Personal Injury Advice & FAQs

The legal process can be complicated, confusing, and overwhelming, but we are here to make your life easier. We have created a set of videos and articles to help you navigate through the process.

How Come My Case Is Taking So Long?” The Important – But Often Time Consuming – Discovery Process

Plaintiffs in personal injury lawsuits are sometimes frustrated by how long their case takes to reach a conclusion. The slow turning of the wheels of justice can be a source of understandable annoyance for clients, as well as for attorneys who are trying to get their clients a successful result as quickly and efficiently as possible.

There are many reasons that the process takes so long; everything from a court’s crowded docket to pre-trial challenges regarding the sufficiency of the complaint or the validity of the cause of action.  But the principal reason the pre-trial phase of litigation can take a while can be summed up in one word: discovery.

"Discovery" is the term used to describe the process of requesting and exchanging information between the parties. It’s the part of trial law that they don’t show during one-hour legal TV shows.  It can involve slogging through thousands of documents and emails as well as depositions of witnesses and parties that may not have much to say.  But it is designed to make sure that neither party hides the ball and that all relevant facts regarding the case are disclosed. While it may often lack the drama of a trial, the discovery phase of litigation is critically important and can often determine whether a case is won or lost or whether one party or the other may want to rethink their settlement posture.

Federal courts as well as Indiana state courts have extensive rules that govern the discovery process. In Indiana, Rules 26-37 of the Indiana Rules of Trial Procedure set forth how and when information is to be exchanged, the kinds of information that can be requested and obtained, and what happens in the event of disputes during discovery.

The rules provide for a number of different ways of obtaining evidence and information from the opposing side and from third-parties like fact and expert witnesses. Three of the most utilized discovery methods are interrogatories, requests for production, and depositions.

Interrogatories are written questions that are posed to the opposing party about the subject of the case. The answers have to be delivered within a set period of time, and the responses are deemed to be under oath. In addition to obtaining information, answers to interrogatories can be used later in the case to support motions or impeach a party whose testimony on the witness stand contradict those they gave in their interrogatory answers.

A Request for Production is used to obtain copies of documents and electronically stored information from the other party. In the past (and still in some cases), this could involve the photocopying and exchange of boxes of documents that could take up whole rooms.  Now, Rule 26(A1) requires that discovery be exchanged electronically, no doubt saving thousands of tree every year. Each page that is produced needs to be reviewed by the producing party’s attorney before delivery to make sure that no privileged or unrequested documents are produced. Then, these documents need to be reviewed by the requesting attorney.

Depositions are like interviews conducted under oath in the presence of a court reporter, attorneys for all parties and sometimes the other party themselves. Opposing counsel will ask the opposing party, third-party witnesses, treating physicians, or medical expert witnesses questions designed to discover relevant information or lock in their sworn testimony such that it can be used later if they attempt to change their answers.

There are additional aspects to the discovery process, such as subpoenas to non-party witnesses, requests for admissions, or physical or mental examinations. Also, parties sometimes engage in lengthy battles over whether a request is appropriate or whether a party has produced all information they were supposed to. The process can take time, as parties search for documents, schedule depositions, or fight over any number of issues. As frustrating as the delay can be, and as much as attorneys may try to mover the process along as quickly as possible, it is a critical part of any lawsuit, and one which good trial attorneys know can make all the difference.

“Scooters Everywhere”: Safety Tips for Evansville’s Scooter Riders

In Evansville, scooter use has exploded in recent years, bringing controversy as well as an increasing number of accidents and injuries in their wake.

According to the Evansville Police Department, there were just nine scooter wrecks in Evansville in 2008. A mere four years later, in 2012, they reported 90 accidents involving scooters. As Evansville Mayor Lloyd Winnecke was recently quoted as saying: “It’s like someone had taken Miracle-Gro and all of a sudden there are scooters everywhere.”

