Why Personal Injury Lawyers May Refuse Your Case – Uncollectability | Car Accident Lawyers, Auto Accident Attorneys, Ward & Ward Law Firm
Collectability is the ability to put money into the hands of an injured party and creditors who have extended treatment on their behalf resulting from an accident. It is an essential component of any personal injury claim. The following are examples of uncollectable claims frequently turned down by personal injury lawyers:
- Neither party has automobile insurance and the driver responsible for the injuries has no real or personal assets
- Liability cannot be ascertained through evidence or credible eyewitness testimony
- Damages are negligible and/or frivolous
- Injured party(ies) did not receive treatment immediately following the accident and did not follow up with a physician in a timely manner
It falls on you to protect your injured self from another person’s negligence | Indianapolis Car Accident Lawyers
The recession and suspended licenses have thrust an increase in uninsured drivers in Indiana. Of the approximately 4 million driver’s licenses issued in the state of Indiana, approximately 12% are suspended. According to the most recent estimate obtained by the Insurance Information Institute, approximately 1 in every 7 drivers or 14.2% take to the roads without any automobile insurance.
Uninsured/Underinsured Bodily Injury and Liability* coverage is included as a part of your policy unless you express in writing a desire to omit this coverage. UIM protects you, your family’s assets and financial exposure from reckless uninsured and underinsured drivers that may cause harm to you and others riding in your vehicle. Your uninsured coverage may also protect you from defendants fleeing a judgment through the protection of bankruptcy.
Experienced Indiana Car Accident Lawyers and Wrongful Death Attorneys
The personal injury and car accident lawyers of Ward & Ward Law Firm recommend increasing your insurance policy to reduce and protect your personal exposure in an accident you may or may not cause. A robust bodily injury and liability policy may cost only pennies a day more than the minimum policy required to drive in Indiana. Before you call an agent, learn more about automobile insurance coverage in Indiana at our attorney blog.
The auto accident attorneys at Ward & Ward Law Firm have more than 85 combined years of experience practicing personal injury, wrongful death and medical malpractice law. If you or someone you know has been involved in an accident, call personal injury lawyer, Charlie Ward, today at 317-639-9501 or toll free at 888-639-9501 for a free consultation.
Personal Injury Attorney
Accident Victims Benefit from The Affordable Health Care Act
Prior to 2010, a young adult without healthcare insurance who was injured by another driver would risk, at the very least, a lowered credit score and face possible bankruptcy if they and the defendant driver (the person responsible for the accident) were operating their motor vehicles with insufficient or no automobile insurance coverage. A recent study shows that young adults have benefited from the law allowing them to obtain health insurance on their parent’s healthcare policy up to the age of 26.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act has reduced the number of uninsured persons
Since The Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act was enacted, approximately 16.4 million additional people have acquired health insurance coverage, according to a study published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. This equates to a 35% reduction rate of uninsured. The majority of these newly insureds have been brought in through the healthcare Marketplace (a local, online healthcare shopping website), expansions in Medicare and young adults who are covered by their parent’s health insurance policies.
Prior to the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), most young people were separated from their parent’s health insurance policies after graduation from high school or completion of college. In 2010, the ACA provided for coverage of young people 19-25, by enabling them to stay on their parents’ policy. From the baseline in 2010 through the start of open enrollment in 2013, the uninsured rate of young people dropped from 34.1% to 26.7%, i.e. approximately 2,300,000 young adults ages 19-25 secured coverage through their parent’s policy. Through March 4, 2015, an additional 3.4 million young adults benefited from the ACA provision thereby totaling 5,700,000. These young adults may lawfully ride their parent’s policy regardless of marital status, residence, employer plan availability, financial independence and school status until they reach the age of 26.
