Investigation Lays the Foundation for Road Construction Work Zone Accident Claim

Indiana drivers and passengers are most at risk in a road construction work zone accident


Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) statistics reveal that in 2013, 13 people were killed and more than 300 injured in INDOT work zones. Four out of five people who are killed in highway construction zones are drivers and their passengers.

Under Indiana law, motor vehicle operators who are reckless or Call Charlie Ward at 317-639-9501drive aggressively in a road construction zone may face a penalty of $5,000. Drivers who fatally injure a worker in a road construction zone can face a felony charge punishable by two to eight years in prison and a maximum fine of $10,000.

Most accidents occurring in roadwork construction zones result from recklessness

INDOT states that most work zone accidents result from:

  1. Speeding
  2. Following too closely (many interviewed state police officers believe this to be the number 1 cause of highway accidents)
  3. Unsafe lane movement (cutting off other drivers and making unexpected lane changes)
  4. Driver inattention and distracted driving (eating, texting, etc)
  5. Failure to yield the right-of-way
  6. Loss of control (uneven pavement or an object in the roadway)

Your attorney lays the foundation of your work zone accident case

An attorney representing an injured party or the family of a deceased person killed in a roadwork construction zone immediately reviews the investigating officer’s official accident report and contacts witnesses for a statement while memories of the crash are fresh. There may be more than one party who bears some fault for the accident. This may or may not be determined in the initial investigative stage. Here are a few examples of questions that may be posed to the witnesses:

  1. Was the driver at fault speeding or driving erratically?
  2. Was he or she following too closely for road conditions or making movements that any reasonable person would deem unsafe?
  3. Describe the road conditions; slippery, slushy, dry?
  4. What was the condition of the pavement?
  5. Was there a foreign object in the road that may have made conditions hazardous? If so, was it an object that may have belonged to a road construction crew? Or, was it something that may have fallen from a vehicle? If so, was there a logo or an identifying name anywhere on the vehicle? Perhaps a license plate or description?

These are just a few of the preliminary questions. The attorney will comb through witness statements, read the official narratives and closely inspect police and witness photos and/or videos to determine how and why the accident occurred, who was primarily responsible and if there were additional parties that may bear some responsibility. In some instances, an accident reconstructionist may be consulted and a report delivered for evidence to be used at a later time. The initial footwork performed by your lawyer lays the foundation of the case.

An experienced attorney will join all defendants to the suit as soon as possible. In most situations there is a two-year statute of limitations to get the case filed with the court; under certain circumstances the plaintiff may only have 180 days from the date of the accident to file a Tort Claims Notice. Therefore, it’s vital that you seek legal counsel as soon as possible after a construction zone accident so the ruling statute of limitations is observed and filing procedures are properly followed.

Alcohol and illegal drugs are often contributing factors in crash fatalities

According to CDC.gov, in 2010 nearly one-third of all accident-related fatalities involved alcohol impaired driving; drugs such as marijuana and cocaine were involved in 18% of crash fatalities. Alcohol, drugs or the combination of the two affect concentration, judgment, decision making and slow the brain’s response. When people lose their inhibitions from the effects of alcohol and drugs, they become a menace on the road.

A blood test is required under the implied consent law when a person dies or there are serious injuries resulting from an accident. The plaintiffs’ attorney will want to review the blood test findings. If the responsible driver’s bloodwork reveals alcohol consumption beyond the legal limit or tests positive for a controlled substance without a doctor’s prescription, criminal charges may also be filed against the defendant driver while undergoing a civil suit.

An experienced personal injury attorney builds the case while you focus on the healing process

It is devastating for a family when an officer of the law appears at your door only to tell you that your husband, wife, son or daughter has been killed in an accident. If you know of someone who has died or sustained a head, back, neck or any other type of injury because of another driver’s negligence in a highway construction work zone, the lawyers at Ward & Ward Law Firm would be happy to discuss the case and give the claimant(s) an honest legal assessment of the potential claim.

