"Serving the Good People of Indiana in all their Legal Needs"

Indiana Personal Injury Law

1. What does it cost?

1.1 What is a contigency fee?

In almost all personal injury cases, we only work on a contingency fee (percentage of the case settlement) which means that we do not get paid if we do not win.  We don’t charge any upfront costs, and we only get paid for our services if you recover compensation. We have always believed that everyone deserves equal access to the legal system.

2. Do I need a Lawyer?

2.1 Do I need a Lawyer?

Not every personal injury case requires a lawyer. However, if you attempt to negotiate directly with an insurance company you will lack the negotiation leverage required to force a reasonable settlement. Having an attorney means there will be “teeth” behind demands for compensation. Furthermore, attempting to resolve a case on your own prior to hiring an attorney could have a negative impact on your case if you decide to hire an attorney later. Cooper Legal Services provides a free, no-risk consultation where the pros and cons of hiring a lawyer in your specific case can be discussed.

3. How much is my case worth?

3.1 How much is my case worth?

It is impossible to tell you exactly what you case is worth as there is no such thing as a fixed price of settlement regarding any given injury. Every case is unique and a number of factors go into the valuation of your case, including the amount of available insurance, cost of medical bills and percentage of fault. Much of this information is unknown at the time of your injury, but as your cases progresses it is easier to estimate the value of a claim. Our goal is to gather this information as quickly as possible, while also helping you avoid the tactics used by insurance companies to devalue your claim.

4. Do I have to go to Court?

4.1 Do I have to go to Court?

Most personal injury cases do not go to trial.  However, a good lawyer will always prepare each case for trial.   We will identify the possible legal issues in your case and do the necessary research on those issues.  We will investigate your case by talking with potential witnesses and looking at the possible evidence in your case.  We do our very best to come to a reasonable settlement before filing a lawsuit.

5. What should I do after an accident?

5.1 What should I do after an accident?

Your health should obviously take top priority. Seek medical treatment for your injuries as quickly as possible. This will also be important documentation of your injuries when it comes time to present your case to the insurance company. After seeking initial treatment, contact our office before speaking with any insurance companies. Do not give a recorded statement. Preserve any evidence you think will help your case. We will take over all communication with the insurance companies and coordinate your medical treatments so you can focus on resting and recovering from your injuries..

6.What is the role of the Prosecutor?

6.1 What is the role of the prosecutor?

The prosecutor represents the State of Indiana against the Defendant.  The prosecutor has an ethical duty to refrain from prosecuting a charge that the prosecutor knows is not supported by probable cause. Additionally, the prosecutor may not discourage defense witnesses from testifying and the prosecutor will be held to any agreements they make with the defendant or any witnesses.

Furthermore, the prosecutor has the duty to see that the Defendant is accorded procedural justice and that guilt is decided upon the basis of sufficient evidence.  The prosecutor must make timely disclosure of all evidence or information known to the prosecutor that tends to negate the guilt of the accused or mitigates the offense. This means that the prosecutor must not suppress or omit material evidence and must takes steps to preserve useful evidence for the Defendant.

7. What is the role of the Defense Attorney?

7.1 What is the role of the defense attorney?

The defense attorney must diligently and zealously represent the client's best interests at trial. Although the defense attorney must abide by the client's objectives, the defense attorney is responsible for the technical and tactical issues at the trial.  One of the defense attorney's main duties is to help ensure that the Defendant gets a fair trial. The defense attorney does this by functioning as a watchdog on behalf of his client by helping educate the judge as to potential inadmissible evidence and other legal issues and by making sure that the prosecutor doesn't overstep their bounds when presenting their case or objecting to the client's defense.

Interestingly enough...few people realize that, while most everything the Defendant tells his attorney is protected by the attorney-client confidentiality privilege, the defense attorney may not knowingly offer false information into evidence.

8. What is the role of the Judge?

8.1 What is the role of the judge?

The judge is a public officer who is charged with the control of the legal proceedings in the court.  The judge will determine whether certain evidence is admissible or not.  Furthermore, the judge will rule on preliminary matters and discovery issues that the parties have.  Before a jury decides a case, the judge will instruct the jury as to how the law guides them in the particular case.

9. What is the role of the Jury?

9.1 What is the role of the jury?

Jurors take an oath to honestly, justly and impartially hear a case.  Jurors have a duty to keep an open mind and must not form or express an opinion until they have heard all the evidence, the arguments of counsel, and the final instruction as to the law from the Court.

Jurors are the exclusive judges of the evidence, the credibility of the witnesses and the weight to be given to the testimony. In weighing the testimony to determine what or who is to be believed, the jury should use their own knowledge, experience and common sense to guide them.