For the scooter riders everywhere and the drivers who share the road with them, here are a few tips to reduce the risk of accidents and injuries:

Make Yourself Visible
Perhaps the single biggest safety issue for scooters and mopeds is their size, or lack thereof. Often, drivers simply do not see scooters.  Riders should:
- Keep headlight on at all times.
- Wear brightly-colored protective clothing that covers your arms and legs completely.
- Use reflective tape on your clothing, helmet and vehicle.
- Wear protective boots and gloves.
- Do not ride in another driver’s blind spot.
-Stay behind and to the right of the vehicle in front of you so you can see the vehicle’s turn signals.

Brake Carefully and Give Yourself Some Space
Remain a safe distance behind the vehicle in front of you when coming to a stop.
- Keep at least a two-second traveling distance between you and the vehicle in front of you to allow time to react if the driver ahead suddenly stops. It gives you time to see potholes, slippery spots and debris.
- Flash your brake light to warn others, by squeezing the brake lever before slowing down.
- If you squeeze the brake lever too hard, you may lock the front wheel and tip your moped over, particularly on wet or loose surfaces.
- Apply both brakes at the same time.Brake before entering a curve or turn.

Wear. A. Helmet.
If you value your brain, and you should, the single most important thing you can do while riding your scooter or moped is wear a helmet. Having a helmet not only protects your head in the event of a collision, but it also reduces wind noise, minimizes debris in your face and eyes and even helps protect you in extreme temperatures.

Stay Off the Phone.  While there has been a massive campaign to remind the public about the dangers of texting and driving, using your phone while on your scooter can distract you from the attention you need to be paying to the road and other drivers around you. Whether you’re texting (somehow) or just talking, keep your hands on the handlebars and focus on the road.

Indiana is one of the few states that still does not require a driver’s license in order to drive a scooter or moped, though that could soon be changing. But responsible riders (and the vast majority of riders are safe and responsible) know that their rides share the road with cars, trucks, and other drivers.  With a little caution and forethought, everybody should be able to share the roads safely.

After an Accident: 9 Things You Should Do To Take Care of Yourself and Protect Your Rights

You’ve just been in a car crash. Your heart is pounding. You may be in shock; confused, disoriented, and worried about yourself and your passengers.

You and others may be seriously injured. It’s a bad situation, but it’s important to try to keep your head together in order to avoid making it worse.

After an accident, there are a number of things you can and should do to take care of the well-being of everyone involved and to protect yourself and your rights. Nine simple steps you should take after an accident:

1.  Stop and get out of the way.
Assuming you are able, stop as close to the scene as possible, and try to get out of traffic to avoid further incidents. Turn on your hazard lights; that’s why they’re there.

2.  Call 911.  
Immediately contact the authorities to report the crash and request medical attention. If you don’t have a phone, try to flag someone down to call 911. Report the following:
- Location of your car
- Your name and address
- Your driver’s license number
- Your registration number
- If there are injuries

Be calm and truthful in answering questions, but do NOT admit fault and do NOT discuss the accident with anyone other than police and first responders.

3.  Collect and exchange information.  
It is crucial that you get the contact and insurance information of the other driver involved. While you should not get into an argument with the other driver, you should also not let them try to dissuade you from obtaining their information or try to convince you that you should resolve the matter without contacting insurance companies. Make sure you actually look at each piece of the other drivers’ identification and insurance information, and obtain the following information:
- Name, address, phone number of each driver
- Driver’s license information
- Make and model of all involved vehicles
- Vehicle(s) license plate number
- Automobile insurance company name and policy number
- Company name if a commercial vehicle is involved

4.  Take pictures.  
Use your phone to take pictures of the accident scene, including damage to all vehicles if possible. Try to do this before the cars are moved from the scene.

5.  Identify witnesses.  
Take down names and numbers of any witnesses, including passengers, passers-by, or anyone who has stopped to assist.

6.  Seek medical attention.
If the first responders thinks you should be taken to the emergency room (ER), then you should go.  If you are injured but do not go to the ER from the scene, you should seek medical treatment or evaluation — either at the ER or from your doctor — as soon after the accident as possible, even if you don’t think you are seriously injured.

7.  Call your insurance company.  
Report the accident, giving a detailed description. But do not admit fault and under no circumstances should you agree to any settlement without consulting with an attorney. In fact, as soon as possible, you should take step 8.

