Tag Archives: Personal Injury Lawyer in Indianapolis

Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents

According to statistics, incidents of motorcycle accidents have been on the rise since 2006. Cycling accidents may cause serious injury or death and are often the result of one of the following circumstances:

Car operator turns in front of the bike

If the operator of a motorized vehicle fails to accurately judge a cyclist’s speed or fails to see the motorcyclist all together, the motorist may turn in front of the motorcyclist, either at an intersection, or while pulling out into traffic.

Obstacles in the Roadway of a Blind Corner

While winding on twisties, motorcyclists turning into a blind corner suddenly encounter obstacles in their path and they may be unable to bring their bike to a safe stop. Common obstacles include sand, gravel, leaves, or even a dead animal. Motorcyclists are advised to only ride as fast as they can properly judge and easily come to a stop.

Blind Spots

A collision may occur when the operator of an oncoming car moves into the lane of a motorcyclist at a blind spot.

Read-end Collisions

A motor vehicle trailing a cyclist may misread the intentions of the cyclist and attempt to eke through the intersection before a signal change.

Rogue Cyclist

A single cyclist slowing down or stopping without signaling the group, may be hit from behind when the attention of the driver trailing the rogue cyclist is focused only on the group– not the individual that has come to a stop.

Sudden Brake Lock

A motorcyclist’s front brakes may lock in a sudden attempt to avoid the unpredictable interruption of an animal in the road. The extreme loss of control combined with the weight of the bike may cause catastrophic injuries or even death to the cyclist.

A car opens its door unexpectedly

A motorcyclist may crash when the driver’s door of a car parked on the shoulder of the road unexpectedly swings open.

Road Hazards

Slippery roads, oil-slick roads, loose gravel and other road hazards are common causes of motorcycle injuries.

Distracted Driving

A motorist driving at the speed limit on the interstate may easily travel the length of a football field while their attention is focused on their smart phone.

Drunk or impaired driving

Driving a car or truck while drunk and/or under the influence of drugs may impair the driver’s cognition, reducing the reaction time necessary to avoid a motorcycle accident.

Experienced Indiana Motorcycle Attorney

Motorcyclists are advised to be aware of their surroundings and to anticipate the unanticipated. But if you or someone you know has been in a motorcycle accident within the state of Indiana, contact an Indiana motorcycle accident attorney as soon as possible before evidence is destroyed.

Charlie Ward

Ward & Ward Law Firm
728 S Meridian St
Indianapolis, IN 46225
317-639-9501 or  toll free at 1 (888) 639-9501
Published 04/19/17

 

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.

Auto Accident Lawyer in Indianapolis | Texting While Driving

Young businessman on the phone
Personal injury attorneys see rise in accidents caused by distracted drivers | The auto accident lawyer

In 2012, approximately 420,000 people were injured and 3,300 killed as a result of distracted drivers. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), that was about 10% higher than the year before.Call Charlie Ward at 317-639-9501

Texting while driving is becoming the most common cause of distracted driving and these numbers will continue to rise. Although to date, 44 states have banned texting while driving, resulting accidents have not diminished.  A Pew Research study shows that younger women are more likely to be involved in an accident because of texting while driving:

“In a study comparing boys texting behaviors to girls, Pew Research found, on average, girls typically send and receive 80 texts a day while boys send and receive 30.”

And these numbers are not on the decline.

A few states (Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas) have banned inexperienced drivers from texting. In January, 2017, a senate committee in Arizona proposed a 6-month ban on the use of communication electronic devices for teen licensees.  As reported by The Arizona Republic: “The bill calls for a $75 fine and a 30-day extension of the six-month limit on a teen’s graduated driver’s license for the first offense.”  There are no such restrictions in Montana.

It is estimated that 660,000 drivers use their cell phones and/or manipulate electronic devices at any given daylight moment while driving according to the NHTSA. Distracted drivers in many instances run red lights, cross center lines in the roadway and rear end vehicles in front of them. Young drivers do NOT understand the concept of time and distance.  It only takes a few seconds – eyes off the road –  and it is too late to avoid an accident.

