Category Archives: Motorcycle Accident

Dead Red Law Offers Alternative for Motorcycle and Bicycle Enthusiasts|Personal Injury Attorneys

Dead Red Indiana Law Give Motorcyclists and Bicyclists Alternative to Breaking the Law

In March of 2014, Indiana became the 15th state to add the “Dead Red” law to their books. Indiana Representative, Mike Karickhoff of Kokomo, wrote House Bill No. 1080 that provides:

“…the operator [of a motorcycle, motorized bicycle, motor scooter, or bicycle] may proceed through the intersection on a steady red signal only if the operator:

    (i) comes to a complete stop at the intersection for at least one hundred twenty (120) seconds; and
    (ii) exercises due caution as provided by law, otherwise treats the traffic control signal as a stop sign, and determines that it is safe to proceed.”

The Indiana General Assembly passed the law 84-10.

Few Options for Cyclists Prior to Dead Red Law

Prior to the “dead red” law, when lightweight motorized and non-motorized vehicles failed to trigger a left-turn signal, the operator had one of three choices: 1) wait until a larger vehicle pulled behind them, tripping the scale; 2) make a right-hand turn and return to proceed through the intersection; or 3) ignore the traffic signal altogether and turn left on a red.

An Educated Public May Reduce Motorcycle Accidents in Indiana

ABATE of Indiana (The American Bikers Aimed Toward Education) strives to educate responsible cyclists on motorcycle safety. And because accidents involving motorcycles are often caused by other drivers who admittedly fail to see the cyclist, ABATE seeks to educate all drivers about motorcycle awareness. May is Motorcycle Safety and Awareness Month. On May 5, ABATE of Indiana, along with many other civic organizations, will kick off Motorcycle Awareness Month by hosting an event on the Circle to bring attention to motorcycle awareness.

Personal Injury, Motorcycle and Bicycle Accident Attorneys with Experience

The defenses used by defendant insurance companies to minimize their financial loss and the potential jury bias that occurs when litigating a motorcycle or bicycle injury claim is good reason to seek the assistance of an attorney experienced in motorcycle and bicycle injury cases. If you, or someone you know has been injured or killed in an accident involving a motorcycle, moped or bicycle, call Charlie Ward, an attorney with experience in pursuing claims on behalf of cyclists, at 317-639-9501 today for a free analysis of your claim.

[email protected]

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

Motorcycles – Helmets saves lives | motorcycle accident attorney in Indianapolis

Motorcycle Helmets Reduce Injuries and Save Lives | Motorcycle Accident Lawyers in Indiana

May is ‘Motorcycle Awareness’ month. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration encourages everyone to share the road and urges cyclists to make themselves visible to others.

A brief history of helmet laws and why they vary from state to state

People injured in motorcycle accidents require aggressive legal representation to overcome jury biasIn 1966, the national Highway Safety Act mandated each state enact universal helmet laws in order to receive federal highway construction funding. In 1975, under the authority of HSA, the Secretary of Transportation was about to impose penalties upon the states of California, Illinois and Utah for non-compliance, when lobbyists successfully pressured congress to stop the assessment of penalties on states lacking universal helmet laws. By 1980, a majority of states had repealed the universal mandated laws, favoring a unilateral approach to legislation.

As of 2016, three states, Illinois, Iowa and New  Hampshire, are without legislation regulating helmets. Nineteen states, along with the District of Columbia,  have statutes mandating helmets for all cyclists. The states and districts include:

Alabama, Mississippi, Oregon, California, Missouri, Tennessee, District of Columbia, Nebraska, Vermont, Georgia, Nevada, Virginia, Louisiana, New Jersey, Washington, Maryland, New York, West Virginia, Massachusetts, and North Carolina

The remaining states have passed legislation  that takes one or more of the following factors into account:

  • operator experience
  • operator age
  • passenger age
  • proof of medical insurance
  • cycling horsepower

States laws for helmet use as they stand currently in 2016, can be found at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Statistics favor ‘gearing up’ with helmets and bright clothing

Statistics from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimate:

  • Helmets saved the lives of more than 1,600 motorcyclists in 2013
  • 4,668 motorcyclists lost their lives in accidents while over 88,000 suffered personal injuries in 2013.
  • Since 1997, motorcycle deaths have more than doubled
  • Motorcycles are only 2 percent of the registered vehicles nationally, but motorcyclist fatalities are 5 percent of traffic fatalities each year.
  • The percentage of intoxicated motorcycle riders involving fatal accidents is higher than intoxicated drivers.

