Tag Archives: Construction Accident Attorney in Indianapolis

Investigation Lays the Foundation for Road Construction Work Zone Accident Claim

Indiana drivers and passengers are most at risk in a road construction work zone accident

Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) statistics reveal that in 2013, 13 people were killed and more than 300 injured in INDOT work zones. Four out of five people who are killed in highway construction zones are drivers and their passengers.

Under Indiana law, motor vehicle operators who are reckless or Call Charlie Ward at 317-639-9501drive aggressively in a road construction zone may face a penalty of $5,000. Drivers who fatally injure a worker in a road construction zone can face a felony charge punishable by two to eight years in prison and a maximum fine of $10,000.

Most accidents occurring in roadwork construction zones result from recklessness

INDOT states that most work zone accidents result from:

  1. Speeding
  2. Following too closely (many interviewed state police officers believe this to be the number 1 cause of highway accidents)
  3. Unsafe lane movement (cutting off other drivers and making unexpected lane changes)
  4. Driver inattention and distracted driving (eating, texting, etc)
  5. Failure to yield the right-of-way
  6. Loss of control (uneven pavement or an object in the roadway)

Your attorney lays the foundation of your work zone accident case

An attorney representing an injured party or the family of a deceased person killed in a roadwork construction zone immediately reviews the investigating officer’s official accident report and contacts witnesses for a statement while memories of the crash are fresh. There may be more than one party who bears some fault for the accident. This may or may not be determined in the initial investigative stage. Here are a few examples of questions that may be posed to the witnesses:

  1. Was the driver at fault speeding or driving erratically?
  2. Was he or she following too closely for road conditions or making movements that any reasonable person would deem unsafe?
  3. Describe the road conditions; slippery, slushy, dry?
  4. What was the condition of the pavement?
  5. Was there a foreign object in the road that may have made conditions hazardous? If so, was it an object that may have belonged to a road construction crew? Or, was it something that may have fallen from a vehicle? If so, was there a logo or an identifying name anywhere on the vehicle? Perhaps a license plate or description?

These are just a few of the preliminary questions. The attorney will comb through witness statements, read the official narratives and closely inspect police and witness photos and/or videos to determine how and why the accident occurred, who was primarily responsible and if there were additional parties that may bear some responsibility. In some instances, an accident reconstructionist may be consulted and a report delivered for evidence to be used at a later time. The initial footwork performed by your lawyer lays the foundation of the case.

An experienced attorney will join all defendants to the suit as soon as possible. In most situations there is a two-year statute of limitations to get the case filed with the court; under certain circumstances the plaintiff may only have 180 days from the date of the accident to file a Tort Claims Notice. Therefore, it’s vital that you seek legal counsel as soon as possible after a construction zone accident so the ruling statute of limitations is observed and filing procedures are properly followed.

Alcohol and illegal drugs are often contributing factors in crash fatalities

According to CDC.gov, in 2010 nearly one-third of all accident-related fatalities involved alcohol impaired driving; drugs such as marijuana and cocaine were involved in 18% of crash fatalities. Alcohol, drugs or the combination of the two affect concentration, judgment, decision making and slow the brain’s response. When people lose their inhibitions from the effects of alcohol and drugs, they become a menace on the road.

A blood test is required under the implied consent law when a person dies or there are serious injuries resulting from an accident. The plaintiffs’ attorney will want to review the blood test findings. If the responsible driver’s bloodwork reveals alcohol consumption beyond the legal limit or tests positive for a controlled substance without a doctor’s prescription, criminal charges may also be filed against the defendant driver while undergoing a civil suit.

An experienced personal injury attorney builds the case while you focus on the healing process

It is devastating for a family when an officer of the law appears at your door only to tell you that your husband, wife, son or daughter has been killed in an accident. If you know of someone who has died or sustained a head, back, neck or any other type of injury because of another driver’s negligence in a highway construction work zone, the lawyers at Ward & Ward Law Firm would be happy to discuss the case and give the claimant(s) an honest legal assessment of the potential claim.

Our attorneys prepare every case for trial

While some cases may settle before the calendar trial date, the attorneys at Ward & Ward prepare every client’s case with trial as the destination in mind. What exactly does that mean?

It means a thorough investigation is performed by the members of our legal team. It means that every “i” is dotted and every “t” is crossed in preparation for a court trial. Discovery is complete, accurate and thorough and the Rules of Civil Trial Procedure are strictly adhered to. We care about our clients and our goal is to assist everyone in putting the pieces of their lives back together. We handle the legal issues so our clients can put all of their intention to the healing process.

