“Drew’s Law” Aimed At Drunk Drivers Sent to Indiana Governor

A bill that would make it a crime to cause the death of an unborn child in a drunk driving accident is close to becoming law in Indiana. The Indiana Senate unanimously approved the measure in January and the House subsequently approved it unanimously in late February. “Drew’s Law,” which would amend IC 9-30-5-5, is now on the desk of Governor Mitch Daniels. Criminal penalties would also apply in the case of reckless driving.

The law is named for Drew Steinberger, who was killed in a horrific accident on New Year’s Eve 2007. Drew’s parents, Dustin and Danielle, championed the new law and set up a special website to publicize the measure. According to Richmond’s Pal-Item.com: “Drew was two weeks from his delivery date when his mother’s car was struck head-on by another vehicle in Richmond. Drew did not survive the accident and her injuries ended Danielle Steinberger’s ability to carry another child.”

It also turned out that the perpetrator had a history of motor vehicle violations including impaired driving but was never charged with DUI because apparently no blood samples were taken a the time of this tragic accident.

In addition to facing criminal charges, drunk drivers who injure other motorists or passengers can also be sued in civil court for money damages. If you or a loved one have been seriously hurt by a driver under the influence, please contact the personal injury lawyers at Young and Young in Indianapolis to obtain full information about your legal rights.

Spinal Cord Injuries, information and common causes

Approximately 40,000 Americans suffer spinal cord injuries every year. Although research is improving the quality of care surrounding spinal cord injuries, there is still much to be learned.  Unfortunately, it remains clear that spinal cord injuries are often permanent and almost always devastating.  At Young and Young we are experienced Indiana spinal cord injury attorneys. As accident lawyers and injury attorneys for more than fifty six years we know the impact s spinal cord injury has on a family.  We know that spinal cord injuries arise from construction accidents, traffic accidents, large truck accidents, semi tractor-trailer accidents, motorcycle accidents large truck crashes and falls.  Spinal cord injury can be accompanied by other injuries such as broken bones, brain injury and amputations.

The spinal cord injury can be so catastrophic because it can lead to paralysis.    If the injury is high in the spinal cord, the result can be quadriplegia, or the loss of sensation and motor movement from the neck down.  If the spinal cord injury is high enough in the neck (also called the cervical region) the result can be wrongful death.  If the injury occurs lower down in the spinal cord, the injury can be paraplegia, or the loss of sensation and motor movement from the waist down.

At Young and Young, as experienced Indianapolis Injury lawyers, we know that it is essential to work with all your medical professionals to completely understand the full extent of the spinal cord injury.  We know from experience that the injury will require many new and different types of treatments.  Usually the spinal cord injury is watched over by a hospitalist (also known as a physiatrist) who is the Captain of the ship so to speak.  They head up the team of medical specialists and coordinate treatment.  These professionals will include one or more of the following: neurosurgeon, neurologist, orthopedist, pulmonologist, infectious disease specialist, nephrologist, physical therapists, and others.  The injured Hoosier will initially be treated at an acute care hospital.  They will then be sent a rehabilitation hospital.  Therapies will last months, and will focus on adaptation.  Devices adapted to the injury will be introduced to help you re-enter your life and complete the activities of daily living, to get back to being as independent as possible.

Young and Young knows how to document all of the costs you will face, including future medical care, and future lost wages.  We have helped hundreds of spinal cord injured Hoosiers and we can help you and your family.  Call today for a free evaluation either in the hospital or in your home.

If My Back is Injured in an Accident – Can I Get Social Security Disability?

Young and Young is a firm of Indiana personal injury attorneys.  We are accident lawyers and accident attorneys.  We pride ourselves on being full service injury lawyers and accident attorneys.  When one of our clients is hurt in a traffic accident or a construction accident, we know that they may also have a claim for Social Security Disability benefits.  If you are in a car wreck with a drunk driver, or hit in a big truck accident, a semi tractor-trailer accident,  a motorcycle accident, a truck accident or any kind of trucking accident, we know the possibility of being severely injured is very real.   The injuries fall into a wide spectrum including broken bones, back injury, spinal cord injury, paralysis including paraplegia and quadriplegia, brain injury,  scarring, burns and wrongful death.  These injuries can interfere with your ability to work, earn a living and support your family. So let’s talk about a very common injury, the back injury and whether that allows you to qualify for Social Security Disability.