8.  Contact an experienced car accident lawyer.
Even if a lawsuit or a lawyer is the last thing on your mind, it is crucial that you discuss your accident with an attorney before agreeing to any settlement or making any recorded statements. A car crash lawyer can advise you as to how to proceed, how to protect your rights, and how to ensure that you are in the best possible position should disputes arise.

9.   Know that it’s going to be okay.
As traumatic as a serious accident can be, and as challenging as the aftermath may be, calm and smart decision making and a recognition that you will in fact recover from this setback can help you through this difficult process.

Back to School Means Back on the School Bus: Safety Tips For Parents to Keep Kids Safe

Parents may be surprised to learn that school buses are in fact the safest way for kids to get to and from school; safer even than their own cars.

According to the National Highway Transportation Administration, students are about 50 times more likely to arrive at school alive if they take the bus than if they drive themselves or ride with friends and about 20 times more likely to arrive safe than in a car driven by an adult.

School buses are designed to be safer than passenger vehicles in avoiding crashes and preventing injury, and school bus drivers are carefully screened and trained in loading and unloading of kids, security and emergency medical procedures and, of course, the all-important art of “student behavior management.”

The biggest dangers for kids, the NHTSA says, come when they are approaching or leaving a bus, not riding in one. As such, the following tips can help kids avoid serious injury or other problems in the school bus “danger zone,” which is the 10 feet in front, behind, and on each side of the bus:

1. Wait until the driver says it is safe to board. Then get on one at a time.

2. Once you’re off the school bus, walk five giant steps from the front of the bus, cross in front of the bus when the driver indicates it is safe, stop at the edge of the bus – look left-right-left again for traffic, and if there’s no traffic, cross the street.

3. Ask the driver for help if you drop something while getting on or off the school bus.Keep your loose items inside your backpack or book bag.

4. Once on the school bus, go directly to your seat and sit down facing forward. Remain in your seat facing forward when the school bus is moving.

5. Be respectful of the school bus driver, and always obey his or her instructions.

The Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation has information regarding the upcoming school year’s bus routes and related issues here. Have a safe and successful start to the 2023 school year!

Compensation for “Pain and Suffering” After an Indiana Car Accident: How Are Such Losses Valued?

I often get asked by clients who’ve been in serious car crashes what kind of compensation they might be able to recover in a lawsuit against the person responsible for causing their injuries.

Certainly, compensation can be sought and obtained for tangible, “economic” damages like medical bills, rehabilitation expenses, property damage, and past and future lost wages. On top of that, though, damages may also be awarded in car crash and other Indiana personal injury cases to compensate the victim for other hard-to-calculate yet very real damages caused by the accident.

Commonly known as “pain and suffering” damages, these “non-economic” damages are designed to compensate a plaintiff for the anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, inconvenience, discomfort, and ongoing pain experienced as the result of an accident.

The value of pain and suffering damages is difficult to define because these damages are not entirely calculated using receipts, invoices, billing statements or other tangible documentation. Pain and suffering damages are usually determined based on the severity of the accident and resulting injury and the anticipated length of time it will take you to fully recover from your injuries. The goal of pain and suffering damages is to provide you the amount of financial recovery it takes to make you whole again.

While there is no magic formula for calculating pain and suffering damages, some of the factors that are considered include:
- Cost of prescription medication to treat physical and mental pain
- Anticipated limitations and restrictions on the victim’s day-to-day life
- Impact of injury or accident on victim’s ability to sleep
- Impact of injury or accident on victim’s relationships with loved ones
- Victim’s prognosis for the future

Given the difficult to quantify nature of pain and suffering damages, the evidence that needs to be preserved and gathered to prove those damages can also be complicated.  One thing that is clear, however, is that the more evidence you are able to produce to support your claim, the better your chances to recover adequate damages.

Types of evidence that are most effective in proving pain and suffering damages after a car crash include:
- Photographs of the injured party before and after the accident
- Personal diaries or journals describing the victim’s physical and emotional state
- Letters or testimony from friends and family explaining how the personal injury has negatively impacted the victim’s life
- Proof of mental health treatment

Testimony from credible witnesses can also be crucial. A spouse is often an effective witness because he or she can identify problems that have surfaced since the accident or injury that the victim himself may not want to acknowledge. Expert witnesses such as doctors, psychologists, or nurses can also play a large role in establishing the extent of the pain and how long it is expected to last.

