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Avoiding Deadly Head-On Collisions on Indiana’s Rural Roads

One of the deadliest accidents faced by motorists is the head-on collision. Basic laws of physics tell us that when two vehicles traveling at equal speeds collide head-to-head, the force of impact on each car is equivalent to a single vehicle slamming into an unmovable object at the same speed. The result of this kind of impact can be devastating to drivers and passengers in both vehicles, but if one vehicle is smaller than the other, the occupants of that vehicle are in even more danger.

Just How Deadly Are Head-On Collisions?

True head-to-head collisions are fortunately fairly rare, but when they do occur they are more often fatal than other types of crashes. According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), head-on collisions, either with another vehicle or with a stationary object, accounted for only 2.3 percent of all collisions in 2014, but made up nearly 10 percent of car crash fatalities. Rear-end and side-swipe accidents, on the other hand, combined to account for 44 percent of all crash types in 2014, but resulted in a similar number of fatalities.

Where Do Head-On Crashes Happen?

Car-to-car head-on collisions are more likely to occur on Indiana’s rural, undivided highways than anywhere else. Likewise, head-on collisions with Crumpled Front End of a Car After a Collisionobjects such as trees are also more likely to occur on curvy rural roads. These roads typically have high speed limits and no barriers between lanes traveling in opposite directions. There is also often very little buffer between the side of the road and the trees and other obstacles next to the road. Long country roads also have the effect of lulling drivers into a false sense of security and drivers are more likely to become distracted, speed, and doze off, causing them to cross the center line or run off the road. Traffic fatality statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for 2010 show that 63 percent of motor vehicle deaths in Indiana occurred on rural roads, despite fewer cars traveling these roads every day.

Reasons Head-On Collisions Happen

The causes of head-on collisions usually boil down to driver carelessness or error, but are sometimes the result of a mechanical malfunction or weather conditions. Many of the following situations are more likely to be fatal when they occur on undivided roadways, but they can also happen on urban roads and highways:

  • Passing. When a car attempts to pass when it is unsafe to do so, he could collide with a car coming in the opposite direction.
  • Unsafe speeds. Taking a corner at a fast speed can result in a car running off the road or crossing over the center line, both of which could result in a head-on collision.
  • Reckless turns. Trying to beat an oncoming car through an intersection could result in turning into the path of on-coming traffic, causing a head-on collision.
  • Fatigue. Dozing or falling asleep while behind the wheel can cause a driver to cross the center line and collide with an oncoming vehicle, or to run off the road and hit a tree.
  • Impaired driving. Drivers who are under the influence of drugs or alcohol make poor decisions. They are more likely to pass when it is unsafe, to speed, and to fall asleep at the wheel.
  • Low visibility. Poor weather conditions can make it difficult for drivers to see lane markers or cars turning in front of them, increasing the likelihood of a head-on collision.
  • Tire blowouts. On a narrow, two-lane road, a tire blowout could force a car into an oncoming lane or off the road.
  • Debris on the road. Tire treads, animals, or other obstacles in the road could cause drivers to steer suddenly to avoid them. In a panic, they could steer into oncoming traffic.

Head-on collisions can lead to catastrophic injuries, including brain trauma, spinal cord damage, broken bones, and internal organ damage, as well as death to the driver and passengers,

Keller and Keller Can Represent You in Your Head-On Collision Claim

If another driver crossed the center line or turned into the path of your car causing a head-on collision, you will likely need ongoing, expensive medical care. Make sure the at-fault driver pays. Call our car accident attorneys in Indianapolis or Granger today for help with your case.

 

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How Much Is My Car Accident Injury Claim Worth?

Before we look at the factors that determine the value of your car accident claim, know this: NO ONE can initially tell you what your car accident claim is worth; not until you tell your version of the story, liability is nailed down, your medical treatment is finished, and an experienced personal injury law firm has reviewed your case.

And it's ok not to have an immediate dollar amount thrown at you. After all, if your accident had a "price tag," then there would be no opportunity for you to present your particular case, meaning you'd potentially risk shorting yourself thousands of dollars, or the entire claim!

(Having settled thousands of personal injury cases, we are certain of one fact: No two clients are alike, no two car accidents are alike, no matter how similar they seem.)

Our firm's #1 goal is likely similar to your own at the moment: recover the maximum amount of compensation for the accident. The way to ensure you receive a fair settlement is to present a professional and persuasive case that is supported by medical documentation and measurable course(s) of treatment, e.g., physical therapy.

WHAT FACTORS CAN INCREASE MY CASE VALUE?

You're likely worried about hospital bills, property damage, lost wages, and a possible change in lifestyle, so a quick settlement may seem attractive. However, as time passes, most clients are thankful they took the time to consult with someone who could advise them of future factors that could potentially increase their case value.