The rules and regulations for the Social Security Administration for Social Security Disability are found in the Code of Federal Regulations.  The specific Code Section is Section 20, parts 400-499. Appendix 1 to Subpart P of Part 404.  The listing looks like this:

Appendix 1 to Subpart P of Part 404—Listing of Impairments

The body system listings in parts A and B of the Listing of Impairments will no longer be effective on the following dates unless extended by the Commissioner or revised and promulgated again.

1. Growth Impairment (100.00): July 1, 1999.

2. Musculoskeletal System (1.00 and 101.00): June 7, 1999.

3. Special Senses and Speech (2.00 and 102.00): July 1, 1999.

4. Respiratory System (3.00 and 103.00): October 7, 2000.

5. Cardiovascular System (4.00 and 104.00): February 10, 2000.

6. Digestive System (5.00 and 105.00): December 6, 1999.

7. Genito-Urinary System (6.00 and 106.00): December 6, 1999.

8. Hemic and Lymphatic System (7.00 and 107.00): June 7, 1999.

9. Skin (8.00): June 7, 1999.

10. Endocrine System and Obesity (9.00) and Endocrine System (109.00): June 7, 1999.

11. Multiple Body Systems (110.00): July 1, 1999.

12. Neurological (11.00 and 111.00): July 1, 1999.

13. Mental Disorders (12.00 and 112.00): August 27, 1999.

14. Neoplastic Diseases, Malignant (13.00 and 113.00): June 7, 1999.

15. Immune System (14.00 and 114.00): July 1, 1999.

The part we want to discuss is the musculoskeletal system, because that this the section that talks about back injuries.  To meet any listing you must have the listed impairment (diagnosed and documented by your physician) and the impairment must be severe.  The section on back injury looks like this:

1.05 Disorders of the spine:

A. Arthritis manifested by ankylosis or fixation of the cervical or dorsolumbar spine at 30° or more of flexion measured from the neutral position, with X-ray evidence of:

1. Calcification of the anterior and lateral ligaments; or

2. Bilateral ankylosis of the sacroiliac joints with abnormal apophyseal

articulations; or

B. Osteoporosis, generalized (established by X-ray) manifested by pain and limitation of back motion and paravertebral muscle spasm with X-ray evidence of either:

1. Compression fracture of a vertebral body with loss of at least 50 percent of the estimated height of the vertebral body prior to the compression fracture, with no intervening direct traumatic episode; or

2. Multiple fractures of vertebrae with no intervening direct traumatic episode; or

C. Other vertebrogenic disorders (e.g., herniated nucleus puplosus, spinal stenosis) with the following persisting for at least 3 months despite prescribed therapy and expected to last 12 months. With both 1 and 2:

1. Pain, muscle spasm, and significant limitation of motion in the spine; and

2. Appropriate radicular distribution of significant motor loss with muscle weakness and sensory and reflex loss.

At Young and Young, we have been helping injured Hoosiers obtain their Social Security Disability Benefits for more than 20 years.  You work with an attorney who answers your calls and goes with you to your hearing.  You are not forced to waste time with a paralegal.  When you need your benefits, Young and Young will get them for you.  Call John P. Young today.

Government Liability For Hazardous Streets or Sidewalks

There’s about a month left in winter, but it’s still too early to put away the snow shovels. That goes for the government too, and not just in connection with ice or snow. Cities, towns, and counties throughout Indiana have a legal duty under the law to keep their streets and sidewalks in a reasonably safe condition all year round. If not, they could be responsible for personal injuries suffered by citizens on those streets or sidewalks. (A separate federal law, the Federal Tort Claims Act, typically applies to personal injuries on property owned by the federal government.) 

