Do I need a personal injury lawyer?

Posted in: Catastrophic Personal Injury | Apr 22,2022

If you’ve suffered a severe injury, you’re likely experiencing one of your life’s most stressful situations and are searching for answers. And you’re probably asking yourself, “Do I need a personal injury lawyer?” If you believe that another party caused or contributed to your serious injuries, you should seek personal injury lawyer advice. They have experience collecting evidence and proving personal injury claims.

What kind of cases do personal injury lawyers handle?

Personal injury attorneys handle cases that often fall into the following categories: 

Medical/Dental Malpractice: If a medical provider has made a mistake (by act or omission) that harms you (the patient), medical malpractice may have occurred. Medical malpractice must meet the following conditions in the state of Indiana:

  • The standard of care is violated.*
  • An injury resulted from the violation of the standard of care.
  • Damages (or an injury, or death) occurred as a result of the violation.
  • The defendant, at the time of the violation, must have been a professional health care provider qualified under the Indiana Medical Malpractice Act.

*The standard of care is defined as what a reasonable, careful, and prudent healthcare provider would do under similar circumstances.

Wrongful Death: Wrongful death occurs when a loved one dies due to the reckless, negligent, or deliberate actions of another. You may have a personal injury claim against the liable party if you can show a direct and measurable financial impact related to the untimely loss of your loved one. A skilled wrongful death attorney can help you navigate the vast complexities of this daunting task.

Catastrophic Injury: Many situations result in catastrophic injuries, including: 

  • Alcohol-related accidents
  • Aviation accidents
  • Bicycle accidents
  • Boating accidents
  • Construction accidents
  • Electrocution accidents
  • Inadequate security
  • Motorcycle accidents
  • Nursing home negligence
  • Train accidents

In Indiana, proving catastrophic injury requires:

  • Someone else’s negligence must have caused the injury. 
  • The defendant owed the injured a duty of care.
  • The defendant breached the duty of care. 
  • As a result of the breached duty of care, the injured suffered substantial damages.

Product Liability: Products fail and cause injury. In Indiana, anyone injured by a defective product can file a product liability lawsuit. Proving negligence in a product liability claim requires:

  • The defendant (manufacturer or seller) owed the injured a duty of care.
  • The defendant breached the duty of care.
  • The defendant’s breach caused the plaintiff’s injuries.

In a strict liability product liability case, the injured must prove that:

  • The product was sold in an “unreasonably dangerous” condition.
  • The unreasonably dangerous condition existed when the product left the defendant’s control.
  • The dangerous condition caused the plaintiff’s injuries.

Semi-Truck Accidents: The aftermath of a semi-truck accident involves more than collecting eyewitness accounts of an accident. In addition to the evidence at the accident scene, there are electronic records with information on speed, braking, hours in operation, and other performance statistics that can be crucial to the case.

Possible defendants in semi-truck accidents include: 

  • Truck driver
  • Trucking company
  • Contractor
  • Insurance company
  • Truck driver’s employer
  • Manufacturer or shipper of the cargo

In Indiana, if you are 51% or more at fault for the accident, you cannot collect damages. That’s why it’s wise to seek the help of a personal injury attorney who can investigate all aspects of the accident and prove your case.

Road Construction: Road construction companies are responsible to their employees for creating as safe a work environment as possible. And motorists have a responsibility to drive safely, but accidents at road construction sites are all too common and often involve the following:

  • Person struck by a vehicle
  • Road construction site falls
  • Person struck by debris
  • Person struck by equipment
  • Collision with barrier
  • Vehicle strikes pothole or debris

Accidents for which motorists may not be liable include:

  • Insufficient traffic control within the construction zone 
  • Inadequate or missing guardrails or barriers
  • Confusing lane markings, inadequate signage, and unmarked road hazards within the construction zone

It’s essential to have an experienced personal injury attorney with the support of experts in fields as diverse as engineering, medicine, and road construction management to sort through the complexity of these cases.

Other Factors

Before you consult with a personal injury attorney, it’s a good idea to document as many facts of the case as you are able. The National Law Review recommends that you prepare answers to the following questions:

How severe are your injuries? Your personal injury attorney can help you understand the claims process, how much compensation you could expect, and develop a strategy to pursue your case.

Who caused your accident? This question may have more than one answer, and your personal injury attorney can sort through the case to name the liable parties. 

Have you spoken with the insurance company or liable party? If so, you might be experiencing an insurance company denial, delay, low settlement offer, or flat-out refusal to negotiate. These circumstances merit consultation with a personal injury lawyer before offering a response. 

How much time has passed since the accident? The statute of limitations is two years in Indiana, with some exceptions. The clock is running, so contact an attorney promptly to avoid being barred from making a claim. 

Do you have questions about your rights? Hopefully, you haven’t had broad experience with personal injury cases. When faced with a potential personal injury case, talk to someone who has done it before – it’s the best way to understand compensation, timing, and liability questions.

What Do These Cases Have in Common? 

If your injury seems to fit or mirror some of the categories above, take a moment to outline your reasons for hiring a personal injury lawyer. In doing so, remember these three essential guidelines: you have suffered (1) catastrophic injury or death, (2) at the fault of another, and (3) resulting in significant damage. You’ll also need to consider the particulars of your situation. Each case presents its unique timeline, costs, and level of effort required by the client and the attorney. 

Complex personal injury cases can trip up the uninitiated or inexperienced in an alarming array of ways. Select an attorney with expertise and discernment to evaluate your case and determine its viability. Montross Miller has longstanding relationships with subject-matter experts, a physician/attorney on staff, and a track record of success in personal injury cases. You pay nothing up front–we work on a contingent fee plus cost-recovery basis. We provide personal injury law expertise with a compassionate focus on your resolution, recovery, and the opportunity to rebuild your life.