Tag Archives: Ward and Ward Law Firm in Indianapolis

Roundabouts Safer for Pedestrians, Bicycles in Indiana

Roundabouts Mean Fewer Accidents for Cars, Pedestrians and BicyclistsCall Charlie Ward at 317-639-9501

Long ago Europe embraced and adopted the roundabout as a key part of their transportation system. Their statistics show that accidents involving pedestrians have been reduced by approximately seventy-five percent and attribute that reduction to the vast number of roundabouts populating much of Europe’s highways. The IIHS states regardless of age, pedestrians involved in crashes are more likely to be killed as vehicle speeds increase. In a report on pedestrian injuries recently prepared by the Preusser Research Group for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the authors cite *research concluding

“about 5 percent of pedestrians hit by a vehicle traveling 20 mph will die. The fatality jumps to 40 percent for cars traveling 30 mph, 80 percent for cars going 40 mph, and 100 percent for cars going 50 mph

Roundabouts engineered to reduce speed

Roundabouts are becoming the standard in commuting. Carmel, Indiana is known for its more than 60 roundabouts. Their pedestrian crossing signs and line markings advise the pedestrian of the crosswalks. (Learn more about Carmel’s roundabouts here.) And in 2012, the city of Indianapolis developed plans to add four new roundabouts to the metro transportation grid. Each year, as funds become available, this number will grow.

Bicyclists and Pedestrian Recommendations

Roundabouts can be made safer for bicyclists and pedestrians.The Institute for Highway Safety recommends pedestrians walk the perimeter sidewalk using line markings to cross where necessary. Make yourself visible by wearing brightly colored clothing and make use of eye contact with approaching drivers’ who are intent on getting to their destination. Cyclists are recommended to ride the “middle” of the lane, not on the edge. This reduces confusion among drivers of motor vehicles. Cyclists should signal their turn for as long as possible and also try to make eye contact with drivers if possible. If traffic seems erratic and is overtaking you, pull off on the side and walk your cycle around the roundabout.

Lawyers with Bicycle and Pedestrian Accidents

The law firm of Ward & Ward has over 85 years of combined experience in personal injury law. If you or someone you know has been involved in an accident as a pedestrian or while riding a bicycle, call Charlie Ward for a free consultation.
By Charlie Ward

[email protected]

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

* To learn most about the Preusser study, visit http://www.nhtsa.gov/people/injury/research/pub/

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

 

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.

 

Recovering Medical Expenses for Personal Injuries or Wrongful Death and the Collateral Source Statute – Your Indianapolis, Indiana Auto, Motorcycle and Trucking Accident Lawyer

Indiana’s Collateral Source Statute bars over-recovery for medical billsCall Charlie Ward at 317-639-9501

Under Indiana law, the driver who is at fault for the injuries of another has a duty to pay for the injured party’s “reasonable” and “necessary” medical bills. But what is considered “reasonable and necessary?”

One method of proving reasonability is by introducing into evidence, the statement of charges for injuries received as a result of the accident from the health care provider. Indiana Evidence Rule 413 provides that such statements are admissible as evidence and “shall constitute prima facie evidence that the charges are reasonable.”

Indiana’s Collateral Source Statute prevents the Plaintiff from over-recovery—or recovering more than once—for a monetary loss sustained from personal injury or wrongful death.

IC 34-44-1 provides for allowing into evidence the following:

  • Proof of collateral source payments (i.e. medical payments made by health insurance providers or workers compensation for the benefit of the plaintiff)
  • Proof of the amount of money that the plaintiff is required to repay
  • Proof of the cost to the plaintiff or to members of the plaintiff’s family of collateral benefits received by the plaintiff or the plaintiff’s family

Exceptions to the collateral source rule include: life insurance or other death benefits, insurance benefits or premiums plaintiff or plaintiff’s family have paid for directly, or payments made by any agency, instrumentality, or subdivision of the state or the United States, i.e. defendant may not lessen their financial obligation for damages by introducing into evidence Plaintiff’s medical billing discounts or discounts provided to plaintiff as a benefit to the insured by the contract established between their health insurance carrier and their health provider. Americanbar.org states the following:

Indiana retains the common law principle that collateral source payments should not reduce a damage award if the payment resulted from the plaintiff’s own forethought, such as insurance purchased by the plaintiff or government benefits that the plaintiff has paid for through taxes.

