collect Evidence

People need evidence to file a proper personal injury claim. Without it, they have no way to prove what they are saying is true. In a civil lawsuit, the burden of proof works differently from criminal cases. 

Criminal lawyers need to prove someone is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Civil cases use the preponderance of evidence to find a settlement. This concept states that attorneys leading personal injury claims only need to prove something was more likely to happen than its opponent's claims. 

In a personal injury lawsuit, victims mainly need to prove that the injuries they are suffering from happened because of the accident they went through. Naturally, that includes proving the defendant made it happen in the first place. They should also show that what they need to financially cover is as expensive as they claim it to be. 

Anything that proves those things can be evidence in a personal injury case. However, it's common to see pictures, videos, witness and expert statements, and medical records used as evidence in a civil lawsuit. 

Send a Demand Letter 

All personal injury claims start with a complaint or demand letter. There, lawyers need to state what happened with as much detail as possible. They also need to say how much the victim needs to cover in economic and non-economic damages.

Once personal injury attorneys finish the demand letter, they must send it to a local circuit court. There, the judge will assign a process server to the case. The process server will send a copy of the claim to the defendant and give them a deadline to answer it.

When the defendant responds to the demand letter, the process server will send it to the victim. Most personal injury lawsuits give the victim two years from the day the accident happened to send the claim. However, they have a shorter time limit if the complaint is against a city or county government. 

Try to Get to an Agreement

Indiana's legal system allows both parties in a civil lawsuit to get to an agreement and skip the trial if they want. Most personal injury attorneys prefer to do this because it ensures them their clients will at least get a part of the compensation they need.

If the accident occurred in difficult-to-prove circumstances, it's sometimes easier for the victim to settle everything that way instead of risking it all in a trial, Nonetheless, that doesn't mean agreeing to an unfair deal. 

Victims should only try this if they get a good deal from the defendant. If they don't, the best choice is going to trial. This shouldn't be a problem as long as they have a good lawyer helping them. 

Go to Trial 

Although most personal injury lawsuits end with a settlement between both parties, they can skip that and go to trial. Once there, the victim's lawyer will need to show the evidence they have for the case and convince the judge their client needs all the money they are asking for. 

Appeal the Court's Decision 

If the judge doesn't approve a personal injury lawsuit, victims can appeal that decision with a higher court. This is the last legal chance for them to seek compensation. 

Conclusion - Get Legal Help from Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys

Whether it's a mild or serious injury, the person financially responsible for an accident should always pay for it. If they refuse to and settlement negotiations fail, victims can always sue them for financial help.

The best way for the injured parties to get compensation money is to hire an experienced personal injury lawyer. Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys is ready to help anyone looking for legal help in Indianapolis, Indiana. They only need to call this law firm and schedule a free consultation. 


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