Indianapolis Roundabout Accident Lawyer
Many cities, including Indianapolis, are increasing their use of roundabouts due to their proven ability to reduce the number of severe motor vehicle accidents and fatalities. Overall, roundabouts have been found to reduce overall collisions by 37%, injury-related car crashes by 75%, pedestrian accidents by 40%, and fatal collisions by 90%.
However, it does take time for drivers to get used to a new roundabout. Older drivers especially, and others that have only ever driven through traditional intersections, may find roundabouts confusing and frustrating to navigate. As drivers learn to adjust, cities have found that there can sometimes be traffic delays and an increase in accidents when roundabouts are first constructed.
At Crossen Law Firm, we have years of experience helping victims of roundabout accidents get the compensation they deserve. We understand the emotional, physical, and financial toll an accident can have on individuals and their loved ones.
Our team of experienced attorneys is dedicated to advocating for those injured in car accidents. Our goal is to guide you through the legal process every step of the way to help alleviate any anxiety or stress you may be feeling so you can instead focus on recovering and moving on.
If you have been injured in a roundabout accident, contact a skilled personal injury lawyer right away at (317) 401-8626.
Roundabouts in Indiana
The state of Indiana has a particularly high number of roundabouts compared to other states, with more coming in the future. Through 2016, more than 256 roundabouts have been constructed throughout the state, with the majority being found in Carmel. Carmel, Indiana, is world-renowned, with over 138 roundabouts having been built since the 90s.
The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) promotes the use of roundabouts, stating that they have been using them to replace traditional intersections to help reduce the number of accidents. Furthermore, INDOT claims that they are also constructing roundabouts to help with traffic delays, fuel consumption, air pollution, construction costs, city beautification, and overall safety.
How to Navigate a Roundabout
Generally, most roundabouts operate in a circular direction around a central island. Typically, they do not involve the use of stop signs or traffic signals; however, some do if crosswalks are a part of the intersection. However, for the most part, they rely on yielding laws.
This means that as a driver approaches the intersection, they must yield to any oncoming traffic, pedestrians, or cyclists before entering the roundabout. Once they enter, they drive around the central island in a counterclockwise direction until they reach their desired exit point and may then pull out onto that road unimpeded.
The design of a roundabout is done so with safety in mind. They are meant to reduce speeds and keep cars from intersecting one another, which reduces the number of accidents. However, as with any traffic laws, this does rely on drivers acting responsibly and following rules. If a driver acts negligently and speeds into a roundabout without yielding, it can, of course, lead to an accident.
The Benefits of Roundabouts
Numerous studies have been conducted surrounding roundabouts, which have proven their safety. Cities would not continue to have them installed if this weren’t true. There are many ways that a city and its residents can benefit from roundabouts, including:
- Reducing traffic delays: Roundabouts improve traffic flow by reducing the number of times drivers have to stop. At traditional intersections, traffic typically gets backed up when drivers have to wait at red lights or stop signs.
- Reducing accidents: As drivers have to slow down and yield before entering a roundabout, it reduces speed and forces them to pay attention to oncoming traffic, which reduces the number of accidents. It is also much harder to speed while driving in a circular motion around the intersection.
- Reducing emissions and fuel consumption: Cars consume more fuel and emit more gas emissions into the atmosphere when they are constantly starting and stopping and idling. As roundabouts keep traffic moving continuously, it reduces the number of times a car has to stop and idle.
- Safer for pedestrians and cyclists: Slower speeds surrounding roundabouts mean they are safer for pedestrians and cyclists. Additionally, some roundabouts are constructed with pathways and crosswalks designated for pedestrians and cyclists making it even safer for them to cross at these intersections.
- Cost-effective: Roundabouts require fewer materials to build than traditional intersections, and they take up less space which saves money. They also reduce operational costs as there are no traffic lights or other signals to power or maintain.
The Disadvantages of Roundabouts
Though overall roundabouts are a much safer and efficient alternative to traditional intersections, they still come with their disadvantages. Driver error and even intentional negligence are often the cause, rather than the roundabout itself being to blame. Still, it is important to keep the cons of roundabouts in mind so as to stay alert and cautious when using them.
- Driver confusion: Some drivers may find roundabouts confusing and intimidating to navigate. They may hesitate to enter or exit, which can cause delays or even lead to an accident.
- Slow speeds: Though reducing speeds is generally a positive thing, it can have its downside when it comes to rush hour. As drivers are forced to move more slowly through a roundabout intersection, it can sometimes lead to a back-up of other cars waiting to enter during peak driving hours.