Scenarios that can increase the value of a car accident case might include:

  • The client's injuries worsened over time, leading to unforeseen treatments and costly procedures.
  • The client didn't predict the type and/or duration of treatment their injuries required.
  • The client didn't anticipate the strain the accident would place on their personal life.
  • The client didn't account for the long-term psychological effects.

These points are common after-effects accident victims are unable to predict immediately following their accident, and the insurance company is going to try and settle with you before any of these scenarios occur.

Ultimately, your damages are likely to have additional value if presented to an insurance company by way of experienced legal representation. Having an attorney allows you to take the time you need to ultimately see the full picture of your claim, and remember, once you sign a release of all claims, you're essentially telling the insurance company they're "off the hook."

ARE SIMILAR ACCIDENT TYPES WORTH THE SAME AMOUNT OF MONEY?

Each person is unique, each accident is unique, every case has unique value, and there are no exceptions to this rule. Let's look at an example:

  • Driver A is a young pregnant female with no pre-existing medical conditions. She has been involved in a rear-end car accident collision. She was taken by ambulance to the hospital for examination of back and neck pain. The doctors diagnose her with whiplash and prescribe her a course of treatment that is consistent with the needs of her pregnancy. She completes treatment and is released soon after.
  • Driver B is a middle-aged male with prior back surgery. He has also been involved in a rear-end style car accident collision and is experiencing neck and back pain. He was not able to visit a doctor until two weeks after the crash due to fear of missing work and losing his job. When he is able to visit the doctor, he is diagnosed with whiplash and is prescribed a course of physical therapy. He is released soon after.

Let's also assume that Driver A and Driver B were rear-ended at the same spot on the same highway on the same day. Additionally, the vehicles that struck A & B were traveling at the same speed at the time of impact. Weather conditions were the same for both accidents, and both A & B and the adverse drivers have the same insurance companies, etc.

What does all this mean?

Despite everything we know about driver's A & B accident details, their claims will have different values!

Even with all the listed similarities, it's very unlikely that driver A & B will undergo the similar medical treatment for their injuries; respond to treatment in the same manner; or experience the same types of aggravation and frustration in the days and months after their accident.

IS IT TRUE THAT I'LL GET THREE TIMES THE MEDICAL BILLS FOR MY ACCIDENT CLAIM?

This "formula" is an estimate that has often been thought of by many as a way to value car accident claims. And though it is true that you may receive three times your medical bills, it's also just as likely that you'll receive more or less.

In short, never assume the value of your car accident claim is simply "3 x's your medical bills."

WHAT THINGS CAN I RECOVER FOR IN MY CAR ACCIDENT CLAIM?

There are typically 3 components we look to recover for in a personal injury case that arises from a car accident:

  1. Past and future medical bills
  2. Past and future lost wages, or loss of earning capacity
  3. Past and future pain, suffering, disfigurement, and disability

Again, the numbered factors above don't apply to every case, and you should always have an experienced injury lawyer evaluate your specific claim.

IS THERE EVER AN INSTANCE IN WHICH I CAN IMMEDIATELY KNOW MY CASE VALUE?

Accidents that leave a person with traumatic injuries; broken bones; the need for surgery; permanent hardware; and/or cause death, may constitute what is known as a "policy limits demand."

In these instances, our personal injury attorneys will immediately notify the adverse insurance company of our representation of a client and ask that they send us what is known as a "certified declarations (DEC) sheet." This document will reveal the total amount of available dollars under the liable party's policy.

Once we receive the DEC sheet we will be able to tell you how much money is available, and whether or not your injuries justify asking for the entire amount. However, it will still be very difficult to predict the value of your car accident claim, because other factors will almost certainly play a role.

For instance, we may be able to reduce certain medical bills on your behalf so that you're not required to pay back the full amount, thus increasing your settlement. We may also be able to secure Underinsured Motorists Coverage (UIM) from your policy in the event that the adverse policy limits are inadequate.

ASK AN ATTORNEY TO REVIEW THE INSURANCE POLICY.

Asking an experienced personal injury attorney to examine an insurance policy ensures you aren't leaving money on the table. Policies can be confusing, full of difficult-to-understand contract language, some of which is applicable to your case, and some that isn't.

If your everyday job doesn't require you to review insurance policies, then your chance of fully understanding available coverage will be challenging. Fortunately, we have more than 75 years of locating and examining insurance polices for car accident victims, so we can help guide you and youir family in the right direction at no cost.

Ultimately, speaking with an experienced injury law firm about your case is an excellent step toward determining what your car accident case is worth.

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