A driver going the wrong way on an interstate or busy road can have devastating consequences. Wrong-way accidents can be terrifying, and they can cause catastrophic injuries. This is why it’s essential to call your Fishers wrong-way accident lawyer as soon as possible.
These accidents are particularly concerning in Indiana — the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety reported a 230% increase in Indiana wrong-way accidents from 2015 to 2018. This is six times the national average, and the national average only increased by 32% in the same timeframe.
Also, our wrong way accident attorneys note that according to the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration), between January and September 2020 in Indiana, 639 people died in car accidents. From January to September 2021, this number jumped by 9% to 699 deaths. For 2022, the numbers look even worse. In January and February of this year, Indiana had 22 more car accident deaths than in 2019.
Since wrong-way accidents can have devastating consequences for everyone involved, you must enlist the help of a dedicated wrong-way accident attorney. At our personal injury law firm, our Fishers car accident lawyers have years of experience helping our clients in Hamilton County understand their rights.
We’ll guide them through the negotiation process with the insurance companies and help build a case to ensure they get the compensation they need and deserve.
Why Are There So Many Wrong Way Crashes in Indiana?
The interstates in Indiana aren’t immune from these types of car accidents, partly due to the extensive range of interstates that run through the state, like I-64 and I-65. These are prime locations for wrong-way car accidents, and a quick Google search will pull up many stories.
Interstate 265 had a wrong-way crash in March 2020 when an SUV drove on I-65 S and started to merge onto I-265 W. This put the SUV traveling west in an eastbound lane. The SUV eventually collided with a Cavalier that had two adult women and their children inside, and one of the children and both women died. The other child and the driver of the SUV had severe injuries, and alcohol was widely believed to be a factor in the accident.
In May of the same year, there was another wrong-way crash on I-70 in Indiana when an elderly driver went the wrong way and had a head-on collision with a semi. The driver in the wrong-way vehicle died in the accident, and neither alcohol nor drugs were believed to factor into the collision.
Due to the fatal and traumatic injuries people sustain in wrong-way accidents, it’s critical that you go over every aspect of your case with your personal injury attorney. Not only will this give you a better understanding of the crash as a whole, but it can also give you insight into your potential damages claim.
If the Accident Wasn’t My Fault,
Do I Still Need an Attorney?
In some situations, you may try to handle your car accident yourself. But, even if the accident wasn’t your fault, several factors will make it more likely that you’ll need the guidance of an experienced car wreck lawyer. These include:
Dispute Over Who Was At Fault for the Accident
You may know that the driver was at fault for your accident, but the other driver may claim it’s your fault. In turn, there will be an ongoing investigation by each person’s insurance company. If enough monetary damages are on the table, your case may involve litigation. Hiring a car accident injury attorney may be necessary if neither side will admit fault for the accident.
Harassment From the Insurance Company
Sometimes, a car insurance company is challenging and may even act in bad faith. For example, they may ask you to jump through several hoops to get your settlement check, or they may delay the accident decision. In some cases, the insurance company might downplay the evidence that proves the accident wasn’t your fault, especially if you make a third-party claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
Significant Losses Resulted From Your Accident
Suppose anyone in a wrong-way car accident sustained significant property damage or serious injuries. In that case, you’d want to reach out to an auto accident lawyer in Hamilton County, even if you were just visiting Fishers, or if the crash wasn’t your fault. If you attempt to make a large claim to cover your losses, the at-fault driver’s insurance company may claim that your losses are more minor than you claim or dispute the driver’s liability.
If the other driver has significant damages, they may claim it’s your fault. An auto accident attorney is a good idea when dealing with insurance companies, even if the insurance agents want to work with you.
If you accept the settlement from the insurance company, you can’t sue the other driver. You want to review your losses against the settlement terms first to ensure that it’s enough, and an attorney can help guide you through this process.
