Personal Injury Lawyers in Merrillville & Valparaiso
Being injured in an accident is one of the most frightening and frustrating experiences that an individual can go through.
Accidents and the resulting injuries can turn a family’s life upside down and leave them under severe emotional and financial strain.
If you or a loved one have been the victim of an accident through no fault of your own, it is critical that you reach out to a veteran personal injury attorney to learn more about your right to compensation under Indiana law.
Experienced Personal Injury Law Firm
Since 1981, Sarkisian Law Offices have helped people who were injured:
- at work
- in automobile and truck crashes
- by defective products
Before we file a complaint, we conduct a thorough investigation so we can advise our clients of the best course of action.
Our goal is to provide our clients with information about their legal rights, options and expectations at every stage of their case. Communication is the key to a successful attorney-client relationship.
How Can a Personal Injury Lawyer Help?
Accidents and injuries happen unexpectedly. The last thing that accident victims anticipate is that they will be injured or even killed in an accident, and many victims and families are unprepared.
Our experience and background may help you with any personal injury caused by the negligence of another.
We are available for you whenever you or your loved ones need us.
Personal injury areas we can help you with include cases involving:
- car accidents
- semi-truck accidents
- motorcycle accidents
- pedestrian accidents
- catastrophic injuries
- wrongful death
- train accidents
- aviation accidents
- construction injuries
- steel mill injuries
- factory injuries
- workplace injuries
- brain injuries
- back, neck and spine injuries
- slip, trip and fall injuries
- premises liability
- products liability
Whether you’re dealing with a case involving a serious injury, or if you have lost a loved one to a wrongful death, it is in your best interest to involve an attorney from our firm as soon as possible.
Injury Claims Lawyers in Merrillville & Valparaiso, IN
Working with an experienced personal injury lawyer in your area can make the difference between a successful claim and an unsuccessful one.
Your attorney will review your case in detail and reconstruct the accident in order to learn what really happened to cause your injuries, and who may be at fault.
At Sarkisian Law Offices, we will exhaust every possible source of compensation, including through third-party claims.
What Causes Accidents?
While many people believe that accidents are out of anyone’s control, this is simply untrue. Often, accidents are caused by the negligence or carelessness of another person or company.
Motor vehicle accident. A distracted driver who is breaking the law by sending texts while driving can cause a collision that injures or causes the death of others
Slip & fall accident. A negligent public property owner may know of broken tile in a certain area of their store, but refuse to fix it due to costs. A store patron can trip over the tile and hit their head against a shelf, causing serious injury.
Defective products. A pharmaceutical company may be aware that a drug has a strong potential to do harm, but continues to place the product on the market anyways.
Medical negligence. A surgeon may neglect to remove all instruments, gauze, and sponges from the body cavity of a patient, causing pain and complications weeks or months after the surgery.
Work injury. A supervisor at work may know of defective equipment, but still allows employees to use the equipment in order to avoid spending money on replacements. A worker could be injured or killed while using problematic heavy machinery.
Under Indiana law, victims of negligence who have suffered real and tangible damages as a result have the right to bring forward a petition for compensation paid by the party at fault.
Common Types of Injuries
Accidents that are caused by the negligence of another person or company can result in a variety of serious injuries, including but not limited to:
- Open and closed head injuries
- Brain injuries
- Neck and spinal cord injuries
- Limb amputation
- Broken bones
- Soft tissue injuries like cuts, burns, and lacerations
- Internal organ damage
- Back injuries
- Wrongful death
Injuries that result from a serious accident can be life-changing, life-threatening, and even deadly. Don’t wait to get the help you need after a devastating incident.
What Kind of Damages Are Paid in a Personal Injury Claim?
A personal injury claim is designed to provide the victim of an accident, and their family, with the funds they need to cover the damages incurred as a result of the incident.
Damages that may be covered include but are not limited to:
- Hospitalization expenses
- Physical therapy
- Home care
- Other medical expenses
- Vehicle damage in car accident claims
- Other property damage
- Lost wages
- Temporary or permanent disability
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional trauma
An experienced personal injury lawyer can assist you in evaluating your case and determining what it may be worth if you bring a claim forward.
Don’t Accept the Insurance Company’s First Offer
If you or a loved one were injured, it’s likely that you will need to communicate with one or more insurance companies.
