Questions to Ask An Indianapolis Accident Lawyer?

Questions to Ask An Indianapolis Accident Lawyer?

 

An accident lawyer deals with many issues, from personal accidents to workplace accidents. Therefore, you must get the right lawyer if you want to be successful with your claim. So, what questions should you ask an Indianapolis car accident lawyer to verify that the lawyer is competent enough for your case? There may be a few that come to mind, but there may also be some you haven’t thought about before you decide if you should hire an Indianapolis car accident lawyer.

Choosing an Accident Lawyer

There are plenty of lawyers to choose from and they all have their areas of expertise. In order to choose one that meets your needs and can help reach your case goals, you should ask the following questions:

Sign of Abuse: Unexplained Injuries

 

  1. How long have they been practicing accident law? Ask how long they have been dealing with cases similar to yours in the state of Indiana. Most states have different laws and it will be beneficial if the lawyer has a broad knowledge of the law to defend you effectively. It would also help to have a lawyer who can argue your case correctly in front of the judge. Therefore, they should have all the facts and laws at their fingertips.
  2. What are the chances of you winning the case? By presenting all the facts, your accident lawyer can gauge your chances of winning your case. They will also advise you on what you can do to increase your chances of getting a win when you get to court. Be sure that the lawyer has enough courtroom experience so that you can be confident they will argue your case well. A lawyer who has experience with Indianapolis courts is more optimistic because they know how to deal with any issue that may come up.

Do You Need an Accident Attorney?

How Much Does It Cost To Hire An Indianapolis Attorney?

Another important thing to consider when selecting a car accident attorney is the cost and how they expect payment.

  1. What are their fees? You should know how much they will charge you for defending you in court. Some lawyers may agree to defend you and let you pay in installments, while others require payment upfront. You should know how much the case will cost you and how you will pay the lawyer after your case has gone to court, whether you win or lose.
  2. What will happen if you do not win the case? When you go before a judge with a car accident case, there are occasions when there is not enough evidence to win. It’s important to know what will happen if you do not win your case in terms of payment. Will you still need to pay the lawyer or will you simply forfeit any money you paid upfront, etc.? Having a clear understanding of this before you start your case will avoid any unexpected surprises if your case does not turn out the way you expect.

An Accident Lawyer Should Help You Win

Lastly, the lawyer you hire should have your best interests and goals in mind. So, what are the lawyer’s goals for your case? Every lawyer starts a case with a particular goal. It might be financial or, in some cases, to seek justice. If you lost wages because of an accident, the lawyer can add it to your claim and compensate you for any injuries or other hardships. The lawyer should be able to explain the goals they have for your case so you can help prepare. They should also have enough details and facts about your case so they can defend you effectively according to the laws of Indiana.

The Dangers of Fatigued Driving for Hoosiers

Do you know that driving while drowsy or fatigued is just as dangerous as drinking and driving? Find out why fatigued driving or falling asleep at the wheel accounts for 29.3% of serious injury collisions in Indiana a year -those with at least one fatal or incapacitating injury.

dangerous driving habits

If you are like most Americans, you don’t get enough sleep. A quick cup of morning coffee and you are out on the road, along with hundreds of other sleepy motorists. This scenario is putting you (and the drivers around you) in a dangerous situation each and every day.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that each year, over 100,000 police-reported crashes involve drowsy driving. In 2015 alone, an estimated 5,000 people died in crashes where drowsy driving is the culprit, according to a Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) report.

We know fatigued driving affects everyone on the road, both drivers and passengers. In Indiana, drowsy driving is classified as impaired driving, which falls under the greater umbrella of distracted driving, accounting for the largest percentage of the majority of accidents and injuries each year.

A recent report examining Hoosier driving behavior notes that drivers’ unsafe actions are the primary cause of crashes, resulting in 111,298 accidents. Indiana State Police finds fatigued driving or falling asleep at the wheel accounts for 29.3% of these serious injury collisions -those with at least one fatal or incapacitating injury.