State Fault Rules Can be Challenging
In almost every car accident case, negligence forms the basis of liability as a fault theory. However, negligence doesn’t have to lie solely with one driver. If the case goes to trial, the judge or jury must use the state’s fault rules to determine how much both parties were at fault. There are two primary negligence theories:
- Modified Comparative Negligence – Whether you can recover damages depends on your degree of fault for the accident and whether it exceeds a set threshold. In Indiana, the state follows the 51% fault system. So, if the judge awards you $100,000 in damages and you’re 25% at fault, you’ll get $75,000. However, if you’re 55% at fault, you get nothing.
- Pure Comparative Negligence – Even if you were more at fault for the accident, you could recover damages. But, if the judge awards you $100,000 in damages but finds you 45% at fault for the accident, you’ll only get $55,000.
Since these are very tricky laws to navigate, you want to retain a car injury lawyer to ensure you get the best possible outcome and understand the litigation process.
What Type of Settlement Can I Expect From My Wrong Way Accident Case?
This is a very tough question without knowing the details of your specific case. Settlements for car accidents can vary, and how severe an injury is will be one of the most significant factors in helping determine your compensation.
For example, if you have severe injuries, you may get upwards of $300,000. On the other hand, if you have minor injuries, you may get a $2,000 payout.
The amount of money available also factors in. For example, if the insurance company has limited bodily injury liability, this can make what was a $325,000 settlement drop to $10,000. You want to retain a car injury lawyer because they can look for all your insurance coverage options.
Wrong Way Fatal Car Accidents and “Wrongful Death”
Wrongful death is a legal claim that comes about when someone dies directly from another person’s reckless, negligent, or intentional act. Pedestrian deaths and car accidents are some of the most common wrongful death lawsuits causes. In a wrongful death fatal car accident suit, family members of the victim have to prove that the at-fault driver demonstrated reckless or negligent behavior at the time of the accident. Here are some good examples of driver carelessness:
- Distracted driving
- Driving without having a valid driver’s license
- Drunk driving
- Failure to yield
- Running a red light or stop sign
Everyone on the road has a duty of care to other motorists, including pedestrians, cyclists, and other drivers. Anyone disobeying traffic laws can face the consequences of their actions and be held liable, including in wrongful death lawsuits.
I Was Hit by an Uninsured/Underinsured Driver. What Do I Do?
If an uninsured or underinsured driver hits you in Indiana, state laws allow you to hold them liable for any damages from the accident. Generally speaking, you have three main options to help you pay your bills, and a knowledgeable wrong-way accident lawyer can help you decide which avenue is best for your needs. You can choose to:
- File a claim using your uninsured motorist coverage
- File a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver
- Use your health insurance and pay the rest out of pocket
Indiana’s laws allow you to opt out of uninsured motorist coverage, but you must do so in writing and submit this form to your insurance company. Unless you did this, you’d usually have uninsured motorist coverage.
You also have the option to file a personal injury lawsuit against the uninsured driver. Once in a while, uninsured drivers allow their insurance to lapse, but they have resources available to pay for the damage. When this happens, getting a wrong-way accident attorney and filing this lawsuit can be a good choice. However, the uninsured driver usually doesn’t have these funds, but our car crash lawyers will help you get compensation and understand the litigation process.
You want to avoid using your health insurance to pay for the damages whenever possible. However, if you pick this option after an accident with an uninsured motorist, you’ll need to pay your co-pays and the deductible for any necessary medical care. If you have other expenses or losses, they’ll come from your savings.
Car Crash Injury Law Firm in Fishers, Indiana
Have you or a loved one in Hamilton County or Fishers been involved in a wrong-way accident that resulted in injuries? If so, don’t allow the statute of limitations to run out before you file a claim.
You can call the legal team at our car crash injury law firm at 317-762-4186 to set up your no-obligation consultation, or fill out our secure online form to tell us about your case.
Some of the locations in and around Hamilton County which our automobile accident law firm serves include Fishers, Carmel, Noblesville, Greenwood, Indianapolis, and more.