Insurance companies are first and foremost a business; paying out claims for damages can significantly affect their bottom line. As a result, it is the goal of the insurance company to pay out as little as possible in an injury settlement.
The first settlement offer an insurance company makes is likely to be significantly lower than the total cost of the damages you’ve incurred as a result of the incident.
However, injured parties will be inclined to accept an insurance company’s first settlement offer for a variety of reasons, including:
- Settling the case sooner rather than later and avoiding potential litigation
- Obtaining funds immediately to pay medical bills or get continuing medical care
- Obtaining funds to cover property damage, such as buying a new vehicle after an accident
- Compensation to help pay for daily needs, like groceries and bill payments, while the victim is out of work
At Sarkisian Law Offices, we understand that turning down an insurance company’s offer for a settlement can seem counter-productive to your case.
However, we also want you to receive the full and fair compensation that is due to you.
Accepting a settlement that is less than the total cost of damages you’ve incurred could cut you short later on and force you to pay some expenses out of pocket.
It is critical that you work with an attorney when negotiating a settlement with an insurance company. This ensures protection for your right to the entire amount of compensation you deserve for your financial, physical and emotional suffering.
Our personal injury attorneys are committed to providing you with the passionate advocacy you need to get the maximum amount of financial restitution possible.
Contact Sarkisian Law Offices Today For a Consultation
Your initial consultation is free–there is no fee in finding out if you have a case.
At Sarkisian Law Offices, your initial legal consultation is free and, if we take your case, you will only pay attorney fees from a recovery.
Should you choose to be represented by Sarkisian Law Offices, you will rest easy knowing that you will have an advocate on your side who is willing to go the distance to help you obtain financial compensation.
Our experienced and professional team of lawyers at Sarkisian Law Offices began serving the Northwest Indiana area in 1981 and today we serve:
- Lake Village
- Lake of the Four Seasons
- East Chicago
- Crown Point
- St. John
- Michigan City
- Burns Harbor
- Lake Station
- Beverly Shores
- Lake County
- Porter County
- LaPorte County
- Chicago and Cook County, Illinois
Have You Been Seriously Injured In A Car Accident?
Car crashes often happen in the blink of an eye with no fair warning. One minute you’re
traveling to your destination and the next your life suddenly changes.
You’ve been injured and your car has been totaled, but the damage doesn’t stop there. Medical bills have been piling up and you’ve lost wages from taking time off work.
If you or a loved one have been harmed in an auto accident, or if a loved one was tragically killed as the result of the reckless actions of someone else — you have the right to pursue compensation.
As a victim of negligence, you should not bear the burden of the losses you have incurred.
Sarkisian Law can be the advocate you need to help you recover the cost of your:
- medical bills
- lost wages
- future care
- pain and suffering
Depending on your unique circumstance, we can help you file:
- A personal injury claim or lawsuit against the at-fault driver for negligence
- A product liability claim against the manufacturer, dealership, auto part shop, or auto distributor for defective parts
- A personal injury claim against a government entity for hazardous highway or road conditions
Types of Auto Accidents
Sarkisian Law represents personal injury victims who have suffered injuries related to the following:
- Auto Accidents
- Motorcycle Accidents
- Truck Accidents
- Pedestrian Accidents
- Head-on Collisions
- Rear-end collisions
- Side-impact Collisions
- Side-swipe Collisions
- Multiple Party Accidents
- Hit and Run
- Product Liability/Manufacturers defects
- Faulty road design
- Wrongful Death
Car Accident Do’s And Don’ts
There are certain actions you can take immediately following a car crash that will protect your rights. What you do in the moments, hours, days, and weeks after the crash can make or break your chances of getting the compensation you deserve.
What TO Do
- Stop your vehicle
- Check on the safety of your passengers and other driver/s
- Call 911 or local police — file police report
- Seek medical attention
- Exchange contact and registration information with other drivers and witnesses
- Gather as much evidence as possible: take photographs and/or video of the accident scene and your injuries
- Report the accident to your insurance company: Indiana requires that you notify your insurance carrier within 24 hours of an accident. Only relay the basic facts of what happened, do not provide any statements or opinions on whose fault it was or details about the extent of your injuries.