Best Lawyers® Ward & Ward Law Firm -Experienced in Accidents and Wrongful Death Claims
Charlie Ward is a personal injury attorney in Indianapolis, Indiana and represents people who have been injured in auto, motorcycle and truck accidents as well as pedestrian and bicycling accidents, medical malpractice and nursing home negligence claims. If you or someone you know has been injured in an accident, the attorneys at Ward & Ward Law Firm will help you navigate the subrogation matters that arise as a result of the claim. Call Indiana personal injury attorney Charlie Ward today for a free consultation at 317-639-9501.
By Charlie WardWard & Ward Law Firm 728 S Meridian St Indianapolis, IN 46225 317-639-9501
Preventing Pedestrian and Bicycle Accidents and Fatalities in Parking Lots | Indianapolis Pedestrian and Car Accident Lawyers
Statistics show that 1 out of every 5 auto accidents occurs in parking lots. The most common accident is a result of a vehicle reversing out of a parking space backing into another vehicle. Most of the damage to vehicles are minor. The real danger is when a vehicle reversing strikes a pedestrian or a bicyclists which can result in serious injuries or death.
Most injuries in parking lots involve children
Each year it is estimated by the National Highway Safety Traffic Administration (NHTSA) that approximately 200 fatalities and 15,000 injuries occur in back up accidents. Every week at least 50 children are struck in back up accidents and unfortunately 2 of those children are fatally injured. A majority of those children killed are under the age of 4.
Most, if not all accidents occur as a result of the child being in the driver’s blind spot. Today more people are driving larger vehicles such as sports utility vehicles, mini-vans and mid-sized trucks. As a result, the blind spots are larger in these types of vehicles.
In order to prevent or minimize these types of back up accidents, knowing the vehicles blind spots are paramount for safety. In addition, knowing your surrounding and parking defensively (i.e. pulling through a parking spot to exit going forward) is likely to reduce the risk of an accident.
Best Lawyers® and Car Accident Lawyers – Ward & Ward Law Firm -Experienced in Pedestrian and Bicycle Accidents Fatalities
The personal injury and car accident lawyers of Ward & Ward Law Firm have 85 years of experience handling pedestrian accident and wrongful death cases. If you or someone you know needs legal representation for their accident claim, call 317-639-9501 today and ask for “Charlie” for a free consultation.
By Charlie WardWard & Ward Law Firm, Car Accident Lawyers 728 S Meridian St Indianapolis, IN 46225 317-639-9501
Why personal injury lawyers may refuse your case – Failure to Mitigate Injuries | Indianapolis Car Accident Lawyers
An insurance policy is a contract between two parties, the insurer and the insured. Insurers expect an injured victim to seek medical treatment and obtain a diagnosis immediately following an accident or an injury caused by the negligence of another person or entity. Insurance companies view the failure to seek immediate medical attention as a failure to mitigate the damages. Why?
- An injured plaintiff has a duty and responsibility to receive a diagnosis and treat their injuries, thereby mitigating their injuries and other potential damages; and
- Absent a timely medical diagnosis, an insurance adjuster and claims panel cannot know what actions or activities the claimant has performed since the accident that may have acerbated the original injury.
In my law practice, I have learned injured victims often fail to follow-up with a physician soon after a collision. Some fear a doctor will order tests they are not prepared to pay, taking off from work may pose a problem and others do not want a disruption in their lives. They may self-diagnose, thinking the pain and discomfort will get better over time.
Men, in particular, may be reluctant to seek treatment or the advice of their physicians. The American Academy of Family Physicians found that 92% of men polled in an online survey conducted by Harris Interactive, waited a few days before seeking care. Nearly one-third wait “as long as possible” before they seek the care of a physician.
Delayed Symptoms and the Onset of Pain
Immediately following an accident, blood pressure and adrenalin levels surge. This triggers the hyperactivity of opioids in the brain, which may be responsible for the lack of tenderness and pain generally expected after an injury.
In an interview with The New York Times, Dr. Dennis Charney, a psychiatrist at Yale and director of clinical neuroscience at the National Center for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder states:
“The opioid system of the brain, which can blunt the feeling of pain, is hyperactive…For the brain changes to occur, scientists now say, people usually have to experience the stress as catastrophic, an overwhelming threat to life or safety and one over which they [have] no control… It does not matter if it was…a one-time experience, like being trapped in a hurricane or almost dying in an auto accident…All uncontrollable stress can have the same biological impact.”
