Indiana hit and run accidents have been on the rise in the last decade. These accidents take place for many reasons, but drivers who flee the scene after an accident most commonly do so because they panic, do not have car insurance, or are driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Regardless of why a motorist leaves the scene of an accident, hit and run accidents are tragic, and often have deadly consequences.

For example, in a recent local news report, Indiana police are searching for a driver who fled the scene after they hit a woman and killed her. According to surrounding surveillance cameras, the woman was walking to her mother’s home at the time of the crash when the car hit her and drove away afterward, leaving her unresponsive and lying in the street with significant injuries. Local authorities reported that the woman was found dead at the scene. Local law enforcement is still investigating the details surrounding the accident.

Under Indiana laws, hit and runs are crashes that result in injury or death where the at-fault party flees the scene. When an accident occurs, drivers are expected to remain at the scene or return immediately to provide auto insurance and driver’s license information. In Indiana, when a driver flees the scene after causing a collision, they could be charged with a Class B misdemeanor for abandoning the scene of an accident. With a Class B misdemeanor, at-fault parties could be punished with up to 180 days in jail and a penalty of up to $1000.

In Indiana, the law provides that a person who fails to exhibit reasonable care for others’ safety should be held liable for the victim’s losses. Therefore, when someone suffers injuries in an Indiana car accident, the victim may recover damages from the negligent party. However, challenges recovering damages may occur if one of the parties dies before the claim is resolved. Although these situations may involve additional hurdles, plaintiffs may still pursue claims under Indiana’s survival action laws even if the defendant dies. Moreover, if a defendant dies, plaintiffs or their representatives may recoup damages from the defendant’s estate.

Although there may be some overlap, survival actions differ from wrongful death claims. Survival actions are relevant in situations when the plaintiff dies for a reason other than the other party’s negligence. For instance, if a victim suffers a traumatic brain injury after an Indiana trucking accident, they may claim damages against the truck driver and their employer. If the victim then passes away from an unrelated cause, like a heart attack, their claim survives after their passing.

On the other hand, a wrongful death claim is relevant when the negligent party’s actions or omissions caused the victim’s death. For example, a wrongful death claim may be applicable if a victim dies in a car accident that occurred because of the defendant’s negligence. In these situations, a personal representative of the deceased person’s estate may file the claim. However, the deceased’s spouse, child, or other dependents would be the beneficiary of any damage awards. Moreover, recently the Indiana Supreme Court held that a wrongful death claim does not end if the heir-less sole beneficiary dies.

When driving, you often share the road with vehicles much larger than the one you’re in. As a result, it’s important to proactively keep an eye out for trucks, buses, and other large commercial vehicles. Often, Indiana truck accidents have significant consequences because truck drivers fail to live up to the expectations the law places upon them. When this occurs, truck drivers and their employers may be liable for an accident victim’s injuries.

In Indiana, truck accidents are common. According to a recent news article, the driver of a pick-up truck was pronounced dead following a head-on collision in Indiana County. The deceased was struck by a tri-axle truck that crossed the center line of the road, causing the two trucks to crash. The pick-up truck driver was pronounced dead at the scene, and the condition of the four other passengers in his vehicle is unknown.

In Indiana, there are various laws governing truck accidents. For example, the Indiana Department of Transportation has established its own set of trucking regulations that cover requirements such as obtaining permits and oversized loads. There are also federal laws governing commercial trucking in the United States, with standards covering details such as inspections, transportation of hazardous materials, licensing, use of mobile devices while operating a vehicle, and emergency signal equipment. These elements could be important for establishing liability if you are the victim of a truck accident.

Driving is the most popular form of transportation in almost every major region of the United States. However, some regions and specific roadways experience heightened rates of serious car accidents. Despite Indiana’s many positive attributes, the state maintains some of the deadliest roadways in the United States. It is vital that Indiana drivers recognize the inherent dangers of traveling on the state’s roadways, and understand their rights and remedies if they suffer injuries in an Indiana car accident.

