Category Archives: wrongful death

Cell Phone Manufacturers Walk a Fine Line between Social and Personal Responsibility – Car accident lawyers

 Cell Phone Manufacturers Walk a Fine Line between Social and Personal Responsibility – Car Accident Lawyers Ward & Ward Law Firm

Pressure is being put on cell phone manufacturers to include “lock-out” technology in their mobile devices to prevent drivers from accessing certain features while driving. Who bears the responsibility for car accident injuries and fatalities caused by distracted drivers? What are the options parents can employ to keep their children safe when driving?

 The product liability case against Apple – a result of a catastrophic car accident

Several years ago, on a summer day in East Texas, 21 year old Ashley Kubiak caused a catastrophic car accident while driving her pickup and checking for messages on her iPhone. The collision left a boy of seven who loved playing team baseball, a paraplegic. The young boy, Sammy Lane Meador, was told by physicians he would never walk again as his spine had snapped in the collision. His grandmother and great aunt perished in the accident. The families of the accident victims joined together to bring a product liability case against Apple, entitled Meador, et al vs. Apple, Inc.

Discovery revealed…

Personal injury lawyers, Don and Charlie WardDuring the discovery process it was revealed that in 2008 Apple had petitioned for and later received a technology patent called “Driver Handheld Computing Device Lock-Out.” In the documentation submitted to the patent office, a description of the technology read, “a lock-out mechanism to prevent operation of one or more functions of handheld computing devices by drivers when operating vehicles.”

The plaintiffs argue that while Apple was fully aware their phones would be used for text messaging while driving, and even used this reasoning in their patent application, Apple did nothing to prevent Ms. Kubiak, an iPhone consumer, from illegally texting behind the wheel. Plaintiffs’ attorneys argue Apple has a moral obligation to society to employ the patented technology in their cell phones. Plaintiffs’ attorney, Greg Love, states “When companies are faced with the choice of doing the right thing or doing the cheaper thing, they tend to do the cheaper thing until they’re forced to do the right thing.”

In 2014, Apple received the patent which uses sensors to determine if the phone is moving and in use by a driver, and employs the lock-out features for such functions as sending and receiving texts, email, social media posts and notifications. However, since 2014 (the year Apple was granted the patent), the company has distributed the iPhone 5s, 5c, 6, 6+, 7, 7+ and a number of IOS software updates. Yet, the technology has never been deployed. Nor has any other cell phone manufacturer incorporated the technology into their phones.

Car accident lawyers are disturbed by this survey

Distracted driving includes any behavior that takes your attention away from the operation of the vehicle. In 2015, Erie Insurance conducted an online survey consisting of 2,019 respondents 18 years and older. Their motive? To learn the kind of distracted behaviors their clients had engaged while driving their vehicle. You won’t believe what respondents admitted to:

  • Styling hair (15%)
  • Romantic interlude (15%)
  • Changing clothes (9%)
  • Changing drivers (3%)
  • Taking selfies (4%)
  • Flossing / brushing teeth (4%)
  • Going to the bathroom (3%)
  • Texting while driving (30%)

Disturbing statistics, all! But note that nearly 1/3 of adults taking this survey admitted to texting while driving. This is especially alarming because text messaging behind the wheel diverts four primary modalities necessary for a focused driving experience:

  • Vision
  • Auditory
  • Cognitive thinking, reasoning skills
  • Manual/tactile cell phone use

In 2014, three thousand one hundred seventy nine teen  fatalities in the U.S. were caused by drivers who momentarily diverted their attention from the safe operation of their motor vehicle; 3,179 needless fatalities – 6,358 grieving parents, in addition to siblings, grandparents and other grievous kin.

Texting fatalities have surpassed fatalities caused by alcohol

Between 2011, when no state bans existed for texting, and 2013, after 14 states passed legislation banning texting while driving, texting rates declined from 43% to 30%. Today, 46 continental states have banned text messaging for all drivers. But in reviewing data from the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Survey, approximately 1 in 3 teens readily admits to texting behind the wheel. And while fatalities resulting from drunk driving have decreased, teen deaths attributed to texting while driving have surpassed teen fatalities caused by drinking and driving.

Did you know?