Early education may reduce auto accidents, injuries and deaths

Teaching young and inexperienced drivers about the dangers of texting while driving will minimize accidents and prevent serious injuries as well as loss of lives.  Placing the cell phone out of reach or turning off the cell phone while driving is recommended.  In addition, passengers should be made aware of the dangers and try to prevent texting while driving by assisting the driver with any necessary cell phone use.  If you are a passenger, remind the driver not to reach for the cell phone – it can wait until later.

Experienced personal injury attorneys and auto accident lawyer litigate distracted driver cases

It is apparent after some accidents that the cause of the crash was a driver distracted by a cell phone and possibly texting while driving. Officers may include this information in their police report as the official cause of the collision. But if it has not been determined at the scene of the accident, a good private investigator employed by your attorney may be able to uncover this information on your behalf. Further, your experienced personal injury lawyer  might reveal this relevant fact during the discovery process when cell phone records may be obtained. In addition, witnesses to the accident may be of help in their eye-witness testimony.

If there is reason to believe the defendant driver was distracted by their cell phone and possibly texting, a lawyer experienced in personal injury cases will use every resource to investigate. Indiana has a law that bans texting while driving and the personal injury attorneys at Ward & Ward Law Firm  will leverage the law on your behalf.

Call Charlie Ward today at 317-639-9501 if you or someone you know was injured or killed in a collision caused by a texting driver.

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

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

‘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

Refrain from Social Networking Activity and Protect Your Personal Injury Claim | Indianapolis Attorney

Protect your injury case. Refrain from using social media.Call personal injury and accident lawyer Charlie Ward today for a free consultation

If you have hired a personal injury lawyer to protect your interests in a claim for injuries and damages involving a car, motorcycle, truck or semi tractor-trailer accident, your attorney will likely ask you to refrain from posting photos or messages of any kind to social networking sites, no matter how harmless or irrelevant your posts may seem to your case. Insurance company defendants can infer a great deal of information — and misinformation —from ‘harmless’ photographs that are taken out of the context of your daily life.

What is the discovery process?

The legal term “discovery” means a formal pre-trial investigation. Attorneys for claimants and defendants use the discovery approach to build their claim or make their defense. Vehicles used by attorneys for the discovery process may include, but are not limited to, Interrogatories, Request for Admissions and Request for Production of Documents. Despite privacy concerns, several state and federal courts have ruled that pictures, postings and messages transmitted via social media, i.e. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, blogs, and many other online networking sites, may be compelled in the discovery process.

There is no expectation of privacy

You may be asked to turn over personal or professional profiles (both private and public), posts and images that you or your “friends” have posted online, even those postings made prior to your accident if defense can make the case that previous posts could be relevant to the case at hand. I should caution you about ‘cleaning up’ or deactivating your social networking sites. In a wrongful death case in Virginia, a plaintiff received monetary sanctions from the Court in the amount of $180,000 for “spoliation” or tampering with the evidence by removing 16 photos from his Facebook account. Although the jury ultimately found on behalf of the Plaintiff, his monetary award was greatly reduced by that amount and his attorney was sanctioned $522,000 for instructing his client to destroy his page. Lawyers practicing in the state of Indiana must abide by the Indiana Rule of Professional Conduct. Section 3.4 of the rules states: “a lawyer shall not unlawfully obstruct another party’s access to evidence or unlawfully alter, destroy or conceal a document or other material having potential evidentiary value. A lawyer shall not counsel or assist another person to do any such act.” An experienced personal injury or wrongful death lawyer may ask you to refrain from further online posting but should never ask you to hide, clean-up or remove posts, messages or photos which you or someone you know has already posted.

Posting rules for personal injury claimants

The following are a few good common sense rules to abide by if you are involved in a personal injury claim:

  1. Do not talk about your case to anyone except your attorney;
  2. Do not accept any “friend” requests from people you don’t personally know;
  3. Do not post any photos of yourself online; and
  4. Do not hide, remove or in any way destroy any online postings that were made by or about you until your case has been disposed.

The law firm of WARD & WARD has over eighty-five years of combined legal experience with personal injury and wrongful death claims. Our firm receives no legal fees or expenses unless we collect damages on your behalf. Call Charlie Ward today for a free evaluation of your claim. Charlie Ward (317) 639-9501 http://www.wardlawfirm.com/