Indianapolis Car Accident Attorneys: Ultimate Guide to Car Accidents
The National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA) reports that every minute someone is involved in a car accident. Luckily, not all accidents result in death, however, most accidents cause a physical injury or property damage.
If you are unlucky enough to have been injured in a car accident, the insurance companies will argue about who was the cause of the accident.
Why? Because generally the at-fault driver (the driving causing the accident) is the one who must pay for causing the damages, a physical injury or wrongful death, to the other person.
When someone is hurt in an accident because another driver caused an accident the injured person can recover for their medical bills, car repairs, legal fees and the long-term impacts of their injuries.
Our personal injury lawyers can explain the process of a personal injury claim to you. Call us today.
Types of Car Accidents
You might tell yourself that a car accident is a car accident, that is until you have been injured by another driver. However, every car accident is unique.
If you were rear ended, hit at a red light, or t-boned by another driver your risk of injury or even death if affected by a number of factors including the type of accident you were in, the speed of the cars at the time of impact, the use or non-use of seat-belts, and the size and weights of the vehicles involved in the crash.
The Most Common Types of Auto Accidents are:
Like the name implies, head-on accidents happen when two cars collide head-on into each other. While head-on accidents represent only a minor percentage of all accidents, the resulting injuries can be among the most severe.
Head-on crashes can result in brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, or even death as the energy is quickly transferred at the time of the crash. Head-on accidents are generally caused by negligent drivers who crossed the center line after becoming distracted, losing control of the car, or drunk driving.
Unlike head-on accidents, Rear end accidents are much more frequent and occur when the front of one car hits the rear of another car. These types of accidents generally occur when one car is tailgating or following too closely to the car in front.
The number of accidents has increased due to an increase of people texting while driving. Rear end accidents can result in serious injuries including whiplash, neck injuries and injuries to the back and of course death.
In November 2019, an IU Health ambulance rear-ended a slow-moving loaded semi on State Road 3 in Blackford County nearly killing four.
Broadside (T-bone) accidents often take place when a car or truck runs a red light, striking another car directly in the side. These types of accidents regularly cause serious injuries to the passengers of the vehicle hit by the negligent driver.
Sideswipe accidents occur when the side of one car touches the side of another car. Drivers who drift or swerve into another lane are generally the cause of sideswipe accidents. Sideswipe accidents usually result in only minimal physical injuries.
Pileup accidents can occur when vision is limited due to poor weather conditions (fog, snow), causing drivers to be unable to see what is ahead. If traffic has slowed or stopped, moving vehicles may not have time to stop themselves and they crash into the vehicle in front of them.
Even if they do stop, the vehicles behind them may be unable to stop. Generally multiple cars will be involved in pileup accidents making it difficult to prove who was at fault.
Single Car Accidents:
Single car accidents only involve one car and are among the most common of all car accidents. Usually a driver is distracted (or intoxicated) and hits an object like a median, tree, telephone pole, or a guardrail. Single car accidents can cause significant physical injuries or even death.
What Causes Car Accidents
Most car accidents are simply caused by a mistake by the driver including:
For the year 2018, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that across the nation speeding killed 9,378 people and in 2017, speeding was a contributing factor in 26% of all traffic fatalities.
Speeding is more than just breaking the law. The consequences are far-ranging:
- Increased possibility to lose control of the vehicle;
- Brakes, airbags and other safety features are less effective;
- It takes longer to stop once the driver sees a danger;
- More severe damages and physical injuries due to the increased speed;
- Increased economic costs to repair the property damage and physical injuries; and,
- Increased fuel consumption/cost.
It is easy to be a distracted driver. Talking on your phone, texting, eating, drinking, changing the radio station, or even using your navigation system while driving is distracted driving.
If you read a send or read a text message for just five seconds while driving, at 55 mph you have traveled the length of a football field. That is dangerous. NHTSA found that distracted driving resulted in the deaths of 3,166 people in 2017. And 297 people dying in crashes that involved distracted teen drivers (ages 15 to 19) in 2017.