Why Drowsy Driving Is Impaired Driving

GHSA research shows nearly 83.6 million people are sleep deprived in the workplace, at school and on the road. Why is drowsy driving considered impaired driving? Consider this:

  • fatigue slows reaction time
  • drowsiness impairs situational awareness and judgment
  • fatigue increases risk-taking and lapses of attention
  • driving while drowsy or fatigued is just as dangerous as drinking and driving

We regularly see how all of these factors have extremely detrimental effects on the driver’s ability to control a vehicle, accounting for more than 71,000 injuries each year. According to the National Safety Council, fatigue-related crashes involving fatalities or injuries cost society $109 billion each year.

Drowsy Driving and Indiana Law

In Indiana, laws intended to discourage drowsy driving generally concentrate on the connection between fatigued driving and alcohol consumption. These measures have saved lives and money in Indianapolis and the surrounding areas.

  • Administrative License Revocation – These laws allow police and driver license authorities to automatically revoke a person’s license for refusing or failing a BAC test (blood alcohol test).
  • Zero Tolerance Laws – In Indiana, it is illegal for individuals under the age of 21 to drive with a positive BAC. It is estimated that these laws have reduced impaired-driving fatalities by 4%.
  • .08 BAC Law – By lowering the BAC limit to .08, impaired driving fatalities have reduced by 7%.
  • Graduated Licensing – Young drivers must demonstrate responsible driving habits to advance between the three-stage licensing program from a learner’s permit, to an intermediate or provisional license, to full licensure.

Drivers More Likely To Be Fatigued

A majority of drowsy drivers fall into a short list of categories. These include:

  • Drivers who do not get enough sleep
  • Commercial drivers who operate vehicles such as semi-trucks, tow trucks and buses
  • Shift workers, especially those working a night shift or swing shift
  • Drivers with sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea
  • Drivers who use medications that treat sleeplessness or insomnia

Be Aware of the Warning Signs of Fatigued Driving

If you are experiencing any of these signs, it is crucial that you get off the road and stop driving:

  • Yawning or blinking frequently
  • Difficulty remembering the past few miles driven
  • Missing your exit
  • Drifting from your lane
  • Hitting a rumble strip on the side of the road
  • Falling asleep, even for a moment

Take Step to Dodge Drowsy Driving

The best way to ensure that you are not the cause of a drowsy driving accident is to avoid driving drowsy in the first place. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration offers this advice:

  • The only true way to avoid drowsy driving is to get enough sleep. Experts urge the public to get at least seven to eight hours of sleep each night.
  • Make sure to get a good night’s sleep before getting behind the wheel for a long car trip.= or any kind.
  • Teenagers are especially vulnerable to drowsy driving as they typically don’t get enough sleep at a time when they biologically need more sleep than adults. Encourage your teens to get enough sleep before operating a vehicle.
  • Do not drink alcohol before driving. Alcohol increases drowsiness and impairs motor coordination.
  • Read your prescription labels. Most labels include information on whether or not the medication can cause drowsiness.
  • Try to avoid the peak fatigue times of midnight to 6:00 am and late afternoon.

Interventions for Drowsy Driving

While everyone should follow steps to avoid drowsy driving, it is also necessary to put interventions in place. We know this is especially true for male drivers under the age of 25, who make up an estimated 50% of drowsy driving crashes. Initiatives to consider:

  • Crash avoidance technologies – Safety technologies, both existing and planned, include drowsiness alert and lane departure warnings. These technologies can detect patterns of drowsy driving and warn drivers to stay in their lane or take a break.
  • University interventions – As college students represent a major portion of the under 25 driving demographic, education programs created for students may help raise awareness of drowsy driving issues. College students receive less sleep with some estimates at less than six hours a night. Educating these students now helps build better behaviors that will last into adulthood.
  • Workplace education – Employers with strong health and safety programs, both on and off the job, can contribute to employees getting sufficient information on the dangers of fatigued driving.

Personal Attention from Professional Attorneys

If you believe you or a loved one has been the victim of a drowsy driving accident, talk to the professional attorneys at Karpe Litigation Group today. We are experts in auto accident law, winning the most challenging cases and helping those in need for 20 years and counting. There is no fee until we win for you. Committed to making things easy for you, we are happy to meet by appointment on evenings and weekends, and travel to you when needed. Give us a call today at 1-888-228-7800 or fill out our contact form to schedule your free initial consultation.

