You are driving down the road minding your own business when – you’re hit. Through no fault of your own, you find yourself with car damage, injuries, loss of work, financial pressures. When the initial shock subsides, you quickly learn that you will be facing a large, sophisticated insurance company with lawyers on hand to protect their interest. As soon as possible, you should consult an attorney to insure someone is there protecting your interests. It is important to take immediate steps to protect yourself, which may include getting a copy of the police report, hiring an investigator to do an accident reconstruction, or simply insuring that you don’t say something wrong to an insurance adjuster who may seem friendly on the phone, but is working for the other side.
Frequently Asked Questions
How soon do i need an Attorney?
We strongly recommend you seek an attorney as soon as possible after an unfortunate accident or injury. It is very important to verify facts and witness information. Your recovery could depend upon it. There is no fee for an initial consultation, and in most personal injury cases, a contingency fee agreement can be reached where you only pay if there is a recovery. Thus, it doesn’t cost you anything to contact an attorney right away to protect your legal rights.
What if the insurance company calls me immediately?
You need to be very careful when talking to the insurance company. They will ask you many questions and may seem very friendly. However, they are always gathering information and if you are not completely clear about the nature and extent of your injuries, they will assume that you aren’t injured very badly and will not feel that the claim has significant value. You must always be very clear and careful when speaking with any insurance representative.
How long do i have to make a claim?
Generally, the statute of limitations in Indiana for any injury is two years. It is advisable to talk to an attorney well before that two year period runs because there are lots of steps that need to be taken to make sure the claim is properly filed. If you have an injury through a government agency, school or other public body, there are early notice requirements that are very short, and you should contact an attorney immediately to make sure those deadlines are not missed.
What to bring to your first appointment
- Any letters you have received from the insurance company.
- Any medical reports, papers or off-work slips from any treating physicians.
- Any photos of your injuries or accident scene.
- Any statements from witnesses or co-workers.
- Any letters you have received from attorneys representing the other parties.
- Police Report – if you have one.
- Insurance Policy and Insurance Limits (usually found on your declaration page). If you do not have this, your insurance agent can get you one immediately.
- Copies of any and all medical bills to date for treating the injuries.
- Copies of pay stubs showing the loss of pay.
- Photographs of the cars and injuries.