In 2020, 29% of 808 fatal collisions in Indiana involved dangerous driving, a category that includes speeding. 72% of all dangerous driving collisions included speeding as at least one factor, and speeding was involved in 9% of all collisions regardless of the ultimate cause. While speeding instances have decreased from 2016 to 2020, they remain a significant cause for loss of life while driving—and the cause is almost entirely controllable. And preliminary data unfortunately shows that traffic fatalities in Indiana are up year over year.

According to recent reports, a young woman has died at the scene of a 6-car crash in Indiana. A Cadillac SUV was speeding when it rear-ended the GMC SUV driven by the woman, who was stopped at a red light. The GMC was pushed into the rear of a third vehicle and all three cars were shoved through the intersection. Three other cars were involved in secondary crashes stemming from the accident. The woman has been identified as a local middle school teacher and is mourned by her students and fellow faculty, as well as her husband of just four months.

Two others were taken to the hospital with injuries from the accident, and many others involved in the crash suffered pain but did not go to the hospital. One person sustained a minor head injury and is expected to recover. The second person taken to the hospital was trapped in their vehicle unconscious and was taken to the hospital via helicopter for severe head and internal injuries. An investigation is ongoing.

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While many road accidents can result in serious injury, head-on collisions are particularly dangerous. These collisions occur when a driver crosses a dividing line between lanes, veering into oncoming traffic. When the front of two vehicles strike one another, the force of the collision can often result in serious injury or even death.

For example, a recent news article reported that two drivers died following a head-on collision in Fortville, Indiana. According to the article, the driver of one vehicle traveled to the left, crossing the center dividing line between lanes. She then collided with a driver in the opposite lane head-on. Both drivers died from their injuries.

What Are the Causes of a Head-On Collision?

There are many situations on the road that can lead to a head-on collision, but two contributing factors may be distracted driving and speeding. Drivers who do not keep their eyes on the road may veer into another lane and collide head-on with another vehicle. Distracted driving can often take the form of “multi-tasking,” such as talking on the phone, eating, or applying makeup while operating a vehicle. Unfortunately, multi-tasking can cause drivers to pay too little attention to the road in front of them, leading to a tragic and avoidable accident. To avoid a head-on collision, avoid performing activities that distract you from the road.

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From July 2020—July 2021, U.S. drivers reported 2.1 million animal collision insurance claims, according to the Insurance Information Institute. During deer season, which lasts from October through December, a significant increase occurs in the movement of the deer population. As they move to a new location, many deer end up on highways and local roads. Consequently, more car accidents involving deer occur during deer season than any other time of year. In addition to deer-vehicle collisions, multi-vehicle collisions can also result from deer crossing the road. When drivers see a deer approaching the road, their natural instinct may be to swerve out of the way. Unfortunately, swerving into another lane can lead to a collision with another vehicle, which may be fatal.

As a recent news article reported, a multi-vehicle accident involving a deer left three people dead and two injured in St. Joseph County, Indiana. As an SUV traveled westbound at nighttime, the driver struck a deer. To avoid the deer, the SUV driver crossed over the center median of the road. The SUV then collided with a pickup truck driving eastbound. Both the driver and passenger of the SUV died at the scene of the crash, along with the front seat passenger of the pickup truck. The pickup truck driver and back seat passenger suffered serious injuries and were transported to the hospital.

How Do I Avoid Collisions with a Deer or Another Vehicle?

If you see a deer ahead of you on the road, avoid the urge to swerve into the opposite lane. Otherwise, you may be at risk of colliding with another vehicle or losing control of your car. If there is a shoulder on the highway, try to pull over instead. This way, you can avoid hitting the deer without placing yourself and other drivers at risk of injury or death. Additionally, if you notice a deer on the road before you approach, you may have more time to stop and pull over. To spot deer on the road as early as possible, make sure to pay attention to the road and avoid distracted driving. If you are driving at night, use your headlights to ensure you can see the road in front of you.

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In Indiana, 175,821 motor vehicle collisions were reported in 2020. Of those, 8%, or 14,221 involved commercial vehicles. Of those commercial vehicle accidents, 134 were fatal. Accidents with semi trucks or commercial vehicles may lead to more questions than answers for victims. Commercial trucking companies have extensive legal teams ready to prevent you from getting your much-deserved compensation. Accidents often have no easily discernible cause, making it even harder for victims to recover damages.

According to a recent article, two semi-trucks collided head-on after one crossed the center median for unknown reasons. The driver of the semi-truck that crossed the median died on the scene, and the other was taken to the hospital with injuries. The incident combined with several other crashes that day led to massive closures on I-70, bottlenecking roads and diverting drivers.

