Tag Archives: accident lawyer

Are you paying too much for hospital care? | Indianapolis Car Accident Lawyers

Are You Paying Too Much for Hospital Care? | Indianapolis Personal Injury, Car Accident Lawyers and Personal Injury Attorneys

This article defines the Hospital Charge Master—the mysterious menu of hospital prices for products and services. A link has been provided that allows you to compare prices for every participating Indiana hospital.

The Charge Master

Every hospital is responsible for setting their retail prices for the products and services they offer. Medical goods and services are priced and coded in an internal hospital database called a Charge Master. Since hospitals do not function as free-market competitors, hospital Charge Masters are veiled in secrecy in all but 13 states* where state law requires disclosure of Charge Master prices upon patient request. Although Indiana hospitals are not required to make their Charge Master public, the Indiana Hospital Association publishes an enlightening website that discloses certain hospital data provided to Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Indiana State Department of Health including measures of care provided in each hospital, patient satisfaction, readmissions, infections, deaths, birthing outcomes and some basic hospital procedure charges. The Indiana Hospital Association’s website is a respectable first step toward public disclosure. But in light of a staggering disparity in hospital Charge Master rates and the perception that the deepest discounts are granted to the largest third-party payers, forces are pushing for greater transparency.

The Hospital Lien Statute  | Ward & Ward Law Firm, Car Accident Lawyers

For example, Indiana’s Hospital Lien Act provides hospitals may file a Is your hospital costing too much? The Charge Masterlien for hospital charges against an action or claim brought by a patient against the parties responsible for their injuries. In Parkview Hospital v. Thomas E. Frost, Frost’s car accident lawyers alleged Parkview Hospital’s charges were unreasonable and requested Parkview Hospital provide information about discounts given to other patients with private health insurance and government healthcare reimbursement programs.

A recent opinion from the Indiana Court of Appeals stated:

“… evidence of discounts provided to patients who either have private health insurance or are covered by government healthcare reimbursement programs is relevant to the determination of reasonable charges under the [Indiana Hospital Lien] Act…”

Hospital costs and reimbursements

The Charge Master balances hospital costs, including inventory, staff, facility, insurance and permits with the less predictable estimate of account receivables from patients and third-party payers who reimburse hospital providers at diverse rates.

A hospital’s Charge Master for a procedure or product may be as little as 150% or as much as 1000% over Medicare, which reimburses only a small fraction of the Charge Master rate. Private and group health insurance providers contract separately with hospitals to discount the Charge Master rate by negotiating a Fee Schedule, a percentage of charges or by agreement of ‘usual, customary & reasonable fees’. Insurers generally reimburse at an amount greater than Medicare but substantially less than Charge Master. In an article written by Steven I. Weissman for the Florida Bar Journal, it is estimated that average Charge Master pricing at Florida’s hospitals would be 300% – 400% over the amount negotiated with major health insurance providers. Although Indiana hospital procedure rates may vary somewhat from Florida, the national trend toward deep discounts for government and contracting insurers remains the same.

Compensating for the reimbursement deficit

Automobile Insurers frequently pay hospital expenses resulting from an accident up to the policy limits of their clients’ Medical Payment automobile insurance coverage. Because Medical Payment insurance is considered primary to health insurance, hospitals bill auto insurance carriers the full Charge Master rate before balance-billing the patient’s health insurance—offsetting the deficit incurred from discounted health insurance and fractional Medicare reimbursements. *Note: Car accident lawyers would prefer patient’s health insurance pay the rate contracted between health insurance provider and the hospital.

Workman’s Compensation Insurance, out-of-network patients and uninsured patients are also billed Charge Master although out-of-network patients often pay a percentage of the Charge Master. Uninsured patients may qualify for free or reduced fee medical care.

Is there a better way?

In the last decade, we have seen some striking changes to the medical industry. But it can’t be overlooked that third-party payers have successfully exerted their influence to sustain the status quo. In a healthcare system that categorizes patientsfavoring some, penalizing othersit’s of no surprise that the current structure of “reasonable charges” and “acceptable reimbursements” imposed on patient classes, is coming under scrutiny by a citizenry increasingly burdened by the high cost of health care, public servants, members of the legal community and medical professionals that would like to see a transparent and equitable hospital marketplace—one that implements predictability, consistency and fairness in hospital billing and discounts applied—all while maintaining quality hospital services indispensable to our communities and the well-being of our families.

Experienced car accident lawyers and personal injury attorneys

Our experienced personal injury attorneys and wrongful death lawyers 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 car accident lawyers, Ward & Ward Law Firm, today at (888) 639-9501 for a free consultation.

