Valparaiso, IN Personal Injury Attorney

Guy S. DiMartino is a personal injury attorney practicing in Valpo, Indiana. Personal injury attorneys primarily practice law dealing with civil cases. Civil cases involve disputes between private parties, not the government or other institutions. The most common type of case is one where you have been injured as a result of someone else’s negligence. These types of cases usually involve personal injuries from automobile accidents, slip and fall incidents, medical malpractice, defective products, workplace injuries, etc. However, there are many other forms of personal injury claims that could be made, including wrongful death suits, dog bites, discrimination, harassment, slander, libel, malicious prosecution, false arrest, and others.

gavel sitting on Valpo Indiana Law Office Table

Valpo, Indiana attorney, Guy DiMartino has years of experience dealing with cases involving:

Other additional personal injury categories that can have are:

  • Pedestrian Accidents
  • Golf Cart Accidents
  • Tractor Accidents
  • Lawnmower Accidents


Calculating the Value of Your Valpo, IN Personal Injury Claim

Folks who have been injured in accidents frequently want to know how much their case is worth? In fact, this is possibly one of the most common questions asked by personal injury clients. As a Valparaiso, IN Indiana injury lawyer, Guy S. DiMartino wants you to understand exactly what goes into determining the value of a case. This information will help you understand all aspects of your negligence case from start to finish.


Your Economic Losses

Guy S. DiMartino wants to be upfront about the Personal Injury claim calculations process. Ultimately, if your case goes to trial, the jury will apply the facts of the case to the law. You may ask how the jury knows the law? I’m glad you asked. The judge will read and provide a copy of the law to the jury. These are called jury instructions. Perhaps the most important factor in determining the value of your personal injury case is determining the financial losses. Said another way: the more that defendant has taken away from you, the more the insurance company owes you. Proving your financial losses can be very complicated, which is one of the reasons why an experienced attorney can make a difference. Here are some of the things a jury, judge or insurance adjuster will consider in valuing your claim.

  • Hospital and Medical Bills
  • Medical Expenses likely to expended in the future
  • Past Lost Wages
  • Loss of Future Earning Capacity
  • Out-of-pocket Expenses (co-insurance, deductibles, medication)


Your Non-Economic Losses

In Addition to Those Losses that We Can Easily Assign a Dollar Figure To, Like a Medical Bill or Missed Paycheck, There Are Those Losses that Are Much More Difficult to Assign a Dollar Figure To. What Is the Value of Not Being Able to Be Able to Lift Your Children or Grandchildren? What Is the Lost Value of A Once in A Lifetime Vacation that You Had Planned with Your Spouse or Parent? What Is the Lost Value of A Losing Your Spouse or Parent Before Their Time? the Law Allows the Following Types of Compensation,

Depending on The Type of Case:

  • Loss of The Quality Enjoyment of Life
  • Physical Pain and Suffering
  • Mental Anguish
  • Scarring
  • Disfigurement or Disability


Severity of The Injury

Jurors Are People. when They Come Into a Courtroom to Hear a Case, They Bring Their Individual Life Experiences, Prejudices and Biases. They Cannot Leave Who They Are in The Hallway. Jurors Are More Likely to Feel Empathy and Be Moved to Compensate a Person when There Is Some Additional Element of The Case that Warrants Compensation. Said Another Way – a Juror Will Give More Money if The Defendant Was a Jerk as Compared to A Defendant that Made an Innocent Mistake. Some Other Factors that Impact the Value of Claim Is the Seriousness of The Defendant’s Misconduct, Graphic Photographs of The Injury, Severe Car Crash Impact, and Vulnerability (kids and Older Folks) of The Victim. Among the Many Ways that Severity Can Play Into Case Value,

Consider the Following:

  • A Photo Showing Severe Damage to The Vehicles
  • Drunk Driving
  • Texting
  • Videos or Photos of The Injury Happening or The Results
  • These Are Just Some of The Situations that Can Increase the Value of A Personal Injury Claim.

One More Thing on Case Value

While Personal Injury Lawyers Look at All of These Things when Determining What the Possible Value of A Car Accident or Malpractice Claim Might Be, in The End, a Case Has Just Two Actual Cash Values: (1) What a Jury or Judge Says the Case Is Worth or (2) What You and An Insurance Company Can Agree the Case Is Worth.
When Working with An Experienced Personal Injury Attorney, Your Goal Should Be to Stack the Deck in Your Favor and Stay Away from The Common Pitfalls that Injury Victims Fall Into. the Goal Is to Convince the Insurance Company that If They Don’t Offer Fair Compensation for Your Injuries, You Will Take the Case to Court.



