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Where do Injured Parties Look When the Limits of Your Motorcycle Policy are Exhausted?

Motorcyclists should carefully assess their motorcycle bodily injury & liability portion of their insurance policy

There’s no doubt that the rising cost in fuel is throttling the motorcycle industry. Sales were up 7.2% in the first quarter of 2011 so says the Motorcycle Industry Council’s Retail Sales Report. These increased motorcycles on the road have resulted in increased injuries and fatalities. According to the Indiana State Police, the total number of collisions involving motorcycles increased in the year 2010 nearly 5% over 2009. Last year there were 3,721 motorcycle accidents reported — 2,712 injuries including operators and passengers—and 110 fatalities (100 operators and 10 passengers.) The average age of motorcycle fatalities—40.9 years old.

These statistics are dismal but as more people take their hogs to the road—as a necessary form of transportation or for the pure pleasure of riding the highway—the enthusiast should have in place a sound motorcycle policy adequate to cover any medical injuries and or deaths that could occur as a result of an accident.

The Declarations page of your motorcycle policy outlines your coverages and the insurance company’s limits of liability. It reads very similar to your automobile policy. Bodily Injury & Property Damage Liability covers a maximum amount per person and a maximum total amount which will be paid per accident. For example: a $100,000/$300,000 policy coverage means an injured party could potentially receive up to but no more than $100,000 for injuries to their person but no more than $300,000 could be recovered by the total number of persons injured in the accident. That is, if a carload of people were injured in an accident which was determined to be caused by you as the operator of your motorcycle, your insurance company would not pay more, in this instance, than $300,000 total for injuries and or deaths which occurred.

If a string of cars and/or motorcycles were involved in an accident, such is often seen in freeway pile-ups, and it was deemed to be a result of your actions, more than likely $300,000 would not be sufficient to cover the medical expenses and wrongful death suits which could follow. That’s why it’s so important to balance your liability needs with your assets. In other words, where would injured victims look for compensation after your insurance policy limits were exhausted? Many learn this lesson the hard way—after the fact. Many consumers don’t realize that the price of coverage per unit goes down as the amount of coverage goes up. In other words, it’s cheaper to buy in bulk.

As more people take to the road using alternative forms of transportation, I think we can unfortunately expect to see motorcycle accidents rise. Get the coverage you need. And discuss your existing policy with your personal injury lawyer. Ward & Ward Law Firm lawyers can help you assess your policy needs.

Charlie Ward

Ward & Ward Law Firm
728 S Meridian St
Indianapolis, IN 46225
(317) 639-9501
(888) 316-3449

Animal Control Entitled to Immunity from Dog Bite Claim

City fails to enforce Animal Control Ordinance

In February, 2007, a personal injury Complaint was filed against Animal Control and the City of Evansville (City Defendants) for personal injuries when minor plaintiff, Shawn Davis, was attacked and severely bitten by a 60-pound Rottweiler while playing in his neighborhood. Six-year-old Shawn Davis sustained severe injuries to his arm and back.

The Complaint alleged the City Defendants failed to protect young Davis by not enforcing its Animal Control Ordinance. A witness to the incident claimed in her testimony that she had called Animal Control several times during the week before the incident to report a very vicious dog running the neighborhood. This dog was known to the witness as ‘Romeo’, a dog she had seen dropped off and picked up from the corner house repeatedly for several weeks prior to the incident. Six months prior to Davis’ injury, Animal Control had received a report of a Rottweiler named Romeo biting a child.