If you are experiencing pain and suffering as a result of a car crash or injury caused by another person’s recklessness, it’s important that you take the time to preserve records, pictures, letters or other documentation that you and your lawyer can use to get you compensation for the pain and suffering you have endured and may continue to face for years to come.

Construction Season on the Roads Means More Dangers for Drivers and Workers

In areas farther north than Evansville, it is often said that there are only two seasons: winter and construction season.

While the climate in southern Indiana is bit more hospitable, it doesn’t change the fact that summer is the time when significant work is done on our roads, highways, and bridges. If you’re taking a family road trip this summer, the odds are slim that you won’t pass through at least one construction zone with lane closures, uneven pavement, barriers in place of shoulders, and of course, workers doing their job.

All of the foregoing and many more road conditions that are the result of construction present heightened risks for both drivers and those working on the roads.Fatalities in highway construction and maintenance work zones averaged 778 from 1994 through 1999, 1060 from 2000 through 2006, and 669 from 2007 through 2012.  In Indiana, 13 people were killed and more than 300 injured in highway work zones in 2013.

In attempts to reduce these numbers, Indiana, like every other state, imposes steep penalties and fines for driving infractions in highway work zones. Drivers who injure or kill a highway worker, for example, could serve up to eight years in jail and pay $10,000 in fines.

The most common causes of construction zone accidents are speeding, tailgating, disregarding signs and signals, inattentive driving, and improper or reckless merging. The Indiana Department of Transportation has a number of tips for driving safely in work zones, including:

- Don’t text, talk or adjust controls
- Expect the unexpected such as significantly reduced speed limits, changed or merged lanes, and uneven pavement
- Slow down and observe work zone speed limits
- Don’t tailgate
- Keep a safe distance between your Vehicle, highway workers and their equipment
- Keep up with traffic
- Pay attention to signs
- Obey road crew flaggers
- Schedule enough time to drive safely
- Be Patient and Stay Calm

Slow traffic and delays due to highway construction can definitely be frustrating, but failing to adhere to common sense and posted safety rules could be tragic.

Damages Recoverable For Personal Injury to Your Spouse: “Loss of Consortium” Claims in Indiana

Serious injuries don’t only have an impact on the person who is injured. Their loved ones’ lives can be turned upside down by the financial, practical, and emotional burdens of caring for the injured person.

For spouses of the injured, these challenges can be compounded by the loss of the relationship they once knew with the person they love. Many injuries can cause long-term physical and psychological damage that can deprive a spouse of the love, affection, companionship, and assistance that was a core aspect of their lives prior to the accident.

In these cases, it’s not uncommon for a spouse to file his or her own claim within the personal injury (negligence) lawsuit. Indiana courts, citing the fundamental importance of the marriage relationship, recognize these “loss of consortium” claims, designed to compensate him or her for the loss of a normal relationship and all that entails. As the Indiana Court of Appeals noted in its 1991 decision Greene v. Westinghouse Electric Corp.

We fully agree that the law must protect the marital relationship, and we observe that the term loss of consortium . . . can indeed entail significant harm to the spouse of a plaintiff. . . Deprivation of conjugal relations may cause mental anguish to both partners, which is another aspect of damages in loss of consortium actions. Moreover, loss of consortium involves loss of the injured spouse’s companionship and services in maintaining the household. These losses may become permanent, depending on the severity of the injury, and are compounded where the couple has dependent children. “Consortium does not consist alone of intangible mental and emotional elements, but embraces within its ambit also services and charges which one partner in the marriage performs for the other and have a monetary and pecuniary value.”

Who can sue for damages related to loss of consortium?
There are plenty of folks involved in long-term relationships (cohabitation, same-sex couples) where the losses described above are no less impactful. However, under current Indiana law, loss of consortium claims are limited to the spouse of an injury victim.

