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Motorcycles – Helmets saves lives | motorcycle accident attorney in Indianapolis

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

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

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

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 By 1980, a majority of states had repealed the universal mandated laws, favoring a unilateral approach to legislation.

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

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

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

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

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

Statistics favor ‘gearing up’ with helmets and bright clothing

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

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

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

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

Experienced Motorcycle and Bicycle Accident Attorneys and Wrongful Death Lawyers

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

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

By Charlie Ward

[email protected]

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

 

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

What is a Subrogation Lien and Why Do I Need to Reimburse My Insurance Company From My Settlement?

What is a Subrogation Lien and Why Do I Need to Reimburse My Insurance Company From My Settlement?

Personal Injury Claim and SubrogationInsurance companies enter into a contract with their insureds. In this contractual relationship, both parties benefit and rightly so. But when your insurance company pays for your loss, they may legally recover a portion, or all of their losses paid on your behalf by way of subrogation.

A subrogation lien is the process an insurance company uses to seek reimbursement from the responsible third party for money it has paid on the behalf of the insured. However, the English common law “Made Whole” doctrine provides that insurers and creditors shall not be made whole prior to their insured being made whole.

Indiana statute IC 34-51-2-19, commonly known as the Lien Reduction Statute, adds teeth and parameters to the common law doctrine. It states in part:

If a subrogation claim or other lien or claim that arose out of the payment of medical expenses or other benefits exists in respect to a claim for personal injuries or death and the claimant’s recovery is diminished:

(1) by comparative fault; or

(2) by reason of the uncollectibility of the full value of the claim for personal injuries or death resulting from limited liability insurance or from any other cause; the lien or claim shall be diminished in the same proportion as the claimant’s recovery is diminished.

Lien Reduction Statute: Recovery Lessened by Comparative FaultCall Charlie Ward at 317-639-9501

If the tortfeasor (party responsible for your damages) proves or is able to prove that you were, for example, 20% at fault for your damages, and your automobile insurance company paid the limits of your medical payment portion of your policy, totaling $10,000, your insurance company would be required under Indiana statute to reduce their medical payment subrogation lien by a minimum of 20% or $2,000. Based on the facts and the full set of circumstances surrounding your claim, a further reduction may be requested by your experienced personal injury attorney.

Lien Reduction Statute: Recovery Lessened by Uncollectibility of Injury or Death Claim

When you have finished treatment with your providers and it is felt that your condition cannot be improved further, you and your attorney will discuss and assign a reasonable value to your claim for damages based upon medical billings, loss of wages (past and future), future surgeries and treatments, impairment rating, pain and suffering and all other losses you may have incurred.

The following is an example of Uncollectibility:

Your claim is reasonably valued at $500,000. You settle for the limits of the responsible party’s liability insurance of $100,000. Therefore, 80% of your claim is uncollectible. In this example, both your auto insurance company and your health insurance company would be required by statute to reduce their lien by 80%. Under extreme circumstances, an experienced personal injury lawyer may be able to negotiate a further reduction of the lien amount or request waiving of the lien.

A Person Who Acts As His Own Lawyer…

In most circumstances it would be imprudent to endeavor to settle a claim for injuries without the advice and counsel of an experienced personal injury and wrongful death lawyer. Attorneys who represent injured or deceased persons on a daily basis are knowledgeable of current legislation, amended statutes, federal codes, and case law that will affect their client’s case and financial recovery.

Don and Charlie Ward have more than 85 years of combined experience in personal injury law involving motorcycle, automobile, bus, trucking and pedestrian accidents and wrongful death claims. Call Charlie Ward today at 317-639-9501 for a free consultation and evaluation of your claim.

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

Learn more about Indiana’s Comparative Fault Law.

Driving through Indiana school zones | Indiana Work Zone and School Zone Injury Lawyers

Driving Legally in an Indiana School Zone

School zone and construction zone accidents in Indiana can be reduced when the laws for driving within the school zones are understood and obeyedThere are more than thirteen-thousand clauses in Indiana code—a plethora of laws to govern our daily lives. People generally want to obey the laws but in certain rare instances, how people go about the business of complying with motoring laws differs from one day to the next and from driver to driver.
On my way to work in the mornings, I usually drive through several school zones, each clearly marked with signs reducing the speed limits to 25 mph or less. And nearly every day drivers demonstrate their own unique interpretation of school zone laws, although the lead car in the school zone often sets the standard for group compliance.