  • On average, the amount of time eyes are off the road when texting is 5 seconds
  • The distance covered in 5 seconds at 55 mph is the length of a football field

One in three teens admits to texting and driving

Understanding the myths that fuel texting and driving

Myth No. 1 – The fear of missing out (FOMO)

In 2016, FOMO, an acronym for “the fear of missing out,” was ushered into the Merriam-Webster dictionary along with other words and acronyms implying social disconnect such as nomophobia (fear of being without a cell phone) and ICYMI (in case you missed it.) FOMO demonstrates an anxiety of epidemic proportions that keeps smart phone users continuously checking their phone for messages, news, announcements, tweets or feeds. The underlying principle of FOMO hints that the current moment in time is never good enough and can always be improved by hooking up with friends, making an announcement on Twitter, posting a response to Facebook, uploading a photo of your present activity, announcing your location or commenting on developments. The fear of missing out is a compulsive and addictive behavioral response.

In an interview with media, Jack Walker, attorney for the plaintiffs in the above-mentioned case, echoed scientific findings when he stated a person’s response to a cell phone notification is a “neurobiological response from the brain, it basically triggers the pleasure centers of the brain with a shot of dopamine… people do it so frequently, they don’t even realize it’s happening.”

Myth No. 2 – Multi-tasking

How many times have you heard someone say, I’m multi-tasking? This meme endorses the lie that self-esteem and social worthiness are awarded to those who can split tasks and perform double the work in half the time. In fact, multi-tasking is the antagonist of deep intellectual thinking. The belief that we can focus our attention on multiple, simultaneous tasks, each involving conscious control — is fiction. Our brains are not wired to focus intently on multiple concurrent thoughts. What we typically call multi-tasking actually involves a cerebral interruption and restart between tasks. Best selling author, Dr. John Medina, a developmental molecular biologist and research consultant states “The brain naturally focuses on concepts sequentially, one at a time.”

From an article published in The Scientific American: “Some commonplace activities, such as driving and talking on a cell phone frequently go hand-in-hand, but the brain is likely switching its main focus quickly between the two activities, perhaps a reason the pairing has been so dangerous.”

Personal responsibility v social responsibility – The motion to dismiss the product liability lawsuit

In 2015, Apple filed a motion to dismiss the product liability claim. Defendant Apple stated in court documents that it was not the iPhone that caused the accident but the lack of personal responsibility shown by Ms. Kubiak. Apple further claims, eating while driving would encourage future product liability suits against fast food manufacturers as a result of plaintiffs’ argument. The Federal judge assigned to the case signed a recommendation to dismiss the case. The recommendation states in part: “…Apple’s failure to configure the iPhone to automatically disable did nothing more than create the condition that made Plaintiffs’ injuries possible.” Nevertheless, the case is still pending in United States District Court.

At this time, there isn’t a cell phone manufacturer or mobile service provider that wants to market the first mobile phone that clamps down on distracted driving behaviors. Similar to change through legislation, modifications in the free market are slowly evolving and will require pressure from consumers, special interest groups and the success of product liability lawsuits brought against cell phone manufacturers going forward.

Apps for restoring peace of mind

Following is a short list of Apps that may help curb the temptation to initiate, read and respond to text messages and social network posts and notifications. They are in no particular order; what works for one family, may not be effective for another. Browse through the apps to determine what works best to protect you and your family or try them all until you find the app that suits your lifestyle. Most apps are available for download at Google Play for Android devices or the App store for iPhones. I have noted when the applications are downloadable from the developer’s website.

AT&T DriveMode (Free)
Available for IPhone and Android devices. Full features are available to AT&T Mobile customers; limited features for all other users.

  • Turns on when the vehicle is moving
  • Access music and navigation with one touch
  • Silences text message alerts
  • Automatically replies to text messages

Parents are alerted if:

  • AT&T DriveMode is turned off
  • Auto-Mode is disabled
  • New speed-dial number is added

Life Saver – Distracted Driving (Free)
Available for IPhone and Android devices. Optional rewards based technology. Sponsor sets guidelines and monitors behavior. App is endorsed by a number of safe driving organizations.

  • Blocks phone use while driving
  • gets driver’s last known location
  • Safe arrival notifications
  • Can share with others
Video – How Life Saver works
Video – Life Saver screen – is it user friendly?