- Keep a pain log
- Keep a lost wage log — list dates you missed work, number of hour you missed, your hourly rate of pay
- Collect receipts of expenses – keep receipts of any out of pocket expenses (physician co-pays, prescription medications, and over-the-counter medications)
What NOT to do
- Do not speak to the other driver’s insurance company or give a recorded statement. Insurance companies only care about one thing: profit. Not your rights. Anything that you say in a statement can be later used against you. If you do speak with an insurance adjuster, politely say you will have your lawyer get in touch with them.
- Don’t sign a medical release form
- Never say sorry or admit guilt
- Don’t wait to retrieve witness statements — it’s best to follow up with them as soon as possible while their memories are still fresh
- Don’t accept a quick settlement from the insurance company without talking to a lawyer first. There’s no way of knowing the full extent of your injuries or damages so soon after the accident. Any offer they provide will not represent the true value of your claim. Besides, it’s in the insurance company’s financial interest to pay you less then what you deserve. Don’t take the bait! Sarkisian Law can negotiate a much better settlement.
- Don’t post anything on social media
Sustaining an Injury in an Auto Accident
Car accidents cause a number of different physical and psychological injuries which can range in severity from minor to serious, permanent to life-threatening, to fatal.
In the immediate aftermath of an accident, it’s crucial that you seek medical treatment. Even if you feel as if you’re not badly hurt, there’s always a chance your symptoms just haven’t revealed themselves yet.
Seeing a doctor right away is important not only for your health but for the strength of your claim.
The likelihood of collecting monetary damages increases when you have a medical record on file that details your injuries, how they are related to the accident, and the impact it’s had on your life.
Common Injuries Suffered in Auto Accidents
- Soft tissue injuries: damage to muscles, ligaments, tendons
- Whiplash: stretches the muscles in your neck and back; most often the result of rear-end collision
- Head Injuries: high-speed collisions can cause a head to strike against steering wheels, dashboards or windows
- Headaches, migraines
- Traumatic Brain Injuries: temporary or permanent impairment of brain functions (fractures to the skull, bruising of the brain (hematoma), and damage to nerves
- Neck and Back Injuries: Discs in the neck and spine may bulge, rupture or tear after an auto injury. Disc injury may not become apparent for months after the initial injury has occurred.
- Spinal Cord Injuries: paralysis
- Chest and Lung Injuries: Blunt force trauma can cause broken ribs and collapsed lungs
- Abdominal pain or swelling: may be an indication of internal bleeding
- Face Injuries
- Scarring, Disfigurement
- Los of limbs, Amputations
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
What Causes Car Crashes on Indiana’s Roads?
Nicknamed the “Crossroads of America” for good reason, Indiana has more miles of Interstate Highway per square mile than any other state in the nation. Fourteen interstates criss-cross the Hoosier state!
While this vast transportation network provides convenience for Hoosiers, it also puts them at great risk. With so many motorists on congested stretches of roads, there’s bound to be accidents that cause injury and death.
Car crashes happen for numerous reasons in Indiana but most are due to the negligent driving behaviors of motorists.
Reckless or Negligent Driving Behaviors
Tailgating: A 2012 Indiana Officer’s Standard Crash Report revealed that the number one cause of crashes in Indiana was tailgating or driving too close. In 2014, Indiana State Police documented 32,326 crashes in which following too closely was the primary factor, up from 31,300 in 2013.
Distracted Driving: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 1,060 people are injured and about nine people die each day in the United States in car accidents involving distracted drivers. Indiana has tried to curb distracted driving behaviors by banning texting and emailing while driving.
Speeding is one of the most prevalent factors that contributes to car accidents. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) speeding contributed to 10,219 traffic accident fatalities in the United States in a single year.
Driving while fatigued/falling asleep at the wheel: It’s been widely demonstrated that driving while drowsy can be just as bad, or worse, than driving drunk.
Running red lights or stop signs: One of the most severe types of collisions that occurs at intersections are from drivers who run a red light. According to government statistics, 165,000 people are injured or killed every year when someone runs a red light.
Failure to yield: Many car crashes occur because a left turning vehicle did not have adequate time to make the turn and causes a collision with oncoming traffic.
Driving While Under the Influence of Drugs or Alcohol: Thirteen percent of fatal collisions in Indiana involved a driver impaired by alcohol.
Aggressive Driving: Unsafe operating, passing in the shoulder, unsafe or sudden stopping, unnecessary use of horn, failing to yield, failure to follow traffic signals, flashing headlights unnecessarily or driving at unsafe speeds.
