Tag Archives: insurance

Why personal injury lawyers may refuse your case – Uncollectability | Indianapolis Car Accident Lawyers

Why Personal Injury Lawyers May Refuse Your Case – Uncollectability | Car Accident Lawyers, Auto Accident Attorneys, Ward & Ward Law Firm

Collectability is the ability to put money into the hands of an injured party and creditors who have extended treatment on their behalf resulting from an accident. It is an essential component of any personal injury claim. The following are examples of uncollectable claims frequently turned down by personal injury lawyers:

  • Neither party has automobile insurance and the driver responsible for the injuries has no real or personal assets
  • Liability cannot be ascertained through evidence or credible eyewitness testimony
  • Damages are negligible and/or frivolous
  • Injured party(ies) did not receive treatment immediately following the accident and did not follow up with a physician in a timely manner

It falls on you to protect your injured self from another person’s negligence | Indianapolis Car Accident Lawyers

The recession and suspended licenses have thrust an increase in uninsured drivers in Indiana. Of the approximately 4 million driver’s licenses issued in the state of Indiana, approximately 12% are suspended. According to the most recent estimate obtained by the Insurance Information Institute, approximately 1 in every 7 drivers or 14.2% take to the roads without any automobile insurance.

Uninsured/Underinsured Bodily Injury and Liability* coverage is included as a part of your policy unless you express in writing a desire to omit this coverage. UIM protects you, your family’s assets and financial exposure from reckless uninsured and underinsured drivers that may cause harm to you and others riding in your vehicle. Your uninsured coverage may also protect you from defendants fleeing a judgment through the protection of bankruptcy.

Experienced Indiana Car Accident Lawyers and Wrongful Death Attorneys

The personal injury and car accident lawyers of Ward & Ward Law Firm recommend increasing your insurance policy to reduce and protect your personal exposure in an accident you may or may not cause. A robust bodily injury and liability policy may cost only pennies a day more than the minimum policy required to drive in Indiana. Before you call an agent, learn more about automobile insurance coverage in Indiana at our attorney blog.

The auto accident attorneys at Ward & Ward Law Firm have more than 85 combined years of experience practicing  personal injury, wrongful death and medical malpractice law.  If you or someone you know has been involved in an accident, call personal injury lawyer, Charlie Ward, today at 317-639-9501 or toll free at 888-639-9501 for a free consultation.

Charlie Ward
Personal Injury Attorney

Ward & Ward Law Firm, Car Accident Lawyers
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.

New Indiana Scooter Regulation | Motorcycle Accident Attorney in Indianapolis

New Scooter Regulations in Indiana.

Indiana Motor Scooter Registration lawEffective January 1, 2015, Indiana has adopted new regulations covering motor scooters.  License plates will be required on all scooters.  In addition, scooters with engines of 50 cubic centimeters or less will also need to pass a Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) test involving road signals and signs.  Scooters above the 50 cubic centimeters will need to follow all motorcycle requirements, that is, hold a valid driver’s license with a motorcycle endorsement or valid motorcycle learner’s permit.  Currently the Bureau of Motor Vehicles has no idea how many scooters are on the roadway.  The Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) released an online video discussing documents needed to obtain the scooter license and the types of licenses needed. Currently the Bureau of Motor Vehicles has no record of all the scooters on the roadway.  Some argue that the new legislation merely allows individuals who have lost their license due to drunk driving to travel on the roadway without a license and insuring their scooter.  Others argue that the law is to help individuals to get to work who have lost their license due to drunk driving.  It is not known how the individual police agencies will enforce the new law.  Registration for the scooters will cost $26.35 each with a $10 excise tax.Call Charlie Ward at 317-639-9501

Medical Malpractice Reform | Personal Injury lawyers in Indianapolis

A Recent Study shows Lack of Health Care Savings on Medical Malpractice Reform

Since this was posted, Indiana lawmakers have enacted changes in Indiana’s Medical Malpractice Law. To learn more about changes that benefit Indiana’s residents, visit our blog, 2016 Update on Indiana’s Medical Malpractice Act.

Personal Injury Indianapolis IN - Lawyer Many argue that one of the reasons medical costs are so high is due to fact that doctors are concerned with a potential medical malpractice lawsuit so the doctors order many medical tests, which turn out to be expensive and unnecessary, to protect themselves from liability.Call Charlie Ward at 317-639-9501

A recent study by the Rand Corporation investigated three states (Texas, South Carolina and Georgia) which have all enacted medical malpractice reform laws over the past decade. The study focused on emergency room care. The analysis showed that there has been very little impact from the stricter laws on the volume or cost of emergency room care.