Common Causes of Truck Accidents

Truck crash victims and their loved ones may be left with more questions than answers after an accident. To file a claim, injured drivers and passengers must prove a truck driver acted negligently or breached a duty of care in a way that caused their injuries. This can be difficult when an investigation into the cause of an accident is ongoing and the reason for the accident is not immediately clear. A skilled personal injury attorney with experience in truck accident claims can help understand potential factors that may have caused your accident to evaluate your claim. Attorneys have access to experts that can recreate the accident and determine the cause.

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Drivers and cyclists often occupy the same road. Consequently, distracted or reckless driving may end in a fatal accident. Both drivers and cyclists must act responsibly and stay vigilant on the road. However, the speed, size, and weight of a typical car will far exceed that of most bicycles, placing the cyclist at risk of severe injury or death when the two collide.

For example, when driving at night, it may be difficult for a driver to fully perceive their surroundings. As a result, someone who is speeding or driving recklessly may not see a cyclist or pedestrian on the road until it is too late. According to a recent news article, a cyclist was killed by a hit-and-run driver on the north side of Indianapolis on August 9. The victim, a 67-year-old woman, was riding north on Keystone Avenue at 32nd Street at night when she was struck by a car heading south. Rather than stopping to render assistance, the driver continued on, fleeing the accident. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene.

As the article reports, this hit-and-run is part of a string of deadly incidents on the streets of Indianapolis. In the first seven months of 2022, fatal accidents involving pedestrians and cyclists have approximated the total from all of 2021. Local police believe the uptick in accidents stems from speeding and reckless driving, which have increased since the COVID-19 pandemic.

Motorcycle drivers share the road with other vehicle drivers, and are entitled to certain rights as they use their motor vehicles. In the state of Indiana, it is written into law that “[a] motorcycle is entitled to the full use of a traffic lane and a vehicle may not be driven or operated in a manner that deprives another vehicle of the full use of a traffic lane.” However, in addition to having these rights, motorcycle drivers also have laws designed to keep them and other road users safe. Amongst other rules for keeping everyone safe, motorcycles should always properly signal before changing lanes, refrain from weaving in and out of traffic, and remain vigilant and aware of their surroundings.

A news report revealed that there was a recent fatal crash involving a motorcycle and a car in Clay County, Indiana. The crash occurred at the intersection of N Forest Avenue and Normandy Drive. According to witnesses, a car that had been heading north was stopped and attempting to make a left turn when a motorcycle approached from behind the vehicle and attempted to pass the car on the left side just as the car began to turn. The motorcycle thus crashed into the driver’s side of the car, ejecting the driver and passenger of the motorcycle. The motorcycle ended up in the yard of a nearby house. The motorcycle was driven by an Indiana man who had an expired learner’s permit and no valid motorcycle license. As a result of the crash, the driver was incapacitated and the passenger of the motorcycle passed away. Neither the driver nor the passenger of the motorcycle was wearing any safety equipment at the time of the crash.

Indiana code specifies that only motorcycle passengers under the age of 18 are required to wear a helmet when on the road. If someone holds a motorcycle learner’s permit in Indiana, it is valid for one year, and drivers are only allowed to renew their permit once. If the permit holder does not obtain a motorcycle endorsement before the expiration date of the renewed permit, they are required to wait one year before reapplying for a new permit. The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration reported that in 2019, 30% of motorcyclists did not have a valid motorcycle license when involved in fatal motorcycle crashes. It is likely that a person who does not have a valid motorcycle license may also not have valid insurance. You may have questions about what your next steps should be if you are a victim of an accident involving an unlicensed motorcycle driver. Connecting with an experienced attorney will be helpful.

Children depend on their parents, caregivers, and other drivers and road users to ensure that they make it to their destinations safely. Whether that involves a quick trip to soccer practice or to school, it is essential that children are safely secured in vehicles. Seatbelts save lives. According to the CDC, 608 child passengers age 12 and under died in motor vehicle crashes in 2019. Of the children 12 and under who died in crashes for whom restraint use was known, 38 percent were not properly restrained.

In 2019, the CDC further reports that 67% of fatally injured children riding with unbelted drivers were also unrestrained. An estimated 46% of car seats and booster seats are misused, according to the CDC, and this misuse of car seats and booster seats can reduce their effectiveness. Taking the time to ensure that as the driver, you are properly restrained, and that other passengers and children are properly restrained before pulling off can be lifesaving, and parents and caregivers should be sure to do so with each drive.

