Tag Archives: motorcycle insurance

Indiana Supreme Court Upholds Trial Court Discretion in No Contact Motorcycle Accident

personal-injury-attorney-web-logoNo Contact Motorcycle Accident with Extensive Personal Injuries

On September 3, 2008, Mr. Earl was thrown from his motorcycle at a speed of 65 mph when he took evasive action to protect himself from the sudden and unexpected lane change by a semi tractor-trailer driver. Although there was no contact that occurred between Mr. Earl’s motorcycle and the semi, an observant witness confirmed the accident and resulting injuries sustained by Mr. Earl were caused by the unidentified semi-truck.
Prior to the accident he enjoyed an active outdoor lifestyle: hunting, fishing and playing league basketball. He was the co-owner of a small construction business; his expertise and job responsibilities were in excavation and sewer work. And he enjoyed spending time with his wife and playing with his grandchildren.

Economic Damages

Mr. Earl was hospitalized immediately following the accident. His injuries included a fractured collarbone, fractured shoulder blade, and multiple fractures in his left ribs. He also suffered a collapsed lung, laceration of the liver, multiple abrasions, a blood clot in his left leg and a permanent structural change of his left shoulder joint.

Eventually Mr. Earl returned to light-duty office work but he was unable to perform the heavy equipment and excavation duties required of him in his business. His income suffered as a result.

Non-Economic Damages

After Mr. Earl’s medical treatment concluded, every action in his life was executed in pain―from playing with his grandchildren to driving a car. Even lying in bed was problematic. In addition, his wife reported her husband’s pain affected their marriage.

A Claim for Damages – Uninsured Motorist Insurance Coverage

At the time of the accident, Mr. and Mrs. Earl had uninsured motorist insurance coverage for $250,000 per person/$500,000 per accident. When their insurance company refused to pay the full amount of $250,000 for his damages, they brought a claim for damages based on the terms of their contract with their insurance company. While the case was pending, Mr. Earl died from an unrelated illness. When their insurance company admitted liability, the case proceeded to a jury on the question of damages only.

Despite their insurance company’s unsuccessful motion to exclude the policy limits from evidence, the trial court admitted plaintiffs’ insurance policy into evidence. The jury returned with a verdict of $175,000 for Mr. Earl’s damages and $75,000 for Mrs. Earl’s damages totaling $250,000―the exact limits of the policy.

After their insurance company successfully appealed on the grounds that the trial court abused its discretion by allowing the $250,000 limits into evidence and that the jury’s verdict was affected by their knowledge of the policy limits, the Earl’s petitioned to the Indiana Supreme Court. The appellate ruling was vacated.

In the Indiana Supreme Court Conclusion, Justice Massa writes:

“…we cannot say the trial court abused its discretion in finding that probative value was not outweighed by substantial prejudice.”

The Indiana Supreme Court took the position that there is not a bright-line rule for admitting insurance coverage but instead it is in the trial court’s discretion to determine what evidence is probative in each case.

Experienced Personal Injury LawyersCall personal injury and accident lawyer Charlie Ward today for a free consultation

If you have any questions about your automobile insurance policy or your motorcycle insurance coverage, call us today at 317-639-9501 and ask for Charlie Ward.

Charlie Ward

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

Indianapolis Motorcycle Accident Attorney | Motorcycle Safety And Helmets

Motorcycle enthusiasts are five times more likely to be involved in a fatal accident

Motorcycle helmetRiding a motorcycle gives the rider a sense of open-air freedom.  However, because motorcycles are small and do not have any type of padding between the cyclist and the road, an accident with another motor vehicle can result in very serious personal injuries or even death.  Serious head trauma is very common among fatally injured motorcyclists.

Motorcycles are more difficult to see than other motor vehicles on the roadway.  Generally half of motorcycle accidents occur simply because the motor vehicle did not see the motorcyclists.

In 2006, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) 72.34 motorcycles out of 100,000 ended up in fatal accidents compared to 13.10 in automobiles.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT),  there were over 8.5 million motorcycles on the roadway in 2012.  Many motorcyclists and passengers do wear helmets.  In fact, according to NHTSA, in 2013, 60% of all riders wore helmets.  An interesting fact is that helmets do not interfere with a rider’s vision or hearing.  Wearing a helmet will likely prevent serious injuries and/or death.  In 19 states and District of Columbia, state laws require helmets to be worn by motorcyclists.  Twenty-eight states have some type of law requiring motorcyclists to wear helmets.  Only 3 states have no motorcycle helmet use laws in effect (Illinois, Iowa and New Hampshire).

It is a simple fact that helmets minimize the risk of serious injuries and save lives. The motorcycle season is almost here.  For your health and wellbeing, our attorneys recommend you wear a helmet whenever you take to the road on your motorcycle.