- Improper yielding: Some drivers who are impatient or have a tendency to drive negligently may disregard yielding laws more than they would a traffic signal. When drivers enter a roundabout with no regard for oncoming traffic, it can lead to an accident.
Types of Accidents That Occur at Roundabouts
While roundabouts are safer most of the time, cities cannot entirely eliminate car accidents by having them constructed. Any number of factors can contribute to an accident no matter where you are on the road or what time of day you are driving.
The slow speeds required to navigate a roundabout do reduce the number of severe and fatal accidents that occur, but there can be other more minor collisions that may lead to injury. Studies conducted by the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) found that the following were the most common accidents that occur at roundabouts:
- Running off the road
- Rear-end collisions
- Entering collisions
- Exiting collisions
- Colliding with the central island
IIHS reports that unsafe speeds accounted for over half of the run-off-road accidents, assuming it was due to a driver’s failure to slow down while approaching the roundabout. Additionally, they report that the majority of accidents that occur in single-lane roundabouts were due to entering-circulating vehicles. Conversely, in multi-lane roundabouts, the majority of accidents occur due to exiting-circulating vehicles.
Liability in Roundabout Accidents
As there are no stop signs or traffic signals at roundabout intersections, determining fault can be more of a challenge. However, most of the time, roundabout accidents occur due to a driver’s failure to yield or unsafe speeds. To receive compensation after an accident, the victim must be able to prove fault. This means showing that the other driver (a) owed a duty of care, (b) failed to uphold that duty, and (c) the injury was a direct result of their negligent actions.
If you and another driver share fault, Indiana has comparative fault law, which means that each driver is responsible based on the percentage of their fault in causing the accident. So the compensation you are awarded in a car accident claim can be reduced based on your percentage of fault.
If you are injured in a roundabout car accident, you may be awarded compensation for the following damages:
- Medical expenses
- Loss of wages from your inability to work
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress caused by the accident and your injuries
- Property damage
- Permanent disfigurement
- Permanent disability
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of life or wrongful death
In some cases, victims may seek compensation for punitive damages. Victims may be eligible for punitive damages if the injuries sustained result from intentional harm and/or negligent actions. Essentially, this is when the accident and your injuries result from someone failing to ensure a safe environment knowing full well that harm could come to you. This could mean they did something on purpose to cause the accident, or they may have turned a blind eye to something they knew would result in a potential injury.
If you suspect that a roundabout accident was the result of malicious intent or negligence, you should inform your Indianapolis car accident lawyer as soon as possible.
Seeking Help After a Roundabout Accident
When an accident occurs, it is easy to become overwhelmed by your injuries and responsibilities. However, necessary steps should be taken to ensure you are awarded a proper settlement amount. Working with an attorney can help as they will guide you through the process and even do a lot of the heavy lifting for you.
The following are steps you will need to take if you want to build a strong case:
- Seek immediate medical treatment following the accident. Don’t worry about paperwork or who you should inform. Your health and safety are a priority. Additionally, medical experts may be called on to testify if you decide to pursue a claim. Having medical evidence of your injury will help you win a fair settlement.
- File a police report. As soon as the accident occurs, the authorities should be contacted so they can assist. Be sure it isn’t just emergency medical responders that arrive, but the police as well. Not only will the report help support your case, but Indiana law also requires it if there are any injuries, fatalities, or property damage.
- If possible, collect evidence yourself at the scene. This can include taking photos of your injuries and the car damage, as well as collecting the names of any witnesses present at the time of the accident. If you wait too long to contact these individuals, they may not remember what happened as clearly.
- Once you have collected any initial evidence, contact an Indianapolis car accident attorney to have your case reviewed. They will use any initial evidence collected in addition to helping you obtain further evidence to prove liability. Your attorney will walk you through the process to help you understand your rights and give you the legal support you need to win your case.
- Most importantly, do not give any statements, sign, or agree to anything without first consulting your lawyer. Insurers may contact you asking for statements, and they often use this information to turn the tables against you. Insurance companies are notorious for fighting claims to mitigate their costs. If they reach out, simply tell them you need to speak to your lawyer first before you agree to anything.
Explore Your Legal Options With an Indianapolis Personal Injury Attorney
Discussing your case with an experienced roundabout accident lawyer can help you during this trying time. At Crossen Law Firm, our team will fight tirelessly on your behalf to help you get what you are owed, and you will not owe us anything unless we win your case.
Make the right call. Call Crossen Law Firm at (317) 401-8626 or contact our firm online.
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