The argument for defensive medicine comes into play with costs and many want to find a way to deal with the subject. The study seems to find that doctors are not as concerned with a potential medical malpractice lawsuit as thought. Thus casting doubt on savings from the medical malpractice reform laws which have been enacted in the three states. Each of the states enacted the medical malpractice reform laws as a way to prevent escalating health care costs. The study was published in The New England Journal of Medicine. The debate continues……

A Robust Auto Liability Policy Means Better Protection for Your Family in Indiana

The best auto insurance coverage costs less than the state required minimum amount of insurance protection

Here’s why you should choose the best automobile insurance policy for you and your family’s protection.

Did you know that:Call Charlie Ward at 317-639-9501

  1. One in five Indiana drivers are on the road without insurance (WRTV.com)
  2. There are nearly 350,000 suspended drivers in Indiana
  3. Suspended drivers are almost four times as likely to be involved in a fatal crash
  4. Over 50 % of court cases in Johnson County are for driving while suspended
  5. Over ⅓ of unlicensed drivers leave the scene of a fatal crash (AAAFoundation.org)

Consider this — 1 in 5 Indiana drivers are uninsured.

Indianapols Personal Injury Attorney - Auto Accidents

Indiana law requires licensed drivers to purchase a minimum amount ($25,000/$50,000) of auto liability insurance coverage. The penalty for not obtaining the policy is license suspension. A report from the Insurance Research Council estimates that in 2009, 16 percent of Indiana drivers were uninsured, that’s approximately 1 in every 6.25 drivers. Today, 20% of Indiana drivers, or 1 out of every 5 cars on the road, is being operated without any kind of automobile liability insurance coverage. The growth of uninsured drivers may be due in large part to the economic downturn and sadly, we may see a further increase in the future. With that in mind, it’s a pretty safe bet that insuring yourself and your family for a potential automobile injury caused solely by an uninsured driver is as important as putting your savings in an FDIC insured bank or buying a homeowners insurance policy that will pay full-replacement-value in case of a total loss.  

Is a minimum policy enough to protect my family after an accident with a negligent driver?

Under minimum coverage, the first figure ($25,000) represents the limits a single party who was not-at-fault may potentially recover from defendant’s insurance company; the latter denotes the total amount defendant’s insurance company might pay to all injured parties combined when more than one party has been injured, excluding the policy holder/negligent driver. All automobile liability policies sold in Indiana must also include uninsured/underinsured coverage equal to the amount of liability coverage — unless the insured rejects this coverage in writing.

The following examples demonstrates how a claim for damages and losses might be made against your underinsurance policy if the negligent driver has only the minimum amount of liability insurance.

Example1: If you alone sustain severe or catastrophic injuries in a vehicular accident, through no fault of your own, and the other solely responsible driver has minimal coverage, your attorney will initially demand to settle your claim for the limits of defendant’s policy — in this case, $25,000. If your losses and damages are greater than defendant’s minimal policy and you have underinsurance coverage greater than defendant’s liability policy, your attorney may seek as much as the difference between your policy limits and the limits paid by defendant’s insurance. The difference is the maximum amount you might potentially obtain. You may never receive, in total, more than the limits of your own policy in a claim involving underinsurance.

Example2: If you are injured in an accident caused by an uninsured driver, and you yourself have the minimal legal insurance, the highest amount of compensation you may receive for your personal injuries under your policy’s uninsured motorist coverage, is $25,000. According to New Choice Health.com, a single spinal MRI can cost as much as $8,500.00. How far will the limits of your uninsured liability policy stretch when a single standard procedure costs more than one-third of your uninsured settlement?

Protect your family by purchasing the largest amount of liability insurance you can afford.

After the $25,000 limits of defendant’s policy have been met and payment has been made solely for your injuries, damages and losses, your attorney may seek additional compensation if your situation warrants, from the underinsured portion of your automobile liability policy. Remember, your attorney is only able to seek further compensation if your liability policy is greater than defendant’s policy limits.

For example, from your $100,000/$300,000 underinsured policy limits, you may be eligible to recover as much as $75,000 ($100,000 less $25,000 paid by defendant insurance.)

How much does insurance cost?

Not so surprisingly, the cost per unit of insurance goes down as you purchase more units. Many agents will quote a policy price by inquiring as to how much insurance you carry at this time. I recommend you do a cost comparison of several policies, i.e. 25/50, 100/300 or 250/500. See Ward & Ward Law Firm’s cost analysis for units of insurance.

Your personal injury attorney is here to help you.