When the brain’s chemistry finally returns to the patient’s baseline, varying degrees of discomfort may be experienced. Pain is an indicator that something unusual is occurring in the body. It may be an indication of inflammation or a precursor to a heart attack―but it should never be ignored. If you or someone you know has been involved in an accident, our attorneys recommend you consult with a physician as soon as possible after the collision or injury. Many attorneys will refuse to file a claim if the injured person has delayed diagnosis and treatment.
Experienced personal injury attorneys and car accident lawyers in Indianapolis
The car accident lawyers and personal injury attorneys at Ward & Ward Law Firm have more than 85 combined years of experience practicing personal injury, wrongful death and medical malpractice law. Call personal injury lawyer, Charlie Ward, today at 317-639-9501 or toll free at 888-639-9501 for a free consultation.
Learn about Indiana’s RAP Clause
Why car accident lawyers and personal injury attorneys may refuse your case – Indiana Statute of Limitations
Every so often, I receive a call from someone who has been unsuccessful in securing legal representation for their personal injury claim. There are as many reasons why an injury lawyer will turn down a claim, as there are facts and circumstances surrounding the claim. In part 1 of this series, I’ll explain why attorneys may turn down a case nearing the statute of limitations.
Consultation – The Groundwork – Personal Injury Attorney and Car Accident Lawyers
Before a personal injury lawyer agrees to represent a claimant, both parties will meet face-to-face to discuss the potential claim. The attorney will want to study the police report and accompanying eyewitness testimony, review medical records and provider billings incurred to date and examine any other evidence available at this early stage of the process. If liability or collectability is in question, a deeper investigation may be necessary. When an attorney believes a claim has value and has faith in the honesty and integrity of the claimant, they will enter into a contingency agreement whereby the attorney agrees to advance the firm’s monetary and staff resources to pursue the “win” for their client. It is costly to litigate a case. Expenditures made on behalf of the client and their claim may include but are not limited to investigation, research, document preparation, court costs, exhibits, reports, expert witness fees, court reporters, professional fees and costs of mediation.
The Statute of Limitations – Personal Injury Cases
The statute of limitations is a time limit imposed upon a claimant or representative of a deceased person to notice defendants and file a claim with the court against the person(s), entity or entities responsible for their damages. Indiana has a 2-year statute of limitations to file a personal injury claim against parties responsible for their economic, non-economic and punitive damages. In claims involving a governmental entity, the claimant must file a Notice of Tort Claim within 180 days of the accident. These deadlines begin to run from the date the claimant received the injuries or the claimant’s date of death. Exceptions may be found at IC 34-11-2-4. It is unfortunate when people wait to pursue their claim against the wrongdoer until days or even weeks before the statute of limitations has run. It takes time to review a claim and to mount an effective case. Many lawyers are reluctant to commit their professional time, services and financial resources to a claim filed in haste.
Experienced Car Accident Lawyers | Personal Injury Attorneys
If you or someone you know has been involved in an accident, our firm recommends you consult with an attorney experienced in personal injury matters as soon as possible. The attorneys at Ward & Ward Law Firm have more than 85 combined years of experience practicing personal injury, wrongful death and medical malpractice law. Call Charlie Ward today at 317-639-9501 for a free consultation.
Unjust Law Strengthened Aspirations of 2015 Legendary Personal Injury Lawyer | Car Accident Lawyers and Personal Injury Attorneys
When Indiana personal injury attorney, Donald W. Ward, was a first year law student, he learned through personal experience that “a lot of injustices have been legislatively induced.” To counter the power structure favoring insurance companies and special interests, the former President of the Indiana Trial Lawyers Association has worked alongside like-minded, dedicated trial lawyers with members of the Indiana General Assembly to amend and pass legislation that would protect the trial court “wins” for injured clients.
