You might expect to see aggressive driving at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, but it is a crime everywhere else in the city. When people drive aggressively—whether angry, in a rush, intoxicated, or simply reckless—they become more likely to cause an accident, and those accidents can sometimes cause severe injuries or worse.
According to a report from the Indiana University Public Policy Institute, more than 6,700 Indiana traffic collisions in 2018 resulted from aggressive driving—defined as two or more driving infractions at the same time, such as speeding and improperly passing. That year, 873 people died in accidents on Indiana roads, 111 of them in Marion County. About 20 percent of the state’s fatal collisions involved speeding. Marion County also had more than 8,300 people injured in car accidents, including 1,703 described as “incapacitating.”
If you have suffered an injury because of an accident caused by an aggressive driver, you should not have to worry about your medical bills and time missed from work. The aggressive driver should pay, not you. You could contact an Indianapolis aggressive driving accident lawyer at Ben Crump Law, PLLC, today. We can fight to get you the compensation you deserve. Our attorneys never shy away from tough cases.
Schedule your free consultation today by calling our team at 800-598-7557.
Defining Aggressive Driving
Indiana Code § 9-21-8-55 establishes the crime of aggressive driving. An officer can deem a driver aggressive if, during “one episode of continuous driving,” they commit at least three of these violations:
- Following too closely
- Unsafe operation
- Overtaking another vehicle on the right by driving off the roadway
- Unsafe stopping or slowing
- Unnecessary sounding of the horn
- Failure to yield
- Failure to obey a traffic control device
- Driving at an unsafe speed
- Repeatedly flashing the vehicle’s headlights
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In Indiana, the person responsible for the accident has liability for the other party’s damages. Assigning blame for the crash to an aggressive driver might be more straightforward than proving fault in other accidents, but you must still follow some steps to preserve your rights.
After an Accident
Indiana Code § 9-26-1-1.1 requires anyone involved in a motor vehicle accident to do the following:
- Stop at the scene or as close as possible.
- Provide their name and vehicle registration information to the drivers of other vehicles involved in the accident.
- If the accident appears to have resulted in injury or death, provide “reasonable assistance.”
You should also call 911 as quickly as possible.
Indiana Code § 9-26-2-1 requires law enforcement to investigate any accident involving a death, injury, or property damage in excess of $1,000. However, if you can do so safely, you should document as much of the scene as possible: Take pictures of the vehicles involved and speak with potential witnesses and ask them what they saw. You want to establish as best you can that the other driver drove aggressively.
Contact your insurance company to tell them about the accident. Seek medical attention as soon as it is feasible to do so—and keep records of your expenses, time missed from work, and any pain you experience. After that, you might want to contact an Indianapolis aggressive driving accident lawyer to ensure your rights are protected. Call Ben Crump Law, PLLC, to learn more.
Following the accident, you will file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company seeking compensation for your injuries and property damage. Under Indiana law, every driver must maintain a minimum amount of liability insurance coverage. The Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) outlines the requirements:
- $25,000 in bodily injury liability (BIL) or death per person
- $50,000 in BIL or death per accident
- $25,000 in property damage liability (PDL)
The Indiana Department of Insurance (IDOI) also explains that policies must include uninsured and underinsured motorists coverage that you must specifically opt out of purchasing.
The other driver’s insurance company will investigate the accident and propose a settlement amount. You do not have to accept the offer if you believe it does not adequately cover your damages. You can continue to negotiate with the insurance adjuster or file a lawsuit. In some cases, the other party might not have enough insurance coverage to pay for all your damages. Here, too, you might wish to file a lawsuit against the driver.
Indiana is a “fault” state, meaning the at-fault driver for the accident must pay for damages that you and other injured parties incur. Indiana does not limit the amount of compensatory damages you could collect should you take the case to court.
However, Indiana Code § 34-51-2-5 makes Indiana a “comparative fault” state. With comparative fault, the insurance company or the other driver’s attorneys might argue that you have partial responsibility for the accident. If they successfully assign part of the blame to you, the court will reduce your compensation in proportion to your degree of fault. If your share of the blame is more than the other driver’s, you cannot recover for your injuries.
Indiana law allows the option to pursue punitive damages, but you must show that the defendant acted with “malice, fraud, gross negligence, or oppressiveness,” as the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled in Wohlwend v. Edwards, 796 N.E.2d 781 (Ind. Ct. App. 2003). This standard rises above a mere mistake.
Should the defendant meet that standard, Indiana Code § 34-51-3-4 limits the potential award to the greater of $50,000 or three times the amount of compensatory damages—and whatever punitive damages the court awards, the state takes 75 percent for the violent crime victims compensation fund.
Statute of Limitations
Per Indiana Code § 34-11-2-4, you must file any personal injury lawsuit within two years of the accident date. However, exceptions might apply, so you might want to consult an Indianapolis aggressive driving accident lawyer if you think you might have missed the deadline.
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How We Can Help
An Indianapolis aggressive driving accident lawyer from Ben Crump Law, PLLC, can stand beside you at every step of the process:
- Investigating your case
- Calculating the full value of your damages
- Negotiating with insurance adjusters
- Going to trial if necessary
We will fight for the justice and compensation you deserve, and you will not pay us anything unless we secure compensation on your behalf. Schedule your free case evaluation today with a team member. Call our offices at 800-598-7557.