Personal Injury FAQs

Auto Accident Attorneys in Indiana

General

Dog bites

Workers' compensation/Social Security disability

 Auto accidents

Wrongful death

Libel/slander

Product liability

Other

 

Trial lawyers standing up for the rights of injured people

We represent clients in injury cases on a contingency basis throughout Indiana.  There are no legal fees paid until the case is resolved.  If you suffered serious injuries due to the negligence of someone else, contact us for a free consultation and case evaluation by calling us toll-free at 1-866-685-6800 or contact us online.


General

Should I provide a statement to an insurance company without a lawyer’s help?

It is in your best interests to only provide your contact information to an insurance company until you consult with a lawyer.  The more significant your injuries, the more imperative it becomes to seek legal counsel before providing any statement. 

Will I have to go to trial to recover damages?

About 95 percent of personal injury cases filed settle prior to trial.

What is considered “pain and suffering”?

Pain and suffering includes harm caused by physical injury and mental anguish experienced through avoiding activities in which you engaged prior to your accident and the potential of surgery.

What determines the amount I might recover?

Every case addresses three issues: 

  • Liability—establishing someone’s negligence
  • Damages—the amount that will fairly and adequately compensate you for your injuries
  • Source of collection—insurance or other assets from which damages can be recovered

Is there a minimum or maximum amount that can be recovered in a personal injury settlement?

No.

What is a typical settlement amount?

An experienced personal injury lawyer reviews and interprets your case information to determine the appropriate value for your claim:

  • Incurred medical bill amount
  • Future medical bills
  • Loss of past income
  • Your age
  • Any permanent limitations caused by the injury
  • Impact on future earning capacity
  • Activities you can no longer do
  • Activities you can do but do not enjoy as much
  • Prognosis for further problems
  • Strength of lay witness testimony

The goal is fair and adequate compensation for your injury and an experienced attorney will know what a reasonable jury would award.  The strength of lay and expert witness testimony will likely influence the amount.

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Dog bites

A dog bit me. Who do I tell? 

Contact your local animal control agency or the police.

What is the “one free bite” rule?

Unless the dog is of a species with known dangerous propensities, in Indiana, the owner is not held liable for the first bite the dog inflicts.  Once an animal has demonstrated vicious behavior—biting or otherwise displaying a “vicious propensity”—the owner can be held liable.

Which jurisdiction covers dog bites—state or local?

Both. In addition to Indiana laws, local communities might also have animal laws covering bites, leashing, and vaccinations.  Your local laws might ban ownership of certain breeds, too.

What do leash laws cover?

Most communities require dogs to be leashed unless they are confined to a house or fenced yard, even on the owner’s property.  Failing to adhere to the leash laws combined with dog biting may increase potential penalties.

Can posting a “Beware of Dog” sign help get me out of trouble if my dog bites someone?

While the sign may help to alert others to any potential hazard, specific facts surrounding the dog bite determine any liability.

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Workers' compensation 

What should I do if I get injured on the job?

You must notify your employer of the injury.  You should also tell your employer if you need medical attention.  You may also have to notify Indiana's industrial commission.  Under Indiana workers' compensation law, your employer and/or its insurance carrier can choose the physician to attend to you.  An experienced workers' compensation lawyer can help you understand the process and your rights in Indiana and file your claim. 

How can I jeopardize my benefits? 

Your claim may be denied if you fail to report injuries promptly or fail to cooperate with your employer and authorized treating physician regarding medical evaluations, treatment, rehabilitation services, and claim investigation.  Your claim can also be denied if you refuse to return to suitable employment.  Some other reasons for denial of claims include submittal of fraudulent information, refusal to take a drug test, and refusal to submit to a medical examination by the authorized treating physician, at reasonable times.

Under what circumstances could I be denied workers' compensation benefits as a result of an on-the-job injury?

Benefits are not payable if you are injured while engaged in willful misconduct or if your injury is due to the use of alcohol, drugs, or the misuse of controlled substances.

Am I barred from recovery if I was at fault?

No.

Can I sue anyone else for a work-related injury?

This is called a third party suit.  If your injury was caused by the negligence of a third party other than another person who is also an employee of the company for which you work, you may have a right to sue that party. 

What is no-fault workers' compensation?

