As a busy city with roughly 77,000 residents, and with heavy traffic from residents as well as commuters from Chicago and Michigan on Interstate 90, the I-80/94 Borman Expressway, and U.S. Route 41, the likelihood of car accidents in Hammond, Indiana is high. If you have been injured in an accident reach out to our Hammond car accident lawyers today.
At SLG Accident Attorneys, we know that experiencing a car accident can bring about drastic changes in your life, from debilitating injuries to significant financial burdens. Occupants involved in such accidents can endure severe injuries, leading to prolonged hospital stays, surgical procedures, and a seemingly endless journey to recovery.
Moreover, a car accident can have lasting financial implications. Expenses for vehicle repair or replacement can escalate rapidly, and medical bills can become overwhelmingly high. Despite our best efforts to stay safe on the roads, the risk of an accident due to the negligence of another driver is ever-present.
While it’s legally mandatory for all motorists to carry insurance, many individuals don’t, and even when they do it often doesn’t fully cover the financial impact of an accident. Whether you are a resident or are a commuter who has been involved in an out-of-state car accident and require local representation, our Hammond car accident attorneys are here to pursue the compensation you rightfully deserve.
Thousands of Collisions Every Year in Hammond, Indiana
Traffic accidents are a significant issue across the entire state of Indiana, including Hammond and the rest of Lake County.
Indiana witnesses thousands of accidents annually, resulting in injuries and, in some unfortunate instances, fatalities. Factors contributing to these accidents range from distracted driving and impaired driving to speeding.
According to the latest available official records, Lake County had a total of 15,178 collisions in 2020, with 2,171 having been caused by speed-related factors. Hammond ranked second in the total number of collisions per municipality in Lake County that same year. Hammond recorded 2,964 collisions overall, second only to that of the city of Gary, which had 3,183.
How Are These Accidents Happening?
As experienced car accident lawyers in Hammond, we can tell you that crashes are unfortunately common occurrences, often resulting from a multitude of factors.
With its bustling traffic and strategic location, Hammond sees a substantial amount of vehicular movement daily, a substantial portion of which involves commuters traveling to and from Chicago.
This constant ebb and flow of vehicles, especially on major highways like I-90, I-80/94, and U.S. Route 41, contributes significantly to the occurrence of accidents. Here are some common causes:
- Drunk Driving: In 2021, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that 13,384 people died from alcohol-impaired driving traffic accidents.
- Aggressive Driving: Drivers in a rush often exhibit aggressive behaviors such as tailgating, swerving between lanes, and excessive speeding. Although difficult to quantify, these behaviors drastically increase the likelihood of accidents.
- Speeding: Categorized under aggressive driving, speeding continues to be a major cause of vehicular crashes in the country. According to the NHTSA, speeding has been involved in approximately one-third of all motor vehicle fatalities for more than two decades, and it continues to be a significant issue nationwide, including in Indiana.
- Tailgating: Considered to be another type of aggressive driving behavior, tailgating reduces the distance between two vehicles on the road significantly. It happens when the driver at the rear drives too closely to the vehicle in front of them. While national statistics on tailgating-related accidents are not directly available, it is considered a common cause of rear-end collisions.
- Distractions: Distracted driving is a leading cause of accidents. In 2021, there were 3,522 fatalities reported because of distracted driving. Distractions can include anything from mobile phone usage to eating while driving or even talking to other passengers.
- Running Red Lights: Per the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), red-light running caused 1,109 deaths nationwide in 2021.
- Missed Exits: In an attempt not to miss their exits, drivers often make sudden lane changes, leading to potential collisions.
What Types of Accidents our Hammond Car Accident Attorneys Handle
Accidents can take on various forms, including but not limited to:
- Rear-End Collisions: Often a result of tailgating or sudden braking, rear-end collisions are a frequent type of accident.
- Side-Impact Collisions (T-Bone): These can occur when drivers try to merge without proper clearance or misjudge distances while turning. It happens when the front of one vehicle hits the side of another.
- Head-On Collisions: Considered the most dangerous form of vehicular accident, head-on collisions often result from distractions, impairment, or reckless driving.
- Speeding Accidents: Excessive speed reduces a driver’s reaction time and increases both the likelihood and severity of accidents. With many driver’s treating I-90, Indiana State Road 152 and State Road 312 like they are racetracks it is no surprise these accidents occur.
