Unfortunately, car accidents are a continuing problem in Carmel and around Hamilton County. This reflects a worrisome problem in the United States at large. Worldwide, car accidents are the leading cause of death in young people ages 15 to 29 and the ninth most common cause of death in people of all ages.
According to 2019 statistics, while just over half of accidents involving fatalities involved a sole vehicle, the remainder had two or more participating. That means some accidents are outside your control, no matter how carefully you drive.
Working with a Carmel car accident lawyer can help if you or a loved one has been the victim of a car accident.
Where Are Car Crashes Happening and Why?
You may be familiar with the now-common adage that most car accidents happen close to home. This is still true. Where else do crashes occur? Rural highways, parking lots, and intersections are also frequently the site of car accidents.
Around Carmel and the greater Indianapolis area, interstate highways also see a lot of crashes due to their high volume of traffic and increased speed limits. Highways 65, 465, 69, 70, and 74 are particularly dangerous, especially during rush hour, as well as U.S. 421, U.S. 31, and State Road 37.
Bad weather and the time of day also contribute to car accidents in Hamilton County. Sunrise and sunset make for low-light conditions, as do fog, rain, sleet, and snow, which also make roads more slippery.
Of course, poor driving is also a major accident factor and one of the reasons people seek out car accident attorneys when others are at fault in a crash. Some of the most common driving dangers include:
- Driving over the speed limit
- Going too fast for weather or light conditions, even if this is technically under the posted speed limit
- Texting while driving
- Other driving distractions (e.g., talking on the phone, eating, etc.)
- Driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs
- Fatigue (common with accidents involving semitrucks)
- Inexperienced drivers
- Stalled vehicles and breakdowns
- Vehicle malfunctions (e.g., brake failure)
- Failing to yield at an intersection or stoplight
- Erratic and hazardous driving behavior (e.g., sudden lane changes, driving in the wrong direction, illegal turns, etc.)
Carmel Accident Attorney Fighting for Your Rights
If you or a family member has been in a car accident, you want a Carmel personal injury lawyer who understands Indiana laws and how to apply them for the best possible outcome for you. Familiarity with these laws will also help your car crash attorney explain everything to you, whether you’re fighting an insurance claim, pursuing a financial settlement, filling out an accident report with the Carmel police department, or filing a lawsuit.
Some of the most important Indiana laws pertaining to car accidents include the following:
- The statute of limitations for filing a car accident lawsuit in civil court is two years from the date of a crash or two years from the death of a victim in a fatal accident.
- Damages in an accident involving comparative fault, where more than one party is responsible, are calculated on a percentage related to each party’s share in the liability. So, for example, if you are found to be 50 percent liable for an accident, any damages you might be awarded in court will be reduced by that 50 percent. If a judge awards you $100,000, you would be entitled to $50,000 because of comparative fault.
- Indiana requires anyone who wants to register and operate a motor vehicle in the state to carry minimum insurance for bodily injury and property damage liability. Motorists are also required to have coverage for uninsured and underinsured drivers in their auto policies. This is important when it comes to reimbursement for medical care or disability after an accident.
Typical Car Accident Settlement Amounts
Each car accident settlement is unique because of the various factors involved, like how badly someone was hurt, if there were fatalities, and whether the party at fault was breaking the law when the crash occurred. As mentioned above, there is also the possibility of comparative fault, where more than one person may be considered at fault in a crash.
In general, the seriousness of injuries plays a large role in determining how much a car accident victim is awarded in a settlement, especially if permanent disability results. The amount you receive should reflect your losses, such as:
- Medical bills, including emergency care and ongoing medical needs
- Lost wages when you can’t work
- Family loss in the case of a fatality
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Property damage to your vehicle and anything valuable inside it or towed behind it
How are intangible losses, like pain and suffering, calculated? Often they are the product of medical and property damage bills added together and multiplied by a factor of 1.5 to 4. A skilled car wreck lawyer can help you get what you are owed for pain and suffering so you feel you have been adequately compensated for your trauma.
Let’s look at how settlements work so you understand a bit more about what to expect. After a crash, the person who is at fault is expected to cover the expenses of other parties who were hurt in the accident. The responsible party’s liability insurance should cover these expenses; however, sometimes they exceed the limits of a driver’s policy. In that case, the party at fault has to pay the difference out of their own pocket.
The situation can get more complicated because insurance companies often want to pay out as little as possible in these claims. They may offer a lump sum payment to an accident victim in return for their promise that no further claims will be pursued. The victim can either accept the offer or reject it, based on whether they think it’s fair or not.
This is frequently where someone might turn to an auto accident lawyer. They may feel they are entitled to a larger settlement and want professional help obtaining this. If a satisfactory settlement cannot be agreed upon or if they feel their rights have not been upheld, a car accident victim may also want their attorney to help them initiate a lawsuit.
What Types of Car Accidents Do We Handle?
At our Carmel car crash law firm, we help people who have been in many different kinds of car crashes. Some of the most common types of accidents include those listed here.
These crashes where two vehicles meet nose to nose are some of the rarest. Yet, these collisions often involve the highest percentage of fatalities, as well as serious head, neck, and spine injuries.