True Motion Family (Formerly The Canary Project – Free)
Available for IPhone and Android. Score based, includes location sharing and roadside assistance.

Wonder (Available at developer website)
The message center displays either a “driving” or “safe to text” icon next to each person’s name.

Drive Beehive (Free)
Available for IPhone and Android devices. Rewards safe driving miles; requires a sponsor.

Experienced car accident lawyers and wrongful death attorneys

Our experienced car accident lawyers and wrongful death attorneys 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 involved in an accident, injured by the negligence of a medical professional, or the victim of nursing home neglect or wrongful death, call personal injury attorney, Charlie Ward, today at (317) 639-9501 for a free consultation.

Charlie Ward
Personal Injury Attorney
728 S Meridian St
Indianapolis, IN 46225
(317) 639-9501
[email protected]

Update 8/29/17:  Apple’s Failure to Implement a Lock-Out System

David Riggs’ son was killed in an accident when another driver was texting on his I-phone.  A Suit was brought against Apple for failure to implement a lock-out system – technology Apple has had since 2008.

Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Maureen A. Folan threw the case out because to allege Apple was the cause of the ultimate harm to Riggs son was thin and attenuated.

More updates to follow.

Indiana Personal Injury Attorney Selected for Inclusion in Best Lawyers in America©

Ward & Ward Law Firm Announces Partner in Personal Injury Law Firm is Selected for Inclusion in Best Lawyers in America

Indianapolis personal injury attorney, wrongful death attorney and medical malpractice attorney, Charlie Ward, has been selected by his peers for inclusion into the 23rd annual edition of The Best Lawyers in America©

Indianapolis, Indiana (PRWEB) September 29, 2016

Indianapolis best personal injury lawyerWard & Ward Law Firm of Indianapolis, Indiana, announces partner and Indianapolis personal injury attorney, Charlie Ward, has been selected by his peers for inclusion into the 23rd annual edition of The Best Lawyers in America© under the heading of Plaintiffs Personal Injury Litigation. Ward, a 27-year career advocate for citizens harmed by the negligent acts of individuals and entities, received his Bachelor of Arts Degree, cum laude, from Butler University in Indianapolis before attending the Robert H. McKinney School of Law, where he earned his law degree in 1989.

Best Lawyers® is regarded by members of the legal profession as a trustworthy resource for attorney-client and attorney-to-attorney referrals. Attorneys currently listed in Best Lawyers® are asked to rate local nominees in like practices. Each voting attorney is asked the question: “If you were unable to take a case yourself, how likely would you be to refer it to this nominee?” Voters rate the candidate on a scale from 1 to 5 and are encouraged to add comments to the nominee’s voting form. A voter may select “Do not know” if they have no knowledge of the nominee. Lawyers are not allowed to vote for themselves, nor can they complete ballots for lawyers within their own firm. When the voting ballots have been received by the decision-makers at Best Lawyers, each nominee is reviewed and their standing with the bar association is verified before a final determination of inclusion is made.

Personal injury and wrongful death attorney Ward was admitted to the Indiana Bar Association in 1989. From 1990 to 1991 he clerked for the Honorable Indiana Supreme Court Justice Richard M. Givan. In August, 1992, he co-authored the article entitled “Journey’s Account Statute: Litigator’s Little-Known Friend,” 35 Res Gestae 60 (1991), the Indiana State Bar Association’s bar journal. Shortly after graduation from Indiana University’s school of law, Ward and his father, Donald W. Ward, a former recipient of the prestigious 2015 Indiana Bar Foundation’s Legendary Lawyer Award and prominent wrongful death attorney in Indianapolis, formed a partnership under the name of Ward & Ward Law Firm.

Charlie Ward concentrates on earning maximum financial reparations for his clients who have been severely injured or killed by the negligence of another person or entity. “Staying on top of judicial opinions and legislation is critical to obtain the best possible outcome for our injury and wrongful death clients,” states Ward. His personal injury and wrongful death areas of experience include commercial trucking accident claims, car, motorcycle and bicycle accident claims, nursing home neglect and medical malpractice claims.

If you or someone you know has been injured or killed in an accident caused by the negligence of another person or entity, call 2017 Best Lawyer® recipient and Indianapolis personal injury lawyer, Charlie Ward of Ward & Ward Law Firm at 317-639-9501 or toll free at 888-639-9501 for a free analysis of your claim.

