Navigating the aftermath of a car accident in Merrillville, Indiana, can be complicated. Even a minor crash may result in unforeseen issues with your insurance company and considerable expenses.

With car accidents being an unfortunate reality for many Merrillville residents, picture yourself commuting home from work, cruising past the Lake County Public Library, only to be T-boned on 81st street by a speeding driver in a race against a red light.

Alternatively, consider a scenario where, post a movie outing at Southlake Mall, you find yourself colliding head-on with a driver on the wrong lane of U.S. Hwy 30. These hypothetical situations underscore the potential hazards on Merrillville’s roads and the importance of having a Merrillville car accident lawyer to assist you in such instances.

Nearly 1500 Annual Car Crashes in Merrillville, Indiana

Car accidents in Merrillville, Indiana, are more than just isolated incidents; they form a persistent issue with significant consequences. Statistics from the Indiana University Public Policy Institute show that Merrillville witnessed nearly 1500 annual crashes, solidifying its status as one of the riskier areas for drivers in Lake County.

The report reveals that Merrillville had the unfortunate distinction of ranking third in the total number of crashes in Lake County in 2020. The broader Lake County context exposes a fluctuating trend in collisions from 2016 to 2020. The peak of 17,826 collisions in 2019 slightly decreased to 15,178 in 2020.

A concerning pattern our car accident attorneys in Merrillville see relates to age-related statistics. Drivers aged 15–20 exhibit a high collision rate of nearly 1 out every 10 licensed drivers. These alarming statistics demands attention, urging Merrillville residents and authorities to delve deeper into the root causes of these accidents.

Why Are There So Many Car Accidents in Merrillville?

Merrillville, Indiana, stands at the crossroads of a concerning accident epidemic, contributing to its high-ranking position in Lake County’s crash report. To comprehend the gravity of the situation, understanding the common causes of car crashes in Merrillville, Indiana, is crucial.

Human Error: A Dominant Factor

1. Distracted Driving: One of the leading culprits behind accidents, distracted driving, plays a significant role. Whether texting, answering calls, or indulging in a quick snack, these distractions divert attention, leading to potentially disastrous consequences.

2. Reckless Driving: Quick lane changes and tailgating contribute to unnecessary accidents. Our car accident lawyers in Merrillville recommend staying calm and alert on the road, as it is imperative to avoid the pitfalls of reckless driving.

3. Aggressive Driving: Weaving through traffic, blocking lanes, and erratic behavior put everyone at risk. Aggressive driving, akin to reckless behavior, can result in negative consequences for all involved.

4. Violating Traffic Laws: Disregarding traffic laws, such as running stop signs or red lights, accounts for a significant portion of accidents. Approximately 40% of accidents occur at intersections, emphasizing the importance of adhering to road rules.

5. Drunk Driving: Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs remains a pervasive issue. A quarter to a third of fatal accidents involve impairment, highlighting the dire consequences of such actions.

Other Contributing Factors

6. Weather Conditions: Slippery roads due to rain, snow, or ice, coupled with reduced visibility in fog, contribute to weather-related accidents. Opting to stay off the road during adverse weather conditions in Lake County is a prudent choice.

7. Road Conditions: Poorly maintained roads increase the risk of accidents. Potholes, debris, or inadequate road signage pose hazards that can lead to collisions.

8. Vehicle Defects: Malfunctions resulting from vehicle defects can have severe consequences. Regularly servicing vehicles and staying informed about recalls is essential to prevent accidents caused by mechanical failures.

If you need immediate legal assistance contact a Merrillville car accident lawyer at SLG Accident Attorneys today for a free case review.

Should I Get an Attorney For a Minor Car Accident in Merrillville?

In the aftermath of a seemingly minor car accident in Merrillville, the question of whether to seek legal assistance may arise. While not every accident demands immediate legal intervention, there are instances where consulting an attorney becomes crucial.