One person dies every 50 minutes in the U.S. due to preventable drunk driving accidents.
Alcohol is a substance that reduces the function of the brain. It slows thinking, reasoning and muscle coordination which are all essential to safely operating a vehicle.
Driving after drinking is deadly but readily continues to happen across the U.S. If you drive after drinking, you could get arrested, or worse and cause a crash that results in a serious injury or death.
Nearly 1/3 of all US traffic accident deaths involve drivers with a BAC of .08 g/dL or higher. In 2018, there were 10,511 people killed in these types of accidents and on average, from 2009-2018, more than 10,000 people died every year in accidents involving drunk driving.
Fatigued driving is a major problem in the United States for travelers, long-haul drivers and shift workers. We have all done it. Driven too late into the evening and started to fall asleep while driving.
We turn up the radio or roll down our window in the hopes of not being so tired.
Fatigued driving usually happens when a driver has not slept enough, but it can also happen because of untreated sleep disorders, medications, drinking alcohol, or shift work.
No one knows the exact moment when sleep comes over their body. Falling asleep at the wheel is clearly dangerous, but being sleepy affects your ability to drive safely even if you don’t fall asleep. Drowsiness—
- Makes you less able to pay attention to the road.
- Slows reaction time if you have to brake or steer suddenly.
- Affects your ability to make good decisions.
NHTSA estimates that in 2017, 91,000 police-reported crashes involved sleep deprived drivers and that these crashes led to an estimated 50,000 injured people and nearly 795 deaths.
When a driver is lost or misses an exit they try to fix their mistake. These mistakes can lead to an accident.
We have all seen it, changing lanes without looking, backing up a ramp, or going the wrong way on the road. These driving errors put not just the errant driver in danger but also all other drivers on the roadway.
Manufacturers of car parts are obligated to make certain that their parts are safe to use. If a part is not safe, the manufacturer may be liable for an injury or death related to their unsafe part.
If an individual or company fails to adequately maintain a vehicle that individual or company may be liable for any injuries or death due to their negligence.
Whether it is a bad tire, brakes, wheel bearings or other part, each of us has an obligation to keep from harming others. Unfortunately, trucking and busing companies have been found to be negligent for failing to maintain their vehicles.
Most Common Injuries Caused by Car Accidents
No matter how fast your car is going, if you are in an accident and your body goes from traveling at 50 MPH to 0 MPH in an instant any part of your body may be injured or damaged. Some injuries may be minor while others may change your life forever. Some of the most common car accident injuries are:
Car accidents are a leading cause of traumatic brain injuries, a.k.a “TBI”. A TBI can come about from your head hitting a part of the interior of the car, some other obstacle, or just the sudden stop from the accident.
Depending upon the part of the brain that is injured a TBI can lead to issues with use of limbs, speech, vision, memory, balance, motor skills, cognitive function or even death. TBI’s need to be evaluated and treated by a medical specialist.
Spinal cord injuries:
Car accidents may injury the spinal vertebrae, discs or the spinal cord and paralyze the muscles and nerves below the site of the injury. These types of injuries are among the most severe that can occur in a car accident. A spinal cord injury can lead to a loss of mobility, and/or a loss of feeling and bodily control.
Broken bones are another common car accident injury. Some broken bone injuries are relatively simple, however, others are much more complex. Broken bones can lead to persistent pain, infection, injuries to internal organs, even reduced functionality of limbs.
Gasoline, oil, brake and transmission fluid…Cars produce heat and use corrosive fluids and chemicals. When a vehicle is torn apart in an accident the likelihood of a fire or chemical burn greatly increases. Burns can occur to the skin or even the respiratory system.
Soft Tissue Injuries:
A soft tissue injury (“STI”) is damage to muscles, ligaments or tendons. It is common for victims of STI’s to suffer persistent pain long after the car accident.