Charlie Ward

Ward & Ward Law Firm | Car Accident Lawyers
728 S Meridian St
Indianapolis, IN 46225
317-639-9501 or 888-639-9501

Website recommendation: My Care Insight.


*Figure obtained as of this writing, June, 2016

Accident Victims Benefit from The Affordable Health Care Act

Accident Victims Benefit from The Affordable Health Care Act

How do I pay my medical bills?Prior to 2010, a young adult without healthcare insurance who was injured by another driver would risk, at the very least, a lowered credit score and face possible bankruptcy if they and the defendant driver (the person responsible for the accident) were operating their motor vehicles with insufficient or no automobile insurance coverage. A recent study shows that young adults have benefited from the law allowing them to obtain health insurance on their parent’s healthcare policy up to the age of 26.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act has reduced the number of uninsured persons

Since The Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act was enacted, approximately 16.4 million additional people have acquired health insurance coverage, according to a study published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. This equates to a 35% reduction rate of uninsured. The majority of these newly insureds have been brought in through the healthcare Marketplace (a local, online healthcare shopping website), expansions in Medicare and young adults who are covered by their parent’s health insurance policies.

Prior to the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), most young people were separated from their parent’s health insurance policies after graduation from high school or completion of college. In 2010, the ACA provided for coverage of young people 19-25, by enabling them to stay on their parents’ policy. From the baseline in 2010 through the start of open enrollment in 2013, the uninsured rate of young people dropped from 34.1% to 26.7%, i.e. approximately 2,300,000 young adults ages 19-25 secured coverage through their parent’s policy. Through March 4, 2015, an additional 3.4 million young adults benefited from the ACA provision thereby totaling 5,700,000. These young adults may lawfully ride their parent’s policy regardless of marital status, residence, employer plan availability, financial independence and school status until they reach the age of 26.

Best Lawyers® Ward &  Ward Law Firm -Experienced in Accidents and Wrongful Death Claims

Charlie Ward is a personal injury attorney in Indianapolis, Indiana and represents people who have been injured in auto, motorcycle and truck accidents as well as pedestrian and bicycling accidents, medical malpractice and nursing home negligence claims. If you or someone you know has been injured in an accident, the attorneys at Ward & Ward Law Firm will help you navigate the subrogation matters that arise as a result of the claim. Call Indiana personal injury attorney Charlie Ward today for a free consultation at 317-639-9501.

By Charlie Ward

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

Avoiding a Bus Stop Tragedy | Indianapolis Personal Injury Lawyer

Every year hundreds of children in the United States are severally injured or killed as a result of motorists failing to stop for a school bus when the stop arm is extended and red lights flashing | Bus Accident Lawyers

School bus stop signIt is estimated by The American School Bus Council that approximately 500,000 buses provide transportation for children each school year.  In total, 23 million children ride a school bus to and from school every day. Most children are struck in an area around the bus which is known as “the danger zone.” The danger zone is the area around the school bus which is approximately 15 feet from all sides of the school bus.

Motorists need to know what to do when the bus is making preparations to stop and pick up or drop off a child.

When the yellow flashing light comes on it is a warning to all drivers that the bus is preparing to stop. The bus driver will then pull out the stop arms and the flashing lights will turn red.

What is the law?

State laws requires all motorists to stop for school buses when picking up and dropping off children.   Vehicles in all lanes of travel must stop unless the roadway is divided by a physical barrier or unimproved median.  Generally on a divided roadway, only automobiles traveling in the same direction as the school bus must stop.

Many time drivers are unaware of the law when it comes to stopping for a school bus.  In addition, driver inattention is likely to be a factor for failing to stop.  Cell phones, texting, distractions within the vehicle and ‘zoning out’  are all factors that contribute to the driver’s inattention putting precious children in danger. In Indiana alone the Department of Education reports that in 2014 around 500,000 vehicles ignored stop arms.

What can be done to minimize or eliminate injuries to children?

North Carolina initiated a test program with the installation and use of stop arm camera systems  to catch drivers who fail to stop as required. This program could go nationwide.  In addition, additional warning lights, such as strobe lights could be added to the red lights to get the attention of distracted drivers.

Educating children on school bus safety for entering the zone of danger

Statistically, children ages 5-7 are the most vulnerable to be severally injured or killed because they are the most inexperienced and may impulsively run when entering or exiting a school bus. Before your young child begins taking the school bus, take the time to discuss safety protocol at the school bus stop and upon entering and exiting the bus.

