Recently, heavy snow on Interstate 65 near Lafayette, Indiana led to conditions where 13 vehicles, including nine that were semi trailers, crashed. They were followed by several smaller car collisions. In total, as many as 30 vehicles are thought to have crashed in a relatively short amount of time.
At the time these collisions occurred, there might have been as many as four inches of snow on the ground. Winds were blowing at nine miles per hour, and with the fog and snowfall, there was just three-quarters of a mile of visibility.
The resulting crash does not appear to have resulted in serious injuries or fatalities, but did tie up traffic in both directions, forcing the interstate to close for several hours. Firefighters were called to put out the flames surrounding a couple of semi trailers.
With Indiana receiving unprecedented amounts of snow, state and local government officials have been trying to protect citizens from driving through those conditions. For instance, earlier this month the mayor of Indianapolis, Greg Ballard, declared, on a day that put eight to 13 inches of snow on the ground, that only emergency vehicles were permitted to drive, unless the driver was searching for shelter in an emergency situation. Likewise, the Indiana Department of Transportation had advised drivers on Interstate 65 to use "extreme caution" and "travel at their own risk."
As the above examples demonstrate, weather conditions can cause problems for even the safest drivers. That is why, even though the posted speed limit states that one driving speed is safe, the law requires that drivers only go as fast as "conditions permit." Someone who goes at the 55 or 65 miles per hour posted speed will still be liable for any accident that results if it turns out that conditions did not support such a speed.
While many drivers have no trouble slowing down and using caution, unfortunately, there will always be impatient drivers who only care about getting to where they need to go. These drivers increase the likelihood of an accident occurring. Those who are injured in a collision with another driver when the conditions are poor need to investigate whether the poor conditions were solely to blame for the accident, or whether preventable driver error was primarily responsible. Indiana has a system of modified comparative fault, where if the other party was 50% or less responsible, the injured party cannot collect in a lawsuit.
However, if the injured party determines that the other driver was primarily responsible for the accident, he or she could file a lawsuit in court. The injured party would argue that the driver had a duty to other drivers and passengers on the road that he or she breached due to careless behavior. Such careless behavior could include driving too fast in poor conditions or making a reckless lane change. The breach caused the injury, and as a result, the injured party suffered damage. If you live in Indiana and were injured in a car accident, call an Indiana personal injury attorney today.
Miller & Falkner is a plaintiffs law firm serving residents of Kentucky and Indiana. Located in Louisville, Kentucky, the firm provides representation in the areas of personal injury and employment law. Contact us today for a free consultation.