In 2015, over 2.4 million people were injured in motor vehicle accidents — and over 35,000 were killed nationwide. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, however, it's unlikely you feel like one of the masses. Your injuries are unique to you — and so is the fight you have ahead of you.
Having a good personal injury attorney on your side can make a big difference when it comes to both the physical and financial healing process. In Bloomington, Indiana, and the greater Indianapolis area, Greene and Schultz Trial Lawyers is a respected firm that is dedicated to helping clients who have been involved in motor vehicle accidents move forward with their lives with as little discomfort as possible.
Types Of Motor Vehicle Accidents
While no two crashes are the same, some parallels can be drawn depending on who is involved in a particular accident. Cases are analyzed a bit differently depending on whether they involve nonmotorists, motorcycles, commercial trucks or standard passenger vehicles.
- Passenger vehicle accidents — Car accidents are generally the most straightforward type of motor vehicle accident. Investigations are normally aimed at the drivers involved and look to define each person's level of negligence and responsibility for the accident. Investigations also take into consideration the financial impact of the accident, including damage to the vehicle and persons. While a vehicle that is severely damaged can be replaced, a person's life cannot. Healing involves more than resetting broken bones and waiting for the swelling to go down. Various setbacks such as time away from work, extra care expenses and reduced earning potential need to be addressed as well as getting immediate medical bills paid.
- Nonmotorist accidents — Crashes that involve nonmotorists, including pedestrians and bicyclists, can be some of the most tragic because the victim does not have the physical layer of protection that a person has in a passenger vehicle. Anyone using the roadways, whether in a vehicle, on a bike or on foot, has a responsibility to obey traffic laws and take reasonable precautions to keep themselves safe. Even when injuries to a nonmotorist are severe, Indiana law looks at the role the injured party played in the accident and may even deny compensation if the injured person is at least half responsible for the accident. An experienced and qualified attorney can help identify important details and give victims a better chance at getting what they need.
- Accidents involving motorcyclists — A popular bumper sticker reads, "Start Seeing Motorcycles," but unlike many bumper stickers, this advice is more than just words. Injuries to a motorcyclist can come in the form of a direct collision when the driver of a larger vehicle fails to notice the motorcycle when changing lanes or turning. Motorcyclists may also be injured crashing into another object such as a tree or guardrail as they try to avoid a collision. Having a lawyer can help an accident victim be more thorough in their account of the accident and increase their chance at adequate compensation.
- Accidents involving commercial trucks — When a commercial truck is involved in a motor vehicle accident, the incident is looked at with a different level of scrutiny than an accident that involved only passenger vehicles. Not only is the ability of the driver called into question, but their employer may be investigated as well. Commercial drivers have specific regulations to follow that are designed to limit fatigue and reduce accidents. A good attorney knows how to check to make sure these precautions were taken, and how to hold the right people accountable if they weren't.
Dealing With Other Drivers
In addition to considering what types of vehicles or nonvehicles were involved in a crash, it is important to look at the drivers themselves in order to determine the level of negligence involved.
- Impaired or distracted drivers — Most traffic accidents happen because one or more drivers has compromised their driving ability by either consuming alcohol or other drugs or by failing to give their full attention to the task of driving. Cellphone use — either texting or talking on the phone — becoming too engaged in a conversation with a passenger or being distracted by the radio can all compromise a driver's response time and contribute to their level of fault in an accident. Driving under the influence can impair judgment and cause drivers to go too fast or limit their coordination and ability to properly control their vehicle, all of which can result in an accident.
- Teen drivers — While the same types of driver errors affect teen drivers as other drivers, the sheer fact that teen accident rates are higher warrants special attention. Not only do teens head onto the road with a lower level of experience than most drivers, as a group they are also more likely to engage in risky behavior such as drinking or texting while behind the wheel.
- Uninsured motorists — A driver's responsibility doesn't begin when they start the vehicle and pull into traffic. It begins with their legal responsibility to obtain the minimum amount of auto insurance as required by law. When this doesn't happen, the injured person must draw on their own insurance policy to help pay for expenses.
If you've been in a motor vehicle accident, chances are one or more of the above scenarios is relevant to your situation. At Greene and Schultz, we are ready to listen to your account of the accident and will help determine what level of compensation is most appropriate for your injuries and who is legally obligated to pay.
For a free initial consultation, contact us online or call 812-558-0198.