Lower court finds city was entitled to immunity in case involving dog bite injuries

The lower Court found that the defendants were entitled to law enforcement immunity under the Indiana Tort Claims Act.  The Indiana Tort Claims Act (ITCA) provides immunity to governmental entities for loss resulting from failure to enforce a ‘law’ [writer’s emphasis]

Court of Appeals determined city failed to declare dog dangerous

The Court of Appeals overturned the lower court’s decision based upon their memorandum which stated that it was the City Defendant’s failure to follow their own ‘procedures’ [writer’s emphasis] that is the issue here. The Court of Appeals inferred in Davis’ favor that City Defendants had received notice of this dog and had knowledge of the dog’s history involving an earlier biting incident; the City Defendants had failed to follow the City’s own procedures to declare the dog ‘dangerous’. The divided Court of Appeals ruled that City Defendants were not entitled to either statutory law enforcement immunity or common law immunity.

The dissenting Appellate decision written by Judge Kirsch made the point that the procedures for determining the danger of an animal and the seizing of an animal exist for the enforcement provisions of the Ordinance. He writes:

Had the City followed such procedures, it would have been enforcing a law, and its failure to follow such procedures is a failure to enforce a law, a failure that is immune under the Indiana Tort Claims Act. Davis, 2010 WL 3377720, at *6 (Kiersch, J., dissenting).

On June 21, 2011 the Supreme Court of Indiana vacated the opinion of the Court of Appeals.

Justice Sullivan wrote:

[t]he alleged failure of the City Defendants to follow these procedures constitutes at worst a “failure to…enforce a law” for which the City Defendants are immune from liability under Indiana Code § 34-13-3-3(8).

Lawyers experienced in litigating dog bite cases

Attorney, Charlie Ward, is a partner lawyer in the law firm of Ward & Ward Law Firm with experience practicing in the area of personal injury law  in the state of Indiana. If you or someone you know has been bitten by a dog, call Charlie today at 317-639-9501 to discuss the facts of your potential lawsuit.

Ward & Ward Law Firm
728 S Meridian St
Indianapolis, IN 46225



How Much Med-Pay Insurance is Enough?

Medical Payment Auto Insurance Coverage

The next time you receive a policy renewal from your automobile insurance company, take a look at the Declarations Page (coverage break-down) to determine the amount of “Medical Payments” coverage you carry. Unless otherwise requested, most auto insurance companies in Indiana, automatically quote medical-payment limits of liability coverage in the amount of $5,000 each person. If you or a family member, have never had to use this important benefit due to a traumatic injury from an auto accident, chances are you may not have given much consideration to the amount of med-pay coverage you should have.

What is med-pay insurance?

Medical-payment insurance exists for the benefit of the policyholder(s) injured in an auto accident. This coverage insures the automobile insurance company will make timely payments to the medical provider(s) for hospitals, medical treatment, physical therapy, and reimburse out-of-pocket medical costs including prescriptions, co-pays and other medically-necessary incidentals resulting from an accident.

How much medical payment insurance should I buy?

Most major health insurance policies today put forth high annual deductible plans. A good rule of thumb is to look at the deductible of your health insurance. How much of your family’s deductible could you affordably self-insure if you were seriously injured in an auto accident? Medical payment coverage of $5,000 may cover only half of the medical bills for someone with a $10,000 deductible health plan. Would you be comfortable withdrawing $5,000 from your savings or investments to make those medical payment arrangements which could have been easily avoided by doubling your med-pay auto insurance for just a few pennies a day?

It takes time to resolve a legal action. In the mean time, hospital and medical creditors require payment.  You can avoid the financial and medical hardship created by callous collection agents, whom  it seems (tongue in cheek) lock your phone number on their speed dial — by properly assessing your financial needs. The next time you have a moment, review your coverage. If you need clarification, get the answers you need from your agent or call  lawyer Charlie Ward at 317-639-9501 for an in depth explanation of your auto insurance coverage. Then determine how much medical payment coverage is right for you.

Charlie Ward

Ward & Ward Law Firm
728 S Meridian St
Indianapolis, IN 46225

Do You Get Larger Settlements for Truck Accidents?