- Distracted Driving Accidents: Any diversion that takes a driver’s attention off the road can lead to serious accidents.
- Vehicle Rollover: A rollover occurs when a vehicle flips over onto its side or roof. This can happen due to sharp turns at high speed, collisions, or tripping (e.g., when a vehicle’s tire hits a curb or bump at high speed).
- Single-Vehicle Accidents: These occur when only one vehicle is involved. Common causes include loss of control, poor weather conditions, hitting obstacles, or running off the road.
- Multi-Vehicle Pile-ups: These are accidents involving multiple vehicles, often occurring on highways or freeways due to poor visibility, high speeds, or domino reactions from another accident.
- Hit-and-Run Accidents: These are accidents where one of the parties leaves the scene without providing their information or rendering help as needed.
- Wrong-Way Driving: This often results from driver confusion, which can be due to several factors such as poor road signage, complex road layouts, or the driver being unfamiliar with the roadway. Other common causes include impaired driving (due to alcohol, drugs, or medical emergencies), distracted driving, and older age (as aged drivers are more likely to get confused or disoriented).
Proving Fault After a Car Accident in Lake County
Proving fault after a car accident in Hammond involves demonstrating that another driver’s negligence directly resulted in the accident and any subsequent injuries or damages. This process can be intricate and challenging, especially for someone unversed in the specifics of the law.
Below are some key points to understand when establishing fault after a car crash:
- Negligence: To establish fault, you must first prove that the other driver was negligent. Negligence can take several forms, such as speeding, distracted driving, or failing to comply with traffic laws.
- Causation: After proving negligence, you must demonstrate that the driver’s negligence directly caused the accident. For instance, if a driver ran a red light (negligence) and hit your car, causing you to sustain injuries, you must prove that your injuries were a direct result of the collision caused by the driver’s negligence.
- Damages: Lastly, you must show that you suffered damages as a result of the accident. Damages can include physical injuries, mental anguish, property damage, and financial losses due to medical bills and lost wages.
However, certain challenges can arise during this process. For example, insurance companies can be difficult to deal with. They may try to downplay the extent of your injuries or the negligence of their policyholder to minimize the payout.
This is why it’s often beneficial to seek the assistance of a knowledgeable Hammond car accident lawyer who can guide you through the legal process, gather necessary evidence, handle communication with insurance companies, and ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.
What Is Indiana’s Comparative Negligence Rule?
Indiana employs a legal principle called “comparative negligence” in personal injury cases, including those involving car accidents. This rule takes into account the degree of fault attributed to each party involved in an accident when deciding compensation. Here’s how it works:
Under Indiana’s comparative negligence rule, liability for an accident can be shared among the parties involved. Each party is assigned a percentage of the blame based on their contribution to the accident.
The compensation a party is eligible to receive will be reduced by their percentage of fault. For instance, if you are found to be 30% responsible for an accident and your total damages amount to $10,000, you would only be entitled to recover $7,000 (or 70% of your total damages).
It’s important to note that Indiana follows the “modified” comparative negligence rule, which means that if you are found to be 50% or more at fault for the accident, you will not be entitled to recover any damages.
Proving liability under this rule can be complex and involves several steps:
Gathering Evidence: Collect substantial evidence to show that the other party was at fault. This can include police reports, witness statements, photos or videos from the scene, medical reports linking your injuries to the accident, and more.
Establishing Negligence: Demonstrate that the other party was negligent and that their negligence directly led to the accident.
Determining Degree of Fault: Argue your case in such a way as to limit your degree of fault. Remember, the greater your degree of fault, the less compensation you will be entitled to.
With these difficulties in mind, it would be in your best interest to consult with a knowledgeable Hammond car accident attorney who’s familiar with Indiana’s comparative negligence rule and can effectively advocate on your behalf.
Damages You Can Collect After a Car Crash
Following a car crash, there are several categories of damages you may be entitled to collect, depending on the circumstances of the accident and the extent of your injuries. These include:
- Medical Expenses: This covers costs for hospital stays, surgeries, doctor visits, medication, rehabilitation therapy, and any future medical costs related to the accident.