Rear-end collisions are very common, and you may have witnessed them yourself. Sometimes they happen when a vehicle has stalled or broken down in a traffic lane. A common cause is people driving too close to the vehicle in front of them (aka tailgating). Not leaving enough driving space is especially dangerous during inclement weather, like snow squalls that sometimes come out of nowhere around Carmel.
Fatal car accidents
Sadly, fatal car accidents are on the rise in Indiana and across the U.S. Excessive speed and driving under the influence are often major factors in these crashes (impaired driving caused more than a quarter of Indiana’s driving fatalities). Reckless driving, road rage, and distracted driving are also contributors. Statistically, being on the road during certain major holidays also increases your likelihood that a car accident will involve a fatality.
You might think of wrong-way accidents as the result of someone puttering down a quiet side street against the traffic. But more often than not, these accidents involve the party at fault speeding in the wrong direction down a major highway, which can cause disastrous results. Impaired driving, missing signs, and low-light conditions all contribute to these collisions. Some of the confusing highways and merges in Indiana are also factors.
Distracted driver accidents
We mentioned distracted driving above, but it bears repeating that this is an extremely common cause of accidents, including fatal ones (eight percent of fatal crashes in 2020 involved distractions). Types of distractions that precipitate accidents include:
- Texting or checking email
- Talking on the phone
- Chatting with passengers
- Adjusting the radio or GPS
- Reading directions on a map
- Applying makeup
- Dealing with children or pets
- Looking at the view
These things can cause visual, cognitive, and manual distractions, often simultaneously.
Vehicle rollovers can be some of the most catastrophic accidents, and they often produce the most serious injuries and long-term disabilities. Cars, vans, and trucks can roll over for a variety of reasons, including impact, slippery conditions, debris in the road, speeding, wind (especially in high-profile vehicles), and hitting a soft shoulder or having a wheel off the road (aka tripping).
Many accidents occur on the highways around Carmel and Hamilton County (listed above), which are in abundance here due to our proximity to the city of Indianapolis. Like rollover accidents, highway crashes can be more devastating by their nature. High speeds (up to 70 mph on many Indiana highways), a heavy volume of traffic, unsafe driving behavior, impaired driving, and road rage all factor into the seriousness of highway accidents.
Another contributor to highway accidents is the number of tractor-trailer vehicles we see around here, especially on Interstate 80. While you may see fewer semis on Interstate 70, you’ll likely encounter more construction there, which calls for reduced speeds and extra vigilance — something not all drivers heed. Interstate 65 carries a great deal of cross-country traffic, and therefore, you’ll see people driving above the speed limit, fatigue from long trips, and other accident causes. What is the most dangerous freeway in Indiana? That’s U.S. Highway 41, which also has a high volume of traffic and fast, aggressive motorists.
Uber and Lyft accidents
There are many different types of accidents that occur daily around Carmel involving rideshare vehicles. You may be a driver for Uber or Lyft and have been in an accident where another motorist was at fault. Or perhaps you were a passenger in a rideshare vehicle that was involved in an accident.
Another scenario is to have been a victim in an accident where a rideshare driver was responsible. While there are many good Uber and Lyft drivers, there are, of course, some who are not careful. There is also the urge to speed to get people to their destinations as quickly as possible and to move on to the next customer fast to make more money.
Rideshare accidents can be complicated to settle because of the insurance issues involved. If a driver wasn’t logged in at the time of the accident or if the company insurance refuses to pay, you may need a Carmel car accident attorney to help you sort things out.
Carmel is a suburb of Indianapolis, located just north of the capital city in southwestern Hamilton County. Originally called Bethlehem, Carmel was settled primarily by Quakers in the 1830s. The name change occurred in 1874 due to the naming of a post office in the town, and Bethlehem was already used elsewhere.
It’s interesting to write about car accidents in Carmel, as it was the site of one of the first automated traffic lights installed in the U.S. (at the corner of Main Street and Rangeline Road). Now, however, many traffic signals have been replaced by roundabouts, which are more efficient at moving vehicles but require knowledge and a little experience to use without endangering others.
Carmel’s proximity to Indianapolis has made it home to many corporate headquarters, including those of Liberty Mutual and Geico. Popular events there include the Rollfast Gran Fondo (a major cycling race), the Carmel Farmers Market, festivals in the Arts & Design District, and performances at Carmel City Center. Nature lovers enjoy the Kawachinagano Japanese Garden and Monon Trail, a multiuse project that converted an old railway line into public greenspace.
Car Wreck Attorneys in Carmel, Indiana
If you or a loved one has been in a car accident in the Carmel, Indiana area, you don’t need to try to resolve it on your own. Our Carmel car wreck attorneys can help make sure your rights are protected and you receive the insurance, settlement, or court damages to which you are entitled. We have the resources to pursue your case, so you can get back to your regular life and leave the legwork to us.
For a free case evaluation, call SLG Accident Attorneys at (317) 762-4186, or reach out online to let us know how we can assist you.
In addition to Carmel our car wreck attorneys serve Fishers, Noblesville, Greenwood, Indianapolis, and the greater Hamilton County area.