Category Archives: Spine Injuries

Cell Phone Manufacturers Walk a Fine Line between Social and Personal Responsibility – Car accident lawyers

 Cell Phone Manufacturers Walk a Fine Line between Social and Personal Responsibility – Car Accident Lawyers Ward & Ward Law Firm

Pressure is being put on cell phone manufacturers to include “lock-out” technology in their mobile devices to prevent drivers from accessing certain features while driving. Who bears the responsibility for car accident injuries and fatalities caused by distracted drivers? What are the options parents can employ to keep their children safe when driving?

 The product liability case against Apple – a result of a catastrophic car accident

Several years ago, on a summer day in East Texas, 21 year old Ashley Kubiak caused a catastrophic car accident while driving her pickup and checking for messages on her iPhone. The collision left a boy of seven who loved playing team baseball, a paraplegic. The young boy, Sammy Lane Meador, was told by physicians he would never walk again as his spine had snapped in the collision. His grandmother and great aunt perished in the accident. The families of the accident victims joined together to bring a product liability case against Apple, entitled Meador, et al vs. Apple, Inc.

Discovery revealed…

Personal injury lawyers, Don and Charlie WardDuring the discovery process it was revealed that in 2008 Apple had petitioned for and later received a technology patent called “Driver Handheld Computing Device Lock-Out.” In the documentation submitted to the patent office, a description of the technology read, “a lock-out mechanism to prevent operation of one or more functions of handheld computing devices by drivers when operating vehicles.”

The plaintiffs argue that while Apple was fully aware their phones would be used for text messaging while driving, and even used this reasoning in their patent application, Apple did nothing to prevent Ms. Kubiak, an iPhone consumer, from illegally texting behind the wheel. Plaintiffs’ attorneys argue Apple has a moral obligation to society to employ the patented technology in their cell phones. Plaintiffs’ attorney, Greg Love, states “When companies are faced with the choice of doing the right thing or doing the cheaper thing, they tend to do the cheaper thing until they’re forced to do the right thing.”

In 2014, Apple received the patent which uses sensors to determine if the phone is moving and in use by a driver, and employs the lock-out features for such functions as sending and receiving texts, email, social media posts and notifications. However, since 2014 (the year Apple was granted the patent), the company has distributed the iPhone 5s, 5c, 6, 6+, 7, 7+ and a number of IOS software updates. Yet, the technology has never been deployed. Nor has any other cell phone manufacturer incorporated the technology into their phones.

Car accident lawyers are disturbed by this survey

Distracted driving includes any behavior that takes your attention away from the operation of the vehicle. In 2015, Erie Insurance conducted an online survey consisting of 2,019 respondents 18 years and older. Their motive? To learn the kind of distracted behaviors their clients had engaged while driving their vehicle. You won’t believe what respondents admitted to:

  • Styling hair (15%)
  • Romantic interlude (15%)
  • Changing clothes (9%)
  • Changing drivers (3%)
  • Taking selfies (4%)
  • Flossing / brushing teeth (4%)
  • Going to the bathroom (3%)
  • Texting while driving (30%)

Disturbing statistics, all! But note that nearly 1/3 of adults taking this survey admitted to texting while driving. This is especially alarming because text messaging behind the wheel diverts four primary modalities necessary for a focused driving experience:

  • Vision
  • Auditory
  • Cognitive thinking, reasoning skills
  • Manual/tactile cell phone use

In 2014, three thousand one hundred seventy nine teen  fatalities in the U.S. were caused by drivers who momentarily diverted their attention from the safe operation of their motor vehicle; 3,179 needless fatalities – 6,358 grieving parents, in addition to siblings, grandparents and other grievous kin.

Texting fatalities have surpassed fatalities caused by alcohol

Between 2011, when no state bans existed for texting, and 2013, after 14 states passed legislation banning texting while driving, texting rates declined from 43% to 30%. Today, 46 continental states have banned text messaging for all drivers. But in reviewing data from the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Survey, approximately 1 in 3 teens readily admits to texting behind the wheel. And while fatalities resulting from drunk driving have decreased, teen deaths attributed to texting while driving have surpassed teen fatalities caused by drinking and driving.