- Lost Wages: If your injuries prevent you from working, either temporarily or permanently, you can seek compensation for the wages you’ve lost and, potentially, future earning capacity.
- Property Damage: This includes the cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle and any other personal property damaged in the accident.
- Pain and Suffering: You may also be entitled to compensation for physical pain and mental suffering endured as a result of the accident. This category can also cover emotional distress and loss of enjoyment of life.
- Wrongful Death Damages: In the tragic event that a car crash results in death, the decedent’s family may be entitled to damages, including funeral and burial expenses, loss of financial support, and loss of companionship.
- Determining Fault: Each driver’s actions will be scrutinized to determine their respective levels of fault. This could involve examining police reports, vehicle damage, witness statements, and any other available evidence.
- Shared Liability: Each at-fault party is responsible for their percentage of the total damages. For instance, if Driver A is found to be 50% at fault, Driver B 30%, and Driver C 20%, they would each be responsible for their respective percentages of the total damages.
- Recovering Damages: You may file claims against each driver’s insurance policy up to their policy limits. If damages exceed these limits, you may need to explore other avenues for compensation.
What If There Was More Than One Person at Fault?
In a situation where more than one person is at fault in a multi-vehicle accident scenario, things can get complicated. Indiana’s comparative negligence rule still applies, but the process of determining fault becomes more complex.
It’s crucial to consult with an experienced Hammond car accident lawyer in multi-vehicle accident cases. They can help you navigate the complex process of establishing fault, deal with multiple insurance companies, and ensure you receive the compensation you’re entitled to.
Am I Required To Speak With the Other Driver’s Insurance Companies?
If you’re a victim in a car accident, know that you have certain rights when dealing with the other drivers’ insurance companies. Here are a few key points to remember:
- You are not legally required to speak with the other driver’s insurance company.
- You have the right to have your lawyer communicate on your behalf.
- You may refuse when insurance adjusters ask you to give a recorded statement.
- Report the accident to your own insurance company promptly.
Protect your rights. Before discussing the accident with any insurance company, consider consulting with a car accident lawyer in Hammond for guidance and support.
Remember, an insurance company’s primary goal is often to minimize the amount they have to pay out. Therefore, having professional legal representation is essential in securing fair compensation.
Out-of-State Car Accident Jurisdiction
Dealing with a car accident can be stressful, and the situation becomes even more complex when it occurs out of state.
For people commuting from Illinois, Michigan, or any other state who get into a car accident in Indiana, there are some critical aspects to consider, such as the jurisdiction, the filing of insurance claims, and having to deal with multiple insurance adjusters.
Whether you’re a resident of Lake County or some other part of Indiana or an out-of-state driver who had an accident within Indiana borders, seeking the guidance of a Hammond car accident attorney can help.
They will be familiar with the state’s specific laws, court procedures, and insurance regulations, so they can help you navigate the complexities of your situation and work toward securing the compensation you’re entitled to.
Serving Hammond, Indiana
Hammond, IN, a vibrant city in Lake County, enjoys a strategic location in the northwestern region of Indiana, placing it at the doorstep of both Michigan and Illinois, including the bustling city of Chicago, which is about 30 miles away.
While the city itself has a lot to offer both residents and visitors and is brimming with Midwestern charm and diverse attractions, you may find yourself in the unfortunate situation of having gotten into a car crash there.
In the event of an accident you can depend on the following Hammond establishments for reliable and professional services:
- M&M Car Care Center Inc. and Auto Masters for all kinds of auto repair services
- Martinez Auto Body LLC provides auto body and collision repair, auto painting, emission tests, alignments, engine work, electric work, suspensions, insurance, etc.
- Rush Physical Therapy for the treatment of various types of pain and injuries.
Contact SLG Accident Attorneys Today
Whether you have been in a minor accident downtown while visiting the Towle Theater or getting a bite to eat, or were rear-ended outside the Horseshoe Hammond, or are commuting in from Chicago for work, our team of experienced car accident lawyers in Hammond, Indiana, are committed to aiding you in this challenging time.
Reach out today for a free comprehensive legal consultation.
In addition to Hammond, some of the locations our attorneys serve includes Gary, Highland, Munster, East Chicago, Fishers, Carmel, Noblesville, Greenwood, Indianapolis, Crown Point, Hobart, Merrillville, Portage, and more.
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