April 10th, 2018|
Spring showers may bring May flowers – but they also bring far too many wrecks.
Learn how to keep yourself safe while driving in the rain.
According to the US Department of Transportation, on average there are 1 million vehicular crashes each year due to wet pavement. These crashes unfortunately result in the death of approximately 5,000 people and injure another 400,000 each year. Now that I’m a grandparent with two young grandchildren, I worry about my grandchildren’s safety—particularly when they are riding in a car. You probably have the same concerns I do. Most of us have driven so many times in rainy conditions, we are surprised to find out just how many deaths and injuries are caused by rain. Rain is even more dangerous than driving in snow, sleet, or ice.
Our law firm has represented hundreds of clients who were injured because a careless driver did not take the necessary precautions to drive safely in the rain.
Hopefully, the six tips below will help you play it safe while driving in the rain.
- Delay driving. If conditions are bad, postpone the trip. The saying, “It’s better to be safe than sorry is applicable to driving in unsafe conditions.”
- Slow down. Wet pavement causes tires to lose traction. When it starts to rain, the water mixes with dirt on the road, making it slippery and harder for your tires to do their job. You should reduce your speed at least by a third (sometimes more) when it’s wet or rainy. Additionally, check the tread on your tires. Tire tread is vitally important for safety when driving in the rain.
- Use headlights. Even if you do not think you need headlights, it is important to use them in the rain! In fact, it is required by Indiana and Illinois traffic law. You can rest assured that having your headlights on does make it easier for other drivers to see your car.
- No cruise control. Many of us use cruise control when we should not. Cruise control can be dangerous in wet conditions. We forget cars frequently hydroplane while on cruise control. If your vehicle hydroplanes, take your foot off the accelerator and steer the direction that your car needs to go. Do not slam on your brakes or make sudden turns.
- Make sure your windshield wipers are working properly. If they’re leaving streaks, take cloth and wipe them off. Personally, if I know I’m going to be driving in the rain, I spray some Rain-X on my front windshield.
- Back off. Most drivers are taught to stay at least 4 or 5 seconds behind the vehicle in front of them in dry conditions. If it is raining, you need to increase the time and space between your car and the vehicle in front of you.
Staying safe while you’re driving in the rain will be much simpler if you follow the above tips. We hope the above tips help you and your loved ones stay safe.
April 3rd, 2018|
Am I personally liable for my child’s car accident?
As a parent, one of the scariest moments is when your child is gets behind the wheel of a car for the first time. One of the many things that are probably running through your head as they pull out of the driveway is whether you are personally liable if your child causes a car accident. More than likely, you purchased their car and are paying their insurance, so it is a fair question.
Typically, you’re not personally liable for your child’s car accident.
Fortunately, in Indiana, you are not generally personally liable for your child’s car accident. That means if he or she causes damage or injury to another, you will not be required to pay money to the injured party. There is an exception, however. Like many states, Indiana requires parents, guardians, or another responsible adult to sign a minor’s application for a permit or driver’s license. Under Indiana Code, Section 9-24-9-4, the person who signs this application agrees to be jointly liable — along with the minor — for any injuries or damages the minor causes through operation of a motor vehicle. Of course, the adult is also absolved of legal responsibility for the minor’s driving, once the minor turns 18.
Not so quick – negligent entrustment.
There’s a claim in Indiana called “negligent entrustment,” which essentially means that despite knowing your child was incompetent, unfit, and/or a dangerous driver, you let him or her drive anyway. In those situations, you can be held personally liable.
When is my child considered unfit to drive?
For the most part, Indiana courts have limited negligent entrustment claims to situations where your child would be dangerous due to physical conditions that would hamper their ability to drive, such as: intoxication, handicap by blindness, or a physical deformity. Another situation would be allowing your child to drive despite his or her never having been licensed.
Are their limits to what I am liable for?
Under Indiana Code, Section 34-31-4, a parent/guardian will be financially responsible for certain harm to a person, or damage to property, stemming from a minor’s conduct if: the parent or guardian has custody of the minor child, and the child is living with the parent or guardian. There are a couple of important limitations on this liability: the child must have caused the harm knowingly, intentionally, or recklessly, and the parent/guardian will not be liable for more than $5,000 in actual damages. “Actual damages” means that the injured person can’t recover money for non-economic losses like “pain and suffering,” which can ordinarily be a pretty significant component of damages in a personal injury case.
What can you do to protect yourself?