Ward & Ward Law Firm has more than 85 years of combined experience helping injured people put back together the pieces of their lives after a traumatic accident involving a motorized vehicle or the loss of a loved one due to the negligence of another. If you or someone you know has been involved in an accident, please call today for a free consultation at 800-639-9501.

By Charlie Ward

317-639-9501

www.wardlawfirm.com

 

Supreme Court Upholds Caps on Punitive Damage Awards in Indiana

Lawyer for personal Injury in Indianapolis IN

Recently, the Indiana State Supreme Court upheld, by unanimous decision, Indiana statutes placing caps on punitive damage awards and how distribution is made.

 Under Indiana statute IC § 34-51-3-4, awards granted to plaintiffs for punitive damages are capped at three times compensatory damages or $50,000, whichever is greater. Under IC § 34-51-3-6 the plaintiff would receive 25% of the punitive damage award with the greater amount of the award (75%) going to the state’s Violent Crime Victim Compensation Fund.Call Charlie Ward at 317-639-9501

 In State v. Doe the plaintiff was awarded $5,000 for compensatory damages and $150,000 for punitive damages by a jury. But under Indiana statute capping punitive damage awards, the plaintiff would receive the full amount of $5,000 for compensatory damages and 25% of $50,000 ($12,500) for a total award of $17,500. Indiana’s Violent Crime Victim Compensation Fund would receive $37,500.

 The law firm of Ward & Ward has over 80 years of combined experience in breaking down the facts of a personal injury claim and working with insurance companies on behalf of their clients. If you have been injured in an automobile, trucking, motorcycle, or bicycle accident, please feel free to call me at 317-639-9501 for a free consultation.

Charlie Ward

(317) 639-9501

Underinsured Defendant in Auto Accident Cannot Diminish Financial Responsibility Owed “Careful” Plaintiff – Your Auto, Motorcycle and Trucking Accident Indiana Attorney

At fault driver may not benefit from injured driver’s policyCall Charlie Ward at 317-639-9501

On September 20, 2012, The Indiana Court of Appeals held that the party at-fault to an auto accident cannot benefit from Plaintiff’s purchase of uninsured/underinsured coverage and acceptance of underinsured motorist benefit compensation.

When the trial court jury found the Defendant, Alan Steady, 100% at-fault for injuries sustained by Ronald Kern in an auto accident, a judgment in the amount of $98,000 was entered against the Defendant. Plaintiff Kern received policy limits of defendant’s minimal legal coverage of $25,000 by Steady’s insurance company. Kern also received $68,000 in underinsured motorist benefits from his own insurance company, State Farm, as well as $5,000 in medical payment coverage. Steady then asked the Court that the $98,000 judgment against him be deemed fully satisfied and the trial court granted his request.

State Farm then appealed to the higher court for the right to recover from Defendant the amount of $68,000 in funds they paid their client in underinsured motorist benefits and $5,000 in medical payment benefits. Defendant claimed State Farm was not a party to the lawsuit when judgment was entered against him. But the Court of Appeals citing Indiana Code section 27-7-5-6(a) confirmed that State Farm had standing to appeal as follows:

“The insurer shall be subrogated, to the extent of such payment, to the proceeds of any settlement or judgment that may later result from the exercise of any rights of recovery of such person against any person or organization legally responsible for said bodily injury or death, or property damage, for which payment is made by the insurer. Such insurer may enforce such rights in its own name or in the name of the person to whom payment has been made, as in their interest may appear, by proper action in any court of competent jurisdiction.”

On the merits of the case, the appellate court cited once again Indiana Code section 27-7-5-6(a) which provides a right of recovery by the insurer against a third-party tortfeasor and that the insurer “…shall then be subrogated to the proceeds of any settlement or judgment that results.”

The Court concluded that the trial court erred:

“Steady is not entitled to benefit from Kern’s carefulness and assiduousness in obtaining underinsured motorist coverage.”

 The case was reversed and remanded back to the trial court for further proceedings.

Lawyers with Experience Helping their Injured Clients

The law firm of Ward & Ward has over 85 years of combined experience in complex personal injury claims. If you’ve been injured in an auto, motorcycle or trucking accident, call an experienced personal injury attorney. Call Charlie Ward at 317-639-9501 for 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

 

Protect Your Rights After a Wreck | Indianapolis Indiana

Protect your claim for injuries and economic damagesCall Charlie Ward at 317-639-9501

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:

  1. 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.

  2. Take photos.

    Use your cell phone camera to photograph the accident scene, damaged property, and injuries.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. Contact experienced Indianapolis injury lawyer.

    Call Charlie Ward at 317-639-9501 for a free consultation and evaluation of your accident claim.

Charlie Ward

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