Interstates 80, 94, and 90 in Indiana rank as the deadliest roadways in the state. The most recent statistics indicate that the interstate has been the scene of 50 fatal crashes, involving 56 fatalities. The deadliest county on this roadway is Lake County, which experienced 29 fatal crashes claiming 29 lives. Hammond ranks as the deadliest city on this stretch of highway, experiencing 13 fatal crashes and claiming 12 lives. As many would expect, semi-trucks were involved in most crashes, followed by regular four-door sedans. Although the winter months present the most inclement weather, statistics indicate that the deadliest months are September and October. Moreover, most fatal accidents occur on Thursday.

In addition, U.S. 20, U.S. 30, U.S. 41, and Indiana Route 2, rank among the top five most dangerous roadways in Indiana. Although accidents can happen on any roadway, highways are inherently more dangerous. Highways are often the scene of accidents because of the sheer number of vehicles, the number of large commercial trucks, and the speed that the vehicles travel.

We’ve all felt it—the anxiety of trying to pull out of a parking lot into a busy road. On days where the parking lot and the roadway are busy, the anxiety is even greater because others are waiting on you to find an opening so that they can also get on their way. In these instances, however, the utmost caution is required to avoid an Indiana car accident. Taking unnecessary risks in a busy roadway could lead to fatal consequences, both to the driver and those with whom they share the road.

According to a local news report, two fatalities were reported following an accident outside a gas station. Evidently, a Jeep was exiting a gas station parking lot when it collided with a motorcycle. The motorcycle was driven by a man, and there was a female passenger on the back. Local authorities later reported that both individuals died from their injuries after the crash. Law enforcement and police accident reconstruction are still investigating the cause of the accident and establishing a timeline of events.

Even before pulling out onto a busy road to exit a parking lot, the parking lot itself can be challenging for drivers. When navigating parking lots, drivers are truly tested on both their driving skills and their patience. Sometimes, however, even the most experienced and skillful drivers find themselves in a tough spot because others are distracted and driving carelessly. If an accident occurs in a parking lot, determining who is at fault may be a complicated question. The most common accidents involve (1) a driver backing out of a parking space and colliding with a car proceeding down the road or (2) a driver pulling forward out of a parking space into a car moving down the road.

The Indiana Supreme Court recently issued a decision in a lawsuit filed by the estate of a deceased individual against an insurance company. The case arose after the individual suffered fatal injuries in an accident caused by two negligent drivers. On behalf of her estate, her personal representative settled the claims for $75,000 with the at-fault parties. Additionally, the personal representative received settlements of $25,000 under the underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage from the woman’s carrier.

The issue arose after the estate requested additional coverage under the woman’s parents’ insurance policy. Her parent’s policy provided coverage of up to $100,000 per person for bodily injury or death. The insurance company opposed the claim arguing that the woman was not a “resident relative” under the policy and in the alternative, even if she was a resident relative, the policy’s offset and anti-stacking provisions bar recovery.

Under the insurance company’s policy, a “resident relative” is a relative who actually resides in the insurer’s home with the intent to continue living there. In this case, the woman packed up her and her children’s belongings, moved them into her parents’ home, officially updated her address, and described the residence as her “new home.”

We’ve all been there: you’re headed to our next destination, and suddenly an onslaught of traffic comes out of nowhere, followed by a massive slowdown. Although vehicles in traffic tend to move at a slow pace, cars and trucks approaching traffic or surprise slowdowns can often lead to dangerous car accidents. When approaching a major traffic clog on a busy roadway, large vehicles that don’t slow down in time or change lanes suddenly can often lead to catastrophic consequences for both themselves and the drivers around them.

In a recent Indiana news report, a major car accident on a local toll road left a teenager dead and several injured. According to a preliminary investigation by Indiana State Police, a semi-truck was heading eastbound when it hit traffic that had accumulated because of a nearby crash. When the semi-truck driver changed lanes as he slowed down, a vehicle hit the back of the tanker-trailer that he was hauling. The driver and two of the vehicle passengers were all airlifted to a local hospital, and another back seat passenger died from his injuries.

In Indiana, when a driver changes lanes suddenly and an accident occurs, it may initially be unclear who is at fault. However, drivers have a responsibility both to their passengers and to other drivers on the road to adhere to local laws and operate their vehicles with safety and caution. When changing lanes, drivers should assess the situation by checking their mirrors, slowing down or speeding up appropriately, and putting drivers around them on notice by using their turn signal before making their lane change. For drivers of large vehicles, such as semi-trucks, ensuring adequate room to make a lane change is crucial.

