Category Archives: Damages

Indiana Legislation Relating to Asbestos and Mesothelioma Claims Declared Unconstitutional

asbestos product liability lawsuits in indiana

Victims of latent asbestos related diseases have reason for hope after Indiana’s State Supreme Court Ruling

asbestos product liability lawsuits in indianaWhat is a product liability claim?

A product liability claim seeks to hold miners, manufacturers, distributors, suppliers, retailers, and others along the commerce and distribution chain, responsible for the personal injury and wrongful death caused by dangerous and defective products, including, but not limited to asbestos-related injuries. Read Indiana’s Product Liability Act (IPLA).

Plaintiffs seek relief in lawsuit involving latent Mesothelioma diagnoses

Both plaintiffs were exposed to materials containing asbestos during their employment. One plaintiff, an electrician, was exposed for approximately 40 years and diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma 15 years after leaving his employment. The other plaintiff was employed by an electric utility company where he worked on and around asbestos-containing products for 15 years; he was diagnosed with mesothelioma nearly 37 years after terminating his employment.  Both defendants filed separate suits naming multiple defendants. When the cases were brought before the Indiana State Supreme Court, they argued that the following provisions in Article 1 (The Bill of Rights) of the Indiana Constitution had been violated:

Section 12 of the Indiana Constitution, commonly referred to as Rights to Remedy states:

All courts shall be open; and every person, for injury done to him in his person, property, or reputation, shall have remedy by due course of law. Justice shall be administered freely, and without purchase; completely, and without denial; speedily, and without delay.

Section 23 of the constitution, commonly referred to as the Equal Privilege and Immunity Clause, states:

The General Assembly shall not grant to any citizen, or class of citizens, privileges or immunities, which, upon the same terms, shall not equally belong to all citizens.

The argument and the ruling

Two sections (Section 1 and Section 2) in Chapter 3 of the Indiana Products Liability Act (IPLA) are at the center of the instant case.

Section 2, written by the Indiana General Assembly specifically for those with asbestos-related injuries , limits actions to those brought against persons or entities who both mined and sold commercial asbestos. Since plaintiffs sought damages from defendants who neither sold nor mined raw asbestos, they were barred from recovering damages under Section 2 and were therefore subject to the limits expressed in Section 1 of the IPLA.

Section 1 of the Indiana Product Liability Act, imposes a 10-year statute of repose upon persons exposed to dangerous and defective products. The Statute of Repose, as it is commonly called, states the product liability action must be commenced within ten years after the delivery of the product to the initial user or consumer. Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma is a disease which sometimes manifests many years after initial exposure to asbestos. Both plaintiffs were exposed to asbestos products and both developed asbestos-related diseases over a protracted period of time, greater than the 10-year statute of repose provided for in Section 1 of the IPLA.

In March of 2016 in a 3-2 split decision, the Indiana State Supreme Court, joining 3 appeals under one ruling, looked primarily at the Equal Privilege and Immunity Clause and held Section 2 of the IPLA created an impermissible disparity between classes of plaintiffs (those with claims against defendants who both mined and sold raw asbestos, and those with claims against defendants that sold asbestos-containing products) which violated Section 23 of the Indiana State Constitution, the Equal Privileges and Immunities Clause of the Indiana Constitution. And since Section 2 of the IPLA contained special verbiage which voided the entire section if any part of the section was held invalid, all of Section 2 was deemed unconstitutional. It was further decided that the ten-year statute of repose contained in Section 1 of the Indiana Product Liability Act did not apply to claims arising out of long-term exposure to products containing asbestos. Justice Brent Dickson wrote the opinion for the majority; Chief Justice Rush and Justice Massa wrote the dissenting opinions.

Petition for Re-Hearing

Shortly after the cases were decided, defendants submitted a petition to the court requesting a re-hearing. But in a 3-2 split, on April 28, 2016, a re-hearing was denied.

Indiana Product Liability Lawyers with Experience

Don and Charlie Ward, of Ward & Ward Law Firm in Indianapolis, have more than 86 combined years successfully litigating cases against corporations both large and small for bringing dangerous products into the marketplace that may harm individuals.

Our experienced personal injury lawyers and wrongful death lawyers use their knowledge of the law, legislation and judicial opinions to employ strategies that maximize our clients’ financial recovery after they have experienced a life-altering accident or event caused by another person or entity. If you or someone you know has been injured by an unsafe product, involved in an accident, injured by the negligence of a medical professional, or were the victim of nursing home neglect or wrongful death, call personal injury attorney, Charlie Ward, today at (317) 639-9501 or toll free at 1 (888) 639-9501 for a free consultation.