Some states have no-fault insurance programs that give benefits to employees who suffer job-related injury or illness.  In such a program, if you are injured on the job, you receive benefits in exchange for agreeing not to pursue civil action against your employer, unless the injury was intentional.

What if my workers' compensation claim is denied?

If your employer and its insurance company deny coverage on the claim, you may file a claim with Indiana's workers' compensation agency.  There is a time limitation; all workers' compensation statutes restrict the amount of time you or your dependent has to file a workers' compensation claim, usually between one to three years from the date of injury, depending on the state.  If your claim is for a job-related disease, the time limitation period begins when you learn you have the disease.

Can I receive Social Security Disability and workers' compensation?

Yes.

Is there more than one definition of “disabled”?

Yes, and that is why it is possible to receive both Social Security Disability and workers' compensation.  And, workers' compensation could determine you are not disabled and Social Security could determine that you are.  Further, insurance companies could define disability in other ways.  Attorneys knowledgeable in this complex area of personal injury law, such as Greene & Schultz, can work with you to explain the differences in easy-to-understand language and help you file all appropriate claims to receive the compensation you deserve.

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Auto accidents

Can the insurance company refuse to pay my medical bills if my car was not damaged?

No, but you may have to file a lawsuit in order to obtain payment for your medical bills.  While the insurance company might try to draw a direct correlation between damage done to your car and the severity of your personal injury, it is possible that the body sustains damage even if the car did not.  The reverse may also be true; a car might experience major impact but the people might only suffer minor cuts and bruises.

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Wrongful death

What is wrongful death?

The idea behind a wrongful death lawsuit is the wrongful death, in addition to injuring the person who died, also brought harm to the people who depended on that individual for financial and/or emotional support.  The wrongful act might be the following:

  • A negligent or careless act (e.g., careless driving)
  • A reckless act
  • An intentional act such as deliberate murder

Indiana has a statute permitting a lawsuit to be brought by the decedent’s relatives in the event of a wrongful act.

What is the statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death claim?

Indiana law sets the timeframe for filing.  Time begins with the time of the incident/the party became aware of or discovered the injury.  The state will not honor a wrongful death claim filed after the legislated timeframe and the opportunity to recover damages for the family will be forever lost.

What is the difference between wrongful death and medical malpractice?

Wrongful death is a type of damage and malpractice is a type of negligence.  Not every wrongful death case involves medical malpractice and not every medical malpractice case involves wrongful death.

Who can sue for wrongful death?

Indiana defines the person(s) allowed to bring a wrongful death suit.  In Indiana, a spouse and children may file.  If you are another relative, contact Greene & Schultz to find out if you are eligible to file.

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Libel/slander 

What is the difference between libel and slander?

The act of communicating a false statement about you to someone else with the intent of damaging your reputation or good name is called defamation.  Defamation through the written word is libel.  Defamation through the spoken word is slander.

What recourse do I have if someone libels or slanders me?

If you have been defamed by public media—e.g., a newspaper, television station, or magazine—you should demand a retraction first so you can collect damages in court.  If the defamation continues, you should write a “cease and desist” letter demanding the immediate cessation of defamation.  You may want an attorney well-versed in defamation law to write the letter for you.

If you have been slandered, bear in mind that it is more difficult to prove damage through a verbal statement versus a written one.  Keep a log of the statements, including when, where, what, and who.  Also note any witnesses and their contact information.

The statute of limitations applies to filing a lawsuit and may be less than one year, so immediate action is necessary.  An experienced defamation law attorney can help you fully understand the best course of action and likely outcome.  Once in court, you may receive punitive damages, that is, money intended to punish the person defaming you. 

Product liability 

What if I know that a defective product harmed other people besides me?

When the same defective product injures a large number of people, they may join together in mass tort lawsuits to hold manufacturers and sellers liable for the injuries caused by their product. 

Other

What is a toxic tort?

A toxic tort is an injury or wrong committed to a person or property of another person caused by contact with a toxic substance—toxic mold, lead paint, a faulty medical device, dangerous medication, etc.  The Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) and other federal laws protect you and the environment from the effects of toxic substances.

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Greene & Schultz Trial Lawyers
320 W. 8th Street, Suite 100
Bloomington, IN, 47404 USA
812-336-4357