Call Charlie Ward at 317-639-9501Experienced Bus Accident Lawyers

In the end, drivers must always be aware of school buses and anticipate that a child will enter the roadway. If you or someone you know has been injured or had a child injured because of a negligent driver, give me a call at 317-639-9501. Our firm attorneys are here to help you at any time.

By Charlie Ward

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

Accidents at the bus stop may occur when a driver fails to obey the school bus red “stop arm” warning signal”

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

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

Seat Belts Saves Lives | Auto Accident Attorney Indianapolis

Indianapolis IN Personal Injury Lawyer - Seat Belts and Car Accidents Seat Belts Reduce Injuries and Deaths

Approximately 33,000 (AAA article) individuals  are killed in auto accidents each year in the United States.  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that the leading cause of death for individuals ages 4, and 11 through 27 is from an auto accident.  Why??  Failure to wear a seat belt.Call Charlie Ward at 317-639-9501

Statistics show that seat belts reduce the probability of death from an auto accident by over 50%.  In 2012, more than 2.2 million (CDC article) adults and passengers were treated at an emergency room for injuries as a result of an auto accident.  Again statistics show that many of the serious injuries sustained in these accidents could have been minimized with the use of a seat belt.  The cost to society is staggering–it is estimated in 2012 that non fatal injuries cost society over 50 BILLION dollars for lifetime medical costs and loss of work productivity.   Teenage drivers who survive accidents give the main reason for failing to wear a seat belt as follows:

  1. Simply forgot to wear the seat belt.
  2. Driving just a short distance.

Research further shows that seat belts reduce the risk of death to a front seat passenger by 45% and the risk of a critical injury by 50%.   Ejection is the main injurious event from failing to wear a seat belt to a front seat passenger.  In addition, 77% of passengers ejected from the vehicle were killed.

The mechanics of seal belt use

In order to understand what happens in an accident where a person fails to wear a seat belt, one must understand the work energy principle, kinetic energy and stopping distances. Read about the mechanics of seat belt use. This is all very technical but least to say that all literature shows that value of wearing a seat belts reduce the probability of death and the severity of a serious injury by approximately 50%.

Recently Cam Newton, quarterback for the Carolina Panthers was in a serious accident where his vehicle flipped several times. Because he wore his seat belt at the time of the accident, he walked away with less serious injuries.

Indianapolis lawyers with experience in auto accidents involving injuries and wrongful death cases

Conclusion–It is a fact–seat belts saves lives and minimize serious injuries. If you have been injured or know someone that has died as a result of another person’s negligence, call Charlie today at 317-639-9501 for a free consultation.

By Charlie Ward

[email protected]

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

New Scooter Legislation in Indiana

New scooter law will reduce accidents with serious injuries

Yesterday, March 27, 2014, Governor Mike Pence of Indiana signed into law a measure that would require scooter operators to pass a road sign test, hold a valid state ID and to have their scooters plated. Unfortunately, this law does not require scooter operators to obtain insurance as some legislators and police agencies had originally sought. A scooter is defined as having an engine of no more than 2 horsepower and a maximum design speed of 25 mph.

The new requirements should reduce the number of fatalities and serious injuries.

By Charlie Ward

[email protected]

 

Personal Injury Lawyers Move to Near Southside | Auto Accident Attorney in Indianapolis

Personal Injury Lawyers, Don and Charlie Ward, Move Their OfficesCall Charlie Ward at 317-639-9501

On January 1, 1957, I (Don Ward) started practicing law in the Circle Tower Building on Monument Circle, Indianapolis, Indiana. On December 1, 1994, I (Charlie Ward) joined my father in the practice of law after graduating from law school and completing a two-year clerkship with the Chief Justice of the Indiana Supreme Court, Richard M. Givan. At that time we formed the law partnership of Ward & Ward.

After many years in the Circle Tower Building, we would like to announce that on May 29th we are relocating the law firm of Ward & Ward, to “728 South Meridian Street”. Our new office is on the near south side of downtown Indianapolis within the vicinity of Lucas Oil Stadium and across McCarty Street, just north of Shapiro’s famous deli. Attorneys and staff of Ward & Ward are looking forward to the move. Our new law office building has on-site parking, including handicapped spaces for the convenience of our clients and friends. In addition, our new location offers easy access to I-70 from the east and west and I-65 for north and south commuters. Our phone number will remain the same – (317) 639-9501.

Experienced auto accident lawyers in Indianapolis

We invite you to visit our website at www.wardlawfirm.com and hope that you’ll join us on Facebook where we share news and legal insights that may be of use to you in your daily life. Our Facebook fan page is located at facebook.com/wardlawfirm. By selecting the “Like” button at the top of the page, you’ll receive articles and information that we feel may benefit you, our clients and friends. We look forward to having you personally visit with us at our new location.