Our attorneys prepare every case for trial

While some cases may settle before the calendar trial date, the attorneys at Ward & Ward prepare every client’s case with trial as the destination in mind. What exactly does that mean?

It means a thorough investigation is performed by the members of our legal team. It means that every “i” is dotted and every “t” is crossed in preparation for a court trial. Discovery is complete, accurate and thorough and the Rules of Civil Trial Procedure are strictly adhered to. We care about our clients and our goal is to assist everyone in putting the pieces of their lives back together. We handle the legal issues so our clients can put all of their intention to the healing process.

Our attorneys strongly believe that everyone should have access to the courts. Our firm will not be paid unless we recover for you. Call Charlie Ward today at 317-639-9501 for a free consultation.

Highway Work Zone Awareness: We don’t speed through your office.

Supreme Court Upholds Caps on Punitive Damage Awards in Indiana

Lawyer for personal Injury in Indianapolis IN

Recently, the Indiana State Supreme Court upheld, by unanimous decision, Indiana statutes placing caps on punitive damage awards and how distribution is made.

 Under Indiana statute IC § 34-51-3-4, awards granted to plaintiffs for punitive damages are capped at three times compensatory damages or $50,000, whichever is greater. Under IC § 34-51-3-6 the plaintiff would receive 25% of the punitive damage award with the greater amount of the award (75%) going to the state’s Violent Crime Victim Compensation Fund.Call Charlie Ward at 317-639-9501

 In State v. Doe the plaintiff was awarded $5,000 for compensatory damages and $150,000 for punitive damages by a jury. But under Indiana statute capping punitive damage awards, the plaintiff would receive the full amount of $5,000 for compensatory damages and 25% of $50,000 ($12,500) for a total award of $17,500. Indiana’s Violent Crime Victim Compensation Fund would receive $37,500.

 The law firm of Ward & Ward has over 80 years of combined experience in breaking down the facts of a personal injury claim and working with insurance companies on behalf of their clients. If you have been injured in an automobile, trucking, motorcycle, or bicycle accident, please feel free to call me at 317-639-9501 for a free consultation.

Charlie Ward

(317) 639-9501

Is a Dog Owner Responsible for Dog Bite Injuries and Death Claims in Indiana?

Written by Injury Attorney Charlie Ward

Indianapolis IN Personal Injury Attorney Dog Bite This morning we learned from WRTV.com that on Sunday, July 20, 2014, an Indianapolis infant was killed by his Ohio’s step-grandmother’s American Staffordshire Terrier.Call Charlie Ward at 317-639-9501

Mail Online reported the step-grandmother was caring for the boy when the dog jumped a gate in her Dayton, Ohio home and attacked the infant boy. The grandmother failed in a desperate attempt to stop the attack. The child suffered multiple injuries. An autopsy performed on Monday revealed his death was caused by blunt force trauma.

A complaint had been previously filed against the dog’s owner for an unprovoked attack upon a beagle in June. The pretrial hearing for the June complaint was continued days before the child’s death.

What makes this tragedy so heartbreaking is that it could have been averted had the owner taken immediate action to remove the dog from her home once she became aware of the dog’s aggressive act toward the beagle.

How is liability determined in Indiana dog bite cases?

In Indiana, a dog owner may be held liable for an unprovoked attack if the dog bites an individual while the owner knowingly allows the dog to run free of restraint. A dog owner may also be liable if the dog has a propensity for aggressive behavior that has manifested in the past. More often than not, the owner of the dog will have prior knowledge if the dog has shown a previous inclination of aggressive behaviors such as growling, barring of the teeth or biting. Medical records or eye witness testimony may bear this out during discovery. If the case goes to trial, the judge or jury will ultimately determine liability based upon the evidence.

