Have you been involved in a recent car accident in Munster, Indiana? Are you considering making a claim for your injuries, distress, and loss of earnings? Perhaps you’re tragically in the position of making a claim on behalf of a loved one who can’t do this for themselves.
Don’t leave your payout to chance – hire a highly qualified, experienced Munster car accident lawyer who understands the law inside and out and knows how to fight for you to get the compensation you deserve.
Maybe you’re a Munster resident who has to use the Borman Expressway to get to work in Chicago, and you’ve gotten into a crash. Perhaps you were on Calumet Avenue, on your way to pick up groceries from Jewel-Osco, and a distracted driver hit you. Even if you were hit in the parking lot at Munster High School, you could still be entitled to compensation.
Whatever the circumstances of your accident, and whether you were a driver or a passenger when the incident occurred, our car accident attorneys in Munster are here to fight for you. We aren’t afraid to take on the insurance companies and help to compensate you for what you’ve suffered.
What You Need to Know About Munster Car Accidents
Anyone who knows Munster knows how terrible the traffic is in this part of Indiana. With workers crossing the border to and from Chicago to work every day, the main highways in and around Munster get extremely busy, particularly the Borman Expressway, I-80/94, US 41, I-65, Route 12, and Route 20. Sadly, car accidents are commonplace here.
In 2020, there were 15,178 traffic collisions in Lake County. Tragically, 53 of these resulted in fatalities. A further 1,610 people ended up with incapacitating injuries that would change their lives temporarily or permanently. Common causes of accidents here were speeding and driving under the influence of alcohol.
Whatever the circumstances of your crash, you need to ensure you’re getting the right legal advice from a professional Munster car accident lawyer. It doesn’t matter if your injuries are major or relatively minor – you deserve to be compensated, and it’s much easier to achieve this with proper legal representation.
How Do You Prove Fault in a Car Crash in Munster, Indiana?
If you’re injured in a car accident in Indiana, the party proven to be at fault is legally responsible for compensating you for your injuries or any other discomfort, distress, or inconvenience you may have suffered as a result of the crash. But, even if it seems obvious to you which party was at fault, things don’t always run smoothly when it comes to accident claims.
Proving fault in car accidents is often a long, drawn-out, and difficult process. No insurance company wants to pay out in the event of a crash, so they’ll go to extreme lengths to prove that their client wasn’t at fault. It’s important that you understand a little of how the law works and what your legal rights are, so you can be prepared and understand the case.
The law in Indiana generally says that the driver who caused the accident through carelessness or negligence is at fault. Some examples of careless and negligent driving include:
- Driving under the influence
- Not paying due attention
It’s worth mentioning here that, to win a civil case, you only need to prove that the other driver caused the accident – you don’t have to prove the reason why. Say, for example, the other driver was speeding. You don’t need to prove how fast they were going, or even that they were speeding at all; simply that they caused the accident through careless driving.
However, many cases are not this clear-cut. For example, if the collision happened at an intersection or turning left or right, it’s often unclear which driver would be considered negligent if neither of them was drunk, speeding, or demonstrating any other careless behavior. In cases like this, a thorough investigation is needed, taking all the circumstances into account.
There are also cases where multiple parties are judged to be at fault for the accident. Even if you’re deemed partially responsible, you may still be entitled to compensation. Indiana law uses a principle called modified comparative negligence, with what’s known as the 51% rule. This means if you’re deemed partially responsible but the accident was less than 51% your fault, you can still get compensation, but your award will be reduced by the percentage that the accident was judged to be your fault. So, if you’re 10% responsible, you’ll still receive 90% of the total compensation.
What If the Other Driver Didn’t Stop?
All responsible drivers know that you’re supposed to stop at the scene of a crash. However, not all drivers abide by this rule. Sadly, as car accident lawyers in Munster, we know that hit-and-run accidents are quite common in Munster. In 2020, Lake County was in the top four areas in the state for the highest rates of this type of accident.
There are several types of ‘Failure to Stop’ accidents. These include:
- Another driver hitting your car while you’re in it;
- Another driver hitting your car while you’re not in it;
- A driver hitting a pedestrian, cyclist, or other road user.
So, what can you do if you’ve been involved in any of these types of incidents and the other driver hasn’t stopped at the scene or left their details?
Indiana law states that it’s illegal for a driver to leave the scene of an accident they’re involved in. The driver responsible for the accident is legally obliged to:
- Stop at the scene immediately while causing minimal obstruction to other traffic;
- Show their driver’s license and give their name, address, and vehicle registration details to everyone else involved in the accident;
- Attempt to give reasonable assistance to anyone injured in the accident, as directed by a 911 operator, police officer, or medical professional;
- Make sure they or someone else at the scene has called 911 if there are any injuries or deaths at the scene.
Any driver who has failed to stop at the scene of an accident they’ve been involved in and hasn’t taken the steps above is committing a Class B misdemeanor known as Leaving the Scene of an Accident. The misdemeanor becomes a Class A if anyone was injured in the accident. The charges increase in severity depending on the circumstances, for example:
- Leaving the scene when someone was seriously injured, or the driver has been charged with a similar offense in the last five years, is a Level 6 felony.
- Leaving the scene if someone was killed is a Level 5 felony.
- If the fleeing driver is drunk or on drugs, and someone was seriously injured or killed in the accident, this is a Level 3 felony.