Establishing a loss of consortium
To recover damages under a theory of loss of consortium, a spouse must prove the value of the loss. Courts consider a number of factors when calculating loss of consortium damages, including:
- The stability of the marriage
- The life expectancy of both husband and wife
- The nature and extent of the loss

When looking at the nature and extent of the loss, the court really looks at the type of injury and its likely recovery period, if any. For example, an injury victim who suffers a broken arm is far more likely to fully recover than someone who sustains a traumatic brain injury. In the latter case, the toll on the marriage is going to be far greater, resulting in more compensation.

If you have questions about whether an injury to you or your spouse could form the basis of a loss of consortium claim, consult with an experienced Indiana personal injury lawyer.

Distracted Driving Kills: Put Down the Phone

While we all understand that we shouldn’t text and drive, it is only when you see the statistics that the true extent of this epidemic becomes clear. According to the National Safety Council, 23 percent of car crashes are caused by so-called distracted drivers, and according to the latest federal data, more than 3,328 people were killed and approximately 421,000 people were injured in crashes involving distracted drivers nationwide in 2012. Teenagers, parents, seniors, children; the thousands of lives destroyed every year by distracted driving make this a public health crisis that requires immediate, coordinated, focused action.

Like most states, Indiana has implemented laws that seek to curb driver distractions. Indiana law bans text messaging for all drivers and all cell phone use for drivers 18 and under. Sadly, however, this has done little to reduce the number of distracted driving accidents.

Although texting is the biggest culprit when it comes to driver distractions, simply talking on a cell phone while operating a vehicle is inherently risky. The National Safety Council warns that even hands-free devices make drivers four times as likely to crash.

Although driving is something most of us seem to do on autopilot, driving a vehicle is actually a complicated task that requires a tremendous amount of concentration and motor skill. Research from the National Safety Council shows that drivers who hold cell phone conversations while driving miss half of the information in their environment. When we talk and drive, the distraction impacts three layers of driving.

We miss exits, fail to see red lights, and miss out on important details in our visual fields.

Even hands-free devices require us to take our hands off the wheel. Fiddling with phone buttons, wires, and power sources compromises our ability to stay in control of the vehicle. Reaction times are slower, leading to more accidents.

When our brains are inside a conversation, they are less likely to be focused on the task of driving.

Distracted drivers who cause accidents are liable for the injuries and property damage they cause. As an experienced Indiana personal injury and car crash lawyer, I have seen first-hand the tragic injuries and losses caused by distracted driving and urge all drivers to put down the phone when behind the wheel. If you have been involved in an accident involving a distracted driver, call me today at (812) 426-0600 or fill out our online form to schedule a free initial consultation.

Get Medical Attention After a Car Crash, Even If You Think You Don’t Need It

Not seeing a doctor can harm you – and your case.

You’ve been in a car crash. It’s a jarring experience for anyone, but luckily, you seem to be okay so you decide not to see a doctor or accept any medical attention. But while you are taking a number of other important steps in the immediate aftermath of your crash — calling the police, contacting your insurance company, collecting driver information, and consulting with a lawyer – your failure to seek medical treatment may be one of the biggest mistakes you can make. Getting medical attention as soon as possible after a car accident is important not only for your health and well-being, it can be crucial in the event that you decide to seek compensation for your injuries.

Often, people who are in car crashes don’t seek medical attention only to discover much later that they have actually sustained an injury. For example, brain injuries are notoriously difficult to detect. You may suffer a head trauma in a car collision, but symptoms such as dizziness, headaches and confusion may not present themselves until further down the road. Having a doctor evaluate your condition immediately can help you determine what steps you need to take, and what medical care and treatment may be necessary to help you heal.

Additionally, insurance companies may try to get you to settle right away, well before you understand the true toll an accident will have on your life, including the extent of medical treatment and rehabilitation necessary. Without medical advice, you may settle for far less than you need to compensate you for the true medical costs of the injury sustained.

Visiting a medical professional as soon as possible will create the most accurate and most complete record of the severity and extent of your injuries. Wounds heal, bruises fade, and memories lapse.  Medical records don’t. The more time that passes between your accident and your doctor’s visit, the harder it may be to prove that your injuries are the result of the accident.

It’s also a good idea to keep track of all medical expenses and related costs starting from the time of the accident. This will provide critical information and evidence to present to your lawyers, the insurance company or other parties involved with your claim.