Drive Smart and Avoid Nasty Car Accidents

Indiana drivers are more distracted than ever, and we’re not alone. Learn defensive driving strategies you can use every time you’re behind the wheel and avoid an accident on the road.

safe driving tips

When driving your car on the roads and highways of Indiana, alone or with passengers, driving safety should be your top concern. It’s not only crucial that you know the basics of safe driving, you must practice them every time you’re behind the wheel, if you hope to prevent or avoid an accident like this one that occurred recently on I-70. Distracted driving is at least partly to blame for this multi-vehicle accident involving at least seven cars, semi-trailers and trucks, closing the highway and leaving two people dead.

When it comes to the worst states for distracted driving, Indiana ranks 31, with a distracted driving fatality rate of 1.08. That’s one too many per year for Indiana lawmakers, who are considering a new bill that makes holding a cellphone or any other electronic communications device in your hands while driving illegal. Laws are one way to help drive smart when you’re on the road; safe steps to drive by are another.

10 Safe Driving Behaviors to Stop Preventable Auto Accidents Before They Happen

Defensive Driving – As a defense driver, you assume other drivers might make mistakes. You are on guard in the event that other drivers make errors and watch ahead for advance warning of any hazards on the road. By watching ahead, you have enough time to avoid potential accidents.

You also learn to anticipate hazards by scanning frequently in front of traffic, as well as the side and back around the car, and adjust speed or direction to react safely to any situation. It is recommended that drivers scan ahead to where they will be in 10 to 12 seconds. For highway driving, keep your car positioned far enough from other vehicles to have enough time to successfully avoid them, if they suddenly swerve into your path. 

Right of Way – In general, the vehicle that arrives last must give right-of-way to other vehicles. Drivers should give right-of-way when entering traffic, when turning left in front of approaching traffic and when changing lanes. You should only move in your intended path or direction after assuring that you will not conflict with other traffic. Drivers should assume that other drivers will not see you when you maneuver into their path.

When pulling into traffic, proceed slowly, look and listen. Be aware of any blind spots, such as those in rearview mirrors and behind windshield pillars or highway road signs. Vehicles can seemingly appear out of nowhere so caution is the key to yielding the right-of-way.

Start-up and Back-up – When a car has been parked long enough, pedestrians and other vehicles may be resting within a few feet. Starting up forward, backward or to the right or left creates a potentially hazardous situation. Before starting the car, you should walk around the car and look underneath to make sure there is the right clearance.

After checking around your car, it is important to start up quickly before other vehicles or pedestrians approach. Start moving slowly at first to allow any vehicles or pedestrians who may have unexpectedly approached to safely move away.

Negotiating Curves – When negotiating curves at an excessive speed, cars can lose traction and slide off the road. Commercial trailers or other top-heavy vehicles risk rolling over. It is important to reduce speed before entering a curve in order to have enough time to correct direction and maintain control of the vehicle. Keep side wheels off the shoulder of the road. Side wheels may drop or sink in the shoulder, increasing the chances of an accident.

Passing – Safe passing maneuvers require well-developed skills. Drivers must make many critical decisions in a short amount of time. The steps to pass another vehicle successfully include checking sight distance ahead and mirrors for rear traffic and traffic passing you; estimating speed and position of approaching vehicles and the time needed to safely pass; accelerating, steering and checking for traffic entering on side roads. Safe drivers consider all steps quickly to prevent an accident. Safetyinfo.com recommends:

  1. Before you pass, check to be certain no one is passing you.
  2. Assume the driver in front of you doesn’t know you are passing. That driver may pull to the left to pass a vehicle in front or make a left turn.
  3. While you are passing, watch carefully for vehicles that may be entering the roadway from side roads or driveways.
  4. Assume vehicles approaching from the opposite direction will not see you or slow down for you to complete your passing maneuver.
  5. Watch out for vehicles passing other vehicles from the opposite direction.
  6. If the vehicle you are trying to pass speeds up, let it go. Don’t get in to a dangerous race.
  7. Don’t take risks. If in doubt, don’t pass.
  8. Signal your intentions to pass.

