Tag Archives: Indiana Personal Injury Lawyer

Unjust Law Strengthened Aspirations of 2015 Legendary Personal Injury Lawyer | Car Accident Lawyers and Personal Injury Attorneys

Unjust Law Strengthened Aspirations of 2015 Legendary Personal Injury Lawyer | Car Accident Lawyers and Personal Injury Attorneys

20155 Legendary Personal Injury Lawyer, Don WardWhen Indiana personal injury attorney, Donald W. Ward, was a first year law student, he learned through personal experience that “a lot of injustices have been legislatively induced.” To counter the power structure favoring insurance companies and special interests, the former President of the Indiana Trial Lawyers Association has worked alongside like-minded, dedicated trial lawyers with members of the Indiana General Assembly to amend and pass legislation that would protect the trial court “wins” for injured clients.

Ward recalls one peculiar aspect of the Indiana Guest Statute that directly influenced his professional aspirations. During the fifties and prior to its amendment in 1998, the Indiana Guest Statute favored insurance companies by preventing an injured or deceased passenger from filing suit against a negligent owner or operator of the vehicle in which they were riding, except under narrowly defined circumstances. “Because you were a guest in my car,” Ward said, “my negligent driving did not entitle you to sue me for injuries caused by my negligent driving unless you could prove that I willfully or wantonly ran that red light.” Willful intent was key to overcoming the restrictions of the unjust law.

The early Guest Statute personally affected the Notre Dame Law Student

Jurisprudence was Ward’s calling. But it became personal after his sixteen-year old sister sustained life-threatening injuries when the vehicle in which she was riding crashed due to driver’s negligence. Upon learning of her accident and the injuries she suffered, he immediately left the law school he was attending to take his place with the family alongside her bed.

While in a prolonged state of unconsciousness, witnesses to the crash misled authorities by withholding facts. There was little hope her body could survive the excessive traumas and because of the restrictions placed in Indiana’s Guest Statute, little expectation that the driver’s insurance company would be financially accountable for the mounting medical bills.

Sometime later―her jaw wired shut―she awoke from a comatose state. When she finally regained the ability to form words, she stunned family members when she communicated to them that the driver of the vehicle in which she was riding had been drag racing on the road leading into the small town of Osgood when the accident occurred. She further articulated that prior to the crash, she and other passengers in the car firmly told the driver to “slow down.” Although latent, the adolescent eyewitnesses eventually corroborated the illuminating statement made from the hospital bed.

When the authorities determined the cause of the accident; that the driver of the car had “willfully” engaged in risky driving behavior; and the victim’s request to “slow down” had gone unheeded, this was the break family attorney and Ward’s mentor needed to proceed with a claim that would fall within the strict interpretation of the law. This incident and the bond formed between Ward and the late Howard S. Young Jr., served to strengthen Ward’s resolve to become a practicing plaintiff’s lawyer and to use his skills to affect changes in laws that were unjust and denied citizens equal access to trial by jury.

Former President of the Indiana Trial Lawyers Association

Since those days back in the fifties, members of the Indiana Trial Lawyer Association have worked diligently to protect the rights of Hoosier citizens in the legislative process. Ward says, “It is my belief that the voices of individual citizens are heard in the legislative process through the members of the Indiana Trial Lawyers Association.” When asked about his career as a trial lawyer, he said “The law profession is a very noble profession and I am very proud to have been a small part of it.”

Indiana’s Guest Statute, also known as the “Hitchhiker’s Law,” was eventually amended and implemented in 1998 reducing its scope to include parents, spouses, children, stepchildren, siblings, and hitchhikers. To learn more about the current Guest Statute in Indiana, visit the Ward & Ward Law Firm blog.

On August 19, 2015, Donald W. Ward of Ward & Ward Law Firm in Indianapolis, received the 2015 Legendary Lawyer Award presented by the Indiana Bar Foundation, a charity comprised of lawyers and judges who are dedicated to strengthening access to justice and an appreciation for the rule of law in Indiana. The committee that selected Ward was composed of Bar Foundation Fellows practicing law across the state of Indiana. Today, Ward is a diligent advocate for his firm’s injured clients and the families of wrongful death victims. Ward says he has no intention of retiring and will continue his work as a practicing personal injury lawyer.