Of course, if caught, the fleeing driver is likely to get a jail sentence or a heavy fine and be responsible for your compensation. However, many hit-and-run drivers are never caught. So, what can you do if you’ve been hit by a driver who has fled the scene?
In cases like this, when the fleeing driver hasn’t been caught, you will likely have to rely on your own insurance coverage. You should also ensure you have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage on your car insurance policy, as this can cover injuries up to $25,000 if you’re injured in a hit-and-run. However, if you don’t have this coverage, there are other ways you can have your costs covered, such as by your personal injury protection or medical insurance.
The Benefits of Hiring a Knowledgeable Munster Car Accident Lawyer
So, you know you need a car accident lawyer in Munster, Indiana. But what will they actually do for you? An experienced attorney can do a lot for you if you’ve been involved in a crash.
- They’re on your side. The primary role of an attorney is to get justice for you and make sure you get the proper compensation for your injuries.
- They help you understand the law. Your Munster car accident attorney will know the Indiana legal system inside and out. They’ll help you understand how the law applies to your case and what your legal rights are.
- They’ll conduct a thorough investigation. Part of your legal representative’s job is to gather all the evidence related to the case to help you prove that the other party was at fault.
- They work out what you’re entitled to. Your Munster car accident lawyer will look at various factors, including your injuries, emotional distress you’ve suffered, time off work leading to loss of earnings, and much more. Your lawyer’s knowledge of the law will enable them to determine exactly how much compensation you should be entitled to.
- They deal with the other party’s insurers. The other side’s insurance company will usually start by making you an offer that’s way too low. Your attorney will negotiate with the other party’s insurers to get the fairest possible settlement for you.
- They can even represent you in court. Most car accident cases don’t get as far as going to court. However, if the other party’s insurers refuse to settle, the case could end up in front of a judge. If this happens, your attorney will represent you in court and guide you through the process.
How Much Does It Cost to Hire an Attorney?
Most car accident cases don’t work the same way as other cases, so car accident attorneys don’t charge for their services by the hour. Instead, they charge a “contingency fee.” This means you won’t have to pay anything for your legal representation if you lose the case, although you may have to pay for other expenses, such as court costs.
If you win, your Munster car accident lawyer takes a percentage of the money you’re awarded in your settlement or court case. This is usually 33%, but it can vary depending on the circumstances and complexity of the case. It can usually be between 25% and 40%, and it’s likely to be lower if your case is settled without going to court.
Your attorney will explain all this to you at the beginning of the process, and it’s perfectly OK to negotiate for a lower contingency fee percentage.
I’m From Out of State, and the Crash Happened in Indiana, What Do I Do?
The highways of Munster, Indiana, are filled with commuters from Illinois and Michigan traveling to and from work. This means many of the accidents here involve claimants who are based out of state. If this applies to you, you’ll need a car accident attorney in Munster experienced with out-of-state car accident jurisdiction who understands state law and can explain to you how it works.
If you live in another state but are injured in a crash in Indiana, you might be able to sue in either Indiana or the state where the other driver lives. This all comes down to the concept of jurisdiction.
Two types of jurisdiction apply to car accident cases:
- Subject matter jurisdiction is where a state has jurisdiction over the topic of a case and the resolution being sought.
- Personal jurisdiction is where a state has jurisdiction over the people involved in the case.
In order to hear your case in Indiana, the court has to have both types of jurisdiction. So, if the other party is a resident of Indiana, your case can automatically be heard in Indiana. If the other party lives in a different state, personal jurisdiction will depend on their connection to Indiana. If they work here, own property here, or even drive here, there’s a good chance your case can be heard in an Indiana court.
Serving Munster, Indiana
If you’re unfortunate enough to be injured in a car accident in Munster, IN, the area is well-served with medical facilities and support services you can rely on. Here are a few organizations you should be aware of in case you need to use them.
Franciscan Health Hospital
The 63-bed Franciscan Health Hospital specializes in heart care, orthopedic surgery, and other specialist medical services. You can find this award-winning acute-care facility on Superior Avenue in the heart of Munster.
Dedicated to serving the residents of Northwest Indiana, the Community Hospital, located on MacArthur Blvd, has the latest technology and an expert team of specialist medical professionals, enabling them to provide the best care for all patients.
Physionique Physical Therapy
If you’ve been injured in a car accident, getting back on your feet can take time. The team at Physionique Physical Therapy is here to assist you in your recovery. This versatile provider lets you choose whether you want to be seen at their Whitehall Gdn clinic or in the comfort of your own home.
Atletico Physical Therapy
Located on Calumet Avenue, Atletico Physical Therapy offers a wide range of physical therapy and orthopedic rehabilitation services. If you’ve been in a car crash, they’re here to help you regain mobility.
Contact a Munster Car Accident Attorney Today
If you’re looking for an expert car accident lawyer in Munster, Indiana, look no further than SLG Accident Attorneys. Whatever the scale and circumstances of your case, we’ll be with you every step of the way. Our specialist team has all the experience and knowledge to offer you the support you need at this vulnerable time. We’ll fight to get you the best possible outcome and ensure you get the compensation you deserve.
Call us today at (317) 751-1361, or contact us online – we’re here to help you take control of your future.
In addition to Munster, some of the locations our attorneys serve includes Hammond, Gary, East Chicago, Highland, Fishers, Carmel, Noblesville, Greenwood, Indianapolis, Crown Point, Hobart, Merrillville, Portage, and more.
ADDITIONAL CAR ACCIDENT RESOURCES