Car accidents can be a harrowing experience, and the physical and financial impact can be just as devastating, regardless of whether there were multiple factors at play or if it was a single-vehicle accident. Indiana follows the “at-fault” theory of liability and insurance recovery. In at-fault states, such as Indiana, drivers who caused the accident are liable for the ensuing damages. In these cases, the at-fault driver’s insurance should compensate all parties involved in the accident. However, it is essential to note that its comparative negligence laws may impact this general rule. Under comparative fault, plaintiffs can recover from the at-fault party; however, the victim’s recovery will be reduced by their share of liability. Most importantly, the plaintiff will not be able to recover if their fault exceeds 50%.

While insurance companies use their own methods for determining liability and apportioning damages, they often cite the state’s comparative negligence laws when making compensation determinations. This is especially relevant after a single-vehicle accident, as insurance companies will go to great lengths to avoid paying out hefty claims. However, a single-vehicle accident does not automatically impute liability on the driver. There are many causes for a single-vehicle accident that do not involve the driver’s negligence.

Some common causes of single-vehicle accidents in Indiana are:

Cars are designed to move, and while many car accidents occur close to home, they can happen anywhere at any time. When drivers or passengers suffer injuries while out of state, they may experience challenges and confusion regarding their rights and remedies. Generally, Indiana victims who suffer injuries in another state can file a lawsuit where the defendant resides or where the car accident occurred. For instance, an Indiana victim who suffers injuries in an Illinois accident may file a claim in Illinois or where the defendant lives. Typically, the victim can only sue in Indiana if the defendant lives in Indiana or if they consent to be sued in the state.

Things can become further complicated when the defendant is a business entity, such as a truck driver or another business employee. In these situations, the plaintiff can file a lawsuit where the accident happened or where the business “resides.” Determining where the business resides involves ascertaining the state where the business was incorporated or where they have their principal place of business. However, injury victims may also sue in any state where the defendant has sufficient “minimum contacts.” Essentially, the law permits defendants to be sued in any state where they do business.

After determining where the lawsuit can be filed, the next step involves establishing which state’s laws apply to the matter. In most cases, the court will apply the law of the state where the incident occurred. It is important to note that auto insurance covers drivers regardless of where they are.

One of the unexpected effects of the Covid-19 pandemic has been an increase in the number of cyclists taking to the road for transportation, recreation, and exercise. Cycling presents a healthy alternative to attending crowded (or closed) gyms, and is one of many individual activities that have become more popular in the age of social distancing. Along with the increase in cyclists on Indiana roads, traffic accidents involving bicycles and other vehicles have also increased, often with fatal consequences.

A recently published news report discusses the increase in cycling-related accidents and fatalities, and advocates for more legal protections for cyclists on the road. According to the report, the Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in a significant increase in the number of cyclists on the road nationwide. An increase in auto-bicycle accidents has also been noticed since the beginning of the pandemic. Drivers have a legal duty to yield the right of way to a bicyclist traveling on a public road or highway. If the driver of a motorized vehicle is unable to safely pass a cyclist, the driver must stay behind the cyclist until it is safe to do so. The vague nature of many laws that give cyclists the right of way can lead drivers to make dangerous decisions when encountering cyclists on the road.

Most states have specific laws known as “safe passing” laws that require drivers to maintain a safe distance while passing a cyclist, and also permit drivers to cross over a double yellow line to safely overtake a biker. Indiana is one of only six states without laws that specifically address passing a bicyclist. Although there is no safe passing law on the books in Indiana, drivers are still required to yield the right of way to a bicyclist traveling on a public roadway in the direction of traffic. If a bicyclist is struck by a driver and injured or killed, the driver may be responsible in civil or criminal court for the damages related to the accident.

Motorcycle riding is a popular form of transportation and leisure throughout the country. Insurance companies and the media often portray motorcycling as an inherently dangerous activity. As a result, after an Indiana motorcycle accident, people assume that liability falls on the biker. However, like many other popular-held beliefs, these depictions often unfairly group motorcyclists into a group of reckless and unsafe individuals. In reality, the vast majority of bikers understand the ways to protect themselves and others from harm. Some common forms of protection include wearing protective gear such as element-proof clothing and helmets and practicing defensive driving. However, bikers cannot control the negligent acts of other road users. Moreover, bikers often experience injuries in an accident because of a defective or unsafe issue with their motorcycles or protective gear.