Ward recalls one peculiar aspect of the Indiana Guest Statute that directly influenced his professional aspirations. During the fifties and prior to its amendment in 1998, the Indiana Guest Statute favored insurance companies by preventing an injured or deceased passenger from filing suit against a negligent owner or operator of the vehicle in which they were riding, except under narrowly defined circumstances. “Because you were a guest in my car,” Ward said, “my negligent driving did not entitle you to sue me for injuries caused by my negligent driving unless you could prove that I willfully or wantonly ran that red light.” Willful intent was key to overcoming the restrictions of the unjust law.
The early Guest Statute personally affected the Notre Dame Law Student
Jurisprudence was Ward’s calling. But it became personal after his sixteen-year old sister sustained life-threatening injuries when the vehicle in which she was riding crashed due to driver’s negligence. Upon learning of her accident and the injuries she suffered, he immediately left the law school he was attending to take his place with the family alongside her bed.
While in a prolonged state of unconsciousness, witnesses to the crash misled authorities by withholding facts. There was little hope her body could survive the excessive traumas and because of the restrictions placed in Indiana’s Guest Statute, little expectation that the driver’s insurance company would be financially accountable for the mounting medical bills.
Sometime later―her jaw wired shut―she awoke from a comatose state. When she finally regained the ability to form words, she stunned family members when she communicated to them that the driver of the vehicle in which she was riding had been drag racing on the road leading into the small town of Osgood when the accident occurred. She further articulated that prior to the crash, she and other passengers in the car firmly told the driver to “slow down.” Although latent, the adolescent eyewitnesses eventually corroborated the illuminating statement made from the hospital bed.
When the authorities determined the cause of the accident; that the driver of the car had “willfully” engaged in risky driving behavior; and the victim’s request to “slow down” had gone unheeded, this was the break family attorney and Ward’s mentor needed to proceed with a claim that would fall within the strict interpretation of the law. This incident and the bond formed between Ward and the late Howard S. Young Jr., served to strengthen Ward’s resolve to become a practicing plaintiff’s lawyer and to use his skills to affect changes in laws that were unjust and denied citizens equal access to trial by jury.
Former President of the Indiana Trial Lawyers Association
Since those days back in the fifties, members of the Indiana Trial Lawyer Association have worked diligently to protect the rights of Hoosier citizens in the legislative process. Ward says, “It is my belief that the voices of individual citizens are heard in the legislative process through the members of the Indiana Trial Lawyers Association.” When asked about his career as a trial lawyer, he said “The law profession is a very noble profession and I am very proud to have been a small part of it.”
Indiana’s Guest Statute, also known as the “Hitchhiker’s Law,” was eventually amended and implemented in 1998 reducing its scope to include parents, spouses, children, stepchildren, siblings, and hitchhikers. To learn more about the current Guest Statute in Indiana, visit the Ward & Ward Law Firm blog.
On August 19, 2015, Donald W. Ward of Ward & Ward Law Firm in Indianapolis, received the 2015 Legendary Lawyer Award presented by the Indiana Bar Foundation, a charity comprised of lawyers and judges who are dedicated to strengthening access to justice and an appreciation for the rule of law in Indiana. The committee that selected Ward was composed of Bar Foundation Fellows practicing law across the state of Indiana. Today, Ward is a diligent advocate for his firm’s injured clients and the families of wrongful death victims. Ward says he has no intention of retiring and will continue his work as a practicing personal injury lawyer.
Experienced Indianapolis Personal Injury Attorneys and Car Accident Lawyers
If you, or someone you know, has been injured in an accident, call personal injury attorneys and car accident lawyers, Don and Charlie Ward, today at 317-639-9501 or 888-639-9501 for an evaluation of your claim.Ward & Ward Law Firm Car Accident Lawyers and Personal Injury Attorneys 728 S Meridian St Indianapolis, IN 46225 317-639-9501 888-639-9501
How does a structured settlement for personal injury differ from a settlement or award? | Indianapolis Car Accident Lawyers
A settlement or judgment for a personal injury claim may be paid to the claimant by the defendant or the defendant’s insurance company in a single lump sum payment. The majority of settlements are paid in this way.