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 09/24/2016

 

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

Why personal injury lawyers may refuse your case – Failure to Mitigate Injuries | Car Accident Lawyers

Why personal injury lawyers may refuse your case – Failure to Mitigate Injuries | Indianapolis Car Accident Lawyers

why-personal-injury-lawyers-refuse-your-caseAn injured party has a duty to minimize the harm caused by a negligent party. This concept, common to contract and tort law, is firmly entrenched in American jurisprudence.

An insurance policy is a contract between two parties, the insurer and the insured. Insurers expect an injured victim to seek medical treatment and obtain a diagnosis immediately following an accident or an injury caused by the negligence of another person or entity. Insurance companies view the failure to seek immediate medical attention as a failure to mitigate the damages. Why?

  1. An injured plaintiff has a duty and responsibility to receive a diagnosis and treat their injuries, thereby mitigating their injuries and other potential damages; and
  2. Absent a timely medical diagnosis, an insurance adjuster and claims panel cannot know what actions or activities the claimant has performed since the accident that may have acerbated the original injury.

In my law practice, I have learned injured victims often fail to follow-up with a physician soon after a collision. Some fear a doctor will order tests they are not prepared to pay, taking off from work may pose a problem and others do not want a disruption in their lives. They may self-diagnose, thinking the pain and discomfort will get better over time.

Men, in particular, may be reluctant to seek treatment or the advice of their physicians. The American Academy of Family Physicians found that 92% of men polled in an online survey conducted by Harris Interactive, waited a few days before seeking care. Nearly one-third wait “as long as possible” before they seek the care of a physician.

Delayed Symptoms and the Onset of Pain

Immediately following an accident, blood pressure and adrenalin levels surge. This triggers the hyperactivity of opioids in the brain, which may be responsible for the lack of tenderness and pain generally expected after an injury.

In an interview with The New York Times, Dr. Dennis Charney, a psychiatrist at Yale and director of clinical neuroscience at the National Center for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder states:

“The opioid system of the brain, which can blunt the feeling of pain, is hyperactive…For the brain changes to occur, scientists now say, people usually have to experience the stress as catastrophic, an overwhelming threat to life or safety and one over which they [have] no control… It does not matter if it was…a one-time experience, like being trapped in a hurricane or almost dying in an auto accident…All uncontrollable stress can have the same biological impact.”

When the brain’s chemistry finally returns to the patient’s baseline, varying degrees of discomfort may be experienced. Pain is an indicator that something unusual is occurring in the body. It may be an indication of inflammation or a precursor to a heart attack―but it should never be ignored. If you or someone you know has been involved in an accident, our attorneys recommend you consult with a physician as soon as possible after the collision or injury. Many attorneys will refuse to file a claim if the injured person has delayed diagnosis and treatment.

Experienced personal injury attorneys and car accident lawyers in Indianapolis

The car accident lawyers and personal injury attorneys at Ward & Ward Law Firm have more than 85 combined years of experience practicing  personal injury, wrongful death and medical malpractice law. Call personal injury lawyer, Charlie Ward, today at 317-639-9501 or toll free at 888-639-9501 for a free consultation.

Charlie Ward
Ward & Ward Law Firm, Car Accident Lawyers
728 S Meridian St
Indianapolis, IN 46228
[email protected]
Phone: 317-639-9501

Read our reviews: https://www.wardlawfirm.com/indianapolis-personal-injury-lawyers-ward-ward-law-firm-reviews/

Learn about Indiana’s RAP Clause

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

Indianapolis Bicycle Accident Attorney | Bicycle Helmets

Statistics have shown that the number of brain injuries associated with bicycle accidents are significantly reduced when helmets are wornSix hundred seventy seven individuals were killed in bicycle accidents in 2011.  It is estimated that adults 45 years and older as well as minors, ages 15-24, have the highest bicycle death rates.

In 2010, an estimated 515,000 individuals went to emergency rooms for bicycle related injuries.  Statistically 60% of these non-fatal bicycle accidents involve minor children.  It is a simple fact that effective interventions eliminate or minimize deaths or serious injuries from bicycle accidents.

How to effectively reduce bicycle accidents and deaths caused by negligent drivers

The most effective intervention is to wear a bicycle helmet.  Another is to wear fluorescent clothing, active lighting on the bike and retro reflective clothing for night riding.    All of these will reduce chances of an accident with a motor vehicle.  In addition, many bicycle organizations offer safe tips for traveling on the roadway and how to deal with motor vehicles.  But the simple truth is bicycle helmets protect brain injuries.  In 2012, 65% of bicyclists killed were NOT wearing helmets.

With more and more individuals riding their bikes to and from work every day, the question remains just how safe is cycling.  Cities and towns are creating more friendly roads for cyclist to share the roadway with motor vehicles.  Bike lanes and changed traffic patterns are helping bicyclists against accidents with motor vehicles.  But it is up to both the cyclist and driver to be more and more cognizant of the changing times.