Once you have taken care of your immediate medical needs, it is extremely important to then contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Under Indiana law, you must file a personal injury or wrongful case within two years of the date of the accident or within two years of discovering the injury. Failure to file a lawsuit within this timeframe may result in you losing your claim entirely.

How You Can Help Your Lawyer Help You in Your Personal Injury Case

In the movie Jerry Maguire, Tom Cruise’s titular character famously pleads with his client to “help me help you.”

If you have a personal injury case, there are many things you can do to help your lawyer help you get the compensation you are seeking and deserve.

While selecting and retaining the best personal injury lawyer is perhaps the single most important thing you can do in pursuing your personal injury claim, taking some simple steps immediately after an accident and throughout your case can provide your lawyer with additional support that can bolster your case and increase your chances of a successful result.

1. Get Evidence.
While you don’t have to be a detective or turn the scene of your accident into an episode of “CSI: Personal Injury,” gathering as much information and evidence immediately after the accident can help preserve important details about the occurrence and can give your attorney a head start in assembling the evidence he or she will need to put on a strong case. Take pictures, get the names and contact information of any witnesses, and preserve any physical evidence you can.

2. Hire Your Lawyer. Now.
There are so many immediate concerns after an accident — not the least of which is getting the medical attention you need – that the thought of a lawsuit or getting a lawyer may seem like something far down the list of priorities. But if you have any desire to seek justice or get the help you need to recover from your injuries, retaining a lawyer as soon as possible after your accident is crucial. Not only are there time limits for filing claims arising from your accident, some of which are extremely short, but memories fade, evidence disappears, and any insurance companies involved are already working on the case to find ways to avoid or minimize the amount they have to pay. Don’t give them that head start.

3. Do Not Negotiate With Insurance Companies.
Insurance companies aren’t charities. They are there to make money, and one way they try to maximize their profitability is to resolve claims as quickly and cheaply as possible. They will want you to settle for significantly less than your claim is actually worth, and if you start to negotiate with them without your lawyer, you could be costing yourself significant amounts of money.

4. Cooperate and Be Honest With Your Lawyer
Your lawyer is there to fight for you. In order to do that, he or she will need you to provide full and complete information about your accident and your injuries in order to thoroughly understand your case. Do not hold back anything; if there is information that you believe may hurt your case, it is even more important that you let your lawyer know that now because it will come out at some point. Everything you and your lawyer discuss is protected by the attorney-client privilege. Remember that. Also, if your lawyer asks you to see a doctor or take (or not take) any other steps they deem advisable, they are doing so for a reason. A good lawyer will explain what steps they need you to take and fully explain why those steps need to be taken.

If You Are Injured on the Job and are Receiving Workers’ Compensation, You May Also Have Claims Against Third-Parties.

Indiana, like every state, has established a system specifically designed to help people who suffer injuries while on the job.

Indiana, like every state, has established a system specifically designed to help people who suffer injuries while on the job. Indiana’s workers’ compensation program requires most employers to carry workers compensation insurance from which injured workers may obtain medical, rehabilitation and income benefits and, in the event an individual is killed in a work-related event, benefits may also be provided to the worker’s dependents.

A “work-related” injury for purposes of workers’ compensation benefits can include any number of incidents and can even happen outside the workplace; if you were making a delivery in a company truck and got into an accident or you injured your back while installing a large appliance at a customer’s home, for example.

One of the many unique characteristics of workers’ compensation is that it is usually the exclusive remedy that an injured worker has against his or employer for compensation related to that injury. Generally, an injured worker cannot sue their employer for damages in a personal injury lawsuit arising out of a work-related injury. Since workers’ compensation benefits are limited, this often leaves workers without compensation for pain and suffering or other damages that may be available in a civil personal injury lawsuit.

There are, however, situations where an injured worker may have a claim against other parties.  Some of these situations include:

If the injury was caused by a machine or a piece of equipment that was defective or unreasonably dangerous, a claim may be made against the manufacturer of the equipment;

If the injury was caused by a toxic substance, the manufacturer of the substance may be liable;

If the injury was caused by a third-party, such as the driver of another car, a claim may be made against that person or company.

