Following the sudden and unexpected loss of a loved one, filing a lawsuit may be the furthest thing from your mind. Losing someone you love, however, is difficult in multiple respects. In addition to losing someone you deeply cared for, you may also have been relying on them for financial or emotional support. Although nothing can reverse your loss, a wrongful death personal injury lawsuit could be the answer to addressing some of the gaps that take place after the sudden and unexpected loss of a loved one.

According to a recent local news report, a wrong way accident resulted in one driver dead and another seriously injured. Based on a preliminary investigation by Indiana State Police, a Nissan was traveling eastbound in westbound lanes when it crashed into a Honda head-on. The driver of the Nissan was declared dead at the scene and the driver of the Honda was transported to a local hospital with potentially life-threatening injuries. Local authorities closed the westbound lanes of the toll road where the accident took place for several hours to investigate, which caused significant traffic jams and delays as emergency crews cleared the accident. Although the accident remains under investigation, local authorities believe that alcohol or drugs may have been a factor in the accident.

Indiana, like other jurisdictions, has state-specific rules about the details of bringing a wrongful death case. For example, not anyone is eligible to file a wrongful death suit. Although some states allow specific family members or even individuals who were substantially financially dependent on the deceased to bring a wrongful death claim, Indiana only allows the deceased’s personal representative to file a wrongful death claim if the deceased was an adult. If the deceased was a child, however, the claim can be filed by one or both of the child’s parents or by the child’s legal guardian.

As if getting into a car accident was not stressful enough, watching the at-fault party speed away from the scene of the accident without stopping and being unable to locate them makes an already challenging situation even more frustrating. These accidents, which usually involve a vehicle crashing into another party or property before fleeing the scene, can be devastating to victims and property owners. Understanding what legal and insurance-related avenues you have available to you to recover compensation following one of these accidents is crucial to getting you back on your feet.

According to a recent news report, the victim of a hit-and-run accident was identified. Local officials reported finding the victim’s body in a drainage ditch more than a mile from where her car was found crashed and empty on the side of the road earlier this month. Initially, police claimed it was impossible that she had floated that far between the locations, but the coroner’s office officially determined that her death was due to trauma from the car accident complicated by drowning. Additional details surrounding the crash remain under investigation, but the victim’s death was ruled an accident. The circumstances surrounding the collision remain under investigation.

In Indiana, like most other states, there are specific laws prohibiting leaving the scene of an accident and causing a hit-and-run collision. If the at-fault party is located, the victim of the accident has two options: first, to make a claim against their insurance, or second, to file a personal injury lawsuit against them.

Distracted driving seems more common than ever these days—probably because there are so many more things to distract drivers than ever before. From texting and talking on cell phones to wrangling the kids or attempting to multi-task while driving, taking your focus off the road can often have significant and disastrous consequences for yourself, your passengers, and others who share the road with you. Following an accident where a distracted driver’s negligence causes you significant physical injury and property damage, understanding the law is crucial so that you can recover the compensation that you deserve.

According to a recent local news report, four people were injured following a two-vehicle accident. Local authorities reported that a Dodge was traveling east when the driver handed her daughter a drink that was in the backseat. The driver ran off the south side of the roadway and then overcorrected, which caused the vehicle to swerve into the westbound lane. The driver of a Chevrolet was traveling west when she crashed into the Dodge as it swung into her lane. The driver of the Dodge and her two passengers were transported to a local hospital for treatment of back, leg, and hand injuries. The driver of the Chevrolet suffered a chest injury and was also transferred to a hospital for treatment. The accident remains under investigation.

Unfortunately, Indiana is no stranger to similar types of distracted driving incidents. In fact, in 2018, more than 6,000 accidents involved a distracted driver. In 2020, Indiana became the 22nd state in the country to enact legislation prohibiting drivers from holding a smartphone or similar device while operating a vehicle. The law, however, only prohibits drivers from holding the device, so they are still permitted to use hands-free and Bluetooth devices.

Truck transport remains one of the most popular ways to ship goods throughout the country. Despite newer and faster ways of transport, companies continue to use this method, leading to more and more large trucks on major roadways. This increase has inevitably led to more Indiana trucking accidents. In addition to driver error, mechanical defects account for nearly 30% of all truck accidents. This startling number elucidates the preventability of these accidents.

Many trucks outweigh passenger vehicles at a rate of 20 to 1; as such, an accident with a large truck is likely to result in serious injuries. Motorists rely on companies to properly vet and train their employees, drivers to maintain safe driving habits, and both entities to inspect their vehicles for safety. A failure at any of these junctures can lead to liability for the damages that ensure. In terms of mechanical failures, the most common failures include brake, transmission and tire failures.

Brake Failure

Brakes are one of the most important mechanical components of a truck. A brake failure can cause a driver to lose control of their large vehicles and slam into an object, bystander, or vehicle. These failures may arise from worn brake discs, thinning pads, defective lines, or leaking brake fluids.

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Traffic accidents are one of the primary causes of serious injuries for individuals throughout the United States. The likelihood of a fatality exponentially increases when a driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. For instance, a local news report described a fatal Indiana suspected drunk driving accident. According to the Indiana Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD), the crash occurred shortly before 10 a.m. at an intersection near Interstate 465. A 27-year-old southbound driver hit a west-bound Fiat driver. Both vehicles sustained severe damages in the crash. Emergency responders transported the Fiat driver to a hospital, where she succumbed to injuries. The other driver suffered non-life-threatening injuries after being ejected from his SUV. IMPD investigators arrested the SUV driver on suspicion of driving while intoxicated and reckless homicide; however, charges are pending.