A law firm with experience in personal injury law

Call personal injury and accident lawyer Charlie Ward today for a free consultationDon and Charlie Ward are personal injury attorneys in Indianapolis, Indiana and represent persons 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 Don or Charlie Ward 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
 

 

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

Five things you should do after an auto, motorcycle, bicycle or truck accident to increase your settlement

How to increase your settlement or jury award after an accident

The steps you take immediately following an accident will help you and your attorney achieve the best possible results from your personal injury settlement or trial. When you hire a lawyer, he or she will thoroughly investigate the facts of the accident based upon the information you are able to provide as follows:

  1. Obtain an accident report from the police or sheriff within the jurisdiction where the accident occurred;
  2. Obtain eye witness information: name,  phone number and address, if possible;
  3. Take photos of all vehicles at the scene of the accident;
  4. Get medical treatment and follow-up on your doctor’s treatment plan;
  5. Do not give a statement to the other driver’s insurance company without your lawyer’s knowledge and/or presence.

In many cases, a private investigator may be employed by your attorney to further delve into the details of the accident, particularly when there is a question of liability. But the information listed above will give everyone involved in your case a good start on the facts and provide some very necessary information.

Experienced personal injury lawyers

Call Charlie Ward at 317-639-9501If you, or someone you know, has been injured or killed in an accident caused by another person’s negligence, give Charlie Ward a call today at 317-639-9501 to discuss the facts and obtain a free evaluation of your claim.

By Charlie Ward

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

Data Tracking Device Used as Evidence | Motorcycle Accident Attorney in Indianapolis

Indiana Lawyer For Personal Injury Settlements and Claims - Indianapolis Attorney Wearable ‘Black Box’ Technology Used as Evidence in Accident Claims

A self-tracking wearable device known as ‘Fitbit’  is technologically similar to the “black box” technology found on a vehicle.  Fitbits and other wearable data tracking devices can monitor and track just about everything including exercise, sleep patterns and daily activities such as the amount of time one spends standing or the number of steps taken by an individual per day.  Since black box generated reports can be downloaded and used as evidence in lawsuits and accident claims by either side to support allegations or defenses, it will come as no surprise that  the data received by wearable tracking devices may soon also be used as evidence for settlement negotiations or in courtroom cases.

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Who will interpret the individual’s data?

An outside analytics company will be used to crunch numbers and define statistical norms from raw data uploaded by the general population. The individual injured person’s data will then be analyzed and compared with the mean of the general population and possibly used as evidence in personal injury cases.  If you are seriously injured in an automobile, motorcycle or trucking accident, the evidence from these wearable devices will confirm a daily lifestyle of restricted activities. Thus, your wearable data tracking device may serve as your own expert witness in your accident case.

Over the past few years more and more wearable devices are coming to the market.  Apple has a product known as HealthKit and Google has one similar for Android users called Google Fit.  It is estimated that 19 million wearable devices will be purchased in 2014. The general rule will dictate if you wear a device which collects personal data, then the production of that data will be requested by the opposing side and required by a court of law if you claim a personal injury.

Technology’s Influence

Call Charlie Ward at 317-639-9501This general rule is similar to evidence that is produced from a cell phone (text) or on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest and Linked In. The technology is here and easier to trace than ever before.

If you’ve been injured in an accident, call Charlie Ward today at 317-639-9501 for a free evaluation of your claim.

By Charlie Ward

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

How Do I Pay My Medical Bills After an Accident?

Overwhelmed by medical bills from my accident – How do I pay my bills?

If you have health insurance, your insurance provider may cover the care you receive from in-network hospitals, doctors and other medical providers. In rare situations where you were taken by ambulance to a hospital that is not in your network, your health insurance may cover the ER bill if you were unable to select an in-network hospital from the scene of the accident. After your health insurance, your medical payment insurance or “med-pay” will help you to pay your medical bills. Check your automobile policy to determine how much med-pay insurance you have.Call Charlie Ward at 317-639-9501

Lawyer Charlie Ward of Ward & Ward Law Firm recommends you purchase as much med-pay insurance as your can afford. Talk with your insurance agent to obtain a quote. Med-pay insurance becomes cheaper the more your purchase. You may be surprised how inexpensive good coverage is when you seek a quote for a higher amount. Remember that medical payment insurance is to your benefit by covering medical bills and medical expenses, i.e. hospital, doctors, radiology, lab work, prescriptions, physical therapy and much more. It can ease the strain of potential economic hardship and/or the loss of your wages after you’ve experienced a wreck or collision.

If you know someone that has been injured in an accident and having trouble paying their medical bills, call attorney, Charlie Ward, today at 317-639-9501.

By Charlie Ward

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

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.