NTSB Issues New Safety Recommendations to Prevent Catastrophic Tractor-Trailer “Underride” Accidents

“Underride” is the term used when a passenger car slides under the side or rear of the container of a big-rig. The differences in the height between car bumpers and tractor-trailer undercarriages can lead to devastation when a car hits the rear or side of a tractor-trailer. Along with blind spots, “underride” issues are some of the larger dangers unique to tractor-trailers and semi-trucks.

In an effort to reduce the numerous catastrophic injuries and fatalities caused every year by these issues, the National Transportation Safety Board issued seven recommendations
urging the National Highway Safety Administration to take action to improve the safety of tractor-trailers.

“Millions of large trucks travel our roadways every day, transporting goods and keeping the American economy moving,” said NTSB Chairman Deborah A.P. Hersman. “But research shows that eliminating blind spots and underride events would reduce fatalities and injuries involving other road users.”

The NTSB’s recommendations focused in part on side collisions with tractor-trailers. According to the NTSB, collisions with the sides of tractor-trailers result in about 500 deaths each year and many of these deaths involved side underride. “Side underride collisions are an important safety problem because they defeat crumple zones and prevent air bag deployment, both vital safety advances in improving protection of passenger vehicle occupants during crashes,” the NTSB said.  The recommendations call for a requirement that newly manufactured tractor-trailers be equipped with side underride protection systems, and that revisions be made to improve trailer rear underride guard standards to better protect passenger vehicle occupants from fatalities and serious injuries.

Tractor-trailers may have blind spots that can reduce the ability of drivers to see other vehicles and road users. A study by the NTSB found that this limited field of view can increase the risk of death or injury among passenger vehicle occupants, pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcyclists when drivers of tractor-trailers change lanes, make turns, go straight, or back up.

To combat these blind spot dangers, the NTSB is recommending a combination of better mirrors, such as crossover convex mirrors, as well as requiring all new trucks to be equipped with new technology such as side view assistance systems that monitor a truck’s blind spot with sensors, and rearview cameras and monitors.

As the “Crossroads of America,” Indiana sees more than its share of catastrophic tractor-trailer accidents. While it remains to be seen whether these recommendations will be implemented, any efforts to improve the safety of semi-trucks and reduce the likelihood of serious injuries and deaths should be supported.

Recovering Compensation for Injuries to Children in Indiana

All serious injuries are tragic and painful, disrupting the lives of the injury victim as well as their family for years to come.

When a child is the victim of a sudden, catastrophic injury caused by someone else’s negligence or recklessness, however, it can be an especially shattering experience for all involved. For parents, seeing a child suffer, his or her bright and hopeful future suddenly put at risk, and worries about their physical, mental, and emotional development and recovery can be overwhelming.

Many parents who find themselves coping with the trauma and challenges of a severely injured child, or worse, one who has been tragically killed, may have questions about their child’s rights, and their rights, to seek justice and compensation for the harm done to their child. In Indiana, as in most states, minors are not allowed to file lawsuits.  As such, the parents of an injured child can sue a potentially liable party both on behalf of their child and on behalf of themselves.

On behalf of the child, the parents can seek to recover damages for the child’s pain and suffering, permanent disability, loss of earning capacity as an adult, and other damages, while the parents can recover damages on their own behalf for past and future medical and rehabilitation expenses, as well as the loss of services or wages the child would have earned until he turned 18.

If a child is killed by the wrongful act of another, the parents can bring a wrongful death lawsuit in which they may recover damages for loss of the child’s services, loss of the child’s love and companionship, funeral and medical expenses, including the cost of psychiatric counseling for the parents, as well as any expenses incurred in administering the child’s estate.

If a settlement is reached involving injuries to a minor child, it must be first approved by the court. If the settlement is over $10,000, the court will appoint a guardian whose job it is to make sure that the settlement is in the child’s best interests. It is important to note that the proceeds of any settlement or judgment recovered on behalf of the minor child are in fact the property of the child, imposing certain obligations, limitations and duties on the parents as to when and how those proceeds may be accessed and used prior to the child turning 18.

