Category Archives: Semi Tractor-Trailer

Semi Tractor-Trailer Fatalities Are Reduced With Strong Side Under-Ride Bumpers

Semi Tractor-Trailer Fatalities Are Reduced With Strong Side Under-Ride Bumpers -Indiana Truck Accident Attorneys

The Death of a Beloved Actress – Indianapolis Personal Injury Lawyers

big powerful truck with side underride bumpers moves on highway

On June 29, 1967, poor visibility caused a 1966 Buick Electra to slide underneath the rear of a tractor-trailer on a highway east of New Orleans. The occupants, film star Jayne Mansfield, her driver and attorney were fatally injured when the top of the car was sheared off. Fortunately, her three children were asleep on the back seat of the car; they were injured but survived the deadly crash. Mansfield’s death prompted calls for both rear and side under-ride guards (metal bumpers) on semi tractor-trailers but it wasn’t until 1998, thirty-one years later, that rear guards were mandated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), thereby reducing the number of automobile slide-unders in America.

Indiana Truck Accident Lawyers Support  Awards for Manufacturers With Strong Under-Ride Guards

Since their inception, some rear under-ride guards have proven more effective than others. In the spring of 2017, semi tractor-trailer manufacturers with strong rear under-ride guards were awarded the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s (IIHS) TOUGHGUARD Award. The five North American semi-trailer manufacturers earning the award were Great Dane LLC, Manac Inc., Stoughton Trailers LLC, Vanguard National Trailer Corp. and Wabash National Corporation.

The Loss of Life – Trucks Without Side Under-Ride Guards

Indiana truck accident attorneys understand the mortal devastation and grief experienced by the families of victims killed in semi-truck side slide-under accidents.  In 2015, statistics published by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety showed that 1,542 people died as a result of their cars crashing into tractor-trailers. Two hundred and ninety-two passengers died when their vehicles struck the rear of semi tractor-trailers and 301 died as a result of striking the side of tractor trailers. In most cases, the passenger vehicles are sheared off and the victims, decapitated. In 2012, an IIHS study found that improved, stronger side guards could reduce the risk of injury involving semi-trailers by approximately 90%; the National Traffic Safety Board said injuries and deaths “could” be reduced by implementing side guards.

After a gruesome slide-under in New York, involving a jackknifed milk tanker and the death of four people in two passenger cars, Senator Chuck Schumer called for closing the truck safety gap by federally mandating the implementation of side under-ride guards on all semi tractor-trailers. Currently, several cities in the United States have implemented side guards on their city vehicles, including New York, Boston and Seattle. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has the power to issue national transportation regulations. But to date, calls for a federal mandate standardizing side guards on tractor-trailers and heavy trucks has gone unheeded as seen through the lens of a trucking accident lawyer.

The Quest for a Federal Mandate – Side Under-Ride Guards on Commercial Trucks

Lois Durso lost her 26-year-old daughter, Roya Sadigh, in an Indiana snow storm in 2005 when Roya’s vehicle slid under the side of an unguarded trailer and was run over by the semi’s rear tires. When she learned side-guards are standard equipment on tractor-trailers in parts of Europe, she became very angry with trucking manufacturers and the federal government, stating “They’re fully aware people are dying as a result of their trailer design. And yet they do nothing about it.” Later it was learned that the side guards used on semis throughout Europe are there to protect pedestrians and cyclers. In a statement to congress and trucking industry leadership, Durso states, “You’ve had 30 years to figure it out, and 30 years of doing nothing.”

Marianne Karth, the mother of two teenage daughters killed in an under-ride crash and herself, a survivor of that same under-ride incident, petitioned NHTSA and lobbies for senate support, requesting side under-ride guards become standard safety equipment. Although her Petition is closed now, she and many others continue calling for a mandate from congress or NHTSA making side under-ride guards standard safety equipment on commercial tractor-trailers.

The Experienced Team of Indianapolis Indiana Truck Accident Attorneys

The truck accident team of attorneys at Ward & Ward Law Firm has more than nine decades of combined experience handling claims against commercial truck drivers, truck and trailer manufacturers and logistical companies. Since commercial motor vehicles and tractor-trailers are licensed and or regulated by intrastate and interstate federal commerce agencies, we strongly recommend you hire an experienced personal injury and wrongful death firm with the know-how to successfully manage your claim from beginning to end and get you and your loved ones the maximum compensation.

Trucking accidents are complex claims, often with multiple defendants. We don’t stop inquiring until we are confident that all parties responsible for your damages have been named.

Our attorneys and their assistants are sensitive to your loss and committed to managing your case while you take the time and energy  to successfully move through the healing process after an accident with a commercial tractor-trailer.