Reduced speeds protect children from accidents caused by motorists and cyclists

It’s reported that Indiana bipartisan legislators have recognized the need to enforce our school and work zone speeds by renewing their push for installation of speed-detecting cameras that would sense and record license plates of drivers exceeding posted speeds in work or school zones. *Read House Bill 1404. Penalties for exceeding the posted reduced speed would include a $300 fine for the first violation. A repeat violation within five years could lead to a $750 fine and further offenses could be fined up to $1,000.

Senate Bill 398, filed by Senator E. Bassler would allow police to issue tickets if they have probable cause to believe a driver illegally overtook a school bus during engagement of the school bus stop arm. This bill passed committee in February, 2015. Read more here.

*Note: HB 1404 was not passed by the 2015 Indiana General Assembly.

How should you drive through a school zone?

Chapter 5 of the Bureau of Motor Vehicles driving manual has only this to say on the topic of driving through school zones:

School Zone Speed Limits

If you are driving near a school, you must slow down to the lower posted speed limit for the school zone. Common hours for school zone speed limits are 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. However, local authorities may establish lower speed limits for school zones when children are present.

Here are the facts you should know, in question & answer form, when driving through an Indiana school zone:

Where does the restricted speed of the school zone end?

The sign located at the end of the school zone indicates where you may begin acceleration of the new posted lawful speed. Acceleration should not begin prior to the sign signaling the end of the school zone or the new speed limit sign.

Is a reduction in speed required during school holidays?

Indiana Code Section 9-21-5-6 (f)(3) states:

(f) …a speed limit established under this subsection is valid only if the following conditions exist…

(3) Children are present.

City, township, private, parochial, and year-round school schedules operate on unique calendars. Unless a motorist has children attending the school within the immediate school zone or some knowledge of the school’s calendar, how should the driver proceed through the zone?

Unless you have specific knowledge the school within the zone is not in session, maintain the reduced mandated speed. Ignorance is not a defense recognized by the court. However, IC 9-21-5-6(f)(4) states:

(B) June 30, 2012, if the school operates on a twelve (12) month schedule, there must be a sign indicating that the school is an all year school.

What are the fines and/or penalties for failure to obey the laws?

At the time of this writing, exceeding the speed limit through an Indiana school zone is a Class B Infraction, a civil offense punishable with a fine up to $1,000.00.

Plaintiff personal injury lawyers helping people injured or killed in an accident

Ward & Ward Law Firm has spent more than 85 years representing people and family members who have been killed or injured in an accident caused by another driver’s negligence. Our experienced personal injury lawyers have settled and litigated a diversity of plaintiff claims involving:

  • Speed Zone Accidents
  • Motorcycle Accidents
  • Pedestrian Accidents
  • Bicycle Accidents
  • Automobile Accidents
  • Bus Accidents
  • Taxi Accidents
  • Ambulance Accidents
  • Truck and Semi Truck Accidents

Call Charlie Ward at 317-639-9501If you or someone you know has been injured or has died in an accident due to someone else’s negligence, give Charlie Ward a call at 317-639-9501 for a free evaluation of your potential legal claim.

By Charlie Ward
Ward & Ward Law Firm
728 S Meridian St
Indianapolis, IN 46225
317-639-9501
Published 03/06/2015

How Do I Pay My Medical Bills After an Accident?

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

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

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

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

By Charlie Ward

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

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

‘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

Roundabouts Reduce Accidents in Indiana Counties

Indianapolis Lawyer car accident InjuriesA recent study details the ten most dangerous intersections for accidents in Indianapolis

The study, conducted by Indiana University Public Policy Institute in cooperation with other organizations, concluded the following information:

  • The least dangerous  intersection was South Post Road and East Washington Street (eastside Indianapolis) with 22 accidents.
  • The most dangerous intersection was at East Stop 11 Road and Madison Avenue (southside Indianapolis) with a total of 38 accidents.
  • Each intersection averaged approximately 30 per yearCall Charlie Ward at 317-639-9501

Accidents involving intersections have higher death rates and serious injuries

In 2013, Marion County Accident Statistics showed:

  • Approximately 29,000 accidents occurred
  • 9,700 of these accidents occurred at intersections
  • 69 individuals died as a result of the accidents

Roundabouts in Indianapolis and Surrounding Counties Save Lives

As a result, many towns and cities (including Carmel, Westfield, Fishers, Plainfield and Greenwood) have aggressively been installing roundabouts as a way to minimize serious accidents.   In the past 10 years Carmel has installed over 80 roundabouts and continues to aggressively install more.   Plainfield, Fishers, Westfield and Greenwood have stepped up their installation of roundabouts and Speedway is installing a roundabout at 16th and Crawfordsville Road next to The Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

What are the benefits of roundabouts?