For the original version on PRWeb visit: http://www.prweb.com/releases/2016/09/prweb13723357.htm

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.

 

Dead Red Law Offers Alternative for Motorcycle and Bicycle Enthusiasts|Personal Injury Attorneys

Dead Red Indiana Law Give Motorcyclists and Bicyclists Alternative to Breaking the Law

In March of 2014, Indiana became the 15th state to add the “Dead Red” law to their books. Indiana Representative, Mike Karickhoff of Kokomo, wrote House Bill No. 1080 that provides:

“…the operator [of a motorcycle, motorized bicycle, motor scooter, or bicycle] may proceed through the intersection on a steady red signal only if the operator:

    (i) comes to a complete stop at the intersection for at least one hundred twenty (120) seconds; and
    (ii) exercises due caution as provided by law, otherwise treats the traffic control signal as a stop sign, and determines that it is safe to proceed.”

The Indiana General Assembly passed the law 84-10.

Few Options for Cyclists Prior to Dead Red Law

Prior to the “dead red” law, when lightweight motorized and non-motorized vehicles failed to trigger a left-turn signal, the operator had one of three choices: 1) wait until a larger vehicle pulled behind them, tripping the scale; 2) make a right-hand turn and return to proceed through the intersection; or 3) ignore the traffic signal altogether and turn left on a red.

An Educated Public May Reduce Motorcycle Accidents in Indiana

ABATE of Indiana (The American Bikers Aimed Toward Education) strives to educate responsible cyclists on motorcycle safety. And because accidents involving motorcycles are often caused by other drivers who admittedly fail to see the cyclist, ABATE seeks to educate all drivers about motorcycle awareness. May is Motorcycle Safety and Awareness Month. On May 5, ABATE of Indiana, along with many other civic organizations, will kick off Motorcycle Awareness Month by hosting an event on the Circle to bring attention to motorcycle awareness.

Personal Injury, Motorcycle and Bicycle Accident Attorneys with Experience

The defenses used by defendant insurance companies to minimize their financial loss and the potential jury bias that occurs when litigating a motorcycle or bicycle injury claim is good reason to seek the assistance of an attorney experienced in motorcycle and bicycle injury cases. If you, or someone you know has been injured or killed in an accident involving a motorcycle, moped or bicycle, call Charlie Ward, an attorney with experience in pursuing claims on behalf of cyclists, at 317-639-9501 today for a free analysis of your claim.

[email protected]

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

2016 Update on Indiana’s Medical Malpractice Reform Legislation | Indiana Medical Malpractice Attorneys and Wrongful Death Lawyers

2016 Update on Indiana’s Medical Malpractice Reform Legislation | Indiana Medical Malpractice Attorneys and Wrongful Death Lawyers

Indiana 2016 updated Medical Malpractice ActAs lay people, we put our faith in physicians, nurses,  hospital facilities and other medical providers whom we trust to exercise sound professional decisions, provide quality care and abide by “best practice” standards in their field(s) of medicine. Most healthcare professionals meet or exceed the benchmark of quality health care we have come to expect. But when medical experts fail to meet a reasonable standard of care that results in your bodily injury or the death of a family member, you need an experienced Indiana medical malpractice attorney to represent you and your family’s interests in a legal action against a negligent medical practitioner(s ).

History of Indiana’s Medical Malpractice Act

In 1975, to avert an exodus of medical professionals from the state of Indiana, lawmakers enacted the Medical Malpractice Act which would bring stringent reform to civil actions for medical negligence and place caps on liability payouts. Caps for acts of medical negligence had been raised only twice since the initial legislation was enacted 41 years ago. Periodically, lawmakers should revisit the caps imposed by the Malpractice Act and make fair, economic adjustments that reflect inflation and soaring healthcare costs.