Loss of Limbs:
The loss of an arm or leg in a car accident is known as an “amputation.”
While an amputation is less common than some other car accident injuries, amputations cause lifelong disabilities and may require the use of a prosthetic for the rest of their life. They may have to find a new job or change careers.
Some amputees have to relearn basic skills like eating, using the bathroom and walking.
Should I Call a Car Accident Lawyer?
It only takes a few seconds for a car accident to alter your life forever.
With just a few minutes on the phone with our injury attorneys we can start to get you on track for your best outcome. Our car accident lawyers would be happy to speak with you and see if we can help you recover compensation for the expenses you have incurred due to the accident.
You can easily reach Emerson Law LLC at 317-969-8000 or by contacting us online. We look forward to helping you.
What to Do After an Auto Accident?
After a car accident occurs it's not uncommon to forget what to do.
Car accidents can happen to anyone at any time. They are stressful and costly events that can even lead to serious injury.
If you are involved in an auto accident and are injured or your property is severely damaged, it is imperative that you contact an auto accident attorney as soon as possible.
Contacting a lawyer quickly will give them the best chance of collecting crucial information regarding your case.
Dealing with auto accidents can be overwhelming, so here are some helpful tips. https://youtu.be/qGX0nMqmEaA
Maintain a record of events and dates as they happen and keep record of your insurance declarations, accident records, and any other statements from witnesses. Organized information is invaluable. You may even want to get a copy of your medical records.
Cooperate with Law Enforcement
Before taking any other action, check yourself and other individuals involved in the accident for injuries. If there are any injuries or at least $1,000 in property damage, call the police.
Cooperate with law enforcement officers, and ask the investigating officer how to obtain a copy of the police report.
Take notes. Be sure to provide and obtain the following information:
- Names, addresses, and phone numbers of all drivers and passengers involved in the accident;
- License plate number, make, model, and a description of each car involved;
- Operator license number and insurance identification information of all drivers involved;
- Names and addresses of as many witnesses as possible;
- Names and badge numbers of all police officers at the scene.
Contact your insurance provider as soon as possible. Ask them to file a Certificate of Compliance (COC) covering the date of the accident in the vehicles involved.
Failure to submit proof of insurance after an accident may result in the suspension of your driving privileges regardless of who is at fault.
Don’t sign any forms without consulting an Indianapolis injury attorney
The insurance company may ask you to sign forms that would waive your right to receive full compensation. It’s easy to be persuaded to accept an initial offer, but be wary because insurance companies never take the time and effort to understand what your case is worth.
Don’t give recorded statements to the Insurance Companies
After an Indiana auto accident, one or both insurance companies will call and ask you for a recorded statement. Don’t give one until you’ve talked to a Indianapolis injury attorney.
It’s too easy to accidentally say things that will damage your case before an investigation has even begun.
If you feel uncomfortable with the insurance company’s process, give us a call and let us explain your rights in terms that are easy to understand.
Don’t rush to accept an offer from the insurance company
Medical treatment can be expensive, and the insurance companies know this. They’re motivated to settle your claim quickly, often before your medical treatment has come to an end. You have enough to worry about without being rushed through the process.
Let an Indianapolis injury attorney from Emerson Law LLC help level the playing field.
Be aware of your own uninsured and under-insured motorist coverage
Often you have applicable insurance coverage on your own automobile insurance policy.
Our accident attorneys can review that information to determine if you have a right to recover from more than one policy.
How Much is My Case Worth?
As you can imagine each set of facts is unique, but generally the same factors influence how much you will recover – your specific injuries, how fast you heal, how well you heal, and the negligence (or fault) of each driver.
If the other driver was 100% at fault, you will likely settle your case for more than if you were partially to blame for the accident.
