Articles Posted in Auto Accident

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.

Earlier this month, an Indiana police officer suffered serious injuries after he was struck by a semi-truck while controlling traffic on the highway. According to a local news report covering the collision, the officer was controlling traffic in a road construction zone on Interstate 65. The officer was sitting in the driver’s seat of his vehicle, which was blocking the highway’s northbound lanes. Shortly after 6 a.m., a semi-truck crashed into the officers’ parked vehicle.

The force from the collision forced the police cruiser off the highway, flipping it on its side. The semi-truck ended up in the middle of the road, pushed up against the median. Emergency crews arrived by helicopter to take the injured officer to the hospital, where he was admitted in serious condition. The truck driver was uninjured in the crash.

Police immediately began an investigation into the truck accident. According to the report, authorities do not believe drugs or alcohol were involved in the accident; however, the results of a toxicology screen are still pending.

When car accidents occur, they are often the result of a driver’s carelessness or mistake. However, some accidents are the result of a driver’s conscious decision to get behind the wheel under the influence of alcohol or some other illegal substance.  In either case, negligent or drunk drivers can be held accountable for their actions through an Indiana car accident lawsuit.

According to a recent news report, four children were killed when a semi-truck crashed into a car that was slowing down while passing through a construction zone on an Indiana interstate. Evidently, authorities found the car and semi-truck pulling a box trailer both on fire near the construction zone. Investigators believe the truck did not slow down when it approached slowed traffic near the construction zone and consequently crashed into the back of the car. This pushed the car into another semi-truck, resulting in an even larger crash.

Witnesses on the scene reported that the driver of the semi-truck that struck the car from behind was operating in an “erratic manner” before the accident occurred. Evidence showed that the stopped traffic was not a contributing factor to the crash, and that the driver had multiple drugs in his system when the accident occurred. Local authorities arrested the truck driver and charged him with four counts of reckless homicide, four counts of operating while intoxicated and causing death, and operating a car while intoxicated and causing serious bodily injury. Following a preliminary drug screening, authorities indicated that drugs were a contributing factor in the crash, and criminal charges would be forthcoming pending the results of the investigation.

Although, commercial trucks are essential to interstate travel and critical to the economy, they present a significant risk to motorists. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, there were 2743 fatal truck and bus crashes in the United States in 2019. These accidents resulted in the deaths of over 3,000 people. Trucks and buses include vehicles such as 18-wheelers, coal trucks, semi-trucks, and cement trucks. The size of these vehicles, particularly when carrying a heavy load, makes them challenging to control, especially in inclement weather or navigating poorly maintained roadways. Additionally, these vehicles can often cause or contribute to chain-reaction accidents because they take almost twice as long to stop as other passenger vehicles.

Many truck accidents occur in Indiana because the state has long stretches of highways that serve as a significant pass-throughs for long-haul truckers. A majority of fatal Indiana truck accidents occur in Putnam County, Tipton County, and Wayne County, Indiana. Most Indiana truck and bus accidents involve more than one underlying cause; however, they typically involve similar factors. Some common causes of Indiana trucking accidents are the result of defective truck parts, speeding, driver inexperience, driver impairment, fatigue, and distracted driving. Further, many accidents are the result of drivers failing to abide by state traffic laws designed to prevent accidents, such as Indiana’s Move Over Laws.

For example, recently, a Porter County truck accident claimed the life of a 38-year-old man. According to a local news report, the man parked his Dodge Ram on the shoulder of a highway where construction workers were performing maintenance. As he stepped out of his car, a tractor-trailer, hauling 37,000 pounds of pork, drove onto the shoulder and slammed into the man’s car. The collision caused the truck to go down a ditch and slam into trees. The tractor-trailer continued to travel east, crossing through lanes, ultimately slamming into a median wall and bursting into flames. State police, in conjunction with several other agencies, are continuing to investigate the cause of the accident.