If you or someone you know has been critically or fatally injured in a commercial trucking accident, call the legal team of Ward & Ward Law Firm at (888) 639-9501 for a free, no-obligation, consultation. Ask for injury and wrongful death attorney, Charlie Ward,   We look forward to helping you.

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 1-26-18

Do you get larger settlements for truck accident injuries?

Ward & Ward Law Firm has been chosen by Three Best Rated as one of Top Three Personal Injury Lawyer firms in Indianapolis

Tractor Trailer and Wrongful Death Attorneys, Don and Charlie Ward of Ward & Ward Law Firm, have been chosen by Three Best Rated as one of Top Three Personal Injury Lawyer firms in Indianapolis, Indiana

“Ward & Ward Law Firm personal injury and wrongful death attorneys have been selected as Top 3 Personal Injury Lawyers in Indianapolis, Indiana by Three Best Rated. The top 3 local businesses are chosen by category and community. The criteria used for the selection process utilizes the business’ reviews, history, complaints, ratings, satisfaction, trust, cost and general excellence. Categories include doctors, lawyers, restaurants and other professional services in Indianapolis.”

Read the full  press release.

 

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

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

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

Economic Damages

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

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

Non-Economic Damages

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

A Claim for Damages – Uninsured Motorist Insurance Coverage

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

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

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

In the Indiana Supreme Court Conclusion, Justice Massa writes:

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

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

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

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

Charlie Ward

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

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

Car Accident Attorney in Indianapolis | Black Box As Evidence

Preservation of black box evidence may be critical in supporting your accident claim
Event data recorders log vehicular speeds

 

Can black box technology be used as evidence in criminal and civil courts?

If you have ever been in an automobile accident, it is likely that the events leading up to the collision were captured by a device known as a “black box”. The lay term is “black box” but the technical term which you will see in official documents and court records is “Event Data Recorder” or EDR.

Does my car have a black box installed?

History shows that in the early 1990’s, automobile manufacturers  from Cadillac, Chevrolet, Buick and Pontiac used the EDR as a way to understand how vehicles performed in accidents.  Since 2000,  the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has collected data involving car accidents as well.  Today every vehicle sold in the United States must have an EDR.

Since 2012, automobiles equipped with EDR are required by the NHTSA to track 15 different data points including speed, steering, braking, acceleration, seat belt use, and if in an accident, force of impact and air bag deployment.  To find out if an older car has an EDR check Harris Technical Services or Accident Reconstruction Network.

Will the download of my car’s black box data help my accident lawsuit?

With all this information stored in an EDR, the question becomes whether the data download is admissible in a court of law.  Fifteen states have passed laws that give criminal law enforcement and others involved in civil litigation, the ability to retrieve the data with a court order even though the data belongs to the owner of the vehicle.   Some argue that the privacy issue should be taken up with Congress when dealing with the issue of crash data.

Lawyers with experience in retrieval and interpretation of black box information

Call Charlie Ward at 317-639-9501Regardless, the EDR in every car crash has relevant evidence and will likely be retrieved and used as evidence in all civil litigation cases. Lawyers, Charlie and Don Ward have experience in protecting and preserving black block technology data and working with reconstruction experts in the interpretation of the evidence. 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

Blind Spot Monitors | Auto Accident Lawyers In Indianapolis

Indianapolis Auto Accident Lawyer for Personal Injury Claiams and Wrongful Death Consider purchasing your next new car with a Blind spot auto sensor

If your about to purchase a new car, SUV or motor vehicle, it is estimated that 3/4 of all new vehicles offer blind spot monitors as an option to reduce accidents.

In driver’s education we were taught to look over your shoulder before changing lanes.  Why?  Because side mirrors do not show automobiles in blind spots.   However, new technology advances such as blind spot monitors help to minimize blind spot issues.

Just what is a blind spot monitor (BSM) and how does it work?  Blind spot monitors use radar sensors to warn drivers of automobiles in a lane adjacent to them.  The radar sensors are generally on the side and rear of a vehicle.  The warnings from the radar sensors come in the way of a flashing light or an audible sound.  The warnings generally stay on until the automobile in the adjacent lane moves in front of the vehicle or directly alongside.

Call Charlie Ward at 317-639-9501Many automobile manufacturers are now offering this technology–Volvo, Ford, Audi, Infiniti are just a few. This technology was developed by Volvo a decade ago.

Is it worth the extra cost?  Although blind spot monitors do not replace a glance around or rear-view mirror, the simple answer is yes. If there is a way to reduce or minimize the potential of an automobile accident, it is worth the cost.  This technology is just another option at reducing auto accidents.

To see the blind spot monitoring system in action watch this short video demonstration

By Charlie Ward

[email protected]

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.

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