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
In 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 By 1980, a majority of states had repealed the universal mandated laws, favoring a unilateral approach to legislation.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
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.
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
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.
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.
Lawmakers and lawyers working for fairness in Indiana
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
Protect your claim for injuries and economic damages
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:
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.
Use your cell phone camera to photograph the accident scene, damaged property, and injuries.
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.
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.
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.
Contact experienced Indianapolis injury lawyer.
Call Charlie Ward at 317-639-9501 for a free consultation and evaluation of your accident claim.
Charlie WardWard & Ward Law Firm 728 S Meridian St Indianapolis, IN 46225 317-639-9501
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.
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 WardWard & Ward Law Firm 728 S Meridian St Indianapolis, IN 46225 317-639-9501
Verifiable Economic Losses of Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Claims
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.
What is a pre-existing condition?
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.