The Medical Malpractice Act as Amended in 2016


Call Charlie Ward at 317-639-9501Currently, Indiana has one of the lowest caps in the nation. In 2016, Senator Brent Steele from Bedford, Indiana authored and introduced Senate Bill 28 (SB 28) which would not only increase the caps imposed upon injured persons and the families of persons deceased by an act of medical negligence, but would hasten payments made by the Patient’s Compensation Fund for a court approved settlement or final non-appealable judgment. The Indiana Trial Lawyers Association (ITLA),  one of the most respected lobbies serving the interests of Hoosiers, backed Steele’s bill and worked diligently with lawmakers and healthcare providers alike, to amend and improve on certain aspects of Indiana’s Medical Malpractice Act. Although ITLA does not favor caps on tort claims, the political climate was ripe for all interested parties, including the Indiana Medical Association which represents physicians, to strike a compromise with lawmakers that would benefit individual citizens and continue to attract accomplished physicians and talented healthcare professionals to the state of Indiana.

After SB 28 was heavily amended by both the house and the senate, lawmakers voted unanimously on March 8, 2016, to send the bill to Governor Mike Pence for his signature. Several of the bill’s key changes to Indiana’s Medical Malpractice Act are shown on the right hand column in the chart below. Read SB 28.

Medical Malpractice Act

Prior to

July 1, 2017

 Medical Malpractice Act

Effective July 1, 2017

Liability Caps

Patients can only receive up to $1.25 million in damages from an act of malpractice.

Liability Caps

Effective, July 1, 2017, patients injured or killed by a negligent act of malpractice on or after July 1, 2017, may receive an amount no greater than $1.65 million in damages.

Effective July 1, 2019,  lawmakers have approved an additional raise of $150,000 for patients injured or killed by a negligent act of malpractice on or after July 1, 2019. Patients may receive an amount no greater than $1.8 million in damages.

(PCF) Patient’s Compensation Fund

Physicians and Providers are responsible for the first $250,000 in damages owed to one patient for one act of malpractice, and no more than $750,000 combined annually. The PCF covers the rest of a patient’s damages, which allows patients a guarantee of full compensation by excluding physicians’ insurance plans as a factor in the ability to cover damages awards.

 (PCF) Patient’s Compensation Fund

Effective, July 1, 2017,
Physicians and Providers are responsible for the first $400,000 in damages owed to one patient for one act of malpractice. The PCF is responsible for $1.25 million.

Effective, July 1, 2019,
Physicians and Providers are responsible for the first $500,000 in damages owed to one patient for one act of malpractice. The PCF is responsible for $1.3 million.

Time Limits

The statute of limitations for filing a complaint is two years from the act of malpractice. Children less than six years-old have until their eighth birthday to file a complaint.

Time Limits

No change.

Filing Complaints

Before taking a case to court, patients must file a complaint with the Indiana Department of Insurance, where a three-physician medical review panel reviews the claim. If there is one defendant, two of the three panel members must be from the accused physician’s specialty. The panel gives a non-conclusive, non-binding report, but they can be called as experts if the defendant chooses to take the case to court.

Filing Complaints

No change.

Payment from PCF

Claims for payment from the Patient’s Compensation Fund are paid quarterly

Payment from PCF

Effective July 1, 2017
Claims from the patient’s compensation fund must be paid not later than 60 days after the issuance of a court approved settlement or final non-appealable judgment.

 

Experienced Indiana Medical Malpractice Lawyers and Nursing Home Negligence Attorneys

Our experienced Indiana medical malpractice lawyers are here to navigate the complexities of the medical malpractice claims process for you and your loved ones. Call Ward & Ward Law Firm today at 317-639-9501 and ask for “Charlie” for a free, no obligation, consultation.

By Charlie Ward
[email protected]

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

 

Read more about medical malpractice lawyers in Indiana:

Medical Malpractice and Related Injuries

Understanding Indiana’s Medical Malpractice Law

 

 

Motorcycles – Helmets saves lives | motorcycle accident attorney in Indianapolis

Motorcycle Helmets Reduce Injuries and Save Lives | Motorcycle Accident Lawyers in Indiana

May is ‘Motorcycle Awareness’ month. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration encourages everyone to share the road and urges cyclists to make themselves visible to others.

A brief history of helmet laws and why they vary from state to state

People injured in motorcycle accidents require aggressive legal representation to overcome jury biasIn 1966, the national Highway Safety Act mandated each state enact universal helmet laws in order to receive federal highway construction funding. In 1975, under the authority of HSA, the Secretary of Transportation was about to impose penalties upon the states of California, Illinois and Utah for non-compliance, when lobbyists successfully pressured congress to stop the assessment of penalties on states lacking universal helmet laws. By 1980, a majority of states had repealed the universal mandated laws, favoring a unilateral approach to legislation.

