Tag Archives: accident Attorney in Indianapolis

Indiana State Supreme Court Rules on Wrongful Death Trial Court Order Balancing Conflicting Constitutional Interests

Indianapolis IN Accident Attorney By Charlie Ward

In Estate of Meux v. Cozmanoff, the Supreme Court upheld the trial court order that Defendant be required to answer Plaintiff’s Complaint in an effort to balance conflicting constitutional interests.

On March 6, 2012 Britney Meux was struck by a car operated by Jason R. Cozmanoff while jogging with three co-workers. Mr. Cozmanoff fled the scene of the accident and Britney later died from her injuries. Mr. Cozmanoff was criminally charged with thirteen crimes.

Weeks later a civil suit was filed against Mr. Cozmanoff by the administrators of Ms. Meux’s estate for gross negligence and/or willful and wanton misconduct.

Adverse parties assert different constitutional interests

Cozmanoff was conflicted as information and testimony given to Plaintiffs during discovery could be used against him by the prosecutor in his criminal trial. But if he were to invoke the Fifth Amendment guaranteeing protection from being called as a witness against himself in the civil suit, the trier of fact could have inferred Defendant’s responsibility for the wrongful death of Britney Meux.

Defendant Cozmanoff moved the trial court for a stay of all civil proceedings pending a resolution of his criminal prosecution citing the Fifth Amendment privilege.

“The Fifth Amendment, incorporated to the States by the Fourteenth Amendment, Malloy v. Hogan, 378 U.S. 1, 6 (1964)” states as follows:

“…protects the individual against being involuntarily called as a witness against himself in a criminal prosecution but also privileges him not to answer official questions put to him in any other proceeding, civil or criminal, formal or informal, where the answers might incriminate him in future criminal proceedings.”

U.S.C.A. Const. Amends. 5, 14

 

The Plaintiff opposed his motion arguing the following:

  1. Defendant Cozmanoff’s criminal case might not be resolved for years;
  2. Discovery was necessary to identify other potential tortfeasors who must be joined to the case before the two-year statute of limitations ran; and
  3. The stay would offend Article 1, Section 12 of the Indiana State Constitution guaranteeing “Justice shall be administered freely…and without delay.” [Emphasis Added]

The civil trial court granted a limited stay of discovery as to Cozmanoff only but having done so ordered the Defendant to respond to Plaintiffs’ Complaint. Plaintiffs would still be free to investigate “outside the context of formal discovery.”

Opinion

On March 12, 2014, The Indiana State Supreme Court affirmed the trial court’s ruling, finding reasoning to support the trial court’s decision in the matter of The Estate of Meux v. Cozmanoff as follows:

“When two adverse parties each assert different constitutional interests, the court must consider each interest ‘in the light of the other, and in the context of the issues and interests at stake.’ Hostetter v. Idlewild Bon Voyage Liquor Corp., 377 U.S. 324, 332 (1964).”

The opinion further states:

“Our ruling today does not mean the trial court was constitutionally required to impose the stay;simply that it did not abuse its discretion by so doing.”

A Law Firm With Over 85 Years of Combined Experience

The attorneys at Ward & Ward Law Firm have over 85 years of combined experience in wrongful death litigation. Often, person’s alleged to be responsible for the wrongful death of another, must face criminal prosecution while simultaneously undergoing civil suit. Our attorneys maintain an up-to-date working knowledge of legislation and rulings and utilize every legal tool at our disposal to uncover the truth and analyze the facts of a case including private investigators, witness interviews, testimony undertaken by deposition and discovery of physical evidence and documentation through the Freedom of Information Act.
If you are looking for a wrongful death attorney, attorney, Charlie Ward, would like to offer you a free consultation with no obligation. Call 317-639-9501 today and ask for Charlie..