WARD & WARD

Donald W. Ward and Charles P. Ward

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

Your Indiana Auto Policy is your Protection from Uninsured Drivers

Sixteen percent of Indiana drivers are uninsured

We’ve all witnessed reckless motorists driving very nearly airborne down the road, anxiously weaving from lane to lane, and gunning their engines in disgust when they finally soar past you. Yes, today everybody’s in a hurry. And I bet you’ve thought, as I have, that most, if not all of these vehemently reckless drivers are driving without an adequate auto insurance policy. In fact, you can usually pick them out of a crowd of many, as if they carry an aura of irresponsibility with them.

Research conducted by the Insurance Research Council in 2011 shows that as many as 16% of Hoosiers are driving without any insurance coverage. And as the downturn in our economy intensifies, I fear that many more people will make the choice not to buy even the minimum amount of auto insurance legislated under Indiana law.

Even today, in some states, uninsured motorist coverage is a required add-on to your automobile policy. But in the state of Indiana, uninsured motorist coverage is an intrinsic part of your personal liability coverage under your automobile policy. Your uninsured motorist coverage automatically protects you from injury, lost wages and other expenses resulting from a serious accident with an uninsured driver.

Increase your policy limits for pennies a day

The value of your uninsured coverage is identical to your existing personal liability coverage under your auto or motorcycle policy. If you have read my other blogs on personal injury liability, then you already know that by increasing your policy limits, you have the advantage of getting considerably more coverage at a small additional rate. And when you consider that you are not only protecting your family from the injuries of others—you are also protecting your family from the negligent acts of uninsured drivers. It’s a win-win. Your
decision to choose the largest amount of personal liability coverage you can afford could be the best financial decision you make for your family.

Experienced lawyers

If you would like to discuss your policy limits with an experienced personal injury lawyer, or have been involved in an accident, call lawyer, Charlie Ward, of Ward & Ward Law Firm today at 317-639-9501.

By Charlie Ward

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

 

Our Lawyers Recommend You Buy the Best Auto Liability Policy Coverage You Can Afford

A great automobile or motorcycle policy goes a long way in compensating another driver for medical injuries which may occur as a result of an accident deemed to be your fault.

How does my auto liability insurance protect me and my family?

The Declarations page of your auto or motorcycle policy outlines all of your policy’s coverages as well as your insurance company’s limits of liability. The category entitled Bodily Injury & Property Damage Liability describes a maximum amount per person and a maximum total amount which would be paid per accident. For example: a $100,000/$300,000 policy means a single injured party could potentially receive up to but no more than $100,000 for their injuries—but no more than $300,000 could be recovered by the total number of persons injured in the accident. For example, if two people were severely injured in an accident which was determined to be caused by you, your insurance company would not pay more, in this instance, than $300,000 total for all injuries and/or deaths combined. Considering the high cost of ambulatory, ER care, surgeons, therapeutic and potential long-term rehabilitative expenses, medical bills for two people catastrophically injured could exhaust or even exceed your policy limits of $300,000. Where would injured victims look for compensation after your insurance policy limits were exhausted? Under certain circumstances, plaintiffs involved in litigation might seek reparation in your financial, real or hard assets after your policy runs out. Many learn this lesson the hard way—after the fact.

In the State of Indiana, the minimum amount of liability insurance coverage that will legally put you in the driver’s seat is $25,000. This low-limit legal minimum is barely enough to purchase postage stamps for the many medical bills that can mount up from injuries received in an accident. But lines have to be drawn in legislation and the $25,000 minimum was deemed to be fair and attainable for the greater majority of citizens. However, insurance companies don’t advertise the fact and the majority of citizenry don’t know that the price of coverage per unit goes down as the increase in coverage goes up. In other words, liability insurance is cheaper to buy in quantity.

It’s impossible to predict and prepare for every calamity that could befall you and your family. The next time you review your auto or motorcycle insurance policy, consider how much insurance you need to protect the assets you’ve acquired over your most productive years. Then ask your agent to quote several levels of liability coverage before you make a decision that could potentially expose you to a loss of your assets.

Lawyers Experienced in Cases Involving Bodily Injury

The law firm of Ward & Ward are personal injury lawyers experienced in auto accidents, motorcycle accidents and trucking accidents. Call our firm today! I welcome the opportunity to discuss your potential accident claim and your automobile liability insurance coverage with you.

By Charlie Ward

[email protected]

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