For instance, Indiana news reports recently recounted a tragic fatal Indiana motorcycle crash near the Notre Dame Exit. Investigators explained that the biker was heading east when his motorcycle experienced a potential tire failure. The tire failure caused the biker to lose control of the bike, throwing him and his passenger onto the road. The bike continued until stopping in the median. The bike passenger died at the accident scene, and the operator was transported to the hospital for serious injuries.

As the above case illustrates, motorcycle tire failures can have devastating consequences for bikers, their passengers, and anyone in the vicinity of the bike. In some cases, a tire failure may stem from a gradual leak, and in others, the tire may explode unexpectedly. Loss of pressure in the front wheel may cause an unexpected change in direction or cause the bike to overturn. Similarly, loss of pressure in the back wheel can result in imbalance and cause the bike to veer out of control.

The state Supreme Court recently addressed a critical question regarding the scope of the Indiana Medical Malpractice Act (IMMA). The underlying lawsuit arose when a woman ran a red light and crashed into another vehicle. The woman was traveling with her granddaughter, who testified that she saw her grandmother swallow two pills before saying, “I can’t stop,” while approaching the intersection. The husband and father of the decedents filed a lawsuit against the Physician who prescribed the woman opiates and against the Indiana Department of Insurance under the IMMA.

The plaintiff argued that the physician breached the standard of care by failing to :

  • To warn the driver of operating a vehicle under the influence of the medications he prescribed her,

As the country is still reeling from the pandemic, many employers continue to shift their expectations for employees. These changes have drastically impacted traffic patterns and commuting methods. Many Indiana commuters are finding alternative ways to commute to work and their daily activities. While biking continues to be a popular mode of transportation, it has also led to the steady increase of Indiana bicycling accidents.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that bike accidents comprise approximately two percent of all traffic fatalities in the country. Historically the majority of the fatalities involve young children; however, the rise in bike commuters has impacted the affected demographic. The NHTSA reports that around 700 individuals die every year in bike accidents, and nearly 48,000 suffer serious injuries. The average age of fatal bike accident victims is between 55 and 59 years old. Statistics also indicate that a disproportionate number of accident victims are males riding their bikes in urban settings. The majority of fatal bike accidents occur along major roadways. Further, historically, the evening rush hour is the most dangerous time of day for bikers. This may be because of the large numbers of commuters traveling home tired after a long workday. Finally, the most recent accident reports show that nearly 25 percent of fatal bike accident victims had a blood alcohol content of 0.01 or higher.

Not surprisingly, collisions between cyclists and large trucks typically result in the most catastrophic outcomes. For example, local news reports described a harrowing accident between an Indiana cyclist and a dump truck. Law enforcement received reports of the bicycle accident around 12:45 p.m. When they arrived, they discovered that a dump truck rear-ended the 67-year-old bicyclist. The woman suffered several broken bones and a head injury. She was life-flighted to a hospital; however, she later died from her injuries. Police do not believe that alcohol or drugs were involved in the accident; however, the case is still under investigation.

A recent Indiana news report described the increasing rate of motorcycle accidents in the state. Reporters followed up with a woman whose father suffered serious injuries in a motorcycle accident last month. The man was riding his motorcycle with a passenger when an SUV driver slammed into his motorcycle. Authorities discovered that the woman was driving with a blood alcohol content of 0.205%. As such, they charged her with a Level 5 felony causing serious bodily injury when operating a vehicle. The hospital released the man into a rehabilitation facility; however, he is still experiencing brain bleeds.

That accident only adds to the harrowing number of serious motorcycle accident injuries and fatalities in the state. The Indiana Criminal Justice Institute and Bureau of Motor Crash and accident reports reveal that 138 motorcyclists suffered fatal injuries in an accident in 2020, up from 113 the prior reporting year. While motorcyclists account for less than 2% of crash data, they result in over 15% of all Indiana traffic deaths. The disparity in numbers highlights how dangerous motorcycle accidents tend to be for riders and passengers.