Recently, an Indiana high appeals court issued an opinion hinging on the scope of governmental immunity. In this case, an accident victim tried to sue an Indiana state trooper after they were involved in an accident. The state trooper was not on duty when the accident occurred but was driving a state police-issued vehicle, commonly called a “commission.” As such, the state trooper argued that he was not liable under the Indiana Tort Claims Act (ITCA). On appeal, the plaintiff argued that the office was personally responsible as his acts were “clearly outside the scope” of his employment.

Here, the state police issued the trooper his commission, which was subject to police standard operating procedures (SOP). The SOP provided guidelines for operating the vehicle when the vehicle was on or off-duty and during emergency and non-emergency situations. The SOP requires troopers to maintain radio contact even while off-duty, avoid violating traffic laws, unless necessary, and respond to emergency situations. Further, the SOP authorized troopers to use their commission, on a minimal basis, for their transportation.

On the day of the accident, the trooper completed his shift, went home to shower, and left in his commission to go to his son’s baseball game. While he was driving southbound to his son’s game, he attempted to pass the vehicle in front of him by crossing into the northbound lane. As he transitioned to the opposite lane, he saw a motorcycle approaching and quickly moved back into his lane. However, the motorcycle driver did not have enough time to slow down and ended up abruptly locking his brakes, which caused his vehicle to roll over and eject both he and his passenger. In response to the motorcyclist’s personal injury claim, the trooper argued that he was immune under the ITCA, because he was within the scope of his employment.

Indiana train accidents are one of the most catastrophic types of accidents, typically resulting in serious bodily injury and property damage. After these accidents, injury victims and their families face the daunting challenge of recovering damages from the liable party. These cases pose challenges because there are typically many victims and several potentially responsible parties. These accidents frequently cause chain-reaction collisions, fatalities, injuries to passengers on board, and even passerby pedestrians.

Other than the number of injury victims and potentially liable parties, train accidents are similar to other personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits. A lawsuit begins after an injury victim files a lawsuit with the court that holds jurisdiction over the accident. The defendant or their insurance company typically files a response, which includes any defenses they want to claim. The parties will then engage in pretrial motions, which include determining facts and other preliminary issues. If the case proceeds to trial, the judge or jury will determine liability and damages. Train passenger plaintiffs must understand that specific liability caps may limit their damages, and they should discuss their trial strategy with an Indiana train accident attorney.

Recently, a local Indiana news source reported on a fatal southern Indiana train crash. According to police reports, the collision occurred around 5 p.m. on a Saturday at a train intersection. Accident reconstructionists are still working on determining the exact circumstances surrounding the accident. However, reports indicate that the intersection only has two stop signs but no crossing arms. It is unclear how much time the train had to stop, but typically, trains of the size involved in the accident take a mile to come to a complete stop. Additionally, state police have not reported whether drugs or alcohol were involved, but they will likely request a toxicology report. According to the report, a high-school student who was a passenger in the car died at the scene of the accident. Another passenger in the vehicle was hospitalized with life-threatening injuries.

Car accidents are tragic events, and can have severe, life-altering consequences for those involved, including permanent injury or death. Sometimes accidents occur even though no one was at fault—they are truly just accidents. However, more often than not, Indiana car accidents result from one driver’s negligence.

Negligent driving includes failing to follow traffic laws, distracted driving, driving over the speed limit, or driving while intoxicated. When someone is driving negligently and an accident occurs, Indiana state law allows the victim to recover against the at-fault driver through a civil suit. If successful, these suits can hold the negligent driver liable for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, as well as other expenses related to the accident.

For example, take a recent Indiana car accident that happened earlier this month. According to a local news report covering the story, the crash occurred in Cherry Tree, Indiana, late one Monday afternoon. A 32-year-old Cherry Tree woman was driving west in her SUV when she crashed into the driver’s side of a southbound pickup truck, driven by an 18-year-old Cherry Tree man, that had run a stop sign. The crash caused the truck to roll over onto its roof and hit a utility pole. One of the truck’s passengers, a 14-year-old boy, was tragically killed, and pronounced dead at the scene. At this time, details about the injuries of the others involved—including the two drivers and another passenger in the pickup—are unknown.

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