Ward & Ward is a plaintiff’s law firm experienced in protecting the interests of personal injury victims and wrongful death claims. If you have been injured in an automobile, motorcycle, bicycle or trucking accident, I urge you to call me at 317-639-9501 for a free consultation at your earliest convenience.

Charlie Ward

[email protected]

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

Understanding Your Accident-Related Medical Bills | Indianapolis Personal Injury Claim Attorney

An experienced personal injury lawyer will advise you about your medical billsCall Charlie Ward at 317-639-9501

When you’re injured in an auto, motorcycle or trucking accident, a run to the hospital by ambulance, follow-up medical care and therapy can wreak chaos on your finances. An injury requiring a single trip to the hospital will likely generate separate billings from a number of unique healthcare providers as follows:

  • Ambulance
  • Hospital – ER/room charges, tests, blood work, drugs and supplies; may also include x-rays / imaging
  • ER Doctor – Diagnosis and recommendations
  • Radiology – Radiologist charges for reading films / images

Since every accident with injury requires a customized medical approach, your bills may not mirror the sample charges listed above.

As the bills begin to arrive in the mail, the first statement you’ll probably receive will come from the hospital provider and will reflect the total charges to date. If you have health insurance, you may be instructed “not to pay” from the first statement. This is an indication that they have forwarded the statement of charges to your health insurance company and together they will hash out the final charges based upon the contract between the provider and your insurance company.

Shortly thereafter you will either receive an Explanation of Benefits (EOB) from your insurance company in the mail or one will be made available to you online. Your EOB will reflect the original provider charges minus a negotiated “discount” from your health insurance company. This reflects the amount reduced from your bill based upon the insurance company’s contracted rates for the unique services you received. At this time, your deductions will be reflected on your EOB as well as any split, you may have with your insurance provider, i.e. 80/20; 90/10, leaving you with the out-of-pocket charges owed to the medical provider.

It is important that you give your personal injury lawyer all EOB’s from your insurance company that reflect medical charges pertaining to the accident.

Your attorney will work to recover your out-of-pocket expenses on your behalf through the Collateral Source Statute, IC 34-44-1, allowing proof of the amount of money Plaintiff is required to repay into evidence. Your explanation of benefits will outline the amounts owed by you personally to the providers after all amounts have paid on your behalf and all discounts taken.

Experienced injury lawyers will advise you about your medical bills

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. 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.

Drowning | Indianapolis Traumatic Brain Injury Attorney

Some summers ago I witnessed a toddler who was unaware of the perils of an Call Charlie Ward at 317-639-9501azure pool — quietly and generally unnoticed, go ambling into the water while her mother was momentarily distracted. Below the surface, the child’s face was without fear as she floundered in silence, her small arms and baby legs calmly and quietly treading, searching for a pocket of fresh air. Meanwhile, above the surface there was no indication that this child was suffocating. There were no pleas for help, no flailing of arms and no commotion of any kind from the toddler. Before I could come to her aid, her mother caught sight of the situation and rescued the child. As in any stressful situation, a moment in time can seem like an eternity and after the danger has past, the most detailed of events can be recalled in slow motion. Such was my experience. But the most troubling aspect of the incident and the thing that I have taken away, was the quiet calm of a child jeopardized by silence.

The Center for Disease Control has found:

  • Fatal drownings remain the second leading cause of unintentional injury-related death for children ages 1 – 14 – second only to motor vehicle crashes
  • 1 in 5 children who are treated for drowning in ERs, die
  • More than half of drowning victims treated in ERs require hospitalization for further care and treatment, i.e. brain damage from oxygen deprivation resulting in memory problems, learning disabilities and a loss of basic functioning.

The damage associated with oxygen deprivation and brain injuries can be irreversible depending upon many factors including the age and health of the individual. Immediate and on-site resuscitation is the key to increasing survival chances without brain damage.

With high temperatures looming over Indiana this summer and record heat waves, many Hoosier parents and their children are seeking relief from the heat in water parks, rivers, lakes and pools. Adult supervision and a certified swim program can prepare you and your family for the water and the hazards associated with water play.

The Brain Injury Attorneys

If you or someone you know has been in an accident and brain injury is involved, an attorney experienced in personal injury matters involving traumatic brain injuries may suggest a neuropsychological evaluation. Ward & Ward Law Firm has over 80 years of combined experience in personal injury and wrongful death cases. The law firm of Ward & Ward receives no fee unless you recover for your injuries. Call Charlie Ward today for a FREE consultation.