Experienced Indianapolis Personal Injury Attorneys and Car Accident Lawyers

Call personal injury and accident lawyer Charlie Ward today for a free consultationIf you, or someone you know, has been injured in an accident, call personal injury attorneys and car accident lawyers,  Don and Charlie Ward, today at 317-639-9501 or 888-639-9501 for an evaluation of your claim.

Ward & Ward Law Firm
Car Accident Lawyers and Personal Injury Attorneys
728 S Meridian St
Indianapolis, IN 46225
317-639-9501
888-639-9501

Five things you should do after an auto, motorcycle, bicycle or truck accident to increase your settlement

How to increase your settlement or jury award after an accident

The steps you take immediately following an accident will help you and your attorney achieve the best possible results from your personal injury settlement or trial. When you hire a lawyer, he or she will thoroughly investigate the facts of the accident based upon the information you are able to provide as follows:

  1. Obtain an accident report from the police or sheriff within the jurisdiction where the accident occurred;
  2. Obtain eye witness information: name,  phone number and address, if possible;
  3. Take photos of all vehicles at the scene of the accident;
  4. Get medical treatment and follow-up on your doctor’s treatment plan;
  5. Do not give a statement to the other driver’s insurance company without your lawyer’s knowledge and/or presence.

In many cases, a private investigator may be employed by your attorney to further delve into the details of the accident, particularly when there is a question of liability. But the information listed above will give everyone involved in your case a good start on the facts and provide some very necessary information.

Experienced personal injury lawyers

Call Charlie Ward at 317-639-9501If you, or someone you know, has been injured or killed in an accident caused by another person’s negligence, give Charlie Ward a call today at 317-639-9501 to discuss the facts and obtain a free evaluation of your claim.

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

Blind Spot Monitors | Auto Accident Lawyers In Indianapolis

Indianapolis Auto Accident Lawyer for Personal Injury Claiams and Wrongful Death Consider purchasing your next new car with a Blind spot auto sensor

If your about to purchase a new car, SUV or motor vehicle, it is estimated that 3/4 of all new vehicles offer blind spot monitors as an option to reduce accidents.

In driver’s education we were taught to look over your shoulder before changing lanes.  Why?  Because side mirrors do not show automobiles in blind spots.   However, new technology advances such as blind spot monitors help to minimize blind spot issues.

Just what is a blind spot monitor (BSM) and how does it work?  Blind spot monitors use radar sensors to warn drivers of automobiles in a lane adjacent to them.  The radar sensors are generally on the side and rear of a vehicle.  The warnings from the radar sensors come in the way of a flashing light or an audible sound.  The warnings generally stay on until the automobile in the adjacent lane moves in front of the vehicle or directly alongside.

Call Charlie Ward at 317-639-9501Many automobile manufacturers are now offering this technology–Volvo, Ford, Audi, Infiniti are just a few. This technology was developed by Volvo a decade ago.

Is it worth the extra cost?  Although blind spot monitors do not replace a glance around or rear-view mirror, the simple answer is yes. If there is a way to reduce or minimize the potential of an automobile accident, it is worth the cost.  This technology is just another option at reducing auto accidents.

To see the blind spot monitoring system in action watch this short video demonstration

By Charlie Ward

[email protected]

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

Win 2 Colts Tickets at Love for Lauren Silent Auction | Nov. 14, 2014

Charlie Ward of Ward & Ward Law Firm is donating 2 Colts tickets to the Silent Auction to be held on November 14, 2014, to Benefit Lauren Badua of Fishers, Indiana. The Silent Auction will be held at the “Love for Lauren’s Purple in Paris Daddy/Daughter Dance. “

The tickets to be auctioned are for the Colts vs. the Patriots event at Lucas Oil Stadium on November 16, 2014. We invite you to visit our booth at the Bud Light Tailgate on Georgia sponsored by B105.7 Soft Rock. To learn more about the Silent Auction and Lauren Badua, visit her Facebook page at www.facebook.com/Love4LaurenB

Let’s make this auction a success!

*UPDATE ON SILENT AUCTION

Crash accident attorney donates to community - You can still donate to Love for Lauren at 5th 3rd Bank
Tickets donated by Ward & Ward Law Firm brought a high-bid of $550 to benefit Lauren Badua and her family

A representative from the event reports that the pair of Colts  tickets donated by Ward & Ward Law Firm to benefit Lauren and her family, were sold at silent auction for a high-bid of $550.00. Congratulations on your success!

Our legal team is happy to have been a part of this Fishers community event benefiting Lauren and her family. Thanks to everyone who came out to show your support for Lauren.