If your child has been seriously injured or killed in a tragic incident, whether it be a car crash, playground mishap, dog attack, or an incident at a day care center, it is important that you speak with an Indiana personal injury attorney who has experience dealing with the unique issues and challenges involved in handling child injury cases. There are time limits as to when such claims must be filed, so reach out to an attorney as soon after the incident as you can.

Three Important Steps to Take After a Workplace Accident

While many workers’ compensation claims are handled without dispute, some employers and insurers try to minimize benefits or deny claims entirely.

Indiana, like every state, has established a system specifically designed to help people who suffer injuries while on the job. While many workers’ compensation claims are handled without dispute, some employers and insurers try to minimize benefits or deny claims entirely. Additionally, a workplace accident may be the basis of a claim against a third-party in addition to your workers’ compensation claim.

This is why it’s critical to take the proper steps to preserve all evidence of your claim from the very beginning of your accident. The hours and days immediately following any accident can be hectic. Knowing what to do in advance can help you keep a cool head and a clear vision of the way forward in your workers’ compensation case.

1. Report the injury
Report the injury to your employer as soon as possible. If you first become aware of your injury on the weekend, at home, or off the clock, reach out to any available supervisors or managers to let them know you have sustained a work-related injury. It’s important to notify your employer right away, as your employer may prefer for you to receive medical treatment at a particular hospital, clinic, or walk-in facility for workers’ compensation purposes.

2. Try to resolve disputes with your employer
If you are unsatisfied with your workers’ compensation doctor, or your insurer has denied your claim, talk to your employer. Workers’ comp battles can damage employee/employer relationships. Give your employer a chance to make things right.

3. Take detailed notes and pictures
Collect evidence immediately after your injury occurs. These days, most people have a smartphone or cell phone with a powerful camera inside. Take advantage of this technology. Take pictures of the area where your accident occurred. Additionally, make detailed notes of the time of day, what work task you were performing, what equipment you were using, the cleanliness of the facility, and your supervisor’s reaction after your injury. Also write down the names of any witnesses and record whether there were enough workers assigned to safely perform the task.

When Hitting the Brakes Doesn’t Work: 4 Common Causes of Rear-End Collisions

With so many accidents caused by rear-end crashes, it’s important to know how these accidents occur.

Indiana, Kentucky and Illinois car crashes can happen in any number of ways, but here, as in the rest of the country, rear-end collisions are easily the most common. Each year, more than 2.5 million rear-end accidents happen in the United States, according to the National Safety Council. The NSC also reports that about 20 percent of drivers hit from behind experience whiplash, which can be a long-lasting and debilitating injury.

With so many accidents caused by rear-end crashes, it’s important to know how these accidents occur. The most common reasons for rear-end crashes include:

Distracted Drivers.
Perhaps more so than any other category, distracted driving is responsible for a large number of rear-end accidents. Any activity that takes a driver’s eyes of the road – even for a few seconds – can lead to an accident. When motorists listen to music, text, use a cell phone, apply makeup, eat, or even glance in their backseat while driving, they are not fully engaged in operating their vehicle.

Following Too Closely.
You know what tailgating is and you have likely driven with someone following you way too closely for comfort. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, tailgating is responsible for one-third of all rear-end collisions. Many reasons lead drivers to follow too closely, including excessive speed, reckless driving, poor vision, and road rage.

Bad Weather.
Indiana gets some pretty nasty weather throughout the course of the year. Heavy rain, ice, and snow can make it difficult for drivers to see cars in front of them.

Drunk Drivers.
When drivers abuse substances and then get behind the wheel, accidents happen with disturbing frequency. Although most people associate impaired driving with alcohol, any substance that compromises a driver’s ability to operate his or her vehicle in a safe manner can lead to an accident. These substances include both illegal and prescription drugs as well as over-the-counter medication.

Don't Go It Alone

Insurance companies handle thousands of claims each year. They treat you like a number. We treat you like family. We take care of your case so you can take care of you.

We represent people on a no recovery–no fee basis. This means we front all the costs of taking on the insurance company and if we don’t win your case, you don’t owe us anything. We are always available to discuss your injury case with you. Call, text or email for a free consultation.

(812) 426-0600