Charlie Ward, Personal Injury Attorney

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

One in Seven Traffic Accident Fatalities Involve Large Truck | Indiana

At Least 1 in 7 Traffic Accident Fatalities in Indiana Involve 1 Large Truck

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has recently released their publication entitled Traffic Safety Facts Indiana 2008-2012. This publication offers the raw data statistics on the state of the State of Indiana’s road crash fatalities. Following are some of the grim statistics for 2012:

  1. 29% of all fatal crashes involved a driver with a .08+ Blood Alcohol Content (BAC)
  2. 53% of crash fatalities age 5 and over were known to be restrained
  3. 10% of all Indiana road fatalities occurred in Marion County; Lake County was next at 5%
  4. There were 152 motorcycle fatalities; 30 of the fatalities were helmeted — 116 were not wearing a helmet.  77% of motorcycle fatalities were not wearing a helmet.
  5. Motorcycle fatalities made up 20% of all fatally injured crash victims—1 in 5 fatalities
  6. .02% of motorcycle fatalities involve a person under the age of 20; the age group that has the highest number of fatal injuries at 25% is age group 50-59
  7. 24% of all crash fatalities involved a driver exceeding the speed limit
  8. 1 in approximately every 7 crash fatalities involved at least one large truck

The law firm of Ward & Ward has over 85 years of combined experience in personal injury law including accident and wrongful death claims. We urge you to speak with an experienced personal injury — wrongful death attorney as soon as possible and before the statute of limitations runs out. 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.

Charlie Ward

(317) 639-9501

 

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.

Heat-Related Illnesses | Indianapolis Personal Injury Lawyer

Heat-Related IllnessesCall Charlie Ward at 317-639-9501

Although we’re knee-deep in July, today, June 20th, 2012 is only the first day of summer. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say that early season heat waves are the most likely to catch people off-guard. Now that most schools have dismissed students, it’s natural to assume that kids will be spending more time outside.

Heat-related injuries are common among children — infants and children up to age 4 being the most vulnerable—the elderly and people with mental illnesses and chronic diseases. Studies have shown almost half of all cases of heat exhaustion, dehydration and heat cramps requiring hospitalization involve children and teens. Seventy-five percent of the incidents stem from sports or exercise — with another 4 percent caused by outdoor recreational activities — while 11 percent were related to yard work, and 5 percent were due to home maintenance.

Heat Stroke

Heat stroke is a serious illness that occurs when the body is unable to control its core temperature. On days when the humidity is high, sweat won’t evaporate as quickly and this may keep your body from efficiently releasing heat. When perspiration—the body’s cooling mechanism—stops, various warning signs of heat stroke may occur as follows:

  • Core temperature above 103°
  • Red / hot skin without signs of perspiration
  • Rapid pulse
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Confusion
  • Unconsciousness

Once a person has experienced heat stroke, future instances of heat-related injuries are more likely to occur.

Heat Exhaustion

Heat exhaustion is a milder form of heat stroke. Successive days of extreme high temperatures and inadequate hydration heap on the negative effects of heat stress. The following symptoms indicate possible heat exhaustion:

  • Heavy sweating
  • Paleness
  • Muscle cramps
  • Tiredness
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Fainting

Heat exhaustion untreated may progress to heat stroke.

Heat Cramps

Heat cramps are muscle pains or spasms. While perspiration is necessary to cooling the body, the salt stored in the muscles and lost in perspiration must be replaced or muscle spasms will develop. People on a reduced salt intake diet should seek medical attention for heat cramps.

Avoiding Heat-Related Illnesses

With soaring temperatures and no rain-bearing cold fronts on the near horizon, the best things you can do to prevent heat-related injuries are to drink plenty of fluids replacing salt and minerals through diet or sports drinks, wear cool clothing, use plenty of sunscreen and limit outdoor activities to cooler early morning or evening hours.

To learn more about heat-related illnesses, visit the Center for Disease Control at http://www.bt.cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat/faq.asp.

Lawyers with experience

The law firm of Ward & Ward has over 80 years of combined experience in personal injury law including automobile, motorcycle, trucking 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.