As of 2016, three states, Illinois, Iowa and New  Hampshire, are without legislation regulating helmets. Nineteen states, along with the District of Columbia,  have statutes mandating helmets for all cyclists. The states and districts include:

Alabama, Mississippi, Oregon, California, Missouri, Tennessee, District of Columbia, Nebraska, Vermont, Georgia, Nevada, Virginia, Louisiana, New Jersey, Washington, Maryland, New York, West Virginia, Massachusetts, and North Carolina

The remaining states have passed legislation  that takes one or more of the following factors into account:

  • operator experience
  • operator age
  • passenger age
  • proof of medical insurance
  • cycling horsepower

States laws for helmet use as they stand currently in 2016, can be found at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Statistics favor ‘gearing up’ with helmets and bright clothing

Statistics from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimate:

  • Helmets saved the lives of more than 1,600 motorcyclists in 2013
  • 4,668 motorcyclists lost their lives in accidents while over 88,000 suffered personal injuries in 2013.
  • Since 1997, motorcycle deaths have more than doubled
  • Motorcycles are only 2 percent of the registered vehicles nationally, but motorcyclist fatalities are 5 percent of traffic fatalities each year.
  • The percentage of intoxicated motorcycle riders involving fatal accidents is higher than intoxicated drivers.

Helmets minimize injuries and reduce the likelihood of long term brain trauma.

The extent of Indiana’s helmet law requires passengers and motorcycle operators seventeen and younger wear a helmet. However, the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) advocates protective clothing as the only defense a cyclist has against injury. Reccomendations include a Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 218 compliant helmet, heavy-duty jacket and pants, boots, gloves, and eye protection.

Experienced Motorcycle and Bicycle Accident Attorneys and Wrongful Death Lawyers

Motorcycle enthusiasts and bicyclists enjoy the same legal rights as every driver on the road, i.e. the right to compensation for injuries, loss of wages, impairment, pain and suffering and all other remedies available by law. (Learn more about jury bias) For more than 85 combined years, motorcycle accident attorneys and wrongful death lawyers, Don and Charlie Ward, have represented plaintiffs injured in motorcycle accidents and the families of cyclists killed because of another driver’s negligence.

The personal injury attorneys at Ward & Ward Law Firm receive no legal fees or expenses unless we collect damages on your behalf. Call Charlie Ward today at 317-639-9501 to discuss your accident and receive 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

 

Preventing Pedestrian and Bicycle Accidents and Fatalities in Parking Lots |Indianapolis Pedestrian and Car Accident Lawyers

Preventing Pedestrian and Bicycle Accidents and Fatalities in Parking Lots | Indianapolis Pedestrian and Car Accident Lawyers

Best Lawyers® Ward & Ward Law Firm - experienced in getting the compensation you deserve Statistics show that 1 out of every 5 auto accidents occurs in parking lots.  The most common accident is a result of a vehicle reversing out of a parking space backing into another vehicle.  Most of the damage to vehicles are minor.   The real danger is when a vehicle reversing strikes a pedestrian or a bicyclists which can result in serious injuries or death.

Most injuries in parking lots involve children

Each year it is estimated by the National Highway Safety Traffic Administration (NHTSA) that approximately 200 fatalities and 15,000 injuries occur in back up accidents.  Every week at least 50 children are struck in back up accidents and unfortunately 2 of those children are fatally injured.  A majority of those children killed are  under the age of 4.

Most, if not all accidents occur as a result of the child being in the driver’s blind spot.  Today more people are driving larger vehicles such as sports utility vehicles, mini-vans and mid-sized trucks.  As a result, the blind spots are larger in these types of vehicles.

In order to prevent or minimize these types of back up accidents, knowing the vehicles blind spots are paramount for safety.  In addition, knowing your surrounding and parking defensively (i.e. pulling through a parking spot to exit going forward) is likely to reduce the risk of an accident.