Your compensation may either be economic or non-economic and may include the following, depending on the specific facts of your case:
- Medical expenses – past and future
- Hospital bills and medication
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium
- Past and future lost wages and lost income
- Pain and suffering already experienced or likely to be experienced
- Property damage – auto repair or replacement, depending on the circumstances
- Car rental and towing when appropriate
- Other - ask your attorney
If you were involved in an auto accident, it is essential to know that in Indiana there is generally a two-year statute of limitations (in some circumstances even earlier). Legal actions must be filed during this time to protect your rights to compensation.
It is in your best interest to proceed with any legal actions as soon as is possible.
Once You are Well Contact a Car Accident Attorney
It is advisable to seek legal counsel prior to making any statements to insurance or claims adjusters because any information you reveal to them may be used against you in future proceedings.
At Emerson Law LLC, you will speak with an actual auto accident attorney and you will be given the individual attention that you need and deserve.
There are no fees involved unless we successfully settle your case or win at trial and we advance costs related to the case.
To schedule your free case review, contact the Indianapolis Law Office of Emerson Law LLC by calling 317-969-8000. If you are looking for a lawyer for a car accident, give us a call.
We Can Help You With Your Indiana Car Accident
If you drive anywhere in Indiana, the numbers show that sooner or later you may be involved in a car accident.
If you are, you want to make sure that your rights are properly protected so that you can recover the maximum amount of compensation available.
Our attorneys are rated among some the best accident attorneys in Indiana and have experience recovering:
- Medical expenses
- Rehabilitation expenses
- Lost wages
- Future earnings
- Pain and suffering
After an accident, your first priority is your health and recovery.
Afterwards, a dedicated Indianapolis personal injury lawyer will be able to assist you in determining the amount of compensation you should be entitled to receive.
If you have any questions, Emerson Law LLC offers a free case review.
Resources for Indianapolis Car Accident Victims
- The First Steps After a Car Accident
- Car Insurance Policy Coverage
- Car Accident Basics
- Car Accident Liability: Proving Fault in a Car Crash
- FAQ's: Car Accident Property Damage Claims
- Car Accident Resources
- FAQ's: Car Accidents
- Car Accidents: Leading Cause of Childhood Deaths
- The Do's and Don'ts of Car Insurance Claims
- Comparative Negligence
- Defenses in Car Accident Cases Contributory and Comparative Negligence
- Fault and Liability for Motor Vehicle Accidents
- Rental Liability, Pedestrian Accidents, and More
- Soft Tissue Injuries Caused by Motor Vehicle Accidents
- Take Notes about Car Accident Injuries
- Types of Car Accident Injuries
- Vicarious Liability and Negligent Entrustment
- What Kinds of Damages May I Claim for Car Accident Injuries?
- Whiplash-Related Injuries
- Tanker Truck Accident in Indianapolis
- What Living with Chronic Pain is Really Like
Whether you are contemplating divorce, or been arrested or injured you are probably scared, unsure what will come next and what to do. Give me a call. We will sit down, go over your options and work to find a way to move forward. Call me or another attorney. But call someone and get the help you deserve.
- JR Emerson, Attorney
I am here to help. I am not here to judge. For nearly 20 years I have been helping people in difficult situations and I would be happy to speak with you to see how I might be able to help you too.
- Jill Bracken-Emerson, Attorney
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Our attorneys represent people in need of assistance with personal injuries, car accidents, divorce, family law and DUI/OVWI matters. Our clients typically live in counties throughout central Indiana including, Hamilton County, Boone County, Marion County, Hendricks County and Johnson County. Please contact our office to learn how we can help.
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JR Emerson is an attorney who represents men and women in family law matters including divorce, child custody modification, and child support modification in Marion County, Hendricks County, Boone County, Hamilton County, Hancock County, Madison County, Johnson County. Cities in which he practices include: Zionsville, Lebanon, Whitestown, Carmel, West Clay, Westfield, Noblesville, Fishers, Lawrence, Beech Grove, Speedway, Greenwood, Southport, Franklin, Plainfield, Avon and Danville, Indiana.