After an Indiana drunk driving accident, the injury victim may not need to prove that the other party was intoxicated to establish that they were negligent. However, proving intoxication can assist victims in recovering more compensation efficiently. The burden on establishing intoxication after an accident should not remain on an accident victim; however, taking note of certain factors can help bolster a case. For example, when exchanging information, a victim should take note of the other driver’s:

  • Slurred speech

The warmer months often bring an increasing use of bicycles. Although cycling is an important form of sustainable travel and can positively impact overall health, it also presents some unique dangers to road users. Cyclists, pedestrians, and motorcyclists are a vulnerable class of road users prone to serious injuries after an Indiana car accident.

A vulnerable road user refers to those who occupy space in an area dominated by larger vehicles, such as cars and trucks. As such, in an accident, these users are more likely to suffer fatal injuries because they are not enclosed inside a vehicle. For instance, a recent government agency reported a fatal accident between a biker and a sedan. The biker was peddling in a southbound lane around 10:00 p.m. when a sedan approached from the rear. The sedan and bicyclist attempted a lane change, and the front right of the sedan slammed into the biker, ejecting the biker into the opposite lane. The sedan driver then lost control of his vehicle and veered off the road and into a sign. The sedan driver then regained control but ultimately struck a tree. The bicyclist succumbed to his injuries at the hospital; the sedan driver did not suffer injuries in the incident.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) approximately 2 percent of motor vehicle fatalities involve bicyclists. A biker’s age, helmet use, speed of the car, and time of day are factors that influence the severity of an accident. While data indicates a decline in youth bicycle deaths, deaths among cyclists age 20 and older have tripled over 40 years. Moreover, the leading cause of bike-related deaths involves head injuries. Despite widespread knowledge regarding the importance of helmets, underutilization continues to be a problem.

Traffic accidents are one of the leading causes of death in the United States, claiming thousands of lives every year. Rollover crashes are a significant contributor to these statistics as they often lead to serious injuries and fatalities. Various factors increase the likelihood of an Indiana rollover accident; although, most are avoidable. However, determining the cause of the accident is critical to recovering damages after an accident.

According to crash data, rollover accidents have a high likelihood of serious and fatal injuries compared to other types of crashes. Some factors that impact the likelihood and severity of an accident are :

  • Restraint Use

Recently, the Court of Appeals of Indiana issued an opinion in a personal injury case discussing the availability of emotional distress damages. Ultimately, the court found in favor of the plaintiff, allowing him to pursue emotional distress damages based on the loss of his wife as well as for the serious injuries his son suffered.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff in this case was a man who lost his wife in a tragic home explosion. His son was also seriously injured. According to the court’s opinion, Ceres, the defendant, refilled a propane tank at the plaintiff’s home. However, after filling the tank, Ceres failed to properly check the tank for leaks. The following morning, the plaintiff’s son turned a bedside lamp on, causing an explosion. The plaintiff’s son was able to escape the burning home through a basement window.

A few hours after the explosion, the plaintiff got off work and was driving home when he encountered a roadblock set up by a volunteer firefighter. The plaintiff could see his home was burning and obtained permission to proceed past the roadblock. He parked about 100 meters from his home and saw his son’s badly burned body on a gurney as he walked towards the home.

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In a recent opinion, the Indiana Supreme Court recently carved out an exception to the state’s longstanding negligent infliction of emotional distress rule. The change allows the parents of children who experienced sexual abuse by a caretaker to pursue emotional distress damages. According to the record, a mother filed a lawsuit against a school district after learning that an instructional assistant was abusing the woman’s profoundly disabled daughter. The woman filed a civil lawsuit alleging that she experienced emotional distress after the discovery. A lower court dismissed the claim based on the state’s archaic law that limits these damages to those who witness the injury or death of a loved one. While an appeals court permitted the economic damages to claim, they refused to expand the state’s law to allow the emotional distress claim.

Historically, the bystander rule for negligent infliction of emotional distress allowed recovery to those who experienced distress from witnessing a close family member’s sudden and unexpected death by the at-fault party. The Court loosened the rules in 2000, allowing lawsuits if a person observed the injury or death of family or its “gruesome aftermath.”

In this groundbreaking Indiana case, the Court held that the school owed a duty of care to the woman as a parent of a child at their school. The assistant confessed and pleaded guilty; however, the mother did not discover the abuse until after the confession. At which point, the mother suffered emotional distress, which included bouts of anger and the inability to control her emotions.

Head-on or frontal crashes are one of the most harrowing types of Indiana motor vehicle accidents. Head-on collisions often leave drivers, passengers, and bystanders with serious life-threatening injuries. In addition to the physical injuries, head-on accidents can leave victims with psychological trauma and emotional distress. While physical injuries or psychological trauma alone can impact a person’s livelihood, the combination of the two may require years of healing. In addition, these accidents can leave a fatal victim’s family reeling for answers and justice. A part of this justice often entails the family receiving compensation for the unfathomable loss of their loved one.

The most common head-on collision injuries include:

  • Traumatic brain injuries;
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