Articles Posted in Car Accidents

As if getting into a car accident was not stressful enough, watching the at-fault party speed away from the scene of the accident without stopping and being unable to locate them makes an already challenging situation even more frustrating. These accidents, which usually involve a vehicle crashing into another party or property before fleeing the scene, can be devastating to victims and property owners. Understanding what legal and insurance-related avenues you have available to you to recover compensation following one of these accidents is crucial to getting you back on your feet.

According to a recent news report, the victim of a hit-and-run accident was identified. Local officials reported finding the victim’s body in a drainage ditch more than a mile from where her car was found crashed and empty on the side of the road earlier this month. Initially, police claimed it was impossible that she had floated that far between the locations, but the coroner’s office officially determined that her death was due to trauma from the car accident complicated by drowning. Additional details surrounding the crash remain under investigation, but the victim’s death was ruled an accident. The circumstances surrounding the collision remain under investigation.

In Indiana, like most other states, there are specific laws prohibiting leaving the scene of an accident and causing a hit-and-run collision. If the at-fault party is located, the victim of the accident has two options: first, to make a claim against their insurance, or second, to file a personal injury lawsuit against them.

Distracted driving seems more common than ever these days—probably because there are so many more things to distract drivers than ever before. From texting and talking on cell phones to wrangling the kids or attempting to multi-task while driving, taking your focus off the road can often have significant and disastrous consequences for yourself, your passengers, and others who share the road with you. Following an accident where a distracted driver’s negligence causes you significant physical injury and property damage, understanding the law is crucial so that you can recover the compensation that you deserve.

According to a recent local news report, four people were injured following a two-vehicle accident. Local authorities reported that a Dodge was traveling east when the driver handed her daughter a drink that was in the backseat. The driver ran off the south side of the roadway and then overcorrected, which caused the vehicle to swerve into the westbound lane. The driver of a Chevrolet was traveling west when she crashed into the Dodge as it swung into her lane. The driver of the Dodge and her two passengers were transported to a local hospital for treatment of back, leg, and hand injuries. The driver of the Chevrolet suffered a chest injury and was also transferred to a hospital for treatment. The accident remains under investigation.

Unfortunately, Indiana is no stranger to similar types of distracted driving incidents. In fact, in 2018, more than 6,000 accidents involved a distracted driver. In 2020, Indiana became the 22nd state in the country to enact legislation prohibiting drivers from holding a smartphone or similar device while operating a vehicle. The law, however, only prohibits drivers from holding the device, so they are still permitted to use hands-free and Bluetooth devices.

Traffic accidents are one of the primary causes of serious injuries for individuals throughout the United States. The likelihood of a fatality exponentially increases when a driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. For instance, a local news report described a fatal Indiana suspected drunk driving accident. According to the Indiana Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD), the crash occurred shortly before 10 a.m. at an intersection near Interstate 465. A 27-year-old southbound driver hit a west-bound Fiat driver. Both vehicles sustained severe damages in the crash. Emergency responders transported the Fiat driver to a hospital, where she succumbed to injuries. The other driver suffered non-life-threatening injuries after being ejected from his SUV. IMPD investigators arrested the SUV driver on suspicion of driving while intoxicated and reckless homicide; however, charges are pending.

After an Indiana drunk driving accident, the injury victim may not need to prove that the other party was intoxicated to establish that they were negligent. However, proving intoxication can assist victims in recovering more compensation efficiently. The burden on establishing intoxication after an accident should not remain on an accident victim; however, taking note of certain factors can help bolster a case. For example, when exchanging information, a victim should take note of the other driver’s:

  • Slurred speech

Head-on or frontal crashes are one of the most harrowing types of Indiana motor vehicle accidents. Head-on collisions often leave drivers, passengers, and bystanders with serious life-threatening injuries. In addition to the physical injuries, head-on accidents can leave victims with psychological trauma and emotional distress. While physical injuries or psychological trauma alone can impact a person’s livelihood, the combination of the two may require years of healing. In addition, these accidents can leave a fatal victim’s family reeling for answers and justice. A part of this justice often entails the family receiving compensation for the unfathomable loss of their loved one.

The most common head-on collision injuries include:

  • Traumatic brain injuries;

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.

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.

With warmer weather rolling in, it seems as good of a time as ever to pull that motorcycle out from storage to soak in the sunshine and longer daylight hours. With more people out on the roads these days as the world reopens; however, motorcyclists and drivers alike must exercise extra caution while driving. As more people return to traveling and commuting, motorcycles continue to be a popular and less expensive mode of transportation. Motorcyclists, however, are often exposed to additional risks and a heightened chance of a deadly or serious accident—and those who are at fault in these collisions must be held accountable.

In a recent local news report, a motorcycle accident in central Indiana left a man dead. According to the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, the motorcyclist was traveling eastbound when he lost control of his bike. The motorcyclist was thrown from his bike across the median into oncoming traffic and was struck by a vehicle. The motorcycle also separately crashed into a second vehicle before coming to a stop. When officers arrived on the scene, the motorcyclist was suffering from significant physical injuries and was later pronounced dead on the scene. The accident remains under investigation by local authorities.

In Indiana, like other states, motorcyclists must adhere to the basic rules of the road. In addition, all motorcycle riders and passengers under the age of 18 must wear a motorcycle helmet. Motorcyclists are also barred by Indiana laws from lane splitting, which is when a rider operates their bike between two lanes of cars driving in the same direction. Passengers of motorcyclists can only ride with the motorcyclist when there is a seat attached and designed for passenger use—and can only do so on Class A motorcycles, but not on Class B motorcycles. Lastly, all motorcyclists are required to use a headlamp when operating their bikes, which must be illuminated at all times that the bike is in operation. Any violation of these laws could result in fines up to $500, and you could risk getting your license suspended for up to one year.

When you are involved in an accident where the at-fault party was a drunk driver or operating their vehicle under the influence, it may make sense to assume that if the at-fault party is charged with criminal liabilities from the accident, that you should be compensated as well. This, however, is not the case, and it is crucial that potential plaintiffs know the difference between civil and criminal liability.

According to a local news report, three Indiana residents were recently killed in a wrong-way crash. A man was stopped in a Hyundai SUV on the shoulder of the road facing the wrong direction when an Indiana state trooper stopped at his vehicle to assist. When the trooper parked in front of the SUV and got out of his squad car to approach the Hyundai, the Hyundai began to drive forward. The trooper pounded on the driver of the Hyundai’s windshield, yelling for him to stop, but the driver swung around the police vehicle and drove about a half-mile in the wrong direction before crashing into another vehicle head-on. That vehicle was carrying two occupants. All three victims in both vehicles were pronounced dead at the scene. The crash is still under investigation, but local authorities suspect alcohol or drugs could have been a factor in the accident.

In Indiana, “operating while intoxicated” (OWI) is used instead of “driving under the influence.” When operating a vehicle under the influence, the state considers an OWI offense to be criminal. In Indiana, like other states, criminal investigations into whether alcohol or drugs were involved in a case have no bearing on a personal injury or civil lawsuit pertaining to damages. Thus, even if the at-fault party in an accident is facing criminal charges, potential plaintiffs must advance their own case separately if they wish to recover damages from the accident.

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.

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