Valpo, IN personal injury claims are governed through Indiana Law. The longer I deal with insurance companies and the more personal injury claims I handle, the more patterns I see. In Indiana personal injury claims, I have noticed three typical defenses that insurance companies and their lawyers argue. All three defenses are not in every case but we see and hear at least one of these three arguments in every personal injury claim.



The first argument is that it wasn’t the other person’s fault. If it’s a car accident, you may hear from the insurance company that you were at fault because you could have avoided the crash. If it’s a slip and fall, you will hear that you should have been watching were you were going, and the only reason you fell is that you were not paying attention.
This first argument goes the the legal element of negligence or fault. In other words, who is responsible for the incident. If the facts are so clearly in the accident victims favor that the insurance company cannot credibility argue fault, you may hear the second common defense.


The defense goes like this. We are sorry that we caused the accident but we are still not accepting responsibility because the injury or problem wasn’t caused by the accident. Instead, the insurance company will argue that the problem was due to some underlying condition like arthritis or degenerative disc disease. This defense goes right to the element of proof that all injured people have to show, “causation.” If the insurance company isn’t able to argue causation, they will pull out the third common defense and attack the injured person.


This defense goes right after the injured person’s credibility. Insurance companies understand that juries question the reason the injured person is making the claim. Whether it has been years of propaganda or attorneys advertising doesn’t really matter, what matters is that juries sometimes buy the argument that the personal injury claim was made for the money, and the injured person is exaggerating.

The insurance company begins to frame the argument like this. Your condition should have been better within a month or two so you must be milking it or exaggerating because you’re doing this for the money. You see when the facts aren’t on their side they have to start attacking the person.

I share this information with you because if you know about this you won’t fall for the insurance companies tricks of the trade. I set out the entire landscape in my book, an Indiana Guide to Car Accident Claims, which you can download for free.

You need to be careful about what you say to an insurance adjuster on the phone after an accident because you may be settling your case without realizing what you’ve done.

I recently received a phone call from an insurance company adjuster who took the position that a car accident victim settled their case on the phone before consulting a lawyer. The adjuster said, they spoke to the person, they made and offer and the person agreed to the offer.


When Is a Personal Injury Case Settled?

A personal injury settlement is a contract. The legal elements of a contract are an offer, acceptance and consideration.
An offer is the definition of the word. The Insurance adjuster says I will pay you five bucks for the damage to your car.
If you say “OK”. You’ve accepted the offer. There is valid consideration because money, the five bucks, is changing hands. When talking about consideration – some folks use the term a bargained for exchange. What happens with some car accident victims is that they say yes on the phone, thinking that the contract has to be in writing, and then they get buyer’s remorse.

When when the insurance adjuster sends the settlement documents, they do not sign them and pretend they don’t exist. In the victim’s mind, the case is not settled because they did not sign the settlement agreement.
This is bad practice if you are injured in a car accident victim. Generally, it is more difficult to prove up an oral contract but it can be done. What happens if the phone call was recorded for quality assurance purposes like you hear on the phone all the time?


The Best Practice for An Adjuster Offer

The better practice when an adjuster makes an offer is to ask them to put it in writing and send it over and you will respond in writing.
This practice does a couple of things.
It will make sure that you did not misunderstand what the adjuster said; and
You will not be pressured to settle – you can think about making the decision or consult with somebody about the decision.
Remember, if you’re injured in an accident, be careful to what you say to the adjuster – they are professionals and negotiate settlements all the time.


Tactics Used By Insurance Companies To Avoid Personal Injury Case Payouts 

Interviewer: What tactics have you seen insurance companies use? What do you do if they’re really getting aggressive with you?
Guy S. DiMartino: What I’ve seen and what auto accident claimants hear is, “I want to take your statement so I can get you paid”, and then a client will say, “Well, I’m really uncomfortable with that. I want to go ahead and hire a lawyer”, and then the insurance adjuster will say, and Allstate was famous for this years ago and also the information was put in the book, I can’t remember his name but it was from Good Hands to Boxing Gloves. What their mantra was or their script was, “You can go and hire a lawyer all you want. Your offer is not going to get increased because you’re hiring a lawyer. So, you don’t need to hire a lawyer”. How would an insurance adjuster know at day 3 all the facts and circumstances of the accident or the nature and extent of somebody’s injuries to know whether the offer is going to increase later on?

