Articles Posted in Auto Accident

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.

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

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:

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,

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.

In the blink of an eye, children go from shrieking toddlers who want to spend every second with you to chatty teenagers wrapped up in their own worlds. No one ever expects, however, that their children will be involved in an accident—especially one caused by another’s negligence. One of the most painful things that a parent and a family can experience is outliving their children because an accident or unexpected event takes them too soon. When such loss takes place because of another’s negligence or recklessness, those responsible should be held accountable.

According to a local news report, a tragic car accident left two Indiana teenagers dead. On the day of the accident, four teenagers were in a sedan that lost control and flipped off the road and landed near a cornfield. The damage from the accident left the vehicle nearly unrecognizable. Two teen girls who were in the sedan were killed, and the families are still seeking justice. According to post-accident reports, the driver, a surviving 18-year-old male, was estimated to have been driving nearly 103-108 miles per hour moments before he lost control of his vehicle and crashed. Because the main cause of the accident was speeding, which was an error on the part of the driver, and the tires on the car were unsafe for use, the families are looking into potentially advancing claims. The accident is still under investigation.

In Indiana, wrongful death claims may be available following accidents like this one, where someone died as the result of a wrongful act like negligence. When someone’s lack of care or recklessness results in the preventable death of another, there may be grounds to recover compensation through a civil wrongful death lawsuit.

School bus accidents are among parents’ worst fears. However, school bus accidents put more than the children on board the bus at risk; other motorists are also frequently injured in these accidents. In many cases, Indiana school bus accidents are due to the bus driver’s inattention or negligence. This can open the door for injury victims to pursue a personal injury claim. However,  sometimes, schools will contract with a private bus company to transport children to and from school. Other times, the school bus driver is an employee of the school district. While these differences may seem insignificant, they can be critical to how a claim must be filed.

According to a recent Indiana news report, a local school bus carrying five elementary school students was involved in a crash. Due to icy roadway conditions, the bus driver lost control rounding a left-handed curve, which caused her to crash into an embankment and a tree on the side of the road. The bus ultimately came to a stop across both lanes of traffic. The bus driver and one elementary school student suffered minor injuries and were treated on the scene by local health officials. The other passengers on the bus ranged from ages six to nine, but no one else was injured.

In Indiana, should you choose to pursue a personal injury claim against the bus company or the school in a school bus accident, there are various legal principles that need consideration before pursuing the case further. One of these laws is the Indiana modified comparative negligence rule.

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.

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.”

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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