Did you know?

  • On average, the amount of time eyes are off the road when texting is 5 seconds
  • The distance covered in 5 seconds at 55 mph is the length of a football field

One in three teens admits to texting and driving

Understanding the myths that fuel texting and driving

Myth No. 1 – The fear of missing out (FOMO)

In 2016, FOMO, an acronym for “the fear of missing out,” was ushered into the Merriam-Webster dictionary along with other words and acronyms implying social disconnect such as nomophobia (fear of being without a cell phone) and ICYMI (in case you missed it.) FOMO demonstrates an anxiety of epidemic proportions that keeps smart phone users continuously checking their phone for messages, news, announcements, tweets or feeds. The underlying principle of FOMO hints that the current moment in time is never good enough and can always be improved by hooking up with friends, making an announcement on Twitter, posting a response to Facebook, uploading a photo of your present activity, announcing your location or commenting on developments. The fear of missing out is a compulsive and addictive behavioral response.

In an interview with media, Jack Walker, attorney for the plaintiffs in the above-mentioned case, echoed scientific findings when he stated a person’s response to a cell phone notification is a “neurobiological response from the brain, it basically triggers the pleasure centers of the brain with a shot of dopamine… people do it so frequently, they don’t even realize it’s happening.”

Myth No. 2 – Multi-tasking

How many times have you heard someone say, I’m multi-tasking? This meme endorses the lie that self-esteem and social worthiness are awarded to those who can split tasks and perform double the work in half the time. In fact, multi-tasking is the antagonist of deep intellectual thinking. The belief that we can focus our attention on multiple, simultaneous tasks, each involving conscious control — is fiction. Our brains are not wired to focus intently on multiple concurrent thoughts. What we typically call multi-tasking actually involves a cerebral interruption and restart between tasks. Best selling author, Dr. John Medina, a developmental molecular biologist and research consultant states “The brain naturally focuses on concepts sequentially, one at a time.”

From an article published in The Scientific American: “Some commonplace activities, such as driving and talking on a cell phone frequently go hand-in-hand, but the brain is likely switching its main focus quickly between the two activities, perhaps a reason the pairing has been so dangerous.”

Personal responsibility v social responsibility – The motion to dismiss the product liability lawsuit

In 2015, Apple filed a motion to dismiss the product liability claim. Defendant Apple stated in court documents that it was not the iPhone that caused the accident but the lack of personal responsibility shown by Ms. Kubiak. Apple further claims, eating while driving would encourage future product liability suits against fast food manufacturers as a result of plaintiffs’ argument. The Federal judge assigned to the case signed a recommendation to dismiss the case. The recommendation states in part: “…Apple’s failure to configure the iPhone to automatically disable did nothing more than create the condition that made Plaintiffs’ injuries possible.” Nevertheless, the case is still pending in United States District Court.

At this time, there isn’t a cell phone manufacturer or mobile service provider that wants to market the first mobile phone that clamps down on distracted driving behaviors. Similar to change through legislation, modifications in the free market are slowly evolving and will require pressure from consumers, special interest groups and the success of product liability lawsuits brought against cell phone manufacturers going forward.

Apps for restoring peace of mind

Following is a short list of Apps that may help curb the temptation to initiate, read and respond to text messages and social network posts and notifications. They are in no particular order; what works for one family, may not be effective for another. Browse through the apps to determine what works best to protect you and your family or try them all until you find the app that suits your lifestyle. Most apps are available for download at Google Play for Android devices or the App store for iPhones. I have noted when the applications are downloadable from the developer’s website.

AT&T DriveMode (Free)
Available for IPhone and Android devices. Full features are available to AT&T Mobile customers; limited features for all other users.

  • Turns on when the vehicle is moving
  • Access music and navigation with one touch
  • Silences text message alerts
  • Automatically replies to text messages

Parents are alerted if:

  • AT&T DriveMode is turned off
  • Auto-Mode is disabled
  • New speed-dial number is added

Life Saver – Distracted Driving (Free)
Available for IPhone and Android devices. Optional rewards based technology. Sponsor sets guidelines and monitors behavior. App is endorsed by a number of safe driving organizations.