Helmets minimize injuries and reduce the likelihood of long term brain trauma.

The extent of Indiana’s helmet law requires passengers and motorcycle operators seventeen and younger wear a helmet. However, the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) advocates protective clothing as the only defense a cyclist has against injury. Reccomendations include a Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 218 compliant helmet, heavy-duty jacket and pants, boots, gloves, and eye protection.

Experienced Motorcycle and Bicycle Accident Attorneys and Wrongful Death Lawyers

Motorcycle enthusiasts and bicyclists enjoy the same legal rights as every driver on the road, i.e. the right to compensation for injuries, loss of wages, impairment, pain and suffering and all other remedies available by law. (Learn more about jury bias) For more than 85 combined years, motorcycle accident attorneys and wrongful death lawyers, Don and Charlie Ward, have represented plaintiffs injured in motorcycle accidents and the families of cyclists killed because of another driver’s negligence.

The personal injury attorneys at Ward & Ward Law Firm receive no legal fees or expenses unless we collect damages on your behalf. Call Charlie Ward today at 317-639-9501 to discuss your accident and receive a free analysis of your claim.

By Charlie Ward

[email protected]

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

 

Indiana Supreme Court Upholds Trial Court Discretion in No Contact Motorcycle Accident

personal-injury-attorney-web-logoNo Contact Motorcycle Accident with Extensive Personal Injuries

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.

Economic Damages

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.

Non-Economic Damages

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 LawyersCall personal injury and accident lawyer Charlie Ward today for a free consultation

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.

Charlie Ward

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

Indianapolis Motorcycle Accident Attorney | Motorcycle Safety And Helmets

Motorcycle enthusiasts are five times more likely to be involved in a fatal accident

Motorcycle helmetRiding a motorcycle gives the rider a sense of open-air freedom.  However, because motorcycles are small and do not have any type of padding between the cyclist and the road, an accident with another motor vehicle can result in very serious personal injuries or even death.  Serious head trauma is very common among fatally injured motorcyclists.

Motorcycles are more difficult to see than other motor vehicles on the roadway.  Generally half of motorcycle accidents occur simply because the motor vehicle did not see the motorcyclists.

In 2006, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) 72.34 motorcycles out of 100,000 ended up in fatal accidents compared to 13.10 in automobiles.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT),  there were over 8.5 million motorcycles on the roadway in 2012.  Many motorcyclists and passengers do wear helmets.  In fact, according to NHTSA, in 2013, 60% of all riders wore helmets.  An interesting fact is that helmets do not interfere with a rider’s vision or hearing.  Wearing a helmet will likely prevent serious injuries and/or death.  In 19 states and District of Columbia, state laws require helmets to be worn by motorcyclists.  Twenty-eight states have some type of law requiring motorcyclists to wear helmets.  Only 3 states have no motorcycle helmet use laws in effect (Illinois, Iowa and New Hampshire).

It is a simple fact that helmets minimize the risk of serious injuries and save lives. The motorcycle season is almost here.  For your health and wellbeing, our attorneys recommend you wear a helmet whenever you take to the road on your motorcycle.

Lawyers with experience litigating motorcycle accident claims

Call Charlie Ward at 317-639-9501The personal injury lawyers at Ward & Ward Law Firm have many years of experience representing motorcyclists and bicyclists in claims for injuries and damages. Our attorneys are prepared to effectively engage defense insurance attorneys to get our clients the compensation they deserve. If you or someone you know has been injured or killed in a motorcycle or bicycle accident in Indiana, give Charlie Ward a call today at 317-639-9501 to discuss your potential claim.

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

Elements of a Truck Accident Claim for Damages

 

The damages involved in a truck accident claim | The Truck Accident Lawyers

Truck Accident Claims | The Elements of Damages

When a  personal injury case is filed with the court, your  attorney will list the damages you received from the accident on the Complaint. Due to size and weight variables, vehicular impact with a commercial van, refrigerated truck, load hauling semi tractor or armored vehicle may cause serious harm, severe injuries and even death to those persons who experience an unfortunate commercial vehicular crash.