Strict liability imposes liability on a party without taking fault into account. The owner of the dog is responsible for all damages suffered by a person charged to carry out a duty imposed by state law, federal law or the US Postal Service on the grounds of strict liability. See Indiana Code 15-20-1-3

A conscious reduction of co-contributing factors may alter the number of dog bite related deaths

In December, 2013, The Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (JAVMA) published the first comprehensive study on dog bite related fatalities (DBRF) performed since 1970. The sample taken from 256 fatalities over a 9-year period showed a combination of four (4) or more of the following factors were present in 80.5 % of the deaths:

  • No able-bodied person being present to intervene (87.1%)
  • The victim having no familiar relationship with the dog(s) (85.2%)
  • The dog(s) owner failing to neuter/spay the dog(s)(84.4%)
  • A victim’s compromised ability, whether based on age or physical condition, to manage their interactions with the dog(s) (77.4%)
  • The owner keeping dog(s) as resident dog(s), rather than as family pet(s) (76.2%)
  • The owner’s prior mismanagement of the dog(s) (37.5%)
  • The owner’s abuse or neglect of dog(s) (21.1%)

The National Canine Research Council has published an in depth white paper on the above-referenced study entitled Potentially Preventable Husbandry Factors Co-occur in Most Dog Bite Related Fatalities.

Call Ward & Ward Law Firm for a free consultation today

Our attorneys are experienced in handling dog bite injury claims caused by negligent dog owners. If you or a loved one has a potential dog bite claim, we would be happy to discuss your case with you.

Call Charlie Ward for a free consultation at 317-639-9501.

Bicycle Accident Lawyers Agree Cycling Laws in Indiana are Unclear and Untested in the Courts

Indianapolis IN Personal Injury Attorney- Bicycle Accidents It’s time to update the bicycling laws in Indiana

Indianapolis and surrounding counties are experiencing a surge of cyclists taking to the roads. Since 2011 bicycle accidents have increased by nearly 50% in Marion County according to the Indianapolis Star. Indianapolis and other urban cities throughout Indiana are installing bike lanes to make cyclists’ travels safer on major thoroughfares. But motor vehicle drivers and cyclists haven’t yet determined how they should share the road by navigating in a predictable way.Call Charlie Ward at 317-639-9501

 

Superior Court Judge David Dreyer, whose court awarded settlements to two crash victims, believes the laws are confusing and untested. One Indiana law states that cyclists have all the rights and responsibilities of motor vehicles which imply bicyclists have the right to full use of the lane. Another law states that slow-moving vehicles should be as close as possible to the right hand curb. Nancy Tibbett, executive director of Bicycle Indiana, advises cyclists to use the right one-third of the lane but to not hug the curb because if they’re close to the right, a motor vehicle will take the liberty to pass the bicyclist in the same lane, and often that could be entirely too close.”

WRTV has reported that in the early morning of July 15, 2014, a cyclist was killed in Hamilton County:

“Investigators said [the cyclist] had been riding south on Main Street when the left handlebar of his bike was struck by a passing car, causing him to lose control of the bike and crash.” 

Bicycling in Urban Areas is on the Rise

Expect to see more and more cyclists taking to the road in busy downtown Indianapolis. This spring the city initiated its bike sharing program called Indiana Pacers Bikeshare as an alternative form of energy-saving transportation.  Bike docking stations are situated in 25 different locations throughout downtown Indy. The bicycles can be rented for $8.00 per day or $80 per year.

Share the Road Campaign and Educational Information

The Indiana BMV, through the Indiana Bicycle Coalition, is making “Share the Road” license plates available in 2014 with the expectation that driver awareness will be increased. Read more about “Share the Road” license plates and tags here.

Bicycleindiana.org is the “go to” site for cyclists and drivers looking for information on state laws related to cycling, and Bike Smart literature that will educate and promote safe cycling in Indiana.

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How Does a Pedestrian or Cyclist Receive Financial Compensation for Injuries Received in an Accident?

Personal Injury Attorneys

Drivers have a duty to exercise reasonable care anytime they are on the road. Attorneys, Charlie and Don Ward of Ward & Ward Law Firm have over 85 years of combined experience representing people who have been injured or killed in accidents involving motorcycles and bicycles. If you or someone you know has been injured or killed due to someone else’s negligence, give Charlie a call at 317-639-9501 for a free consultation.