  • Blocks phone use while driving
  • gets driver’s last known location
  • Safe arrival notifications
  • Can share with others
Video – How Life Saver works
Video – Life Saver screen – is it user friendly?

True Motion Family (Formerly The Canary Project – Free)
Available for IPhone and Android. Score based, includes location sharing and roadside assistance.

Wonder (Available at developer website)
The message center displays either a “driving” or “safe to text” icon next to each person’s name.

Drive Beehive (Free)
Available for IPhone and Android devices. Rewards safe driving miles; requires a sponsor.

Experienced car accident lawyers and wrongful death attorneys

Our experienced car accident lawyers and wrongful death attorneys use their knowledge of the law, legislation and judicial opinions to employ strategies that maximize our clients’ financial recovery after they have experienced a life-altering accident or event caused by another person or entity. If you or someone you know has been involved in an accident, injured by the negligence of a medical professional, or the victim of nursing home neglect or wrongful death, call personal injury attorney, Charlie Ward, today at (317) 639-9501 for a free consultation.

Charlie Ward
Personal Injury Attorney
728 S Meridian St
Indianapolis, IN 46225
(317) 639-9501
cpw@wardlawfirm.com

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

cpw@wardlawfirm.com

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

 

‘Tis the Season – The Primary Cause for Hunting Accidents in Indiana

Hunter’s Tree Stands Post Risk of Serious InjuryDeer Stand Hunting Accidents and Wrongful Deaths Indianapolis Indiana 46225

At the time of this writing on November 16, 2014, eight hunting enthusiasts have already been injured in Indiana since deer season opened on October 1st. Statistics show that tree stand, also known as deer stand injuries are responsible for the most common type of hunting accidents injuries.   Accidental shootings are the second most common hunting injury. National studies show that 10-30% of hunters posturing in a tree stand will have an incident during their hunting career.  Due to the high placement of the stand, most falls result in serious injuries and sometimes death.Call Charlie Ward at 317-639-9501

 

As interest in sport hunting increases, so does the use of tree stands

Over 1 million tree stands are manufactured annually and this number increases every year with the renewed interest in hunting for sport. States with longer hunting seasons, including Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, and Ohio, experience a greater number of serious injuries and deaths.

Although safety is paramount to preventing injuries, many individuals have never taken any form of tree education classes. Tree education classes are available for hunters of all ages.

Factors contributing to injuries

In general, tree stands are small in design and hunters have little room for mistakes.  Statistics show that most individuals who fall from the temporary stands seldom wear any form of safety belts.  The Indiana Department of Natural Resources recommends all hunters wear a full body harness which is attached to the tree as soon as the hunter begins their climb.

Cold air, darkness and lack of sleep are also contributing factors to individuals falling from tree stands.  The number of injuries can be reduced with proper education and proper warnings about the dangers associated with tree stands.

Attorney Charlie Ward has the knowledge and experience to get you the compensation you deserve, bringing your personal injury claim to a successful conclusion. If you or someone you know needs help with an injury claim, call Charlie at 317-639-9501 today.

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

Whiplash and Other Serious Neck Injuries Resulting from an Automobile, Motorcycle, Bicycle, Pedestrian or Trucking Accident — Ward & Ward Law Firm, Indiana’s Injury Accident Lawyers

Injuries kill more people ages 1–44 in the U.S. than any other cause. Neck injuries are common injuries to accidents involving cars, motorcycles, bicycles and semi tractor-trailers. If you have incurred an injury to your neck because of another party’s negligence, it is important to seek medical treatment from a licensed medical physician (hospital, primary care physician or medical specialist) right away and then to call an experienced personal injury or accident attorney to recover your losses for medical bills, bodily injuries, loss of wages and other damages suffered.