Hopefully, you’ve found this article before your child has caused an accident. If so, here are a few things I would absolutely consider to make sure you’re not liable for your child’s driving:
- Make sure that your child is ready to drive – I get it, driving is considered a right of passage, a way to get some independence. But slow down! Once your child gets qualified for a learner’s permit, take the necessary time to train them in a safe location, such as an empty parking lot. After they are comfortable handling a vehicle, you can then move on to road testing.
- Make sure they know the rules and follow them – Take the necessary time, even after they get their licenses, to ride with your children, answer their questions, and make sure they know the rules before you give them free rein.
- No phones! – Don’t let your child drive while using a phone. Texting and driving is especially dangerous because it incorporates all types of driving distractions: (1) Visual: Takes eyes off the road; (2) Manual: Takes hands off the steering wheel; (3) Cognitive: Takes focus away from safe driving. In just the 5 seconds it takes to send or read a short text message, a person has already zoomed past the length of a football field (traveling at 55 MPH) with minimal attention on the road ahead. Also, stop doing that yourself. Kids live by example. Indiana law specifically states, drivers younger than 18 are banned from texting and cell phone usage. Furthermore, Indiana law states all drivers, regardless of age, are banned from text messaging while driving.
- Take traffic cases seriously – If your child gets a speeding ticket (or other traffic infraction), don’t let it just slide. Remember, small acts of negligence can cause people to die – literally. If they can’t follow the rules, they can’t drive.
- Drinking or Drugs? No Car – forever. Look, I know this goes without saying, but if your child is using illegal substances, they have a lot of issues going forward. One thing, though, is you don’t want to be held liable if they kill someone in a car. Tough love is sometimes necessary.
- GET ENOUGH CAR INSURANCE – Remember, in Indiana, you can protect yourself from personal liability simply by purchasing enough car insurance. Do not rely on your insurance agent telling you that you’re “fully insured.” In Indiana, you can be fully insured with as little as $25,000 in coverage. In serious car accidents, that’s a drop in the bucket. At Fleschner Law, we recommend you purchase $500,000 in both liability and underinsured motorist coverage. For only a couple hundred bucks more a year, you can avoid the stress of losing everything you’ve built by simply having proper insurance.
March 19th, 2018|
A distracted driver ran a red light and smashed into your vehicle. You are injured. Should you sue the driver directly or sue his insurance company?
Often, when we talk with accident victims, they ask us if they need to sue the driver directly or sue the driver’s insurance company. Understandably, this is a perplexing issue for many people. Some accident victims get upset because they want the driver who caused the wreck to personally pay for all of the inconvenience and disruption the driver caused. On the other hand, some accident victims do not want the person who caused the wreck to be personally responsible because the person at fault did not do anything on purpose- it was just an “accident.” So that you understand this process, I will explain the appropriate Indiana insurance law.
Sue the Driver or the Insurance Company?
When you’re in a vehicular collision, normally you talk to both your own insurance company and also the insurance company of the other driver. Even if you are not at fault, we always suggest you inform your insurance company about the wreck. Your insurance policy requires that you cooperate with your insurance company—so you should advise them about the facts of the wreck. In addition, it is important to inform your insurance company of the wreck because, if the other driver does not have liability insurance or does not have enough insurance to cover your claim, you are entitled to file a claim pursuant to the Uninsured/Underinsured provisions of your own insurance policy.
For all practical purposes, you (or your attorney) will not be dealing with the at-fault driver. You will be dealing with his insurance company. If your case cannot be settled and a lawsuit is filed, Indiana law requires that you sue the individual who caused the collision instead of his insurance company. However, when the at-fault driver is sued, his insurance policy requires his insurance company to provide an attorney to represent him and, if you prevail at trial, pay you up to the limits of the at-fault driver’s policy. As I stated above, some people have a knee-jerk reaction and want to punish the person who caused the wreck, but the reason we all have insurance is to provide coverage for us and pay any damages we might cause.
What Can I Do if the Other Driver Has Minimal Coverage or No Insurance?
If the at-fault driver is uninsured (or doesn’t have enough insurance to cover your damages), you have the right to make a claim against your own uninsured/ underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage policy. Often, accident victims do not want to request their own insurance company to help cover their damages since the other driver was at fault. However, that is exactly the purpose of your UIM policy. You paid premiums to protect yourself, knowing that the other driver might not have any, or enough, insurance to adequately compensate you for your damages. There is nothing wrong with doing this. Your insurance company insures you and has agreed to pay for your damages to make sure you receive appropriate compensation.
If the at-fault driver’s insurance coverage or your UIM limits are not sufficient to compensate you for all of your damages, you do have the right to claim damages directly from the at-fault driver. Seldom is this an option we recommend. If the other driver does not have insurance, or has low limits, he or she probably does not have significant personal assets. I have learned my dad was right- “You can’t get blood out of a turnip”—meaning if people have no insurance, they almost always have no money or assets.
