Tag Archives: trucking accident

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.

How Semi-Truck Accidents Differ from Car Accidents in Indiana

Indianapolis Turck Accident Injury Attorney When you need an attorney to represent you, select a lawyer with tractor-trailer accident litigation experience to represent you.

With semi-trucks responsible for delivering as much as 75 percent of all cargo shipped across the United States, motorists and trucks are forced to share the roadways daily. However, sharing the roadway with such big vehicles poses some unique hazards.Call Charlie Ward at 317-639-9501

Most semi-trucks in the United States have six to ten wheels, are more than eight feet wide, 13 feet tall, and weigh as much as 80,000 pounds. When semi-truck accidents in Indianapolis occur, the results are often fatal. Seeking guidance from the experienced team at Ward & Ward can help ensure your rights are protected and proper measures are taken to achieve just compensation for your losses.

How truck accidents differ from motor vehicle accidents

A semi-truck accident differs from a regular car accident in a number of ways, including:

Size and construction

The sheer difference in size between a semi-truck and a car often means the damage and injuries in a semi-truck accident are much worse. Semi-trucks are more difficult to maneuver, turn, and control meaning even the smallest obstacle in the road or unexpected turn of events can become a potential catastrophe. The way semi-trucks are constructed and operated also creates opportunity for accidents. Trucks have numerous blind spots that increase the chances a truck may run a car off the road. Also trucks require greater stopping distance that leads to dangerous rear-end collisions when a truck is forced to stop short.

Driver conditions

Because semi-truck drivers are under pressure to reach destinations quickly, they often work long hours without proper breaks and become more easily distracted, prone to the influence of drugs and alcohol to stay awake, and more likely to drive while fatigued. All of these factors can contribute to a potential accident.

Trucking laws and regulations

Laws that govern the operation of semi trucks are much more complex than those for motor vehicles, as are the rules surrounding litigation of trucking accidents versus auto accidents. For these reasons, it is extremely important to seek guidance from an experienced lawyer if you are involved in a trucking accident.

Determining fault is often more difficult than in a car accident. A semi truck accident attorney knows liability may fall on a number of different parties and each may have a separate insurance policy. With so many people and companies involved, it pays to have a skilled attorney who knows how to handle properly an investigation and uncover the responsible party.

Handling your Indiana truck accident and injury cases

At Ward & Ward, our semi-truck accident attorneys have the skills necessary to obtain the compensation you deserve. If you or a loved one is a victim of an accident in the Indianapolis greater metropolitan area or in the state of Indiana, contact Ward & Ward to arrange a free consultation with a skilled lawyer today. We are available to speak with you 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Exhausted Semi Drivers and Inclement Indiana Weather – a Dangerous Combination

Indianapolis Personal Injury Attorney - Semi- Truck Accidents

Exhausted Commercial Truck Drivers and Inclement Weather – A Deadly Combination

Bone-chilling temperatures have shaken up even the most seasoned cold-weather veterans in the Midwest. The “polar vortex” pushing through Indiana has brought record freezing temperatures across the region— and life-threatening conditions to our state’s roads. Combine such conditions with an 18-wheeler / semi tractor-trailer, an overworked trucker and snowy, icy highways to create a terrifying nightmare for motorists in Indiana. Many drivers avoid hitting the pedal too hard when the weather gets bad, but too often truck drivers, already operating on a narrow time margin, may not — and the resulting consequences of their negligence can be catastrophic. The risks for truckers driving in winter storms increases, due to a few specific reasons:Call Charlie Ward at 317-639-9501

  • Truckers spend more time on the road than normal drivers. They suffer from exhaustion, which slows reaction times and can prove fatal when roadways are icy and snowy.
  • Due to their sheer size and mass, trucks naturally take longer to stop — in messy winter weather, their stop time can slow even more.
  • Heavy winds may cause a tractor-trailer to jack-knife or blow over.
  • Truck drivers already have limited sight in typical conditions and rely on mirrors to see other vehicles. Snow, hail, rain, sleet and icy rain decreases visibility even more.
  • Because drivers of smaller vehicles may unexpectedly skid out, truckers may have a difficult time gauging how others react in dangerous conditions.

Avoid driving when the roads freeze or when visibility is limited, and maintain a safe following distance from semi trucks or 18-wheeler tractor-trailers. Keep a safety kit in your car. If a truck collides into you on the road, immediately file a police report and seek medical assistance. Afterward, contact an accident lawyer to learn about appropriate legal recourse. Indianapolis trucking accident attorneys are here to help during emergencies. Even when poor weather is partially to blame for a crash, you still may be entitled to collect compensation from the driver at fault.