Types of neck injuries

There are a wide variety of neck injuries. Examples of some common neck injuries are:

  • Strains: When muscle fibers are torn due to lifting heavy weights or whiplash, the result is a strained neck. The pain involved with a strain can vary in severity.
  • Spasms: A spasm occurs when your neck muscles seize up into a tight muscle contraction. Bracing before impact may cause a neck spasm.
  • Stingers: When the neck is rotated in an unnatural way or forced into an extreme tilt, a “stinger” injury can result. The symptoms of a stinger include a burning or tingling sensation in the arms, shoulders and neck. Stingers are commonly caused by high impact collisions.
  • Whiplash: A soft-tissue injury to the neck muscles, ligaments and tendons is described as whiplash. This type of injury occurs when the neck is forced to extend beyond its normal range of motion. Common symptoms of whiplash include headache, pain, stiffness and dizziness.
  • Fractures: The neck contains fragile bones that can be broken by high-impact pressure. The severity of a broken neck can range from minor pain and numbness to a serious neck fracture, leading to paralysis.
  • Herniated disc: When a disc of the cervical vertebra ruptures causing pressure on nerve roots, it is referred to as a herniated or ruptured disc injury. Symptoms of this type of injury include stabbing pain, tingling, numbness and weakness in the neck, back, shoulders, arms and hands.

 

Treatment for a neck injury depends on the type and severity of the injury. Common treatments may include medications, rest, physical therapy, exercises, steroid injections and surgery.

If you have suffered a neck injury because of the negligence of another party, speak with an experienced injury lawyer to learn how you can recover compensation for your medical bills, bodily injuries, lost wages, pain and suffering and property damage.

Charlie Ward

Ward & Ward Law Firm

(888) 316-3449

 

Spinal Cord Injuries Affect Your Body And Your Wallet

Damage to the vertebrae

A spinal cord injury (SCI) is one of the most devastating, life-long injuries you can suffer — both emotionally and economically. SCI occurs when there is damage to the nerves connected to the vertebrae, which carry messages to and from the brain and the entire body. SCI can be a minor bruise or a partial or total tear, usually caused by force to or penetration of the body. Indiana personal injury law allows victims of another person’s negligent or willful, harmful act to receive compensation for economic and emotional losses due to injuries like SCI.

Physical effects of SCI

It is estimated that more than 12,000 people sustain SCI each year, and vehicular-related accidents and wrecks account for 36.5 percent of new injuries. Usually, the higher the site of the damage on the spinal cord, the more disabling the injury. These injuries can occur to the:

  • High cervical (neck) — This usually results in quadriplegia (paralysis of all four limbs). Patients may need a ventilator to breathe and cannot cough or control bladder and bowel movements. They may not be able to speak, and cannot perform everyday activities, such as eating, dressing, bathing and engaging in sexual activities
  • Low cervical —This varies, depending on the site of injury, but there may be some movement in the wrists and hands. Patients usually can speak and breathe properly, but cannot perform everyday activities without assistance.
  • Thoracic (chest) — Usually, this results in paraplegia with the ability to use a manual wheelchair. Muscles, chest, back and abdomen are affected, but arms and hands are usually not impaired. Patients cannot control bladder and bowel movements.
  • Lumbar (lower back) — This includes loss of hip and leg function. Patients may be able to walk with leg braces, but cannot control bladder and bowel movements.

There are two types of SCI. Complete injuries result in no sensation or movement below the site of injury, and both sides of the body are equally affected. Incomplete injuries result in some function below the site of injury, usually where one side of the body has more movement, while the other side has more sensation.

Economic effects of SCI

Costs associated with SCI vary greatly, depending on the patient’s age at the time of injury, the severity of the injury and recovery prognosis. Bills for hospital visits, physical therapy, in-home care, wheelchairs and ventilators can pile up quickly. Medical expenses can reach more than $1 million for the first year and $181,000 for each subsequent year of a high cervical SCI — not including lost wages or other benefits. Experienced Indianapolis personal injury lawyers can help you recover those damages.

Contact us for a reputable personal injury lawyer in Indiana

If you or a loved one suffered a SCI, you are probably facing economical and emotional challenges, especially if the injury resulted from someone else’s wrongdoing. The attorneys at Ward & Ward Law Firm have the experience in and knowledge of Indiana personal injury law to fight for you. Call for a free consultation about your legal options.

