According to Indiana court statistics, eighty percent of the cases they hear are civil, and personal injury cases – including those stemming from car accidents – are a common type of civil case in the courts.
But it’s very difficult to say with certainty how often a car accident case goes from insurance claim to court case. There are a number of factors that will impact whether a particular case goes to trial.
Some common factors that result in car wreck claims going to court – though not the only ones – are:
- Disputes regarding fault
- Disputes about extent of injuries/damages
- Low settlement offer
- Pre-existing injuries blamed for current condition
Why Cases Go to Court
Indiana law stipulates that every driver have liability insurance. It operates as an “at-fault” state in terms of car accidents, meaning accident victims can file a claim against the at-fault driver’s liability insurance as a primary means of recovering damages.
But in some car wreck cases, it can be hard to prove fault and therefore which insurer is responsible for what in terms of property repairs, medical bills, lost wages, and more. If you feel that the other driver is at fault, you have to prove it.
Disputes About Fault & Damages
Obviously, the at-fault driver doesn’t have to agree with your assessment and more than likely, is not eager to. So is the other driver and its insurer denies fault, your case can be become very complicated.
Partial fault means the insurance company is looking to hold you partially responsible. This will severely diminish your chances to recover the compensation you deserve. Indiana calls this “comparative fault,” meaning both drivers are partly responsible for the wreck. So then it becomes a case of who did what to what degree. Drivers 51 percent or more responsible cannot collect damages, and those less than 51 percent at fault can recover damages minus their proportion of fault.
Disputes concerning the extent of your damages can also complicate an insurance claim and lead to court if you can’t reach a resolution. In such cases, you must present adequate evidence of damages, including medical records and bills, evidence of lost wages, and more.
Low Insurance Settlement Offer
Many victims find themselves in a delicate financial situation after an accident, and insurers try to take advantage by offering a lower settlement they hope claimants will see as a way to meet immediate bills. If you suffered extensive damages, make sure an attorney first looks over the offer before signing it.
Blaming Pre-Existing Injuries
Another factor that helps get your case to court is if the insurance company blames the injuries you suffered in the wreck on a previous injury. So if you suffered a knee injury in the accident, some insurers might try to blame your current ailments on a knee injury you suffered several years earlier. It’s important to discuss releasing medical records with your attorney before doing so.
Find Legal Representation
Representation and excellent record keeping – including witness names and statements, your medical records, and other communications related to the case – can help you during your insurance settlement negotiations, as well as if your case winds up in court.
If you need help with your Indiana car accident claim, get a FREE consultation by calling the law offices of Hensley Legal Group at (317) 472-3333, or contact us online.