Generally speaking, an accidental encounter with a commercial vehicle may have, but is not limited to the following elements in a civil suit for damages:Call Charlie Ward at 317-639-9501

  1. Physical injuries –  Bodily injuries are often multiple and severe and may include, but are not limited to internal injuries, catastrophic brain injury, spinal cord damage, broken or severed limbs, temporary and/or permanent physical limitations and/or disabilities.
  2. Medical bills –   including emergency room and hospital services, medical treatment, medical providers, physical therapy, rehabilitation facility, blood work, radiology and medical devices.
  3. Pain & suffering – This may include severe and chronic pain
  4. Permanent impairment rating – May preclude you from returning to your job in the same capacity as before the accident or a reduced wage-earning capacity
  5. Wage loss / loss of earning capacity – past, present and future
  6. Loss of consortium – a claim for loss of companionship which may be made by your spouse
  7. Property damages – includes vehicle and personal property

 Experience negotiating with trucking industry defendant insurance companies | The truck accident lawyers

If you or someone you know has been injured in an accident involving a truck, semi tractor-trailer or commercial trucking van, you want an experienced negotiator or trial attorney working on your behalf. The truck accident lawyers at Ward & Ward Law Firm treat every claim as if it will be going to trial. What does that mean?

Our legal team prepares every case thoroughly from the initial investigation, through the discovery process,call Charlie Ward at 317–639-9501 for a free consultation.

By Charlie Ward

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

How Much is an Umbrella Insurance Policy?

Lawyer for Motorcycle Accident Injury Claims in Indianapolis Indiana 46225An underlying insurance policy may cover damages for personal injuries or a wrongful death as a result of an accident but an umbrella insurance policy will add additional coverage for the same accident at a fraction of the cost.

Umbrella insurance is liability coverage that goes above your underlying  homeowners or auto insurance policy.   It may also be known as excess coverage.  However, it is merely just another “layer” of protection. This type of insurance generally has much higher limits and has a much broader range to cover potential claims for things such as libel, slander, defamation of character, property damages and bodily injury claims.

Is an umbrella insurance policy expensive?

Many do not know about this coverage or if they do, many think it would be too expensive.  WRONG.  In general for about $150 – $300 per year you can buy a $1 million personal liability umbrella policy. For every million above that, the cost is approximately $75 dollars per year. While an umbrella policy protects if you are at fault for an accident it may also cover you for an accident that is NOT your fault.  An example may be where the at fault driver has no insurance (uninsured motorist) or has some insurance but not enough to coverage all your damages (under insured).  Each state has different requirements for insurance liability coverage.  Check with your insurance agent and ask about an umbrella policy.  You may be surprised how much additional insurance protection you can get for such a small cost.

Charlie explains what an umbrella insurance policy does to help protect you.

Lawyers advocating for you!

Call Charlie Ward at 317-639-9501Charlie 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 or killed as a the result of another person’s reckless or negligent behavior, give Charlie a call today at 317-639-9501 for a free evaluation of your accident claim.

By Charlie Ward

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

Five things you should do after an auto, motorcycle, bicycle or truck accident to increase your settlement

How to increase your settlement or jury award after an accident

The steps you take immediately following an accident will help you and your attorney achieve the best possible results from your personal injury settlement or trial. When you hire a lawyer, he or she will thoroughly investigate the facts of the accident based upon the information you are able to provide as follows:

  1. Obtain an accident report from the police or sheriff within the jurisdiction where the accident occurred;
  2. Obtain eye witness information: name,  phone number and address, if possible;
  3. Take photos of all vehicles at the scene of the accident;
  4. Get medical treatment and follow-up on your doctor’s treatment plan;
  5. Do not give a statement to the other driver’s insurance company without your lawyer’s knowledge and/or presence.

In many cases, a private investigator may be employed by your attorney to further delve into the details of the accident, particularly when there is a question of liability. But the information listed above will give everyone involved in your case a good start on the facts and provide some very necessary information.

Experienced personal injury lawyers

Call Charlie Ward at 317-639-9501If you, or someone you know, has been injured or killed in an accident caused by another person’s negligence, give Charlie Ward a call today at 317-639-9501 to discuss the facts and obtain a free evaluation of your claim.

By Charlie Ward

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

Car Accident Attorney in Indianapolis | Black Box As Evidence

Preservation of black box evidence may be critical in supporting your accident claim
Event data recorders log vehicular speeds

 

Can black box technology be used as evidence in criminal and civil courts?

If you have ever been in an automobile accident, it is likely that the events leading up to the collision were captured by a device known as a “black box”. The lay term is “black box” but the technical term which you will see in official documents and court records is “Event Data Recorder” or EDR.

Does my car have a black box installed?

History shows that in the early 1990’s, automobile manufacturers  from Cadillac, Chevrolet, Buick and Pontiac used the EDR as a way to understand how vehicles performed in accidents.  Since 2000,  the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has collected data involving car accidents as well.  Today every vehicle sold in the United States must have an EDR.