10. What is the Sentencing Hearing?

10.1 What is the Sentencing Hearing?

After a guilty plea or verdict, a sentencing hearing is generally held so the judge can hear evidence as to what the defendant's sentence should be.  In felony cases, a pre-sentence report must be prepared and the defendant must receive a copy of the contents of the report before the hearing.

Generally, the judge must sentence the defendant to the presumptive sentence set by statute unless there are mitigating or aggravating circumstances in the case.

Generally, a sentence may run consecutively (one after the other) if all the crimes arose out of 1 transaction and the offenses aren't identical.

Generally, a sentence should run concurrently (at the same time) if there were no aggravating circumstances in the case. However, a consecutive sentence is required is the defendant was still on probation, parole or imprisoned for another crime.

11. What is the goal of Criminal Sanctions?

11.1 What is the goal of criminal sanctions?

Article 1 Section 18 of the Indiana Constitution says the aim of criminal sanctions is to reform the criminal offender.

12. What about an Appeal?

12.1 What about an Appeal?

Article 7 Section 6 of the Indiana Constitution says that all defendants have the right to one appeal of their criminal conviction.

Generally, the conviction will be sustained (upheld) if there is sufficient evidence for a reasonable jury to conclude that the defendant was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.


13. What is Probation?

13.1 What is probation?

Probation is a sentence imposed for the commission of a crime where...instead of being incarcerated...the convicted criminal offender is released into the community under the supervision of a probation officer under certain terms and conditions.

Probation may be revoked if a defendant violates the terms and conditions of their probation. The petition to revoke requires that the State prove that the conditions were violated by a preponderance of the evidence at a hearing before a judge. This is a much lesser standard than the "beyond a reasonable doubt" standard that the State had at trial.  Probation violations are very common and the potential consequence is very serious.  If probation is revoked, it is possible for the defendant to be sentenced to the original sentence!e.

14. I got a Traffic ticket - Should I fight it?

14.1 I got a traffic ticket - Should I fight it?

If you receive a traffic citation, you usually have the option of either paying the fine by mailing in the designated fee or appearing in traffic court to contest the ticket.  Whether you should fight the ticket depends on many things, including whether the potential penalty is serious and whether you have a valid defense to the ticket. Look at the facts of your case objectively. Do you have valid reason for violating a traffic law or just an excuse?

There are several ways a traffic ticket can be dismissed. Some of the more common reasons for dismissal include: State's failure to make a prima facie case; State isn't ready to present its case at the time of your court appearance; Lack of jurisdiction; and Mistaken identification.  Contact your attorney regarding the traffic matter and he/she should be able to help you decide whether you should fight it.

15. Do I need Professional Help?

15.1 Do I need Professional Help?

The biggest mistake one can make is to attempt to go thru the criminal process unrepresented. The prosecutor may seem like the nicest guy in the world. However, the prosecutor does not have your interest at heart. The prosecutor represents the State of Indiana and will try to get the best results for the State. The most important thing you can do is to secure counsel as early on in the process as possible.

The Auto Accident Case


The auto accident case is the most common type of personal injury case we see.  Every year, motor vehicle crashes in the United States result in more than 40,000 deaths according to U.S. Department of Transportation data.  On average, more than 100 people per day died in car crashes in the U.S.  Pedestrians account for nearly 13 percent of all crash deaths. About 7 percent of crash deaths were among motorcyclists.

Weekends are worse than weekdays.  Summer and fall months have more deadly crashes than winter or spring months. And holidays top the list for crash deaths.  For example, July Fourth had the highest number of crash deaths (161). It had an average of 12 more deaths than any other day of the year. This day also had a high number of deaths involving alcohol.  The second worst day was July 3, with 149 crash deaths.

Being involved in a car accident is a traumatic experience, even if the injuries are minor. But when there are serious injuries (or fatalities) as a result of a car accident, the trauma only intensifies. Because of their size and weight, when cars collide or when cars collide with trucks, the chances of there being serious injury are very high. We want you to focus on healing after your car accident; leave the legal aspect of your accident to us. We have successfully represented many auto accident victims and have worked to ensure they receive fair compensation for their damages.


Why is it important to hire an attorney
in a Personal Injury case?


Unfortunately, insurance companies give bonuses and raises to adjusters who settle the claims the quickest and for the least amount of money. The insurance adjuster is not your friend.  When you or a loved one has been seriously injured in an accident, it is important that you get an experienced attorney on your side right away. Many companies will have their people on site within minutes in order to protect their own interests. You need an honest, aggressive and committed attorney on your side, fighting for your rights and safeguarding your best interests.

Steps in a Personal Injury Case


We Protect Your Rights

Insurance companies often take advantage of accident victims during the vulnerable time period following a traumatic incident. Our legal team will immediately take over all communication with the insurance companies to protect your rights. This includes preserving evidence and documenting the facts of the case while they are still fresh.