To summarize, when you file a personal injury lawsuit, you file a civil claim against the at-fault driver. By purchasing insurance, the at-fault driver is protected up to his policy limits. By purchasing UIM coverage, you have protected yourself. UIM coverage is one of the most important types of coverage you can buy to protect yourself. UIM coverage is relatively cheap, and the higher your UIM coverage, the more protected you will be if you suffer serious catastrophic injuries by an at-fault driver who does not have adequate coverage.
We Can Help Answer Any of Your Personal Injury Questions.
If you have any questions about your personal injury claims, contact me at 812-232-2000, or fill out a contact form at FleschnerLaw.com.
Our law firm handles car accident, truck accident, motorcycle accident, slip and fall, dog bite, product injury, wrongful death, and social security disability cases. To see a full list of cases, go to FleschnerLaw.com and click on “Cases We Handle.” Even if you have a case we normally do not handle, call us. We have a Referral Department that can help find an attorney to represent you.
December 11th, 2008|
December 11, 2008
According to police, the driver of an Explorer was traveling westbound when he lost control of his vehicle and hit a vehicle traveling eastbound causing this Cincinnati car accident.
Police believe the Ohio auto accident was caused by slick road conditions. Both drivers were taken to the hospital to be treated for non-life threatening injuries following the Cincinnati car accident.
The Cincinnati auto accident lawyers at Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin can help if you have been injured in an Ohio car accident.
December 9th, 2008|
December 9, 2008
According to police, a Ford Thunderbird was headed west on Morse Road when it crossed the center line, clipped another vehicle, and then crashed head on into a BMW.
The driver of the BMW died at Ohio State University Medical Center following the Columbus auto accident. A female passenger in the Thunderbird also died at a hospital following the Columbus car accident.
An initial report said that the driver of the Thunderbird was a young man. He was charged with speeding and driving without a license. He later said it was his father that had been driving the vehicle. This Columbus auto accident is still under investigation.
The Columbus car accident lawyers at Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin can help if you have been injured in an Ohio auto accident.
December 2nd, 2008|
December 2, 2008
An elderly man was killed in a Chicago auto accident Sunday, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Police report that the man was crossing the street between two parked cars in front of his home when the Chicago car accident occurred. The Illinois auto accident happened in the 5700 block of South California Avenue in the Gage Park neighborhood.
The man was struck by a white 2002 Ford pickup truck. The driver of the truck, who caused the Chicago auto accident, was later issued multiple citations including, failure to report an accident and reckless driving.
The Chicago car accident attorneys at Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin can help if you have been injured in an Illinois auto accident.
November 6th, 2008|
November 6, 2008
The Cincinnati auto accident occurred in the Walnut Hills area just after 2 am. Police were called to the intersection of Victory Parkway and Lexington Avenue.
Police report the car involved in the Ohio auto accident was traveling at a high rate of speed when the driver lost control and ran into a pole. The vehicle then burst in to flames.
The victim in the Cincinnati auto accident was trapped inside the vehicle and died at the scene.
The Cincinnati car accident attorneys at Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin can help if you have been injured in an Ohio auto accident.
October 30th, 2008|
October 28, 2008
A man was critically injured when his vehicle slammed into a semi-truck and became pinned underneath the vehicle, according to the Chicago Sun Times.
The Chicago auto accident happened at 3:25 am. The motorist was driving a Nissan Sentra at a high rate of speed down Cicero Avenue; the semi was turning onto Cicero Avenue when the car slammed into the truck.
Fire crews responded to the Chicago car accident and the driver of the car was taken to Christ Medical Center to be treated for critical injuries.
The Chicago auto accident attorneys at Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin can help if you have been injured in an Illinois car accident.
October 30th, 2008|
October 30, 2008
The Sheriff’s office reported that a woman was driving southbound when she drove into the back end of a pickup truck, causing the truck to hit the vehicle in front of it and that car hit a car in front of it.
The driver of the vehicle that caused the Champaign car accident was ticketed for failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident. She and the driver of the pickup truck were taken to a local hospital and later released.
The Champaign car accident lawyers at Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin can help if you have been injured in an Illinois auto accident.
October 21st, 2008|
October 21, 2008
Police report that it appears the boy was struck by a Ford Explorer pick-up truck that was backing up in a parking lot. The boy was attending a local sporting event at Memorial park in Obetz.
The boy was rushed to a local hospital, where he later died.
Officials are investigating the Ohio auto accident.