A recent report made it apparent the importance of properly restraining children and other riders while in motor vehicles. Ten children survived a violent crash in Indiana after a 65-year-old driver of a pickup truck was traveling east on a road, failed to yield the right-of-way to a passenger van that was traveling north. As a result, the van crashed into the side of the truck, splitting the truck in half. There were 10 children in the van who were properly restrained and suffered minor injuries despite the severity of the crash. The children ranged from 6 months in age to 15 years old. Police believe that the driver that failed to yield may have been under the influence of alcohol at the time of the crash. Further investigations will be made.

When drivers are on the road late at night or early in the morning, additional factors may be present that make serious accidents or collisions more likely than during the daytime. Drivers are more likely to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol late at night, contributing to slow response times and poor decision-making. In addition, drivers may have been up late or driving through the night, and lack of sleep or increased levels of exhaustion can contribute to unsafe conditions on the road.

A recent article has reported that Indiana State Police responded to a car crash on I-80 in Indiana at the early morning hour of 2:22 am. Two people were severely injured when an SUV attempted to improperly pass a semi-truck and struck the crash attenuator and then the semi-truck. Three people in the crash, including the semi-truck driver, were unharmed, but two were transported to the hospital for life-threatening injuries. An investigation is still underway and no charges have been brought, but police say they suspect drugs or alcohol may have been involved in the accident.

If someone has been injured in a car accident and a non-injured party was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the injured person or their families and loved ones may be able to more easily bring a personal injury claim and receive compensation.

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Each year in the United States, accidents involving fireworks kill around ten people. In June and July, the risk is the highest, as fireworks are being sold and used in anticipation of the July 4th holiday. An Indiana boy was killed over the holiday weekend in a fireworks explosion that occurred while the family was lighting fireworks to celebrate the holiday.

According to a local news report discussing the accident, the 11-year-old boy and adults from his family were setting off “mortar-style” fireworks when an explosion occurred and the boy was seriously injured. His family attempted to rush him to the hospital after the explosion, but he died before they arrived. Although the accident is still under investigation, authorities have ruled it an accident for the time being.

All fireworks involve some risk of injury, especially if they are not used as intended. Some types of fireworks are more dangerous than others. IN 2013, the Indiana legislature expanded the permitted types of fireworks allowed in the state. This rule change allowed Indianans to use aerial consumer fireworks, such as mortars and bottle rockets, in addition to the ground-based fireworks that were previously allowed. These ariel fireworks are generally more dangerous than grounded ones, as the aerial varieties usually utilize at least two separate explosions to cause the desired effect, and can cause serious damage if they are misused or fail to function as intended.

In a recent Indiana Supreme Court case, the Court held that non-hospital medical entities that serve as a health care providers may be vicariously liable for physicians whom they independently contract with unless they give meaningful notice to the patient, the patient has independent special knowledge of the arrangement between the non-hospital medical entity and its physicians, or the patient otherwise knows about these relationships. This decision helps prevent non-hospital medical facilities from evading liability in negligence cases involving the facility and independent contractor physicians.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff went to Marion Open MRI (the defendant) to get MRIs of his spine. Marion Open MRI is not a hospital, but an outpatient diagnostic imaging center that is not a qualified healthcare provider under the Indiana Medical Malpractice Act. Marion Open MRI independently contracted with a radiologist to read MRIs and sent the plaintiff’s MRI images to the radiologist for interpretation. The radiologist was never physically present at the Marion Open MRI facility and instead interpreted the images from his home office. The radiologist’s reports appeared on Marion Open MRI letterhead and had zero indication of his independent contractor status.

The plaintiff filed his complaint alleging medical malpractice, claiming that Marion Open MRI and the radiologist failed to diagnose and treat his spinal condition which has now resulted in permanent injuries. Marion Open MRI argued that it was not liable for the radiologist’s actions because the relevant law does not apply to non-hospital entities. In response, the plaintiff argued there was a dispute of material fact whether the radiologist was acting as an apparent agent for Marion Open MRI, even considering the fact that Marion Open MRI is not a hospital. When there is a genuine dispute of material fact, the case must go to trial. The trial court ultimately decided not to go to trial and ruled in favor of Marion Open MRI. The Court of Appeals reversed the trial court decision, holding that “it is reasonable for a patient in a diagnostic imaging center to believe that the radiologists interpreting images for the center are employees or agents of the center, unless the center informs them of the contrary.” The case was appealed to the Indiana Supreme Court.

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