Medical Treatment

We will connect you with leading medical professionals in your area to diagnose and treat your injuries. If you are unable to afford medical treatment we can facilitate treatment on a medical lien basis, which means you pay nothing up front, rather your medical bills are paid from the settlement proceeds at the conclusion of your case. After all injuries are diagnosed and treated we will be in a position to place an appropriate settlement value on your personal injury claim and begin negotiations with the insurance company.


All documentation supporting your claim will be organized into a “demand package” telling the story of your case to the insurance company.  The insurance company will review these documents and respond in the form of an acceptance, a counter offer, or a rejection. Our office will communicate with you during this negotiation and you will have the final decision.

Pre-Litigation Settlement

The majority of our cases settle in the pre-litigation stage, prior to filing a lawsuit. When your case settles, you will sign a settlement release that officially closes your case in exchange for the agreed amount of financial compensation. Our law firm will also negotiate with your medical providers to lower your bills and maximize the money in your pocket.

Filing A Lawsuit

If the insurance company’s offer is unreasonable, we will file a lawsuit on your behalf. This process will elevate your claim and often results in higher settlement amounts. Our law firm will pay for the costs of litigating your case so you don’t have to pay out of pocket. These costs will be reimbursed from the settlement.


Although jury trials are rare, we prepare every case as though it will go before a jury. This requires gathering additional evidence and hiring experts who will testify in support of our case. A deposition is your opportunity to tell your story under oath. We also question the at-fault person under oath to gather crucial information we will use at mediation or trial.


Prior to a jury trial, your case may go before a mediator who is a neutral party responsible for listening to both sides of the case and making settlement recommendations. Your case may settle at this stage if the mediator can help the insurance company realize the full value of your case. Arbitration is similar to mediation and is sometimes required when we are collecting from your own insurance company, rather than the at-fault person’s insurance company.

Jury Trial

This is the final step in getting you the compensation you deserve. We will present your case to a jury of your peers who will ultimately decide the amount of financial compensation they believe is fair after hearing all the evidence.

Truck Accident Cases


Due to the massive size and weight of a tractor trailers, anything they collide with does not stand much of a chance of being unharmed. The size, weight and momentum of a moving eighteen wheeler make truck accidents almost always catastrophic, often resulting in serious personal injury and death.

Because truck accident cases are much more complex than automobile accident cases and it is recommended that if you or a loved one is hurt or killed in a truck accident that you consult an attorney who has both the knowledge and resources necessary to fight to get you the compensation and justice you deserve.  Successfully pursuing a truck accident lawsuit requires more work than the average car accident case.  It helps to have a solid understanding of state and federal trucking regulations.  Plus, it is important to know that truck drivers, through driving logs and other records, are held to a higher standard than drivers of passenger vehicles, and trucking companies are required to follow strict procedures involving hiring practices, truck maintenance, recording keeping, and time on the job

We fully understands the difficult process of fighting large corporations and their insurance companies while trying to recover from serious personal injuries and losses. Keep in mind that trucking companies and their insurance companies are anxious to settle and pay as little to you, the victim, as possible. An experienced attorney can help determine who is liable in a trucking accident.

It is important that you say nothing at the scene of the accident and agree to no settlements before consulting our firm. Anything you say early on can be documented and then used against you should you decide to sue at a later date. We can protect you from insurance company adjustors who are trained to get you to say and do the very thing that will hurt you in the long run. 

Common causes of truck accidents include:

Driver fatigue - Fatigue is the most common cause of driver error, contributing to about 40% of all trucking accidents. Fatigue alone can cause an accident, and when combined with other factors, the results are often deadly.

Unreasonable schedules

Improperly loaded or overloaded trucks

Defective equipment

Poorly maintained truck

Lack of driver training and experience


Dangerous weather conditions

Defective roadways

Excessive speed

Negligent drivers of other vehicles

Potential responsible parties

Truck driver
Trucking company
Equipment manufacturers
Other negligent drivers
Government entities
Unique truck laws

Connection between Drugs and Mental Health?

Contact Us:

Toll Free: 1-800-959-1825
Mobile:        317-442-4590

Email: dwayne@cooperlegalservices.com
Web:   www.cooperlegalservices.com

"Come, follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." (Mark 1:17)

Marion Office:

Cooper Legal Services
Dwayne E. Cooper, Atty at Law

718 S. Washington Street
Marion, IN 46953

Indianapolis Office:

Cooper Legal Services
Dwayne E. Cooper, Atty at Law
Indianapolis, IN

Map to Our Office:

Protect your legal rights and interests with an attorney who will explain your legal position, explore your options and pursue the best course of action in your case!