Recently, the state’s supreme court issued an opinion stemming from an Indiana tractor-trailer accident. According to the opinion, the plaintiff was traveling from Georgia to Iowa to begin a new job. While he was driving, a tractor-trailer hit the plaintiff’s car, causing the plaintiff to slam his head against his window. The tractor-trailer driver continued to drive after the collision; however, the plaintiff could flag him down and motion him to stop. When police arrived, the plaintiff advised them that he was not hurt and did not need assistance. However, at some point during his trip, he felt something irritate his eye. After arriving in Iowa, he washed out his eye and pulled out a piece of glass. He went to the hospital and was referred to an ophthalmologist who recommended an MRI. The MRI showed a tumor, and the doctor warned him that he should have the tumor removed or risk going blind.

A few months later, the plaintiff sought treatment from a neurosurgeon who told him that he was experiencing a pituitary apoplexy, often triggered by a sudden event caused by bleeding into the tumor. The plaintiff underwent surgery and removed the tumor. Following the surgery, the plaintiff met with an endocrinologist, who diagnosed him with a hormonal imbalance. The doctor advised him to start testosterone injections, but the plaintiff waited a year before beginning treatment.

The plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the truck driver and his employer, claiming that the accident caused a pre-existing tumor to swell. The parties admitted fault, but disputed damages, arguing that the plaintiff failed to mitigate them. The defendants argued that the plaintiff did not take the medication his doctor prescribed, failed to follow-up with alternative medicine, and did not fill his eyeglasses prescription. The defendant asked the court to provide the jury with a failure to mitigate damages instruction. The plaintiff argued that there was not enough evidence for the instruction.

Recently, the Indiana Court of Appeals, issued an opinion reversing the denial of a plaintiff’s motion to compel arbitration. The appellate court remanded a case involving a malpractice claim brought by the estate of a nursing home resident. The record indicates that the family discovered that the woman developed several medical conditions and ailments while residing at the nursing facility. These conditions led her to experience debilitating pain and suffering and become liable for significant medical expenses up until her death.

Shortly after filing a medical malpractice claim against the facility, the estate became aware of an arbitration agreement the woman signed upon admission. Upon discovery of the agreement, the estate filed a motion to compel arbitration. The trial court ultimately denied the estate’s motion to compel arbitration, finding that the claim must first proceed through the process outlined in the Indiana Medical Malpractice Act (Act).

Indiana generally has a strong policy that favors enforcing arbitration agreements. In cases where a party motions the court to compel arbitration, the court will evaluate whether the parties agreed to arbitrate the specific dispute at issue. Like Indiana contract law, disputes often rely on the parties’ intent and the construction of the terms of an agreement.

State law provides passengers with certain rights and remedies if they are injured in an Indiana car accident. Passengers have the right to assume that drivers are exhibiting reasonable caution to avoid accidents. If an accident does occur, passengers maintain the right to collect contact and insurance information from all parties involved in the collision. Further, victims maintain the right to safely investigate the accident scene, including taking photos and gathering witness information. Passengers have the right to seek medical care for their injuries and speak with an attorney to recover for their damages and losses.

Under the state’s Guest Statute, Indiana Code 34-30-11, passengers cannot file claims against a driver in certain limited situations. These situations include if the at-fault driver is a spouse, parent, child, or step-child. In most other cases, the at-fault driver may be liable for injuries the passenger suffered. However, insurance companies will often dispute fault. In most cases, passengers are not at fault for the accident. However, passengers might be partially responsible if they engaged in conduct that led the driver to an accident. Moreover, passengers who voluntarily got into a vehicle with an impaired driver may have limitations on recovery. Passengers in these situations may have their damages recovery reduced by their percentage of fault. Because Indiana follows the comparative fault theory, passengers should seek representation from an attorney to avoid the other party from assigning undue fault.

After an accident, the at-fault driver may be liable for a passenger’s injuries. In most cases, the at-fault party’s insurance company or passenger’s uninsured motorist policy is responsible for paying damages. However, the initial settlement offers provided by insurance companies rarely cover the extent of damages, especially when the passenger suffered serious injuries.

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