Best Lawyers® and Car Accident Lawyers – Ward &  Ward Law Firm -Experienced in Pedestrian and Bicycle Accidents Fatalities

The personal injury and car accident lawyers of Ward & Ward Law Firm have 85 years of experience handling pedestrian accident and wrongful death cases. If you or someone you know needs legal representation for their accident claim, call 317-639-9501 today and ask for “Charlie” for a free consultation.

By Charlie Ward

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

 

Why personal injury attorneys and car accident lawyers may refuse your case – Statute of Limitations

Why car accident lawyers and personal injury attorneys may refuse your case – Indiana Statute of Limitations

Personal injury lawyers and the Indiana statute of limitations

Every so often, I receive a call from someone who has been unsuccessful in securing legal representation for their personal injury claim. There are as many reasons why an injury lawyer will turn down a claim, as there are facts and circumstances surrounding the claim. In part 1 of this series, I’ll explain why attorneys may turn down a case nearing the statute of limitations.

Consultation – The Groundwork – Personal Injury Attorney and Car Accident Lawyers

Before a personal injury lawyer agrees to represent a claimant, both parties will meet face-to-face to discuss the potential claim. The attorney will want to study the police report and accompanying eyewitness testimony, review medical records and provider billings incurred to date and examine any other evidence available at this early stage of the process. If liability or collectability is in question, a deeper investigation may be necessary. When an attorney believes a claim has value and has faith in the honesty and integrity of the claimant, they will enter into a contingency agreement whereby the attorney agrees to advance the firm’s monetary and staff resources to pursue the “win” for their client. It is costly to litigate a case. Expenditures made on behalf of the client and their claim may include but are not limited to investigation, research, document preparation, court costs, exhibits, reports, expert witness fees, court reporters, professional fees and costs of mediation.

The Statute of Limitations – Personal Injury Cases

The statute of limitations is a time limit imposed upon a claimant or representative of a deceased person to notice defendants and file a claim with the court against the person(s), entity or entities responsible for their damages. Indiana has a 2-year statute of limitations to file a personal injury claim against parties responsible for their economic, non-economic   and punitive damages. In claims involving a governmental entity, the claimant must file a Notice of Tort Claim within 180 days of the accident. These deadlines begin to run from the date the claimant received the injuries or the claimant’s date of death. Exceptions may be found at IC 34-11-2-4. It is unfortunate when people wait to pursue their claim against the wrongdoer until days or even weeks before the statute of limitations has run. It takes time to review a claim and to mount an effective case. Many lawyers are reluctant to commit their professional time, services and financial resources to a claim filed in haste.

Experienced Car Accident Lawyers | Personal Injury Attorneys

If you or someone you know has been involved in an accident, our firm recommends you consult with an attorney experienced in personal injury matters as soon as possible. The attorneys at Ward & Ward Law Firm have more than 85 combined years of experience practicing personal injury, wrongful death and medical malpractice law. Call Charlie Ward today at 317-639-9501 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

What You Should Know About Structured Settlements | Car Accident Lawyers

How does a structured settlement for personal injury differ from a settlement or award? | Indianapolis Car Accident Lawyers

Call personal injury attorney Charlie Ward today at 317-639-9501 if you were involved in an Indiana accidentA settlement or judgment for a personal injury claim may be paid to the claimant by the defendant or the defendant’s insurance company in a single lump sum payment. The majority of settlements are paid in this way.

But in cases where the claimant (plaintiff) settles or is awarded a large sum of money, they may elect to receive all settlement funds in steady payments or a one-time partial disbursement of the settlement funds with recurring payments disbursed over a period of years or decades. This is called a structured settlement.

An initial partial disbursement of a structured settlement can and should be used for immediate expenses including, but not limited to medical bills, medical devices, convalescence, therapy, career training, special housing and transportation requirements or any other necessities unique to the injured person. The remainder of the partial disbursement may be invested or posted to a banking account to be used for living expenses or unforeseen future necessary expenditures. After the bills are met, the claimant is free to decide what to do with the remaining partial disbursement of funds.

Advantages of a structured settlement

Some studies indicate that recipients of very large lump sum settlements or “windfall” awards frequently run out of the funds necessary to sustain their disabilities throughout the remainder of their lives. Sadly, this scenario may occur when the parent or guardian of an injured child lacks the experience of managing a large sum of money. One of the advantages to a structured settlement distributed over a period of years is the economic security and well-being of the disabled or partially disabled person.