Written by Charlie Ward

Ward & Ward Law Firm

 

A Single Text Changes Lives Forever | Car Accident Lawyer in Indiana

A single bad decision can change your life and the life of others – forever!Call Charlie Ward at 317-639-9501

One Text… One simple distraction has the power to cut a long, full life ….. Short. Everyday our lives are filled with distractions! It’s up to each of us to set boundaries, that keep both the roads and our futures safe. Too much life to live, to risk cutting it short from a preventable mistake. #stopthetextsstopthewrecks #wardlawfirm

Indiana Truck Accident Injury or Wrongful Death Claims Require Swift Legal Action by an Experienced Truck Accident Lawyer

Truck accident with injury attorney
Most truck drivers operate their vehicles responsibly, exercising care and respect for others. But due to size, weight and velocity, an accident involving a truck can produce severe injuries that dramatically alter a person’s quality of life.

If you or a family member or members have been involved in an accident with injuries or death caused by the negligence of a semi-truck or tractor-trailer big rig owner/driver, you should immediately seek the advice and legal counsel of a skilled injury attorney who has experience litigating complex truck accident claims. The unique aspects of trucking accident claims require immediate action from your legal team including a demand upon defendant(s) to preserve all evidence your lawyer deems essential to the litigation of your claim. Such evidence will likely include black box recovery from the commercial motor vehicle and the download of critical information recorded moments before and up to the time of the crash. Pair black box data with eye witness testimony and a picture begins to form. Call Charlie Ward at 317-639-9501In addition, your injury attorney will seek to protect from spoliation owner/operator phone records and communications, personnel files, driver’s logs, drug testing reports and service records along with other valuable pieces of evidence critical to your case.

An experienced truck accident lawyer will immediately identify the responsible parties, physically investigate and photograph the scene of the accident, the approach to the scene and the physical surroundings at the scene and discuss the facts of the crash in depth with investigating officers. Your attorney may contact media for news reports and film, request 911 recordings and obtain police report(s) and photographs. If the accident occurred in an area served by businesses, a request for security camera files may be made upon surrounding businesses for the purpose of obtaining additional evidence. And a private investigator hired by your attorney will search for witnesses to the accident and contact each one personally to obtain their statement.

All of this and much more is coordinated and carried out by your lawyer and their legal team as soon as possible after the collision has occurred and before files can become lost, misplaced or corrupted as digital files sometime do.

Wrongful death caused by negligence of a commercial motor vehicle owner/operator

If a person has died from injuries received in a collision involving a commercial motor vehicle, all of the steps mentioned above will occur. But in addition, an estate must be opened for the deceased person and a representative appointed to act on their behalf in the ensuing litigation.

Our truck accident lawyers have the resources to finance your commercial semi-truck accident claim

Like medical malpractice claims, a truck accident claim requires financial resources to effectively pursue litigation of your claim. When you are seeking legal representation for your truck accident claim, you need to be sure that your attorney has the monetary resources required to hire a private investigator and to pay for the necessary expert witnesses that will write reports and testify on your behalf. If the parties involved are unable or unwilling to reach a reasonable settlement agreement, you can be confident that Ward & Ward Law Firm attorneys have the staff and the financial resources to take your claim to trial.

Your legal team, under the direction of your attorney, will devote many hours to your case while you or your loved one focus attention on recuperating from injuries sustained and all matters of health and well-being.

The attorneys at Ward & Ward Law Firm have more than 85 years of combined experience litigating claims involving commercial motor vehicles and have the financial resources to effectively and successfully represent you or your loved ones. Call Charlie Ward today at 317-639-9501 for an in-depth review and analysis of your claim.

By Charlie Ward
[email protected]

Project Yellow Light – STOPTHETEXTSTOPTHEWRECKS.ORG

Friends, here is a great example of using our voice to make a difference!Call Charlie Ward at 317-639-9501

Introducing, Brittnay Devasure 2013 Project Yellow Light winner:). Great Video, Great Message …. 2 pts and a yellow star for creativity and effort!