Indiana Hospital Lien Statute – Legislation Benefits Private Health Insured’s Injured in Auto, Motorcycle, Trucking or Semi Tractor-Trailer Accidents Caused by Another’s Negligence

Lawmakers and lawyers working for fairness in IndianaCall Charlie Ward at 317-639-9501

Since the Hospital Lien Statute was amended in 2013, a number of changes have gone into effect that may benefit you if you have a claim for personal injuries and compensation for damages caused by a car, motorcycle or trucking accident. I will discuss the change benefitting the citizens of Indiana called “No Balance Billing.”

Hospitals typically contract with specific Insurance providers to accept their plans. When a patient has health insurance with a hospital approved contracting provider, the treating hospital is bound to honor that contract by accepting the patient’s insurance and billing their services at mutually agreed upon “reasonable fees”. Reasonable fees are predetermined between the hospital and the insurance provider. Anything not considered “reasonable” by the private health insurer is contractually adjusted or written off by the hospital and the patient is only responsible for their deductible, their percentage split or their co-pay.

Prior to July 1, 2013, some hospitals would accept the injured patient’s private health insurance—allowing the insurance provider to pay their contracted amount—and attach a lien to the injured party’s legal claim for the remaining charges. To make matters worse, if the hospital lien could not be satisfied by the plaintiff’s legal claim, the remaining unpaid balance could follow the claimant after judgment or settlement was made.

The original legislation was never meant to hurt accident victims

The original intent of the hospital lien statute served to compensate the hospitals providing treatment for injured victims. Today, as hospitals treat more and more indigent and uninsureds, hospitals are seeking financial compensation that will cover the skyrocketing costs of the medical care our hospitals provide, albeit, the issues outlined above have progressively caused problems for personal injury attorneys seeking justice and wholeness for their injured clients.

New legislation benefits persons injured in a crash

Under the new provisions of the Indiana Hospital Lien Statute [IC 32-33-4-3(b)(5)], the hospital must make reasonable effort to pursue private insurance claims in cooperation with the patient. A lien perfected by the hospital within 90 days of patient discharge must first be reduced by the amount of any benefits to which the patient is entitled under the terms of any contract, health plan, or medical insurance. Most importantly, the lien must reflect credits for payments made by the insurance provider, contractual adjustments and write-offs.

Experienced lawyers helping injured victims

If you have been injured or know someone who has been injured as a result of someone’s negligence, call attorney, Charlie Ward, for a free consultation at (317) 639-9501. The law firm of Ward & Ward has over 80 years of combined experience in personal injury and wrongful death claims including injuries resulting from auto, motorcycle and trucking accidents.

By Charlie Ward

cpw@wardlawfirm.com

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

 

Protect Your Rights After a Wreck | Indianapolis Indiana

Protect your claim for injuries and economic damagesCall Charlie Ward at 317-639-9501

When individuals suffer injury or illness due to the negligent or willful acts of other parties, they have the right to pursue compensation for all expenses connected with their injuries. However, they need to know how to protect their rights immediately after the accident, even before they obtain legal assistance.

Since motor vehicle accidents typically involve two or more parties and carry special legal requirements, you need to follow specific procedures to protect your legal rights to compensation. If you are involved in an auto accident, motorcycle or truck accident, the following tips can help:

  1. Seek medical attention.

    Even if your injuries seem relatively minor, you should see a doctor as soon as possible. Many injuries do not reveal symptoms for hours or even days after the accident, yet delays in treatment can adversely affect recovery. Let your an emergency room doctor decide the extent of your injuries—and be sure to retain medical reports and receipts.

  2. Take photos.

    Use your cell phone camera to photograph the accident scene, damaged property, and injuries.

  3. Follow-up with your primary care physician after your hospital visit.

    You should make a follow-up appointment with your family physician as soon as possible after the accident. Your primary care physician knows you and your medical history better than the emergency room doctor you saw initially.  If you are still having problems after you’ve been seen at the ER, make a list of the problems and symptoms you have experienced and your family physician will chart a course of medical steps by possibly requesting x-rays, an MRI, or make an appointment for you with a specialist or a physical therapist.