Our attorneys strongly believe that everyone should have access to the courts. Our firm will not be paid unless we recover for you. Call Charlie Ward today at 317-639-9501 for a free consultation.

Highway Work Zone Awareness: We don’t speed through your office.

The Personal Injury Toxic Tort Claim – $7M for Popcorn Lung Disease | Indiana

Legal claims involving high-profile companies, products and big jury awards always draw the attention of media. The latest being $7M in damages awarded a man for injuries involving a potentially fatal lung disease called “popcorn lung.”

Toxic chemical found in microwavable butter-flavored popcornCall Charlie Ward at 317-639-9501

Inhaling a chemical compound called diacetyl, formerly found in butter flavoring, was known to cause a condition in which the smallest airways of the lung become scarred and constricted, blocking the movement of air. The debilitating and potentially fatal condition called Popcorn Lung Disease, also known as Bronchiolitis Obliterans, was diagnosed in the Claimant, a 59 year old man by the name of Wayne Watson.  His physician, a lung specialist at National Jewish Medical and Research Center in Denver, Colorado, knew his condition was caused by inhaling something. But when she asked him, based upon the symptoms he was experiencing, if he had been around a lot of popcorn, he was surprised she knew and he confirmed he had eaten microwaved butter-flavored popcorn twice a day for 10 years. Who hasn’t opened a freshly popped bag of butter-flavored microwavable popcorn and enjoyed the permeating buttery smell?

Five years later the flavoring manufacturer removed the chemical from the formula

Physicians have known since the year 2000 that the condition known as popcorn lung was related to the naturally occurring chemical compound called diacetyl which was in the butter flavoring added to microwavable popcorn. The National Institute for Occupational safety and Health (NIOSH) determined that inhaling large quantities of BBA butter flavoring caused lung disease in workers at a plant in Jasper, Missouri. In fact, a number of popcorn factory workers had developed the disease from inhaling the vapors of the butter flavoring and filed for workman compensation claims. NIOSH recommended the plant install industry ventilation hoods in the quality control areas. But the manufacturer of the butter flavoring did not remove diacetyl from the formula until the year 2007.

Factory workers file personal injury claims for damages associated with popcorn lung

Factory workers also filed claims with the courts for damages resulting from exposure to the toxic chemical. They claimed the manufacturers knew the buttery flavoring could be toxic but failed to warn them. Many of the original claims have successfully gone to trial or been settled. One factory worker, Eric Peoples, and his wife, received a jury award of $20M in 2007 against the flavoring manufacturer for personal injury damages from the lung disease. Peoples developed popcorn lung within a year of starting work at the popcorn factory in Jasper. Today, a number of claims by factory workers in various states, most across corn belt areas of the country, are currently in litigation.

But Watson’s claim, filed early in 2008, was the first claim of popcorn lung disease by a consumer. The Flavor and Extract Manufacturers Association (FEMA) became aware of Mr. Watson’s illness in 2007 and although FEMA has no legal authority to prohibit the use of diacetyl, they issued a press release asking the flavor manufacturers to reduce “the diacetyl content of these flavors to the extent possible.” In his suit, Watson claimed the companies failed to warn the consumer of the risk associated with inhaling a bag of corn popped in the microwave as intended by the manufacturers and that smelling the buttery aroma could expose the consumer to an inhalation hazard or a risk of lung injury. Mr. Watson’s lung disease, caused by years of exposure to diacetyl, is serious. The only hope for many with the disease is to have a single or double lung transplant. The jury in Watson’s case found shared responsibility between the manufacturer of the popcorn (80% at fault) and the supermarket where he purchased the foods (20% at fault). Associated Press reported Mr. Watson also settled prior claims against the flavor developer.

Diacetyl, although considered safe to eat and  approved for consumption as a flavor ingredient by The Food and Drug Administration, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) studies in the initial plant documented a relationship between cumulative exposure to diacetyl vapor over time and having abnormal lung function . It’s currently used in many consumer products such as margarine, wine, and cheese. When ingested, the body has the ability to metabolize small amounts of diacetyl with no known health hazards.

To learn more about popcorn lung disease and daily exposure to the chemical, diacetyl, you can obtain a free copy of NIOSH’s publication entitled NIOSH ALERT: Preventing Lung Disease in Workers Who Use or Make Flavorings by clicking on this link.

Lawyers Experienced in Tort Claims

If you have been injured or know someone who has been injured as a result of someone’s negligence, call attorney, Charlie Ward, for a free consultation at (317) 639-9501. The law firm of Ward & Ward has over 80 years of combined experience in personal injury and wrongful death claims including injuries resulting from auto, motorcycle and trucking accidents.