Since 2012, automobiles equipped with EDR are required by the NHTSA to track 15 different data points including speed, steering, braking, acceleration, seat belt use, and if in an accident, force of impact and air bag deployment.  To find out if an older car has an EDR check Harris Technical Services or Accident Reconstruction Network.

Will the download of my car’s black box data help my accident lawsuit?

With all this information stored in an EDR, the question becomes whether the data download is admissible in a court of law.  Fifteen states have passed laws that give criminal law enforcement and others involved in civil litigation, the ability to retrieve the data with a court order even though the data belongs to the owner of the vehicle.   Some argue that the privacy issue should be taken up with Congress when dealing with the issue of crash data.

Lawyers with experience in retrieval and interpretation of black box information

Call Charlie Ward at 317-639-9501Regardless, the EDR in every car crash has relevant evidence and will likely be retrieved and used as evidence in all civil litigation cases. Lawyers, Charlie and Don Ward have experience in protecting and preserving black block technology data and working with reconstruction experts in the interpretation of the evidence. If you’ve been injured in an accident, call Charlie Ward today at 317-639-9501 for a free evaluation of your claim.

By Charlie Ward

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

Data Tracking Device Used as Evidence | Motorcycle Accident Attorney in Indianapolis

Indiana Lawyer For Personal Injury Settlements and Claims - Indianapolis Attorney Wearable ‘Black Box’ Technology Used as Evidence in Accident Claims

A self-tracking wearable device known as ‘Fitbit’  is technologically similar to the “black box” technology found on a vehicle.  Fitbits and other wearable data tracking devices can monitor and track just about everything including exercise, sleep patterns and daily activities such as the amount of time one spends standing or the number of steps taken by an individual per day.  Since black box generated reports can be downloaded and used as evidence in lawsuits and accident claims by either side to support allegations or defenses, it will come as no surprise that  the data received by wearable tracking devices may soon also be used as evidence for settlement negotiations or in courtroom cases.

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Who will interpret the individual’s data?

An outside analytics company will be used to crunch numbers and define statistical norms from raw data uploaded by the general population. The individual injured person’s data will then be analyzed and compared with the mean of the general population and possibly used as evidence in personal injury cases.  If you are seriously injured in an automobile, motorcycle or trucking accident, the evidence from these wearable devices will confirm a daily lifestyle of restricted activities. Thus, your wearable data tracking device may serve as your own expert witness in your accident case.

Over the past few years more and more wearable devices are coming to the market.  Apple has a product known as HealthKit and Google has one similar for Android users called Google Fit.  It is estimated that 19 million wearable devices will be purchased in 2014. The general rule will dictate if you wear a device which collects personal data, then the production of that data will be requested by the opposing side and required by a court of law if you claim a personal injury.

Technology’s Influence

Call Charlie Ward at 317-639-9501This general rule is similar to evidence that is produced from a cell phone (text) or on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest and Linked In. The technology is here and easier to trace than ever before.

If you’ve been injured in an accident, call Charlie Ward today at 317-639-9501 for a free evaluation of your claim.

By Charlie Ward

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

How Do I Pay My Medical Bills After an Accident?

Overwhelmed by medical bills from my accident – How do I pay my bills?

If you have health insurance, your insurance provider may cover the care you receive from in-network hospitals, doctors and other medical providers. In rare situations where you were taken by ambulance to a hospital that is not in your network, your health insurance may cover the ER bill if you were unable to select an in-network hospital from the scene of the accident. After your health insurance, your medical payment insurance or “med-pay” will help you to pay your medical bills. Check your automobile policy to determine how much med-pay insurance you have.Call Charlie Ward at 317-639-9501

Lawyer Charlie Ward of Ward & Ward Law Firm recommends you purchase as much med-pay insurance as your can afford. Talk with your insurance agent to obtain a quote. Med-pay insurance becomes cheaper the more your purchase. You may be surprised how inexpensive good coverage is when you seek a quote for a higher amount. Remember that medical payment insurance is to your benefit by covering medical bills and medical expenses, i.e. hospital, doctors, radiology, lab work, prescriptions, physical therapy and much more. It can ease the strain of potential economic hardship and/or the loss of your wages after you’ve experienced a wreck or collision.

If you know someone that has been injured in an accident and having trouble paying their medical bills, call attorney, Charlie Ward, today at 317-639-9501.

By Charlie Ward

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