From a legal standpoint, truck accident lawsuits are investigated and litigated differently than auto accident cases

A semi truck accident is different from a car accident in a number of ways. Truck drivers must meet higher safety standards than car drivers and comply with separate state and federal rules regulating such things as rest periods and the number of driving hours permitted each day. These rules are in place for a good reason, as most accidents involving semi trucks tend to be more serious than car accidents and run a greater risk of causing extensive damage and injury. Because of the increased chance of significant and permanent injury and strict regulations surrounding the trucking industry, truck accident settlements tend to be larger than settlements for motor vehicle accidents.

Compensation for serious injuries

Truck operators are required by the Federal Motor Carrier Administration to carry commercial insurance policies with higher liability limits. Higher limits are necessary to pay for extensive damages caused by semi truck accidents, which are often more severe than injuries sustained in passenger vehicle collisions. If you are injured in a truck accident caused by the negligent actions of another party, your settlement amount depends on three factors:

  • Medical expenses – All current and future medical bills are compensated in a truck accident settlement.  It is best not to settle too soon after an accident because you may not realize the full extent of injuries or necessary long-term treatment.
  • Lost wages – This includes current and future lost earning capacity.
  • Pain and suffering – Settlements consider the difference between your quality of life before and after the accident and compensate victims for past and future pain, suffering, and disability.

Settlement amounts are often higher in trucking accident lawsuits

Settlement amounts also tend to be higher in truck accidents because of the number of possible defendants. Unlike a car accident where only the driver is held liable, a truck accident lawsuit may involve more than just the driver and may include the employer, maintenance facilities, parts manufacturers, or loading companies. Each of these parties may have separate insurance policies with higher limits than an individual driver.

Experienced lawyers working on your behalf

An experienced truck accident lawyer can help with the complexities of trucking laws, multiple defendants, and likelihood of severe and permanent injuries. Hiring the right truck accident attorney is crucial. If you were injured in a semi truck accident, you are likely facing mounting medical bills, lost wages, and tremendous stress. A lawyer can assess the full impact of your damages and ensure you receive the maximum settlement amount possible.

At Ward & Ward Law Firm, we fight for justice for those injured due to the reckless and negligent actions of a driver in any kind of vehicle. Our knowledgeable and experienced Indianapolis trucking accident law firm and personal injury advocates are here to help.

To discuss your personal injury and estate planning matters, contact Ward & Ward Law Firm to arrange a free consultation. We are available to speak with you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Charlie Ward

Ward & Ward Law Firm
728 S Meridian St
 Indianapolis, In 46225

Indiana Truck Accident Lawyers Seek Larger Settlements

Having the skilled truck accident attorneys of Ward & Ward Law Firm behind you maximizes the value of your truck accident settlement in several ways.

  • Access to key resources – We preserve evidence, fully investigate truck accidents, and seek to establish negligence of the other driver. And we document the full impact of injuries, including necessary future treatment to ensure bills are paid and families are not left in financial ruin.
  • Specialized knowledge – The trucking industry is governed by complex state and federal laws. At Ward & Ward Law Firm, we focus almost exclusively on personal injury cases, including truck accidents claims. We understand commercial carriers are governed by Federal Motor Carrier Safety regulations and Indiana laws, including the statute of limitations. Our attorneys pinpoint negligent acts, identify trucking law violations, and determine all potential defendants to help you receive the best possible trucking accident settlement.
  • Leverage with the insurance companies – Even before you lawsuit is filed with the court, the defendant’s insurance company may offer to settle your case. However, an early truck accident settlement is likely to reimburse only a fraction of your total damages. Hiring an attorney protects your interests and demands that the insurance company take you seriously by offering full reimbursement for your losses.

Experienced personal injury lawyers offer our clients the full financial resources of our firm to employ expert witness testimony and physician reports

At Ward & Ward, we fully investigate and employ expert witnesses in cases where liability may be in question. Using an expert economist report or testimony,  we are able to assess the monetary loss of quality of life before and after a truck accident and use this information along with our lawyer’s experience and knowledge to leverage a fair settlement for Indiana truck accident victims and their families.

