Indiana Car Accident Overview
Indiana is best known for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Indianapolis 500 held every year. One might be tempted to think that a state known for cars and car races would be home to some of the safest drivers in the country. After all, even though 6.5 million residents (according to a 2013 census report) call Indiana home, a state that celebrates and cheers for individuals who are skilled behind the wheel and knows the importance of safe tracks and safe (race) cars cannot have that many traffic accidents, right?
As it turns out, Indiana roadways are not as safe as one might hope. Indiana car crashes happen frequently, and the rate of some types of collisions are increasing with time. If you reside in Indiana or are traveling through the state, you should familiarize yourself with the steps you need to take in the event that you are the victim of an injury car crash.
Indiana Crash Accident Data
As statistics prove, the “need for speed” that makes races in the state so exciting spills from the racetrack and onto the state’s highways and roads. Indiana statistics and data paint the following picture of crashes in the state:
- In 2014, over 205,000 collisions of all types (injury, and property damage) were reported. This was six percent more than the number of collisions reported in 2013.
- A total of 702 fatal collisions occurred in that same year, and these collisions killed a total of 743 people. This number represented a one percent decrease in the number of fatal collisions from 2013.
- Speed played a role in 33 percent of all collisions and 26 percent of fatal collisions.
- Thirteen percent of fatal collisions involved a driver who was impaired by alcohol.
These statistics can be depressing to analyze when one considers that a significant number of collisions (both fatal and nonfatal) could have been avoided if drivers simply slowed down and exercised more care behind the wheel. Although not mentioned in the statistics cited above, nationwide figures suggest that distracted driving and drowsy driving are also involved in many car accidents across the nation – avoiding engaging in these behaviors, too, can reduce the likelihood of a serious or fatal car crash.
Indiana is a “Fault-Based” Insurance State
Indiana requires licensed drivers who intend to drive a car in the state to obtain and keep a valid, fault-based insurance policy in force. This policy is for the benefit of anyone who may be injured in a car crash caused by the insured driver. After a car crash occurs, the injured party will usually file a claim with the at-fault, insured driver’s insurance company. So long as the claim is for a covered loss and the insured driver’s insurance carrier is satisfied that its client caused the crash, the claim will be paid up to the policy’s limits.
When an insurance company refuses to pay a claim, or when an injury victim believes the compensation offered by the insurer or the at-fault driver is not sufficient to cover the victim’s expenses and losses, the victim may wish to file a car accident lawsuit. Just as fault was a relevant concern in the payment of the insurance claim, the fault of the injury victim in causing the crash can be a relevant issue in a car accident lawsuit. In Indiana, so long as the injury victim was 50 percent or less at fault in causing the crash and his or her injuries, he or she will be permitted to recover some amount of compensation through the lawsuit (assuming, of course, that the victim is able to prove all of the essential elements of his or her case).
How Long Do I Have to File a Car Accident Lawsuit in Indiana?
If you are injured in an Indiana car accident and you are contemplating filing a car accident lawsuit against the at-fault driver, be aware that you only have two years from the date of your accident to do so. Indiana’s statute of limitations (Ind. Code Ann. Sec. 34-11-2-4) operates to keep “stale” claims that are difficult to support or prove because of the passage of time from clogging up court calendars and continuing to disrupt the lives of the potential litigants. While there are some exceptions that, if applicable, would permit an injury victim to file a lawsuit beyond the two-year deadline, most of these exceptions do not apply in car accident cases.
Call Stern Law, PLLC Today
For this reason, it is crucial that you contact an experienced car accident lawyer as soon as possible following a car crash in order to best protect your rights. Stern Law, PLLC is committed to helping car crash victims understand their rights and take appropriate action to obtain compensation for the losses and expenses they experienced as a result of their crash. Call Stern Law, PLLC today at (844) 808-7529 for prompt assistance.