But in cases where the claimant (plaintiff) settles or is awarded a large sum of money, they may elect to receive all settlement funds in steady payments or a one-time partial disbursement of the settlement funds with recurring payments disbursed over a period of years or decades. This is called a structured settlement.
An initial partial disbursement of a structured settlement can and should be used for immediate expenses including, but not limited to medical bills, medical devices, convalescence, therapy, career training, special housing and transportation requirements or any other necessities unique to the injured person. The remainder of the partial disbursement may be invested or posted to a banking account to be used for living expenses or unforeseen future necessary expenditures. After the bills are met, the claimant is free to decide what to do with the remaining partial disbursement of funds.
Advantages of a structured settlement
Some studies indicate that recipients of very large lump sum settlements or “windfall” awards frequently run out of the funds necessary to sustain their disabilities throughout the remainder of their lives. Sadly, this scenario may occur when the parent or guardian of an injured child lacks the experience of managing a large sum of money. One of the advantages to a structured settlement distributed over a period of years is the economic security and well-being of the disabled or partially disabled person.
There are also tax advantages to structuring a settlement. Although settlements and awards for physical injuries are generally tax exempt, interest and dividends earned on the investment of a single lump sum asset is taxable. Even if all of the funds received in a structured settlement are invested, the annual tax obligation would likely be lessened due to a reduced investment stream.
A structured settlement is funded by way of an annuity purchased on behalf of the claimant. When you agree to settle your lawsuit using a structured settlement, your personal injury lawyer will facilitate a consultation with a qualified economic and financial analyst who will calculate your monthly or annual financial needs against mortality and inflationary tables. A qualified and trusted financial advisor will discuss your goals and the options available to you, i.e. the sums you wish to receive and the length of time over which you may extend your payments. You may choose to end disbursement of your settlement at a designated age, terminate payments upon your death or continue with payments made to your heirs through the remaining life of the financial instrument. You may even elect to withhold regular payments until you reach a certain age to fund your retirement.
Why do insurance companies offer structured settlements?
Because structured funds are invested in an annuity—a financial instrument that is expected to grow over time—the initial investment made by defendant or defendant’s insurance company is significantly less than the totality of the expected future income stream received by the claimant. Unless the claimant wishes to make a large purchase, such as a home, from a lesser settlement—say, for example, a settlement of $100,000., a structured settlement can be a win-win situation for both parties.
The Structured Settlement Purchasing Industry
The Washington Post recently published a story exposing a predatory structured settlement purchasing company that took advantage of a young adult woman with brain damage and limited mental capacity due to lead paint poisoning as a child. The Baltimore woman had prevailed in a suit filed on her behalf and was tricked into transferring her monthly checks, 420 payments through the year 2052. The estimated value of her annuity was more than a half a million dollars but she transferred her future security for a mere $63,000.
Although most settlement purchasing companies operate legally and within the boundaries of the law, you should understand that the players within the industry will only offer pennies on the dollar for the transfer of a structured annuity. People who have fallen on hard times or who need a chunk of money to purchase a car or make a down payment on a home may be more easily persuaded to sell the remaining life of their structured settlement. However, Indiana Code 34-50-2 entitled Annuity Structured Settlements regulates structured settlements in Indiana with a level of oversight requiring approval by the court for a legal transfer of the annuity. Section 7 of Chapter 2 states:
Sec. 7. An Indiana court of competent jurisdiction may approve a transfer of structured settlement payment rights only in a final order that is based on the express findings of the court. The express findings must include all of the following:
(1) The consideration that the payee will receive for the transfer reasonably reflects the present fair market value of the future Indiana Code 2015 periodic payments under the structured settlement agreement.
(2) The transfer is in the best interest of the payee.
(3) The transfer will not materially impair the payee’s ability to discharge the payee’s obligations to the payee’s dependents.