Lawyers with experience litigating motorcycle accident claims

Call Charlie Ward at 317-639-9501The personal injury lawyers at Ward & Ward Law Firm have many years of experience representing motorcyclists and bicyclists in claims for injuries and damages. Our attorneys are prepared to effectively engage defense insurance attorneys to get our clients the compensation they deserve. If you or someone you know has been injured or killed in a motorcycle or bicycle accident in Indiana, give Charlie Ward a call today at 317-639-9501 to discuss your potential claim.

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

How Much is an Umbrella Insurance Policy?

Lawyer for Motorcycle Accident Injury Claims in Indianapolis Indiana 46225An underlying insurance policy may cover damages for personal injuries or a wrongful death as a result of an accident but an umbrella insurance policy will add additional coverage for the same accident at a fraction of the cost.

Umbrella insurance is liability coverage that goes above your underlying  homeowners or auto insurance policy.   It may also be known as excess coverage.  However, it is merely just another “layer” of protection. This type of insurance generally has much higher limits and has a much broader range to cover potential claims for things such as libel, slander, defamation of character, property damages and bodily injury claims.

Is an umbrella insurance policy expensive?

Many do not know about this coverage or if they do, many think it would be too expensive.  WRONG.  In general for about $150 – $300 per year you can buy a $1 million personal liability umbrella policy. For every million above that, the cost is approximately $75 dollars per year. While an umbrella policy protects if you are at fault for an accident it may also cover you for an accident that is NOT your fault.  An example may be where the at fault driver has no insurance (uninsured motorist) or has some insurance but not enough to coverage all your damages (under insured).  Each state has different requirements for insurance liability coverage.  Check with your insurance agent and ask about an umbrella policy.  You may be surprised how much additional insurance protection you can get for such a small cost.

Charlie explains what an umbrella insurance policy does to help protect you.

Lawyers advocating for you!

Call Charlie Ward at 317-639-9501Charlie 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 or killed as a the result of another person’s reckless or negligent behavior, give Charlie a call today at 317-639-9501 for a free evaluation of your accident claim.

By Charlie Ward

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

Where do Injured Parties Look When the Limits of Your Motorcycle Policy are Exhausted?

Motorcyclists should carefully assess their motorcycle bodily injury & liability portion of their insurance policy

There’s no doubt that the rising cost in fuel is throttling the motorcycle industry. Sales were up 7.2% in the first quarter of 2011 so says the Motorcycle Industry Council’s Retail Sales Report. These increased motorcycles on the road have resulted in increased injuries and fatalities. According to the Indiana State Police, the total number of collisions involving motorcycles increased in the year 2010 nearly 5% over 2009. Last year there were 3,721 motorcycle accidents reported — 2,712 injuries including operators and passengers—and 110 fatalities (100 operators and 10 passengers.) The average age of motorcycle fatalities—40.9 years old.

These statistics are dismal but as more people take their hogs to the road—as a necessary form of transportation or for the pure pleasure of riding the highway—the enthusiast should have in place a sound motorcycle policy adequate to cover any medical injuries and or deaths that could occur as a result of an accident.

The Declarations page of your motorcycle policy outlines your coverages and the insurance company’s limits of liability. It reads very similar to your automobile policy. Bodily Injury & Property Damage Liability covers a maximum amount per person and a maximum total amount which will be paid per accident. For example: a $100,000/$300,000 policy coverage means an injured party could potentially receive up to but no more than $100,000 for injuries to their person but no more than $300,000 could be recovered by the total number of persons injured in the accident. That is, if a carload of people were injured in an accident which was determined to be caused by you as the operator of your motorcycle, your insurance company would not pay more, in this instance, than $300,000 total for injuries and or deaths which occurred.

If a string of cars and/or motorcycles were involved in an accident, such is often seen in freeway pile-ups, and it was deemed to be a result of your actions, more than likely $300,000 would not be sufficient to cover the medical expenses and wrongful death suits which could follow. That’s why it’s so important to balance your liability needs with your assets. In other words, where would injured victims look for compensation after your insurance policy limits were exhausted? Many learn this lesson the hard way—after the fact. Many consumers don’t realize that the price of coverage per unit goes down as the amount of coverage goes up. In other words, it’s cheaper to buy in bulk.

As more people take to the road using alternative forms of transportation, I think we can unfortunately expect to see motorcycle accidents rise. Get the coverage you need. And discuss your existing policy with your personal injury lawyer. Ward & Ward Law Firm lawyers can help you assess your policy needs.

Charlie Ward

Ward & Ward Law Firm
728 S Meridian St
Indianapolis, IN 46225
(317) 639-9501
(888) 316-3449
www.wardlawfirm.com