Hidden Dangers: The Importance of Immediate Evaluation

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) emphasize the potential hidden dangers of closed head injuries, including Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs). These injuries might not be immediately evident, with symptoms like vomiting, seizures, convulsions, and chronic headaches surfacing in the days and weeks following an accident. Immediate evaluation for head injuries is imperative, as the severity may surpass initial appearances.

Similarly, vehicle damage that seems minor initially can reveal significant issues upon a detailed inspection. Unseen damage within electronics, undercarriage, or the engine might not be apparent at first glance. Consulting with an experienced Merrillville car accident attorney allows you to explore your options and comprehend the best course of action.

Exploring Your Options with Legal Guidance

By engaging a Merrillville car accident attorney following a car crash, you embark on a journey to understand the extent of your options. A skilled attorney can assist in pursuing compensation for medical costs, vehicle repairs, missed wages, and other relevant aspects of your situation.

Moreover, legal counsel aids in comprehending the legal implications of the accident. In Indiana, reporting an accident is mandatory under specific circumstances, such as injuries, a hit-and-run, or more than $1,000 in vehicle damage.

Myths Debunked: Minor Accidents and Legal Consequences

Contrary to the myth that minor accidents do not lead to legal actions, individuals often initiate civil proceedings over seemingly minor incidents. The perception of the severity of an accident may vary, and the other party might be tallying losses such as missed work wages, mental health treatment costs, and ongoing suffering from chronic pain.

If faced with the question, “Should I get a lawyer for a minor car accident?” the answer leans towards affirmative, especially if the other party is holding you liable for significant costs. Seeking guidance from a car accident lawyer in Merrillville ensures you make informed decisions and navigate potential legal challenges seamlessly.

Indiana Laws to Know About After a Merrillville Car Accident

Indiana firmly stands as a “fault” state in terms of auto insurance laws. In simple terms, the at-fault driver and their insurance company bear the responsibility of covering all damages resulting from the accident. These damages encompass medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and pain and suffering compensation for the injured parties.

More Than One Person Can Be At-Fault

Contrary to a singular blame assignment, Indiana acknowledges scenarios where multiple parties share the fault for an accident. State law stipulates that while recovery of damages against any at-fault party is possible, the damages received will be proportionally reduced based on each party’s share of liability.

A crucial point to note: if your share of fault exceeds 50%, recovery of any compensation becomes impossible.

Example Scenario:

If Driver A was deemed 30% liable for an accident, they might be awarded $10,000 for their injuries. However, this compensation would be reduced by 30%, resulting in $7,000 from Driver B’s insurance. Driver B, found 70% at fault, would not be eligible for compensation from Driver A.

For more in depth details related to Indiana fault laws reach out to a car accident attorney in Merrillville for a free consultation.

Understanding Comparative Fault in Indiana

Indiana employs a legal doctrine known as modified comparative fault to assess blame after an accident. This system allows individuals to seek compensation as long as their fault for the accident is 50% or less. The assignment of exact percentages of fault is a subjective judgment call, emphasizing the importance of legal guidance.

Understanding these negligence laws in Indiana is pivotal, as it empowers individuals to make informed decisions and pursue fair compensation within Indiana’s legal framework.

The At-Fault Driver is Blaming Me For the Crash, What Do I Do?

Finding yourself unfairly accused of causing a car accident can be a challenging situation, but it’s essential to remember that it’s not an insurmountable one. In the event of false accusations, taking prompt and strategic actions can protect your rights and innocence. Here’s a comprehensive guide on what to do if you’re being blamed for an accident that you didn’t cause:

1. Gather as Much Evidence as You Can

The first crucial step after a car accident, even if you believe you’re not at fault, is to collect as much evidence as possible. This includes taking photos of the vehicles and the accident scene, exchanging contact and insurance information with the other driver, and obtaining details from any witnesses. Note the presence of security cameras or potential filming by witnesses. This evidence serves as a foundation to prove your innocence and strengthen your case.