Insurance Companies May Offer Financial Aid but Will Require the Claimant to Provide Medical Authorization
In Valparaiso cases, I’ve seen folks pushed by insurance adjusters this way, the adjuster will say, “Oh, I understand you don’t have money. We’ll advance you some money to pay for your medical bills”, and they sort of trap them that way. But in order to do that, in order for us to pay your medical bills, we need you to sign the medical authorization. So, what they’ll do is they’ll send the injured person a medical authorization. When you look at the authorization, it is the broadest authorization that you could see out there. They don’t limit it in time or to any particular doctor. And so, the injured person will sign the authorization and the insurance company will go out there and gather all those information that is irrelevant, and information that they should not have.

Insurance Adjusters Will Use Any Information that They Can Get Regarding the Claimant
Let me give you case in point. Say you have a client that suffered significant anxiety, five years before the accident. They go ahead and they get this information and one of the clients’ triggers for anxiety is say confrontation. So, now, the insurance company knows that this client or this person who is injured has problems with anxiety, has been on medication for anxiety and becomes anxious when somebody confronts them. Don’t you think that that insurance adjuster could use those three pieces of information to get this so painful for the person that they’ll go ahead and settle at no cost? All the insurance adjuster would need to do is would take that information and say, “Okay. I’m just going to be confrontational with her.”

Insurance Adjusters May Use Any Information to Get the Result that They Want
So, it’s as much the injured person’s fault because they didn’t know and they stepped into it. But if you have somebody who gets bonused on profit for the company or gets bonused on how many cases they close within a six months period from the insurance company, people are human beings, they’re going to use what they can to get the result that they want. The other thing with the insurance adjuster calling up is that a lot of times, folks will get confused when it’s, say, a State Farm on State Farm accident, when both parties have the same insurance company. The confusion comes in when the adjuster calls up and says, “Hi, I’m Betty from Acme Insurance”, and so you don’t know if Betty is your insurance adjuster or the other person’s insurance adjuster.

Your Responsibility to Your Insurance Company is Different than Your Responsibility to the Other Insurance Company
Your responsibility to your insurance company is different than your responsibility to the other insurance company. You have a responsibility as an injured person to give a statement to your insurance company. But if Betty calls up and says, “I’m from Acme”, you don’t know if she’s the other driver’s adjuster or your adjuster. So, it could be Betty from Acme being the other driver’s adjuster and then, you spill the beans and give her all the information that she can use against you. It’s not sinister, this is just the landscape. Definitely it’s a trap for the unwary because, most people come from the position that other folks have their best interest at heart but, you know, this is business to the insurance company and it’s not having the injured person’s best interest at heart. The injured person is just a number and nothing else to the Insurance company. The injured person is just like we talked about earlier, just the loss reserve, just a number on the spreadsheet, whether it’s $5,000, $25,000 or a million bucks.

Neglecting to Mention any Prior Injuries in a Personal Injury Case May Impact a Person’s Credibility in Court
The final thing that I see, and it’s probably the biggest mistake, and it has to do with the whole credibility issue. Not telling your lawyer about prior accidents, not telling your lawyer about prior injuries to that area of the body, not telling your doctor about prior injuries or past medical issues. In a car accident case, your doctor is the most important person because he has to make that link between the accident and your injury. He or she has to render an opinion that the accident caused the injury. One of the things that the doctor does to make that determination is they rule out that you did not have that problem on the day of the accident or in the past. So, if you say, “No”, to the doctor and so the doctor renders an opinion and gives an opinion, “Yes. The accident caused the herniated disk in your neck and you need a surgery for that”, but yet there’s a medical record that pops up that shows six weeks before the accident, you were diagnosed with a herniated disk in your neck.

It is in Your Best Interest to Provide Truthful Information Regarding Injuries in a Valpo, IN Personal Injury Claim
Not having that information is going to hurt the doctor’s credibility, and when the doctor said he relied on the patient’s history, it is going to undercut the injured person’s credibility. It would be better for the injured person to say, “Yes. Six weeks before the accident, I went to the doctor. He told me I had a herniated disk but he didn’t say that it was surgical. I was involved in the accident. The herniated disk got worse and now, I needed the surgery.” That flies much better to an insurance adjuster or a jury.


Guy DiMartino Law Indiana 

Michigan City, IN Office

📍 1000 Washington Street Michigan City, IN 46360

✆ (219) 600-4793


Valparaiso, IN Office

📍 332 W 806 N Valparaiso, IN 46385
✆ (219) 600-4793