Call Charlie Ward today at 317-639-9501 if you or someone you know has been injured or killed in an accident involving a commercial semi truck or 18 wheeler.

By Charlie Ward

[email protected]

Ward & Ward Law Firm
728 S Meridian St
Indianapolis, IN 46225

What Can Indiana Truck Accident Lawyer Do For You?

Indianapolis Personal Injury Attorney - Semi- Truck AccidentsCompensation for deserving families or injured victims of a trucking accident

Trucking accidents or 18 wheeler accidents impact lives on a large scale and have lasting consequences. When negligence is involved, injured victims deserve full compensation for medical treatment, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Insurance companies may be quick to initiate a truck accident settlement in Indiana. However, it is essential to consult with an experienced truck accident attorney in Indianapolis before accepting any settlement offers or you may risk settling for much less than you deserve.

Because of their size, commercial trucks accidents cause greater personal injuries and deaths

Hands down, big trucks are the most dangerous vehicles on the Indiana highways and roadways. Roughly 500,000 accidents each year involve trucks. Because of the massive size and weight of the big rig and the dangerous loads they often carry, truck accidents cause significantly more severe injuries and deaths — about 100,000 and 5,000 respectively—in the United States every year.

Possible factors of a tractor-trailer accident claim

Many of the accidents trucks cause are the result of a lethal mixture of these factors:

  • Exhaustion from long hauls
  • Distraction
  • The truck’s inability to quickly respond in an emergency because of the truck’s size, longer braking distance, more difficult maneuverability, and driver visibility
  • Inadequate maintenance conducted by the trucking company or driver
  • Inadequate driver training or records reviews by the trucking company, which result in dangerous or poorly prepared fleet drivers

No two Indiana truck accidents are the same. How much your truck accident settlement is worth depends on a number of factors including:

  • The extent of injuries
  • How your injuries impact your life and livelihood
  • Where the accident claim is filed
  • The ability of your attorney to present a compelling case

A law firm with experience negotiating and settling truck accident claims in Indiana. If the insurance company won’t give you a fair settlement, we will take your case to trial for the best possible result.

At Ward & Ward Law Firm, our lawyers interview clients, eye witnesses, police and expert witnesses to get to the facts. We leverage our experience in trucking accident lawsuits to obtain the best settlements possible for Indiana truck accident victims and their families.

Call Charlie Ward today at 317-639-9501 for the best settlement possible if you or someone you know has been injured or killed in a truck accident.

By Charlie Ward

Ward & Ward Law Firm
728 S Meridian St
Indianapolis, IN 46225

Truck Accident Victims: Who’s Liable for Your Injuries?

Indianapolis Personal Injury Attorney - Semi- Truck Accidents

Determine responsibility for your serious trucking accident case

Determining liability for a truck accident is much more complex than establishing fault in a car accident.  It takes a number of different people and companies to keep a truck properly operating, and any one of them may be to blame for the accident and subsequent injuries.  In many cases, it is the culmination of a number of negligent acts that ultimately leads to a trucking accident.  To ensure the proper parties are held responsible, it is crucial to seek professional help from an experienced truck accident lawyer in Indianapolis.

Generally speaking, the majority of truck accidents are caused by either driver error or vehicle failure.  However, within these two causes are a multitude of variables and parties who may have contributed to the accident.  For example, although a driver may be at fault for falling asleep at the wheel, his employer may also be held liable for providing inadequate training or placing unreasonable delivery timelines that forced the driver to scrimp on required sleep and rest stops.  Thus, more than one party may share blame as co-defendants.