2. Report the Incident to Your Insurance Company

Regardless of your perceived fault in the accident, reporting the incident to your insurance company promptly is very important. This preemptive action can safeguard your interests if the other driver attempts to file a claim against you. Share all collected information about the accident with your insurance provider. However, exercise caution with your statements, as even your own insurance company may use them against you. Avoid agreeing to recorded statements or providing detailed descriptions of injuries until consulting with a Merrillville car accident lawyer.

3. Call the Merrillville Police Department

If the accident is significant, the Merrillville police will likely be called to the scene. Obtain a copy of the police report, as it serves as valuable evidence in proving your innocence. In cases where the police were not called, filing a police report later can still contribute to establishing the factual account of the accident.

4. Seek Medical Attention

Even if you feel uninjured, seeking medical attention is crucial. Injuries not immediately apparent may manifest later. If paramedics are on the scene, allow them to examine you. For injuries with delayed onset, a thorough medical examination can substantiate your case and establish a connection between the accident and any health issues.

5. Get Ready to Fight

Prepare for the possibility of the other driver persistently blaming you despite evidence in your favor. Be willing to fight for your innocence, whether through legal proceedings or disputes with your insurance company. Engaging a car accident attorney in Merrillville can be instrumental in uncovering key evidence that refutes any unfounded claims against you.

6. Determining Liability

Insurance adjusters typically investigate accidents and assess liability. If you dispute their determination, the burden of proof shifts to you. Providing additional evidence, such as witness statements or surveillance footage, can support your claim. In complex cases, a legal representative becomes essential to navigate the intricacies of liability determination.

How Are Settlements Calculated For Car Accidents in Merrillville?

Indiana, a traditional “fault” or “tort” state, allows individuals injured in car accidents to seek compensation from the at-fault parties. The average car accident settlement in Merrillville varies based on the severity of injuries, and understanding the factors influencing these settlements is vital.

Average Settlement Amounts:

– Moderate Injury Claim: $38,960

– Payout Range: $4,757 (minor injuries) to $206,900 (severe injuries)

Severity of Injury and Settlements:

Understanding how the severity of injuries correlates with settlements is pivotal:

– Minor Injury: $4,800 (average)

– Moderate Injury: $38,359 (average)

– Severe Injury: $206,678 (average)

Types of Motor Vehicle Accidents and Settlements:

Different accidents lead to distinct settlement averages:

Side-Impact Collisions:
– Minor Injury: $4,800 (average)
– Moderate Injury: $39,100 (average)
– Severe Injury: $250,340 (average)

Rear-End Accidents:
– Minor Injury: $4,900 (average)
– Moderate Injury: $38,100 (average)
– Severe Injury: $190,300 (average)

Types of Car Accident Injuries and Settlements:

Considering the nature of injuries provides insights into settlement figures:

Neck and Back Injuries:
– Minor Injury: $5,050 (average)
– Moderate Injury: $36,500 (average)
– Severe Injury: $177,850 (average)

Head Injuries:
– Minor Injury: $10,200 (average)
– Moderate Injury: $31,500 (average)
– Severe Injury: $495,200 (average)

Calculating Settlements:

Several factors our Merrillville car accident lawyers see which contribute to determining settlement amounts include the scope of injuries and medical bills, lost wages, out-of-pocket expenses, and compensation for pain and suffering

Factors Influencing Payouts in Indiana:

Understanding the legal landscape in Indiana is crucial for a fair settlement:

  • Shared Fault: Indiana operates on a 51 percent comparative fault system.
  • Auto Policy Limits: Minimum liability limits for bodily injury and property damage.
  • Multiple Claimants: Ensuring adequate coverage for all injured parties.
  • Uninsured Motorist Coverage: Mandatory coverage with an option to reject in writing.
  • Commercial Policies: Elevated liability limits for commercial vehicles.
  • Punitive Damages: Indiana imposes caps on punitive damages.

Handling the Insurance Company After a Car Crash in Merrillville, Indiana

Our Merrillville car accident attorneys know that dealing with insurance companies can be frustrating, especially when you’re reeling from a car wreck. Despite their friendly façade, insurance companies prioritize their bottom line over your rights and well-being. Here’s an eye-opening guide on what you need to be wary of when handling insurance matters in Merrillville.

