The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that the number of traffic fatalities across the country increased in the first half of 2022 compared to the same period in 2021. The numbers show that, despite cars with more advanced safety features, accidents remain dangerous. This is especially true on the highway.
Our Fishers highway accident lawyers have found that on Indiana roads, speed is one of the primary causes of accidents, along with impaired or distracted driving. On the highway, vehicles are all moving at high speeds, meaning it takes them longer to slow down.
Drivers also have to react more quickly to avoid incidents. In addition, when there are collisions at highway speeds, rollovers, crossing over the median into oncoming traffic, and other potentially disastrous incidents are possible, even with a minor side-to-side collision.
Here is a closer look at the causes and consequences of high-speed accidents in Fishers, Indiana, and how a highway accident attorney can help you receive fair compensation after such a collision.
Where Are These Accidents Happening?
As experienced Fishers car accident lawyers we can tell you that any highway can be dangerous. In Indiana, the interstate highway speed limit is 70 MPH, though this can drop to 55 MPH in urban centers.
Some interstate highways are notoriously accident-prone. Interstate 80, which crosses the entire state from the Illinois to Ohio borders, sees a lot of tractor-trailer traffic. With large blind spots, these trucks often cannot see cars when changing lanes or maneuvering. Meanwhile, Interstate 70, another west-east road, experiences a lot of road construction, meaning drivers need to pay attention to avoid barriers and brake suddenly.
North-south Interstate 65 is also a cross-country highway known for aggressive driving and vehicles traveling well above the 70 MPH speed limit. Finally, U.S. Highway 41 is arguably the most dangerous of Indiana’s freeways, seeing about 10 fatalities per year due to aggressive driving and a high volume of traffic.
Leading Factors Contributing to Highway Accidents
Several factors contribute to most auto accidents in Hamilton County, Indiana. A highway accident lawyer will tell you that speed and distracted, impaired, or aggressive driving account for most of their cases. However, factors beyond the driver’s control, such as bad weather or poor road conditions, can also cause collisions.
Here is a closer look at these factors.
- Speed. According to the NHTSA, 29% of all fatal accidents involve excessive speed. This includes cars driving over the posted speed limit or driving too fast for poor road conditions. At higher speeds, it takes longer to slow down, and drivers must react faster to avoid accidents.
- Driving under the influence. 30% of traffic fatalities occur when one of the drivers is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Impaired drivers have poor decision-making abilities, and they are unable to react in time to avoid accidents. In Indiana, you are impaired if your blood alcohol content (BAC) is 0.08% or higher.
- Distracted driving. Distracted driving, which involves looking away from the road to do something else, such as send a text message or change the radio station, causes more than 3,000 fatalities in the U.S. each year. In Indiana, it is illegal to use your cell phone while driving unless it is in hands-free mode. A car crash lawyer can help you get compensation if the other driver in an accident was using their phone illegally at the time of the collision.
- Poor road conditions. Fishers, Indiana sees fog, rain, snow, ice, and high winds. Drivers can lose control in these conditions. Even though the weather is beyond the driver’s control, they still need to adjust their speed and maneuvers to account for the bad road conditions.
A Fishers personal injury lawyer can help you collect evidence and build a case using the different factors that contributed to your incident.
Proving Reckless or Negligent Driving
If you wish to file a claim in Indiana, you need to work with a highway accident attorney to prove that another driver was reckless or negligent and that their recklessness or negligence caused your accident and injuries.
Here are the types of evidence that an auto accident attorney can use to help prove fault.
- Police report. You should always call the police after an accident. Investigators will reconstruct the accident and report their findings in a written document. You can use this as evidence in a civil personal injury case.
- Witnesses. You should take the names and contact details of witnesses at the scene. Your highway accident attorney can get statements from these people if needed to support your case.
- Videos. Videos of the incident may be available from security cameras, traffic feeds, dashcams, or the cell phones of bystanders.
- Experts. Auto, safety, or driving experts can testify on your behalf in a personal injury case to help prove your actions were correct or reasonable, or someone else’s was negligent. You can also rely on technical experts to prove faulty automotive parts or a poorly calibrated speedometer.
- Medical reports. You should always visit a doctor after an accident to get an expert opinion on your injuries. The written report the doctor provides can prove the extent of the damage in court if needed.
You may also take images of the scene if it is safe to do so after the accident.
If the Accident Was Not My Fault, Do I Still Need a Lawyer?
You might think that you only need a car accident injury attorney if you are at fault for a traffic incident. However, there are several reasons to work with a lawyer, even if you are the victim of a highway collision.
- The insurance company does not give you fair compensation. Sometimes, insurers will try to settle quickly for a lower amount of money. An auto accident lawyer can help ensure you get fair compensation and even negotiate on your behalf.
- The insurer or other driver claims you are partially responsible. Indiana has a comparative negligence law, which means your award is diminished if you are partially to blame for an accident. Insurers or a car wreck lawyer for the defendant may try to prove partial fault to limit their client’s liability. Your highway accident lawyer can help build a defense against these accusations.
- You suffered significant injuries. If you were severely injured as a result of an accident, your compensation should go beyond basic medical and property damage costs. You can pursue an award for lost income in the present and future, pain and suffering, and your loss of the ability to perform normal duties for your family.
- The fault is unclear. If you do not think you were at fault, but this fact is disputed, you can hire an auto accident lawyer to build a case arguing that you are the victim of negligence.
Also, you may simply want a car injury attorney to handle the details of your settlement so that you can focus on recovery from your injuries.
How Do I File a Claim After an Indiana Car Accident?
After a car accident in Hamilton County, Indiana, you should contact law enforcement right away and receive medical treatment if needed.
Indiana is an at-fault state. This means the victim of a highway accident can bring the claim directly to the negligent driver’s insurance company. Each driver is required to have liability insurance to cover accidents where they are at fault.
The insurance company will either admit the fault of the driver and pay the claim, contest it, or ask you to make a statement before providing any coverage. You should speak with a car accident injury attorney before talking to the insurer.
How Do I Handle My Insurance Company After a Highway Crash?
Dealing with insurers can be tricky. They are obligated to cover the cost of your damage and injuries after a highway accident, but their primary goal is to make money for their stakeholders. Therefore, they will often try to do as little as possible to meet their obligations.
Insurers may try to settle quickly before you can fully calculate damages, such as income lost from being unable to work.
When dealing with insurers, you should always provide the necessary evidence, including medical reports. However, you should never make any statements except to rely on the facts of the accident. If the insurer asks you to make additional statements, you should only do so after consulting a highway accident lawyer.
Likewise, if you are given a document to sign, you should have your lawyer look it over before you add your signature.
Highway Accident Law Firm in Fishers, Indiana
SLG accident attorneys have the experience to represent you in personal injury cases in Fishers and the wider Hamilton County, Indiana area. We handle all types of auto accidents, including severe incidents that occur on the highway. Our firm does not rely on a high volume of clients. Instead, we focus on investing the time necessary for each case, just as our clients invest trust in our lawyers to pursue the best possible result from their personal injury case.
If you were injured in a highway accident in Fishers, Indiana or the wider Hamilton County area, contact SLG Accident Attorneys today for a consultation. We do not take fees unless we win your case.
Some of the locations in and around Hamilton County which our Fishers personal injury law firm serves include: Carmel, Noblesville, Greenwood, Indianapolis, and more.