There are also tax advantages to structuring a settlement. Although settlements and awards for physical injuries are generally tax exempt, interest and dividends earned on the investment of a single lump sum asset is taxable. Even if all of the funds received in a structured settlement are invested, the annual tax obligation would likely be lessened due to a reduced investment stream.

Will I make decisions regarding the distribution of my structured settlement?Call car accident lawyer Charlie Ward at 317-639-9501

A structured settlement is funded by way of an annuity purchased on behalf of the claimant. When you agree to settle your lawsuit using a structured settlement, your personal injury lawyer will facilitate a consultation with a qualified economic and financial analyst who will calculate your monthly or annual financial needs against mortality and inflationary tables. A qualified and trusted financial advisor will discuss your goals and the options available to you, i.e. the sums you wish to receive and the length of time over which you may extend your payments. You may choose to end disbursement of your settlement at a designated age, terminate payments upon your death or continue with payments made to your heirs through the remaining life of the financial instrument. You may even elect to withhold regular payments until you reach a certain age to fund your retirement.

Why do insurance companies offer structured settlements?

Because structured funds are invested in an annuity—a financial instrument that is expected to grow over time—the initial investment made by defendant or defendant’s insurance company is significantly less than the totality of the expected future income stream received by the claimant. Unless the claimant wishes to make a large purchase, such as a home, from a lesser settlement—say, for example, a settlement of $100,000., a structured settlement can be a win-win situation for both parties.

The Structured Settlement Purchasing Industry

The Washington Post recently published a story exposing a predatory structured settlement purchasing company that took advantage of a young adult woman with brain damage and limited mental capacity due to lead paint poisoning as a child. The Baltimore woman had prevailed in a suit filed on her behalf and was tricked into transferring her monthly checks, 420 payments through the year 2052. The estimated value of her annuity was more than a half a million dollars but she transferred her future security for a mere $63,000.

Although most settlement purchasing companies operate legally and within the boundaries of the law, you should understand that the players within the industry will only offer pennies on the dollar for the transfer of a structured annuity. People who have fallen on hard times or who need a chunk of money to purchase a car or make a down payment on a home may be more easily persuaded to sell the remaining life of their structured settlement. However, Indiana Code 34-50-2 entitled Annuity Structured Settlements regulates structured settlements in Indiana with a level of oversight requiring approval by the court for a legal transfer of the annuity. Section 7 of Chapter 2 states:

Sec. 7. An Indiana court of competent jurisdiction may approve a transfer of structured settlement payment rights only in a final order that is based on the express findings of the court. The express findings must include all of the following:

(1) The consideration that the payee will receive for the transfer reasonably reflects the present fair market value of the future Indiana Code 2015 periodic payments under the structured settlement agreement.

(2) The transfer is in the best interest of the payee.

(3) The transfer will not materially impair the payee’s ability to discharge the payee’s obligations to the payee’s dependents.

(4) If the transferee is the applicant, the transferee has provided to the payee a disclosure statement in accordance with Section 6 of this chapter.

Section 8 of the above-referenced statute goes on to describe the process of filing an application for the legal transfer of a structured settlement annuity with the court of jurisdiction. After application has been made, the court will notify the applicant of the date, time and place of the hearing but it will not be heard earlier than 20 days after the application has been filed with the court.

Personal injury attorneys and car accident lawyers experienced with structured settlements

Our attorneys have more than 85 years of combined experience in personal injury law including wrongful death, nursing home neglect and medical malpractice claims. Many of our clients have elected to receive structured settlements and awards. Although structured settlements are not always the right solution, they can be a valuable source of future income, particularly for clients concerned with future income or loss of wages.

If you have a claim for injuries you received in an Indiana accident caused by another party’s negligence, call the Indianapolis car accident lawyers at Ward & Ward Law Firm today for a free consultation! Call 317-639-9501 or toll free at 888-639-9501.

[schema type=”organization” orgtype=”LocalBusiness” url=”https://www.wardlawfirm.com/practice-areas/personal-injury” name=”Charles P Ward” street=”728 S Meridian St” city=”Indianapolis” state=”IN” postalcode=”46228″ country=”US” email=”[email protected]” phone=”317-639-9501″ ]