Back in 2002, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled that Indiana government on the state, county, or local level (i.e., a governmental “entity” or unit) has a common law duty to exercise reasonable care and diligence to keep their streets and sidewalks in a reasonably safe condition for travel. 

To make matters more complicated, a governmental entity is not liable for temporary, weather-related conditions that results in injuries under Indiana law. In fact, the Indiana Supreme Court recently ruled that this form of legal immunity for the temporary weather conditions lasts until the weather condition has stabilized or stopped worsening and the government has had a reasonable opportunity to respond.

 One practical tip in the event of a winter accident: Any Hoosier who gets hurt in a slip-and fall because of icy or snowy conditions should try to take photos of the accident scene promptly. Snow has a habit of melting, even in Indiana! 

A governmental unit must have notice of unsafe conditions before it is considered legally liable, but that knowledge can be in the form of actual knowledge or “constructive” knowledge. Actual knowledge means that the state or local government entity knows about a problem on the road or sidewalk but failed to make repairs. Constructive knowledge in general means that the government should have known about the problem if it was paying attention. As a matter of law, the governmental body will be considered to have constructive knowledge of the problem if it existed long enough that had it exercised reasonable care under the circumstances, it would or should have known/discovered the unsafe defect. 

Bringing a claim, let alone proving one, against the state or federal government for personal injuries can sometimes be more challenging than a personal injury case against a private company or private citizen, so it is important to retain expert legal counsel right away. At Young and Young, we have over 55 years of experiences helping people recover the proper compensation for their injuries.  Please give us a call to set up a free consultation.

What is an Indiana Drunk Driving Lawyer?

Although it is illegal, many people still drink and drive. Drunk drivers cause all kinds of havoc.  It is common for drunk drivers to be in large truck accidents, semi tractor trailer accidents, traffic accidents, accidents with motorcycles, trucking accidents, accidents with pedestrians. The injuries and damages caused by a wreck with a drunk driver can be horrible.  So what is an Indiana Drunk Driving lawyer and why do you need one?

An Indiana Drunk Driving lawyer is an experienced accident lawyer and injury lawyer who makes it their business to make drunk drivers clean up the messes they make.  The smart injury attorney knows that fair compensation is essential for Hoosiers who have been injured by a drunk driver.  Experience is key.  You cannot afford to risk your family’s financial welfare by hiring a lawyer who does not work every day on pursuing drunk drivers when they have hurt another.  What does experience give you?  It gives you rapid response when the case first occurs.  It gives you the ability to work with police and prosecutors in the prosecution of the drunk driver who caused the injuries.  It gives you the knowledge of how to use the guilty plea or conviction of the drunk driver to your advantage when pressing your rights to fair compensation.  It gives you the ability to interact with your doctors to most effectively demonstrate the full extent of your injuries.  Sometimes graphic depictions of your injuries or how the injuries affect your life are essential to proving the full extent of the harm.

An experienced Indiana Drunk Driving Attorney gives you that personal touch, based on working with thousands of Hoosier families.  It gives you home visits and hospital visits and rehabilitation visits and discussions about how you are going to get through all of this with your family and life intact. At Young and Young, we are experienced Indiana Drunk Driving attorneys.  John P. Young has been on the front line with families who have been devastated by drunk drivers. Mr. Young has represented Hoosiers injured by drunk drivers for more than 21 years.  Mr. Young is a member of Mother Against Drunk Driving and has been for years.  Mr. Young has been in attendance at Mothers Against Drunk Driving Victim Impact Statements.  Mr. Young has created day in the life videos telling those who need to hear it, all about this special person who was killed by the drunk driver, or all about the injuries caused by the drunk driver.  Mr. Young is an experienced and aggressive Indiana Drunk Driving injury attorney.  Call today.

NOTICE: No face-to-face meeting needed. You can remain safely in your home from case signup to settlement.