Defective Cars or Car Parts: Cars often have defects that can pose serious risk to motorists. In 2015, there were nearly 64 million vehicles recalled in the U.S. due to potential safety problems.
Semi-Truck: The sheer size and weight of trucks can be menacing on the roads. When collisions occur with a truck, the results can be dire. Trucks with unsecured loads are also a common problem in Indiana. Each year for the last five years in Indiana, 100 people have been killed in traffic accidents involving a semi-truck.
Faulty Road Design/Lack of Maintenance: Indiana is known for its crumbling infrastructure. 16% of state roads are in “poor condition,” more than 1,000 Indiana bridges are deemed “structurally deficient,” and many local streets are plagued with potholes.
Weather/Natural Disaster: Treacherous road conditions during the winter months in Indiana are very dangerous and can pose serious risk to motorists.
Understanding Indiana’s Auto Insurance Coverage And Fault Laws
Every state has its own motor vehicle insurance coverage requirements and fault laws which govern a personal injury claims process.
Some states, for example are “no-fault” states meaning that victims can recover compensation regardless of who caused the accident. They do not have to show liability in order to get coverage for their losses; rather they can seek protection under their own insurance policies.
In contrast, Indiana is a “fault-state” or tort-liability system which means that someone needs to be “at-fault” in a collision in order to recover compensation.
This provides you, the victim with more options. You can choose to:
- file a claim with your own insurance company (“first-party” claim)
- file a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company (“third-party” claim)
- file a lawsuit with the at-fault party
Insurance Requirements for Indiana Drivers
Indiana state law requires all drivers to carry bodily injury liability insurance and
property damage liability coverage.
Listed below is the minimum amounts required for each type of insurance:
- $25,000 bodily injury per person per accident
- $50,000 bodily injury for all persons per accident
- $10,000 property damage liability
- $25,000/$50,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury
- $10,000 uninsured motorist property damage
- $50,000 underinsured motorist bodily injury
I Was Hit By An Uninsured Driver…How Will I Be Compensated?
Despite the fact that the current law in Indiana requires drivers to purchase minimum auto liability coverage, it is estimated that 15 to 20 percent of motorists are still uninsured.
If you have been hit by an uninsured driver, you can still recover compensation under your own uninsured motorist policy, up to its limits.
If the at-fault driver has only the minimum liability coverage ($25,000) but your medical bills exceed that amount, your underinsured motorist policy would cover the difference.
Establishing Liability and Proving Negligence
In order to recover compensation in an auto accident claim in Indiana, you must prove that the other party was at fault. To determine who is liable for your accident, Indiana relies on the law of negligence.
Under the law of negligence, motorists have a duty to drive with reasonable care and not do harm to others on the road.
If a driver breaches this duty of care to you, they are considered negligent.
In order to establish negligence in an auto claim, we would need to prove:
- The negligent party’s actions caused the accident to occur.
- The negligent party’s actions directly caused your injury.
- The expenses you are experiencing are due to the injury was caused by the negligent party.
Our job as your legal representation is to assess the amount of harm you have suffered, determine the available insurance coverage and submit a demand to the at-fault party’s insurance company or to your own insurer.
If negotiations fail to produce a fair and appropriate settlement offer, we can take your case to court (roughly 98 percent of cases are settled out of court).
Will I be Able to Recover Money for My Injuries if I Was Partially at Fault for the Accident?
If you are partially responsible for your accident, Indiana will use the law of comparative fault to make a determination about your right to compensation.
Under this law, you can generally collect damages if you are 50% or less at fault for the accident but your recovery would be reduced by your degree of fault.
For example, if you were 40% at fault and your case is worth $100,000, you would be rewarded $60,000.
If you are found to be 51% or more at fault for the accident, you will not be able to recover damages. Sarkisian Law thoroughly evaluates all of the factors that contributed to your accident and leverages the strongest evidence, including:
- Police Reports
- Photographs and video of the scene
- Medical Records
- Witness Statements
- Expense Reciepts
Hopefully, you and your family and friends will never need our help. But, if you do, please feel free to call us. We look forward to preserving and protecting all of your personal injury legal rights and working to obtain the compensation you deserve.
Call today for a consultation at (219) 942-7171 or (219) 477-3998 to discuss your case in detail.