(4) If the transferee is the applicant, the transferee has provided to the payee a disclosure statement in accordance with Section 6 of this chapter.
Section 8 of the above-referenced statute goes on to describe the process of filing an application for the legal transfer of a structured settlement annuity with the court of jurisdiction. After application has been made, the court will notify the applicant of the date, time and place of the hearing but it will not be heard earlier than 20 days after the application has been filed with the court.
Personal injury attorneys and car accident lawyers experienced with structured settlements
Our attorneys have more than 85 years of combined experience in personal injury law including wrongful death, nursing home neglect and medical malpractice claims. Many of our clients have elected to receive structured settlements and awards. Although structured settlements are not always the right solution, they can be a valuable source of future income, particularly for clients concerned with future income or loss of wages.
If you have a claim for injuries you received in an Indiana accident caused by another party’s negligence, call the Indianapolis car accident lawyers at Ward & Ward Law Firm today for a free consultation! Call 317-639-9501 or toll free at 888-639-9501.
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On September 3, 2008, Mr. Earl was thrown from his motorcycle at a speed of 65 mph when he took evasive action to protect himself from the sudden and unexpected lane change by a semi tractor-trailer driver. Although there was no contact that occurred between Mr. Earl’s motorcycle and the semi, an observant witness confirmed the accident and resulting injuries sustained by Mr. Earl were caused by the unidentified semi-truck.
Prior to the accident he enjoyed an active outdoor lifestyle: hunting, fishing and playing league basketball. He was the co-owner of a small construction business; his expertise and job responsibilities were in excavation and sewer work. And he enjoyed spending time with his wife and playing with his grandchildren.
Mr. Earl was hospitalized immediately following the accident. His injuries included a fractured collarbone, fractured shoulder blade, and multiple fractures in his left ribs. He also suffered a collapsed lung, laceration of the liver, multiple abrasions, a blood clot in his left leg and a permanent structural change of his left shoulder joint.
Eventually Mr. Earl returned to light-duty office work but he was unable to perform the heavy equipment and excavation duties required of him in his business. His income suffered as a result.
After Mr. Earl’s medical treatment concluded, every action in his life was executed in pain―from playing with his grandchildren to driving a car. Even lying in bed was problematic. In addition, his wife reported her husband’s pain affected their marriage.
A Claim for Damages – Uninsured Motorist Insurance Coverage
At the time of the accident, Mr. and Mrs. Earl had uninsured motorist insurance coverage for $250,000 per person/$500,000 per accident. When their insurance company refused to pay the full amount of $250,000 for his damages, they brought a claim for damages based on the terms of their contract with their insurance company. While the case was pending, Mr. Earl died from an unrelated illness. When their insurance company admitted liability, the case proceeded to a jury on the question of damages only.
Despite their insurance company’s unsuccessful motion to exclude the policy limits from evidence, the trial court admitted plaintiffs’ insurance policy into evidence. The jury returned with a verdict of $175,000 for Mr. Earl’s damages and $75,000 for Mrs. Earl’s damages totaling $250,000―the exact limits of the policy.
After their insurance company successfully appealed on the grounds that the trial court abused its discretion by allowing the $250,000 limits into evidence and that the jury’s verdict was affected by their knowledge of the policy limits, the Earl’s petitioned to the Indiana Supreme Court. The appellate ruling was vacated.
In the Indiana Supreme Court Conclusion, Justice Massa writes:
“…we cannot say the trial court abused its discretion in finding that probative value was not outweighed by substantial prejudice.”
The Indiana Supreme Court took the position that there is not a bright-line rule for admitting insurance coverage but instead it is in the trial court’s discretion to determine what evidence is probative in each case.
Experienced Personal Injury Lawyers
If you have any questions about your automobile insurance policy or your motorcycle insurance coverage, call us today at 317-639-9501 and ask for Charlie Ward.
Ward & Ward Law Firm
728 S Meridian St
Indianapolis, IN 46225