By Charlie Ward

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

Indiana Truck Accident Injury or Wrongful Death Claims Require Swift Legal Action by an Experienced Truck Accident Lawyer

Truck accident with injury attorney
Most truck drivers operate their vehicles responsibly, exercising care and respect for others. But due to size, weight and velocity, an accident involving a truck can produce severe injuries that dramatically alter a person’s quality of life.

If you or a family member or members have been involved in an accident with injuries or death caused by the negligence of a semi-truck or tractor-trailer big rig owner/driver, you should immediately seek the advice and legal counsel of a skilled injury attorney who has experience litigating complex truck accident claims. The unique aspects of trucking accident claims require immediate action from your legal team including a demand upon defendant(s) to preserve all evidence your lawyer deems essential to the litigation of your claim. Such evidence will likely include black box recovery from the commercial motor vehicle and the download of critical information recorded moments before and up to the time of the crash. Pair black box data with eye witness testimony and a picture begins to form. Call Charlie Ward at 317-639-9501In addition, your injury attorney will seek to protect from spoliation owner/operator phone records and communications, personnel files, driver’s logs, drug testing reports and service records along with other valuable pieces of evidence critical to your case.

An experienced truck accident lawyer will immediately identify the responsible parties, physically investigate and photograph the scene of the accident, the approach to the scene and the physical surroundings at the scene and discuss the facts of the crash in depth with investigating officers. Your attorney may contact media for news reports and film, request 911 recordings and obtain police report(s) and photographs. If the accident occurred in an area served by businesses, a request for security camera files may be made upon surrounding businesses for the purpose of obtaining additional evidence. And a private investigator hired by your attorney will search for witnesses to the accident and contact each one personally to obtain their statement.

All of this and much more is coordinated and carried out by your lawyer and their legal team as soon as possible after the collision has occurred and before files can become lost, misplaced or corrupted as digital files sometime do.

Wrongful death caused by negligence of a commercial motor vehicle owner/operator

If a person has died from injuries received in a collision involving a commercial motor vehicle, all of the steps mentioned above will occur. But in addition, an estate must be opened for the deceased person and a representative appointed to act on their behalf in the ensuing litigation.

Our truck accident lawyers have the resources to finance your commercial semi-truck accident claim

Like medical malpractice claims, a truck accident claim requires financial resources to effectively pursue litigation of your claim. When you are seeking legal representation for your truck accident claim, you need to be sure that your attorney has the monetary resources required to hire a private investigator and to pay for the necessary expert witnesses that will write reports and testify on your behalf. If the parties involved are unable or unwilling to reach a reasonable settlement agreement, you can be confident that Ward & Ward Law Firm attorneys have the staff and the financial resources to take your claim to trial.

Your legal team, under the direction of your attorney, will devote many hours to your case while you or your loved one focus attention on recuperating from injuries sustained and all matters of health and well-being.

The attorneys at Ward & Ward Law Firm have more than 85 years of combined experience litigating claims involving commercial motor vehicles and have the financial resources to effectively and successfully represent you or your loved ones. Call Charlie Ward today at 317-639-9501 for an in-depth review and analysis of your claim.

By Charlie Ward
[email protected]

One in Seven Traffic Accident Fatalities Involve Large Truck | Indiana

At Least 1 in 7 Traffic Accident Fatalities in Indiana Involve 1 Large Truck

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has recently released their publication entitled Traffic Safety Facts Indiana 2008-2012. This publication offers the raw data statistics on the state of the State of Indiana’s road crash fatalities. Following are some of the grim statistics for 2012:

  1. 29% of all fatal crashes involved a driver with a .08+ Blood Alcohol Content (BAC)
  2. 53% of crash fatalities age 5 and over were known to be restrained
  3. 10% of all Indiana road fatalities occurred in Marion County; Lake County was next at 5%
  4. There were 152 motorcycle fatalities; 30 of the fatalities were helmeted — 116 were not wearing a helmet.  77% of motorcycle fatalities were not wearing a helmet.
  5. Motorcycle fatalities made up 20% of all fatally injured crash victims—1 in 5 fatalities
  6. .02% of motorcycle fatalities involve a person under the age of 20; the age group that has the highest number of fatal injuries at 25% is age group 50-59
  7. 24% of all crash fatalities involved a driver exceeding the speed limit
  8. 1 in approximately every 7 crash fatalities involved at least one large truck

The law firm of Ward & Ward has over 85 years of combined experience in personal injury law including accident and wrongful death claims. We urge you to speak with an experienced personal injury — wrongful death attorney as soon as possible and before the statute of limitations runs out. Our firm receives no legal fees or expenses unless we collect damages on your behalf. Call Charlie Ward today at 317-639-9501 for a free evaluation of your claim. Our attorneys are available to speak with you.