Insurers are Not Advocates for You

Despite catchy slogans claiming to be “like a good neighbor” or “on your side,” insurance agents are primarily focused on safeguarding the interests of the insurance company. They may appear helpful, but their loyalty lies with the corporation.

Know and Protect Your Rights

Insurance companies are not obligated to elucidate or safeguard your rights. Relying on them to do so might lead to misinformation and decisions that benefit the insurer at your expense. It’s crucial to be aware of the tactics commonly employed by insurance companies and how to counteract them.

Tactics Employed by Insurance Companies

Here are ten tactics insurance companies often use to minimize payouts and put you at a disadvantage:

  1. Pressuring for an “Official” Statement: Recorded statements can be used against you, especially if they contain errors or if an adjuster manipulates questions to trip you up.
  1. Pointing Out Reporting or Treatment “Gaps”: Insurers may exploit delays in reporting accidents or seeking medical treatment to diminish your claim’s value.
  1. Prolonging Investigations or Claims: Delays in processing claims can exert financial pressure on claimants, prompting them to accept lowball offers out of desperation.
  1. Faulting You for the Injury-Causing Event: Victim-blaming is a common tactic, particularly if you admit fault or if evidence establishing liability is unclear.
  1. Downplaying Your Injuries and/or Losses: Insurers may attempt to minimize damages by alleging pre-existing injuries or claiming you failed to mitigate losses.
  1. Standardized Formulas for Payouts: Insurance adjusters may use undisclosed formulas for settlement calculations, potentially offering less than deserved.
  1. Requesting Another Medical Opinion: Insurers might ask claimants to visit a doctor of their choosing, often aligned with the insurer’s interests.
  1. Surveillance: Claimants may be surveilled to verify the veracity of statements or catch activities that could undermine the claim.
  1. Mailing a Check with a Release of All Claims: Cashing a check without understanding the implications may lead to inadvertently accepting a settlement.
  1. Bringing in Legal Representation: Insurance companies often deploy experienced legal teams to dispute claims, making it a challenging battle for claimants.

To learn more about your rights speak with a Merrillville car accident lawyer at our law firm today. We offer free consultations.

Merrillville, Indiana

Nestled along Interstate 65 between 93rd and 101st avenues, Merrillville is experiencing a monumental shift with the Silos at Sanders Farm development—a colossal 1 million-square-foot project. The ambitious endeavor, is transforming the cityscape and has been a focal point since its initiation in August 2022.

Resources for Car Accident Victims in Merrillville

AAMCO Total Car Care – get expert repair and service for all your car care needs. From total repair after a crash, transmission repair, clutch service to computer diagnostics, they handle it all.

    American Complete Auto Repair – this family-oriented auto repair shop provides ASE certified technicians, free towing, shuttle service, and senior citizen discounts.

      Active Rehab & Wellness – supposedly experts in recovery, Active Rehab & Wellness focuses on replacing medications with physical activities to enhance the quality of life.

        Rehabilitation Care Associates – specializing in osteopractic physical therapy, they prioritize relieving pain, improving strength, and restoring function without resorting to addictive medications or unnecessary surgeries.

        Contact Us For a Free Case Evaluation

        In the face of unforeseen car crashes, our team of dedicated car accident attorneys in Merrillville stand ready to be your unwavering legal support. With a commitment to securing justice and ensuring you receive the compensation you rightfully deserve, we invite you to entrust us with your case.

        Our experienced professionals are here to guide you through the complexities of post-accident challenges, offering steadfast advocacy and personalized attention. We are here to ensure your rights are protected and you are fairly compensated.

        Locations near Merrillville we serve include South Bend, Evansville, Fort Wayne, Anderson, Greenfield, Schererville, Fishers, Carmel, Noblesville, Greenwood, Avon, Hammond, Gary, Highland, Munster, East Chicago, Portage, Lawrence, and more.