Some potentially liable parties

Some of the parties who may be held liable in a truck accident include the following:

  • Drivers – Truck drivers who violate trucking regulations—such as ignoring mandated rest periods, or operating under the influence of alcohol or drugs—may be held liable.  However, larger settlement amounts are obtained by pursuing liability with any companies involved.
  • Driver’s employers – Companies who cut corners and require drivers to drive too many hours or overload vehicles may be held liable for the driver’s negligent actions.
  • Truck owners – Truck owners are required to properly maintain vehicles and ensure they are up to code and safe to operate.
  • Maintenance companies – Truck maintenance facilities are responsible for providing quality repairs.  When faulty repairs contribute to an accident, the maintenance company can be held liable.
  • Loading company – Those responsible for loading trucks may be held liable if cargo is improperly loaded or overloaded.
  • Manufacturers – When dangerous or defective truck parts contribute to a crash, the parts manufacturers and designers may be held responsible.
  • Federal, state, and local government bodies – Ensuring roads are properly maintained and safe for drivers with adequate signage, guardrails, and safety measures is a government responsibility.  When dangerous roads contribute to truck accidents, various government bodies may be liable.

Seek legal help immediately

If you were involved in a truck accident, it is important to contact a qualified attorney as soon as possible to sort through the legal complexities and ensure proper measures are taken to obtain fair compensation for your injuries.

Truck accident lawyers with many years of experience litigating semi truck claims

At Ward & Ward we protect our clients from injuries due to the reckless and negligent actions of a driver in any kind of vehicle.  Our knowledgeable and experienced Indianapolis trucking accident law firm and personal injury advocates are here to help.

To discuss your personal injury and estate planning matters, contact Charlie Ward at Ward & Ward Law Firm to arrange a free consultation.  We are available to speak with you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

By Charlie Ward

Ward & Ward Law Firm
728 S Meridian St
Indianapolis, IN 46225
(317) 639-9501

What Information Do You Need to Collect After a Trucking Accident?

What should you do immediately following a truck accident?

In the moments immediately following a trucking accident, most people are understandably shaken.  When cars and trucks collide, serious and sometimes fatal injuries result.

Knowing what to do ahead of time can infuse a sense of calm and preparedness into an otherwise chaotic moments

  • Medical care – The first priority in any accident is to seek medical attention.  Be sure everyone involved is properly examined, and see a medical professional to make sure your injuries are documented.  Even if you feel fine initially, it is still important to obtain medical attention as soon as possible since injuries may not be immediately visible.
  • Involve the police – In most cases, the police will respond quickly to the scene because of the dangers involved in a truck accident.  If possible, find out if any traffic citations are issued, take note of the names and badge numbers of the officers, and obtain a copy of the police report.
  • Details from the scene – If at all possible, take notes and photos at the accident scene to document injuries and damage to the vehicles.  Note the details of other vehicles involved, and record information about weather and road conditions.
  • Witness and driver information – Be sure to collect names and contact information from any witnesses as well as a statement if possible.  Also, obtain driver’s license numbers and insurance information from the other drivers.  Your attorney can request other crucial evidence, including the truck’s black box, data system, log book, and maintenance records.
  • Refrain from speaking about the accident – Do not talk about the accident, admit fault, or place blame.  Anything you say can be used against you and may alter the course of your case.  Your Indianapolis truck accident attorney should be allowed to view your situation before any further action is taken.

Seek guidance from an experienced truck accident attorney

It is crucial to contact an attorney as soon as possible after the accident.  Many cases are won or lost based on the events immediately following an accident.  Trucking companies have investigative teams ready to respond to the scene within hours of an accident to try to minimize any damaging evidence.  The sooner your Indianapolis truck accident lawyer gets on board, the sooner crucial evidence can be preserved.  The impact of a trucking accident can last a lifetime.  Having an experienced lawyer who fights for your best interests can make all the difference.

At Ward & Ward Law Firm, we fight for justice for those injured due to the reckless and negligent actions of a driver in any kind of vehicle.  Our knowledgeable and experienced Indianapolis trucking accident law firm and personal injury advocates are here to help.

To discuss your personal injury and estate planning matters, contact Charlie Ward of Ward & Ward Law Firm at 317-639-9501 to arrange a free consultation.  We are available to speak with you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.