The legal team at Ward & Ward Law Firm

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

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

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

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

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

The original legislation was never meant to hurt accident victims

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

New legislation benefits persons injured in a crash

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

Experienced lawyers helping injured victims

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

By Charlie Ward

[email protected]

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

 

The Personal Injury Toxic Tort Claim – $7M for Popcorn Lung Disease | Indiana

Legal claims involving high-profile companies, products and big jury awards always draw the attention of media. The latest being $7M in damages awarded a man for injuries involving a potentially fatal lung disease called “popcorn lung.”

Toxic chemical found in microwavable butter-flavored popcornCall Charlie Ward at 317-639-9501

Inhaling a chemical compound called diacetyl, formerly found in butter flavoring, was known to cause a condition in which the smallest airways of the lung become scarred and constricted, blocking the movement of air. The debilitating and potentially fatal condition called Popcorn Lung Disease, also known as Bronchiolitis Obliterans, was diagnosed in the Claimant, a 59 year old man by the name of Wayne Watson.  His physician, a lung specialist at National Jewish Medical and Research Center in Denver, Colorado, knew his condition was caused by inhaling something. But when she asked him, based upon the symptoms he was experiencing, if he had been around a lot of popcorn, he was surprised she knew and he confirmed he had eaten microwaved butter-flavored popcorn twice a day for 10 years. Who hasn’t opened a freshly popped bag of butter-flavored microwavable popcorn and enjoyed the permeating buttery smell?

Five years later the flavoring manufacturer removed the chemical from the formula

Physicians have known since the year 2000 that the condition known as popcorn lung was related to the naturally occurring chemical compound called diacetyl which was in the butter flavoring added to microwavable popcorn. The National Institute for Occupational safety and Health (NIOSH) determined that inhaling large quantities of BBA butter flavoring caused lung disease in workers at a plant in Jasper, Missouri. In fact, a number of popcorn factory workers had developed the disease from inhaling the vapors of the butter flavoring and filed for workman compensation claims. NIOSH recommended the plant install industry ventilation hoods in the quality control areas. But the manufacturer of the butter flavoring did not remove diacetyl from the formula until the year 2007.

Factory workers file personal injury claims for damages associated with popcorn lung

Factory workers also filed claims with the courts for damages resulting from exposure to the toxic chemical. They claimed the manufacturers knew the buttery flavoring could be toxic but failed to warn them. Many of the original claims have successfully gone to trial or been settled. One factory worker, Eric Peoples, and his wife, received a jury award of $20M in 2007 against the flavoring manufacturer for personal injury damages from the lung disease. Peoples developed popcorn lung within a year of starting work at the popcorn factory in Jasper. Today, a number of claims by factory workers in various states, most across corn belt areas of the country, are currently in litigation.

But Watson’s claim, filed early in 2008, was the first claim of popcorn lung disease by a consumer. The Flavor and Extract Manufacturers Association (FEMA) became aware of Mr. Watson’s illness in 2007 and although FEMA has no legal authority to prohibit the use of diacetyl, they issued a press release asking the flavor manufacturers to reduce “the diacetyl content of these flavors to the extent possible.” In his suit, Watson claimed the companies failed to warn the consumer of the risk associated with inhaling a bag of corn popped in the microwave as intended by the manufacturers and that smelling the buttery aroma could expose the consumer to an inhalation hazard or a risk of lung injury. Mr. Watson’s lung disease, caused by years of exposure to diacetyl, is serious. The only hope for many with the disease is to have a single or double lung transplant. The jury in Watson’s case found shared responsibility between the manufacturer of the popcorn (80% at fault) and the supermarket where he purchased the foods (20% at fault). Associated Press reported Mr. Watson also settled prior claims against the flavor developer.

Diacetyl, although considered safe to eat and  approved for consumption as a flavor ingredient by The Food and Drug Administration, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) studies in the initial plant documented a relationship between cumulative exposure to diacetyl vapor over time and having abnormal lung function . It’s currently used in many consumer products such as margarine, wine, and cheese. When ingested, the body has the ability to metabolize small amounts of diacetyl with no known health hazards.

To learn more about popcorn lung disease and daily exposure to the chemical, diacetyl, you can obtain a free copy of NIOSH’s publication entitled NIOSH ALERT: Preventing Lung Disease in Workers Who Use or Make Flavorings by clicking on this link.

Lawyers Experienced in Tort Claims

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.