Crossing Intersections – It is probably not a surprise that a majority of car accidents happen in intersections. Vehicles coming from different directions into an overlapping space creates a reason for safe driving habits to kick in and anticipate a hazardous situation.

Count to three before entering an intersection on a green light. Look both ways to make sure other vehicles are not trying to race through a yellow light. Exercise caution when passing semi-trailers because long trucks have a considerable blind spot on their right side. If you cannot see a truck’s side mirrors, it’s unlikely that the driver can see you.

safe driving behaviors

Using and Changing Lanes – Lane use and lane changing accidents usually involve sideswiping and rear-end collisions. These are usually the result of following too closely or being inattentive of the traffic conditions ahead. Defensive driving is the best countermeasure for lane changing accidents.

Observing safe following distance and staying aware of blind spots -especially with large commercial trailers- is the best way to avoid lane changing hazards. If you cannot see ahead of the vehicle you are following, increase your following distance.

Parking – Parking on a travel lane creates a potential hazard. While in metropolitan areas drivers expect cars parked on or partially on a travel lane, drivers on rural or high-speed areas do not anticipate vehicles parked in their lane. Attention levels may be lower and there might not be enough time to react. You should try not to park in travel lanes, even partially, in order to avoid accidents. If you need to park on the shoulder of the road, always put on flashers, day or night.

Driving in Adverse Conditions – The two biggest factors causing accidents in adverse conditions are reduced traction and reduced visibility. Reduced traction conditions include rain, snow, ice, slush and gravel on roads. Reduced visibility conditions include twilight, darkness, rain, snow and fog.

To drive safely in adverse conditions, you should develop skills in compensating with speed and control of your vehicle. In addition, you should be prepared to compensate for other drivers who may not have the skills to deal with adverse conditions.

Pedestrian Interaction – Most pedestrian accidents occur when a person walks into a roadway because they misjudge how fast a vehicle is coming, they don’t see a vehicle coming or because they assume the vehicle sees them and will slow down or stop. You should be constantly aware of the potential errors a pedestrian might make and compensate accordingly.

Personal Attention from Professional Attorneys

The safest, most defensive drivers in Indiana can still find themselves involved or injured in a car accident. The professional attorneys at Karpe Litigation Group are experts in injury law, winning the most challenging cases and helping those in need for 20 years and counting. There is no fee until we win for you. Committed to making things easy for you, we are happy to meet by appointment on evenings and weekends, and travel to you when needed. Give us a call today at 1-888-228-7800 or fill out our contact form to schedule your free initial consultation.

Safe Accident-Free Driving Means Driving Without Distractions

Every day in the United States, nine people are killed and 100 injured in accidents where the reported cause is distracted driving. To help raise awareness of this widespread danger on America’s roadways, government agencies have designated April as National Distracted Awareness Month.

dangerous drivers

What Defines Distracted Driving?

Distracted driving encompasses a variety of behaviors that generally fall into three main types:

  • Visual – the driver takes their eyes off the road.
  • Manual – the driver takes their hands off the wheel.
  • Cognitive – the driver takes their mind off of driving.

Distracted driving can also be a combination of two or all three of these types. For example:

Texting – Incidents involving texting while driving are on the rise in the United States, despite efforts to raise public awareness of the issue. Taking your eyes off the road for just the few seconds it can take to look at a text is enough time to cause an accident. Obviously, the time it takes to type and send a text while driving is an even greater hazard. Taking your eyes off the road for just five seconds is enough time to travel the length of a football field at 55 miles per hour – without you even seeing where you’re going.

Talking on Phones – Along with texting, talking on cell phones is another area where the explosion of mobile technology is contributing to the rise of distracted driving. While hands-free models make it possible for drivers to keep their eyes on the road and their hands on the wheel, talking on phones still present a cognitive distraction, causing drivers take their minds off of driving.