  4. Secure the accident report.

    When police or local law enforcement are summoned to the location of the accident, they are required to complete a report with a drawing showing how the accident occurred. This report will give driver information,  witnesses statements and contact information, name of insurance company for all drivers and state where injured parties were disposed. This information will be used by your attorney to start the investigation into the facts of the accident. Bring this report to your attorney’s office at the first meeting.

  5. Contact your insurance company.

    Indiana state law requires a proof of insurance form immediately following the accident. Your insurance agent will send the form to the authorities electronically when you notify him or her of the accident in which you were involved. DO NOT DISCUSS FAULT.

  6. Contact experienced Indianapolis injury lawyer.

    Call Charlie Ward at 317-639-9501 for a free consultation and evaluation of your accident claim.

Charlie Ward

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

Estimating Plaintiff(s) Non-Economic Damages in Auto, Motorcycle and Trucking Accidents

In a previous article on evaluating economic damages, I stated that “economic” damages are past and future losses including, but not limited to medical, therapeutic and rehabilitation expenses, loss of earnings, construction, transportation and medical device expenditures for those with disabilities, property damages and interment expenses from wrongful death claims. They are money losses that can be receipted or otherwise verified and analytically projected.

Non-Economic” Damages

Call Charlie Ward at 317-639-9501

Subject to the circumstances of the claim, an experienced personal injury attorney will determine if their client warrants compensation for “non-economic” losses in addition to the “economic” losses requested in plaintiffs Complaint.

Non-economic damages are also termed “quality of life” damages, synonymous with pain and suffering. Non-economic losses of pain and suffering can severely hamper the quality of life experience. It’s difficult to place a dollar amount on non-economic damages because they are subjective and cannot be verified. They are tort damages for harms which may include physical and emotional impairment, distress, damage to reputation, disgrace, mutilation or deformity, sterility, loss of organs, severe and chronic pain, loss of enjoyment of life, death of a loved one, loss of affection and many, many other intangibles. Although any plaintiff may potentially be eligible to recover for non-economic damages, they become especially significant to persons who do not earn a living outside of the home like minors, the aged and homemakers.

What is the worth of a mother or father?

For example, a homemaker’s love, guidance, companionship and services provided to his or her family cannot easily and monetarily be calculated. In the case of a homemaker, “non-economic” damages may be the only possible vehicle to compensation for their loss. And what is the monetary worth of a mother or father?

Non-Economic Damages Are Not Punitive Damages

Accidents change the lives of victims and their loved ones in considerable ways. A spouse’s emotional and bodily injuries may put excessive tension on an otherwise strong marriage; the loss of a dearly loved child—prematurely passed away because of the reckless negligence of another, has jarring and lasting consequences on families. How do you compensate a family broken from grief and loss? These scenarios are monetarily immeasurable “quality of life” issues and should not be confused with punishing or punitive damages. The availability of “Non-economic” damages offers a recovery medium for just, fair and reasonable losses.

The Statute of Limitations is Running

If you or someone you know has been injured in a motor vehicle accident, it’s important to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible long before the two-year statute of limitations on personal injuries runs. The law firm of Ward & Ward has over 80 years of combined experience in personal injury law including accident and wrongful death claims. Our firm receives no legal fees or expenses unless we collect damages on your behalf. Call Charlie Ward today at 317-639-9501 for a free evaluation of your claim. Our attorneys are available to speak with you.

by Charlie Ward

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

 

Evaluating Damages for Personal Injury Claims, Part I: Economic Losses

Verifiable Economic Losses of Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Claims

Call Charlie Ward at 317-639-9501

A personal injury lawyer brings a claim against a negligent driver, defendant, who caused an auto, motorcycle or trucking accident, on behalf of his client, plaintiff. The goals of the personal injury attorney are to make his or her client financially whole again, i.e. to recover plaintiff’s past and future monetary losses; to recover for non-economic losses; and in certain cases to assign punitive or exemplary damages to the defendant. This article, Part I will focus on claimant’s economic losses.