Charlie Ward

(317) 639-9501

 

Where does Indiana stand on red-light texting, emailing and reading from telecommunications devices? – Your car, motorcycle, bicycle, trucking accident and injury lawyer advocating for you!

Distracted driving while waiting at stop lights

So much has been written about the risks of distracted driving and the numbers of accidents caused by typing, sending and reading on electronic devices. Indiana Legislators have addressed texting, emailing and reading while driving in Indiana Code 9-21-8-59. The language used in the statute makes clear that texting, emailing and reading of the same applies to a “moving vehicle” only. It reads in part as follows:

     Sec. 59. (a) A person may not use a telecommunications device to:
(1) type a text message or an electronic mail message;
(2) transmit a text message or an electronic mail message; or
(3) read a text message or an electronic mail message;
while operating a moving motor vehicle unless the device is used in conjunction with hands free or voice operated technology, or unless the device is used to call 911 to report a bona fide emergency.

Call Charlie Ward at 317-639-9501By omission in statute, it is clearly legal at this time to text, send or read an email or text from a telecommunications device if you are not operating a “moving motor vehicle”, the keyword here being “moving.”

*Not from Indiana? Find out where your State stands on distracted driving.

In an article written by David MacAnally and published at wthr.com, Dr. Fred Mannering, a traffic expert at Purdue University, believes that “red light texters may be sparking problems, including road rage.” When a red light texter delays or entirely misses a green light, drivers in cars backed up in the queue can become explosive…enraged. Mr. Mannering goes on to say that a gap in traffic that is greater than 2 ½ to 3 seconds will cause detectors (in the pavement) to shut off the green to that signal.

Can an officer of the law confiscate the driver’s device to determine compliance with the law?

Section 59. (b) of Indiana Code 9-21-8-59 adds:

  (b) A police officer may not confiscate a telecommunications device for the purpose of determining compliance with this section or confiscate a telecommunications device and retain it as evidence pending trial for a violation of this section.
As added by P.L.185-2011, SEC.4.

Since the law took effect on July 1, 2011, very few tickets have been written for violation of Indiana Code 9-21-8-59. Unless a driver admits to having broken the law, it would be difficult to prove as access to the phone by law enforcement is denied without a Court Order. Whiteland Town Marshal Rick Shipp told 24-hour News 8 partner, The Daily Journal, that police departments can get cellphone records only by court order and wouldn’t have the time to do so during a typical traffic stop.

So while the law as written has made it difficult to enforce, it has brought the issue of texting and driving to the forefront. Most drivers are aware of the dangers inherent in distracted driving. Many will wait until they have arrived at their destination or at the very least until they are stopped in traffic. But the best solution would be to wear a Bluetooth device compatible with your cell phone, become comfortable using the device and routinely sync it with your cell phone before leaving home.

Attorneys experienced in litigation of texting and driving crashes

The law firm of Ward & Ward is experienced in personal injury laws that may govern your financial recovery as a party injured by a negligent driver. If you or someone you know has been injured due to someone else’s negligent behavior, contact the law firm of Ward & Ward for a free analysis.

Charlie Ward

317-639-9501

Ward & Ward Indianapolis Personal Injury Law Firm Uses Discretion to Protect the Privacy of our Client’s Auto, Motorcycle, Bicycle and Trucking or 18-Wheeler Accident Settlement and Jury Awards

I was recently approached by a colleague who asked:

Why our personal injury law firm did not publish our clients’ large settlement and jury awards for compensation?Call Charlie Ward at 317-639-9501

Ward & Ward Law Firm is a plaintiff’s personal injury law firm that operates at the behest of private citizens who have been injured in car, motorcycle, bicycle, pedestrian and semi tractor-trailer or 18 – wheeler trucking accidents. We feel that our clients’ interests are best served by exercising discretion—honoring their trust with confidentiality.

A million dollar settlement or jury award can alter behavior of friends and family

A quiet settlement or jury award permits our clients to pick up the pieces of their lives after a traumatic accident and move on privately. We strongly advise our clients refrain from divulging to friends or family when a settlement or award for economic, non-economic losses or punitive damages has been made. Well-meaning people can inadvertently exert enormous pressure on individuals to ‘share the wealth.’ They may not comprehend that our clients will use their settlement or award to protect a future which may include permanent disabilities.