The majority of these accidents occur during the summer, where the temperate conditions bring more motorcyclists onto the road. In addition, statistics indicate that an increase in reckless behavior such as driver inattention and speeding all add to the likelihood of an accident. However, drugs and alcohol are the leading cause of fatal accidents in Indiana. In addition, motorcycle riders who do not wear a helmet drastically increase their risk of serious injuries.

Hit-and-run accidents refer to situations where a driver causes damage to another person or property and flees the scene without rendering aid or providing identifying information. Indiana hit-and-run accident perpetrators may face serious criminal charges and civil penalties. According to the most recent statistics by the Indiana University Public Policy Institute, nearly 29,000 of the 217,077 collisions in the state involved hit-and-run drivers. The majority of the accidents occurred in Allen County, Monroe County, St. Joseph County, Vigo County, and Lake County. However, these accidents occur throughout the state at an alarming rate.

For instance, local news sources reported that law enforcement has arrested a driver believed to be involved in a fatal hit-and-run. The arrest came after officers were called to the accident scene, where they discovered two 18-year-old males suffering from serious injuries. One of the victims was on a skateboard while the other was on a bicycle. The skateboarder was taken to a local hospital for treatment; however, the bicyclist died at the accident scene. Officers arrested the suspected driver two days after the accident. The driver was charged with leaving the scene of a serious bodily injury accident and leaving the scene of a fatal accident.

While some people flee the scene of the accident because they are unaware an accident took place, the overwhelming majority leave because they are engaged in some other illegal behavior. Many drivers flee because they have a warrant out for their arrest, are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or were engaged in some other illicit behavior. While these reasons may explain why one fled the scene, it does not excuse it.

The League of American Bicyclists (LAB) ranks Indiana as the 24th most bicycle-friendly state in the U.S. When bikers and motorists are on the road together, both parties should take extra steps to ensure each other’s safety. However, cars have inherently more control over their vehicles and must take extra precautions to avoid a collision.

In addition to traffic regulations, Indiana maintains laws that apply directly to bicyclists. Specifically, Title 9, Article 21, Chapter 11 of the state’s code explains the rights and duties of bicyclists in Indiana. Most importantly, all road users should understand that bicyclists have a right to share the road with motorists. In the same vein, bicyclists must abide by the statute as well. For instance, bicyclists may not ride on anything besides the permanent and regular seat attached to their bike.

Further, bikers may not use whistles or sirens while on their cycles. Additionally, cyclists must ensure that their bikes have a working brake that will allow the cycle to stop on dry and level pavement. While most lawmakers understand the importance of bike safety, the law does not require bikers to wear helmets. Although the law does not require cyclists or passengers to wear helmets, bikers should err on the side of caution and wear a helmet.

The law defines Indiana hit-and-run accidents as a collision caused by a motorist who leaves the scene of an accident. The injury victim may be another motorist, a passenger, a motorcyclist, a biker, or a pedestrian. Indiana law classifies hit-and-run accidents as a criminal offense. In addition, hit-and-run motorists may face civil charges. These accidents tend to result in serious injuries and death, and pursuing a legal claim against the at-fault driver can help accident victims recover from the financial losses they incur as a result of their injuries.

For example, a recent news report described a harrowing Indiana fatal hit-and-run accident. Witnesses called law enforcement to the scene of the accident to report the incident. According to witnesses, the victim was traveling on his scooter when a vehicle slammed into him. The impact caused the victim to be thrown from his bike. The driver fled the scene, and the victim succumbed to his injuries at the scene.

Under the law, drivers involved in an accident must stop, provide identifying information, contact emergency officials and police. If someone suffers injuries in the accident, the driver must remain at the scene and provide reasonable assistance until emergency responders arrive. Albeit difficult, the law still allows hit-and-run injury victims to recover compensation for their damages. Indiana State Police are asking the public to come forward with any information.

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