Music – Playing music too loudly inhibits a driver’s ability to hear and respond to emergency vehicles and other audio cues that alert them to danger. This doesn’t mean you must drive a vehicle in silence. Keeping music at a volume where you can still hear sirens and respond accordingly can make the difference between reacting to a hazardous situation or causing one.

Passengers – When other people are in your car for the ride, it can place major demands on your attention. Turning to look at passengers when speaking to them takes your eyes off the road.

Eating – Eating and drinking any beverage while driving requires a person to take their hands off the wheel. This activity creates a dangerous situation because the driver is not fully in control of the vehicle.

Navigation Systems – Modern maps and GPS systems are very useful for drivers. However, the mapping information should be entered into the device or application before the car is in motion, rather than while driving is in progress.

Lost in Thought – The greatest percentage of distracted driving incidents resulting in death are caused by drivers who report they were “lost in thought” when the accident occurred. Drivers should remain aware of their actions, as well as the actions of other vehicles and pedestrians, at all times.

car accident deaths

What National Distracted Driving Awareness Month Does

To raise awareness of the dangers of distracted driving, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) designates April as National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, sponsored by the National Safety Council. Law enforcement officers nationwide are mobilized to look out for distracted driving behaviors, such as texting and talking on cell phones. The NHTSA partners with States and local police to enforce distracted driving laws, leading the fight to keep us safe.

The NHTSA and the National Safety Council mount awareness campaigns and public service announcements to help make drivers aware that safe driving means driving without distractions. They maintain a presence on social media platforms (Facebook and Twitter), sharing stories and driving tips to help save lives.

The key to the NHTSA’s efforts to educate the public on distracted driving and other risky driving efforts is their partnership with state and local police. The States determine various laws regarding driving safety that vary from State to State and the NHTSA provides Federal investments in locally-driven awareness campaigns and provides information for drivers to learn about the laws in their State.

The biggest NHTSA campaign is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month that occurs every April. During this time the NHTSA pairs nationally broadcast advertising with a locally driven crackdown called U text. U drive. U pay.

Join the Effort

Everyone can get involved in the fight against distracted driving and the effort to save lives. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states, “To prevent tragedies due to distracted driving, motorists are urged to:

  • Turn off electronic devices and put them out of reach before starting to drive.
  • Be good role models for young drivers and set a good example. Talk with your teens about responsible driving.
  • Speak up when you are a passenger and your driver uses an electronic device while driving. Offer to make the call for the driver, so his or her full attention stays on the driving task.
  • Always wear your seat belt. Seat belts are the best defense against unsafe drivers.”

Teens: Teen drivers are the best messengers when it comes to ending distracted driving. Teens are encouraged to speak up to their friends when they see distracted driving, to have their friends sign contracts saying they will not drive distracted and to get involved in their local chapter of Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD). Formerly Students Against Driving Drunk, the organization encourages students to avoid making potentially destructive decisions to prevent driving accidents. Teens can share on social media to remind their friends and family about the dangers of distracted driving.

Parents: The best way for parents to contribute to teens developing safe driving behaviors is to lead by example. Parents should never exhibit distracted driving. Have everyone in the family sign a pledge to commit to distraction-free driving. Remind your teens if state laws dictate, distracted driving could lead to a delayed or suspended license.

Educators and Employers: Spread the word at your school and place of business about the importance of distraction-free driving. Ask your students to commit to distraction-free driving or set a company policy. Encourage employees to exhibit distraction-free driving at all times as a good example to fellow drivers and young people.

The National Safety Council provides materials for promoting National Distracted Driver Awareness Month, including free posters, videos, fact sheets and more to share at your school or business.

Personal Attention from Professional Attorneys

If you or someone you love has been harmed by a distracted driver, speak with the professional attorneys at Karpe Litigation Group today. We are experts in injury law, winning the most challenging cases and helping those in need for 20 years and counting. There is no fee until we win for you. Committed to making things easy for you, we are happy to meet by appointment on evenings and weekends, and travel to you when needed. Give us a call today at 1-888-228-7800 or fill out our contact form to schedule your free initial consultation.