The Confidentiality Clause

Additionally, large settlements by prominent corporations may contain a clause within the settlement agreement that prevents the claimants from discussing any negotiations and dollars received with anyone, exempting plaintiff’s attorney and their tax preparing accountant. But why?

Settlements often are not an admission of guilt by the defendant(s), but rather the determination has been made that it would be in neither party’s mutual best interest to continue with further litigation.

We respect the privacy of our personal injury clients.

The law firm of Ward & Ward will never broadcast our clients’ identities or injuries in conjunction with settlement or jury awards to enhance the prestige of the firm. We respect the confidentiality of each and every client. If you or someone you know has been involved in an accident with traumatic injury, call Charlie Ward today at 317-639-9501 for a free analysis of your case.

Charlie Ward

Injured in an accident? You may benefit from knowing about the RAP Clause! – Your Auto, Motorcycle, Trucking and Bicycle Personal Injury Indiana Attorney

Your health insurance contract may have a RAP Clause that can save you moneyCall Charlie Ward at 317-639-9501

A serious injury from an auto, motorcycle, trucking or bicycle accident may necessitate a surgical procedure to make the patient whole again. Under the best of these circumstances, a non-life threatening injury would give the injured party an opportunity to seek a consultation with a surgeon “in-network” under their health insurance plan. When a course of treatment was agreed upon, the surgeon would schedule the operation with an in-network facility. But how many other physicians and healthcare professionals are performing services on your behalf while you are under anesthesia? You may be surprised when the bills start rolling in.

It takes a team of physicians and healthcare professionals

While you are in the operating room and during your hospital stay, a team of professionals work side-by-side with your surgeon providing supplemental services that make a successful surgery possible.

Your anesthesiologist has probably been hand-picked by your surgeon who chose him/her because of a good working relationship and his/her availability on the date of surgery. Many anesthesiologists do not contract with health insurance carriers because they are not usually chosen by the patient and therefore “in-network” status is not a consideration. The same holds true for assisting radiologists (the physician reading and interpreting your images) and pathologists (one who checks organs, tissues and bodily fluids).

Many, though not all health insurance policies, have a clause within the policy that pays “in-network” rates for “uncontrollable” out-of-network providers, meaning you can’t control who comes in to perform the service. The RAP (Radiologist – Anesthesiologist – Pathologist) Clause within many health insurance policy descriptions may also be called the PARE (Pathologist – Anesthesiologist – Radiologist – Emergency Providers) Clause. Under the PARE clause, you may be additionally covered for emergency services and trauma providers as in the case of life-threatening injuries resulting from an accident.

If your surgeon and hospital facility are in-network, and your surgeon has received pre-approval under your health insurance plan, you have every reason to expect you are within policy coverage. If an “uncontrollable out-of-network provider” bills your health insurance company before your insurance carrier has received your hospital bill, your insurer will probably decline or pay their bill at out-of-network rates. In this case, it is important that you file an appeal under the RAP or PARE clause with your insurance provider and immediately notify the “uncontrollable provider” that an appeal has been filed.

Experienced Accident Attorneys Helping You

An experienced personal injury attorney will negotiate to secure a full release before settlement is made. The attorneys of Ward & Ward, Charlie Ward and Don Ward, have over 80 years of combined experience in dealing with personal injury and wrongful death claims. We understand personal injury law and stay on top of Court decisions to successfully resolve our client’s legal claims.

Call Charlie Ward today for a free consultation at 317-639-9501.

Charlie Ward

Supreme Court Upholds Caps on Punitive Damage Awards in Indiana | Auto, Motorcycle and 18-Wheeler Trucking Accident Personal Injury Lawyer

Indiana Enacts Caps on Punitive Damage AwardsCall Charlie Ward at 317-639-9501

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.

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.

A law firm with experience.

The law firm of Ward & Ward has over 85 years of combined experience in breaking down the facts of a personal injury claim and working with insurance companies on behalf of their clients. Although caps on punitive damage awards may not generate the desired effect on large corporations, the legislation has been upheld when reviewed in the highest court.

If you have been injured in an automobile, trucking, motorcycle, or bicycle accident, or suffered in a pedestrian accident, please feel free to call me at 317-639-9501 for a free consultation.

Charlie Ward

(317) 639-9501

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

 

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