Roundabouts save time for the driving public and are much safer than intersections.   Statistics show that traffic moves much easier and accidents in roundabouts are generally minor with fewer serious personal injuries.

Experienced Lawyers for pedestrians and bicyclists who have been injured

The lawyers at Ward & Ward Law Firm are experienced litigators of car, motorcycle, bicycle and trucking accidents. While the installation of roundabouts have improved the flow of motorized traffic, the designs may pose some problems for pedestrians and non-motorized vehicles. If you have been hurt by a negligent or careless driver of a vehicle, give Charlie Ward a call at 317-639-9501. We are here to speak with you 24 hours a day. Charlie Ward [email protected]

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

 

Maximizing Settlement Value of Trucking Accident Claims

AutoTruck  Accident Compensation Lawyer Compelling Factors in a Truck Accident Settlement

Trucking accidents impact lives on a large scale and have lasting consequences. When negligence is involved, injured victims deserve full compensation for medical treatment, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Insurance companies may be quick to initiate a truck accident settlement. However, it is essential to consult with an experienced attorney before accepting any settlement offers or else you risk settling for much less than you deserve.Call Charlie Ward at 317-639-9501
 

Estimating a proper settlement in an Indianapolis trucking accident

No two Indianapolis truck accidents are the same. How much your accident settlement is worth depends on a number of factors, including:

  • The extent of injuries
  • How your injuries impact your life and livelihood
  • Where the accident claim is filed
  • The ability of your attorney to present a compelling case

Prior cases and court decisions also weigh heavily on the outcome of an Indianapolis truck accident settlement.

At Ward & Ward, we take the time to understand your complete story and assess the difference in your quality of life before and after a truck accident. We leverage experience and knowledge to obtain fair settlements for accident victims and their families.

Our experienced Indianapolis attorneys maximize recovery

Having the skilled attorneys of Ward & Ward behind you maximizes the value of your settlement in several ways:

  • Access to key resources – We preserve evidence, fully investigate truck accidents, and establish negligence of the other party. We also document the full impact of injuries, including necessary future treatment to ensure bills are paid and families are not left in financial ruin.
  • Specialized knowledge – The trucking industry is governed by complex state and federal laws. At Ward & Ward, we focus almost exclusively on personal injury cases, including truck accidents. So we understand the specifics of Federal Motor Carrier Safety regulations and Indiana laws, including the statute of limitations. Our attorneys pinpoint negligent acts, identify trucking law violations, and determine all potential defendants to help you receive the best possible Indianapolis trucking accident settlement.
  • Leverage with the insurance companies – Even before you file suit, the insurance companies may offer to settle your case. However, an early accident settlement is likely to reimburse only a fraction of total damages. Involving an attorney protects your interests and demands that the insurance companies take you seriously and offer full reimbursement for your losses.

Handling your Indiana truck accident and injury cases

If you or a loved one is a victim of an Indianapolis trucking accident, contact Ward & Ward to arrange a free consultation. We are available to speak with you 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Auto Recall Legislation|Indiana Personal Injury Lawyer’s View Point

Indianapolis Product Recall  Personal InjuryVehicle manufacturers have a duty to report safety issues by law.   The legislation is known as Transportation Recall Enhancement, Accountability, and Documentation–TREAD.

Over a decade ago, there were  several hundred deaths and many individuals seriously injured as a result of defective tires made by Firestone on Ford Explorers.  In 2001, Congress took action and passed TREAD to require vehicle manufacturers to report safety issues in a timely manner.  The goal of the legislation to require auto manufacturers to report defects, not to hide them.  Once reported the National Highway Safety Administration can issue recalls, impose fines and potentially order criminal charges.Call Charlie Ward at 317-639-9501

However, many argue the legislation is failing due to time delays (sometimes several years).   In the past few years delayed actions resulted in many deaths and serious injuries as a result of sudden acceleration in Toyota vehicles (several years ago), ignition switch issues in General Motors vehicles (past 2 years) and now with airbags involving the Japanese company Takata.   Facts uncovered in Toyota’s sudden acceleration and GM’s ignition switch showed the manufacturer’s knowledge of the defects many years before any action was taken.  The Federal Government is currently investigating Honda on whether Honda failed to timely report deaths and injuries caused by defective airbags.

The end result–delays in recalling vehicles leads to unnecessary deaths and serious injuries.

Personal Injury Attorney,

Charlie Ward

[email protected]

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