The American Bar Association (ABA) is one of the United States’ oldest legal organizations. In addition to building model ethical codes for the various legal professions, it also tracks the numbers of registered lawyers in all 50 states. Would you like to take a guess on how many lawyers call Indiana home?
According to the ABA’s 2019 National Lawyer Population Survey, there were 15,845 active attorneys residing in our state.
Technically, any single one of these attorneys might claim to be able to handle your personal injury and/or wrongful death case. So the question then becomes: how do you find the right Indianapolis personal injury lawyer for your case and avoid the ones that might cause more harm than good?
There are four considerations we believe an accident victim should take into account before hiring an Indianapolis personal injury lawyer:
- Hiring a lawyer that focuses specifically on personal injury law and wrongful death.
- Understanding the finer points of negligence & liability.
- Hiring a lawyer that has vast experience negotiating with insurance companies.
- Understanding the difference between a large personal injury law firm and a smaller law firm focused on personal attention.
Personal Injury & Wrongful Death are Specialized Practice Areas
Before hiring an Indianapolis personal injury lawyer, you will likely review a number of law firm websites and read various reviews. During this phase of research, it is important to remember that personal injury and wrongful death law are not generalized areas of practice.
Indiana’s personal injury and wrongful death laws are complex and always changing. An attorney who splits his or her time between a multitude of practice areas runs the risk of being unfamiliar with every update, statute, and nuance related to personal injury and wrongful death law.
In addition to personal injury, some law firms and attorneys will promote the fact that they handle a wide variety of cases, including bankruptcy, family law, criminal defense, etc. And while some accident victims may believe that experience in different areas of the law might be an advantage to their case, we would strongly disagree.
Think of it this way, if you were required to have surgery for one of the injuries you suffered in your accident, you would want to make sure the doctor who performs your procedure is a specialist in that area and has performed it many times before. (You would not want a dentist performing your spinal fusion!)
Put simply, hiring the right Indianapolis personal injury lawyer for your case means finding an attorney who devotes 100% of his or her practice to this area of law and also has a keen understanding of Indiana’s negligence and liability laws and statutes.
Indiana’s Personal Injury Negligence & Liability Laws
The focus of every personal injury and/or wrongful death case will eventually focus on negligence. And the insurance companies and courts are only interested in deciding who was at fault for the incident and what percentage of the blame should be placed on those involved. Hiring an experienced personal injury attorney helps to ensure that you are not assigned some or all of the fault for the accident/incident.
It is important to note that Indiana treats negligence and liability a bit differently than other states. Many states employ what is known as No-Fault laws. This means a person injured in a car accident will be required to first collect compensation from their insurance company up to the limit of their policy. If their bills and costs exceed their own policy’s limit, they would then pursue the policy of the at-fault driver. By contrast, Indiana is a Comparative Fault state.
Per the rules of the Comparative Fault Act, an Indiana accident victim may seek compensation for their injuries and losses as long as it is determined that they are less than 50% at fault for the accident.
Additionally, unlike a No-Fault state, Indiana accident victims will first pursue the at-fault party’s insurance policy instead of their own. (In the event that your costs associated with the accident exceed the defendant’s policy, you can then file an Underinsured claim with your own insurance company.)
For these reasons, we recommend that you ask an attorney if they have experience negotiating negligence and liability factors with insurance companies as well as litigating personal injury cases in Indiana’s court system(s). It is critical that your attorney know the in’s and out’s of “negligence” and “liability” as it relates to Indiana personal injury law.
Negotiating Personal Injury Cases with Insurance Companies
Insurance companies employ adjusters and attorneys whose primary goal is to become experts at the art of negotiation. And their aim for every negotiation is to limit the amount they compensate you for your injuries and losses.
Because insurance companies are responsible to stakeholders, they have every incentive to put as much fault as possible on you. This is why we repeatedly tell people to be very careful when speaking to insurance adjusters. They may present themselves as being helpful and on your side, but they also have a job to do.
Understanding the tactics insurance companies will use to devalue or dismiss your claim is key to every personal injury case. Trying to negotiate a personal injury claim on your own has the potential to lead to any number of mistakes that could cost you your entire case.
Regardless of whether your personal injury claim is from a car accident, dog bite, slip and fall, wrongful death, etc., it is critical that you hire an Indianapolis personal injury lawyer who understands that specific area of practice, and this includes being able to negotiate with insurance companies when necessary.
Large Law Firms vs. Law Firms Focused on Personal Care & Attention
There are a number of personal injury firms in Indiana whose model is to focus on high case volume and quick case turnover. In some instances, clients at these larger firms will rarely have contact with the actual attorney assigned to their case.
In some circles, larger personal injury law firms are sometimes referred to as “mills” due to the large number of cases they accept. And while this approach works for the firm, it may also mean less personal attention for the client.
If you or a loved one have suffered traumatic injuries involving broken bones, traumatic brain injury, hospitalization and/or surgery, we recommend you speak to a law firm that places an emphasis on providing personalized attention.
In the case of Boulton Law Group, attorney Matt Boulton founded the firm after having worked for several years at a large personal injury firm. He believed that being able to focus more of his time on select cases would result in a better result and experience for clients with serious and/or traumatic injuries.
Talk to an award-winning Indianapolis accident attorney
Did your accident leave you with serious injuries? Are you unsure how to hire the “right” personal injury lawyer for your case?
First, we strongly suggest you interview and ask questions before hiring an attorney, but most importantly you should always ensure that they focus their practice on personal injury law.
Boulton Law Group focuses exclusively on areas related to personal injury. Attorney Boulton has more than 20 years’ experience helping injured Hoosiers and their family navigate insurance companies and the Indiana court system. He and his team pride themselves on being able to provide personal attention and treating their clients like family.
If you have questions about your personal injury claim, Boulton Law Group will provide you with a Zero Fee Guarantee. This means that you will not be charged for a consultation, and should you decide to hire the firm, you owe us nothing until we win your case.
Call us today at 317-350-2680, or write to us with the details of your case by using our free and confidential contact form.
We look forward to hearing your story and going to work for you!
Attorney Matt Boulton is an award-winning personal injury attorney with more than 20 years of experience helping seriously injured people throughout Indiana reclaim what was taken from them. His firm was created for for the client who expects exceptional service and passionate, successful legal representation.