A motor vehicle accident can be a life-altering event. Keeping in mind that the Statute of Limitations in Indiana for filing a motor vehicle accident claim is two years, an experienced personal injury attorney may delay filing on his client’s behalf, to allow his client time to mend and make any necessary emotional adjustments, particularly in cases where their client has suffered catastrophic injuries. When the fog of this life-changing event has cleared and plaintiff’s injuries and prognosis become known, plaintiff’s attorney will begin the process of estimating past and future economic losses suffered by his or her client.

Compensatory damages for economic losses are objectively verifiable losses driven by the facts of the case. Plaintiff’s attorney might take some or all of the following economic losses under consideration:

  • Past and future medical and rehabilitative expenses – These include all past and future medical expenses including hospital, doctors, prescriptions, medical devices, physical therapy and costs associated with rehabilitation;
  • Past and future loss of earnings – This category encompasses client’s loss of wages during recovery. And in cases where plaintiff’s injuries will affect his or her ability to earn a living in the future, those earnings will also be calculated using an acceptable economic model that may take promotions, re-training, medical benefits, retirement plans, inflation, economic industry outlook and taxation variables into account—just to name a few;
  • The costs of living with a disability – These may include medical devices, construction and transportation costs associated with adapting plaintiff’s environment for disability(ies) and domestic services;
  • The cost of repairing or replacing property – vehicle and property damaged or lost as a result of defendant’s negligence; and
  • Funeral and burial expenses – costs associated with a wrongful death claim.

If you or someone you know has been injured in a motor vehicle accident, it’s important to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney — someone who understands the future ramifications of your injuries and how they may affect your life going forward — before the statute of limitations runs. The law firm of Ward & Ward has over 80 years of combined experience in personal injury law. Call Charlie Ward today at 317-639-9501 for a free evaluation of your claim. Ward & Ward receives no legal fees or expenses unless we collect damages on your behalf. Our attorneys are available to speak with you.

Charlie Ward

(317) 639-9501

www.wardlawfirm.com

Aggravated Injuries and Awards for Damages from Car, Motorcycle and Trucking Accidents

What is a pre-existing condition?

Call Charlie Ward at 317-639-9501

A pre-existing condition is a medical condition or disability that was in existence prior to the accident for which you are claiming injuries and other damages. You can be born with a pre-existing condition; you may have acquired a pre-existing condition through illness; you might have been harmed or disabled because of a prior accident or you may suffer from a medical condition due to age and the degenerative processes. These are all examples of pre-existing conditions.

When a person seeks legal remedy for past and future medical expenses, loss of wages and other damages resulting from someone else’s negligence, be it car accident, motorcycle accident, truck accident or 18-wheeler semi-tractor trailer accident—and the negligent party is responsible for re-injuring an existing condition or injury, the case becomes more complex. Many people in a population have experienced some kind of medical condition at least once and sometimes on an ongoing basis. Often a condition may involve chronic pain from a previous back injury.

If an existing condition becomes aggravated because of the negligence of another driver, then the person who has been injured has every right, under the law, to recover for damages for the aggravated injury—even if the person’s pre-existing condition made him/her more vulnerable or susceptible to an aggravation than a person in good health and in the same circumstances.

Defendant may also be held responsible for any complications that may arise as a result of the aggravation including the acquisition of a disease because of lowered vitality; for aggravation of an existing condition caused by the negligent acts of medical care providers; and for injuries received in a subsequent accident which would not have occurred had plaintiff’s physical or mental condition not been injured or impaired.

Experienced personal injury attorneys

An experienced plaintiff’s lawyer will submit evidence to the court showing that a pre-existing condition was aggravated as a proximate result of defendant’s negligence. The law firm of Ward & Ward has over 80 years of combined experience in personal injury claims. If you’ve been injured in an accident and you’ve received an aggravated injury, call an experienced personal injury attorney. Call Charlie Ward at 317-639-9501 today for a free analysis of your claim.

Charlie Ward

(317) 639-9501

www.wardlawfirm.com

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