Motorcyclist Without Helmet Killed In Evansville

As we’ve blogged previously, even though a helmet is unpopular with many motorcycle riders, it is an essential piece of safety equipment to perhaps avoid a serious road accident or to minimize the consequences of one. There is no cure for a brain injury other than avoidance. A brain injury can leave permanent life-altering damage including spinal cord injury and/or paralysis, and possibly death.

In what that media says is the latest of three recent fatal motorcycle accidents in Indiana and Kentucky, a 63-year-old man operating a motorcycle going southbound on U.S. 41 in the Evansville area Sunday morning struck a white pickup truck as it crossed the southbound lanes of U.S. 41. The motorcyclist, who was not wearing a helmet, was tragically pronounced dead at the scene. The pickup truck driver was wearing a seat belt and the accident left him uninjured. The Vanderburgh County Sheriff’s Department is investigating. In the other two fatalities, the motorcyclists were also without helmets.

With the warm weather upon us, the roads will be crowded with vehicles of all sorts, including an increase in motorcycle traffic. Sgt. Matt Schnell of the Vanderburgh Sheriff’s office reminds all Hoosiers that roadway safety in Indiana is a matter of common sense:  “Focus on the road. That goes for automobiles and motorcyclists as well.”

Indiana Injury Attorney on Tainted Toys

John P. Young is your Indiana injury attorney.  Mr. Young practices in Indianapolis law firm of Young and Young which has been in business for more than 56 years.  Today I want to talk about toys and children.  In the paper, in the let it out section of the Indianapolis Star was the following quote. 

“If people are going to sue McDonalds over toys, why not sue Wendy’s, Burger King and all the others too?” 

LET’S GET DOWN TO THE HEART OF THE MATTER.  The person that wrote this thinks suing someone who causes another harm is dirty business.  Why do they think that?  They think that because the insurance industry has effectively convinced people that asking someone who is negligent and causes injury to pay for the harm they cause is a dirty idea. The insurance industry has convinced people of this because the insurance industry makes more money when citizens are fooled into thinking that an injured person is trying to get something for nothing or is just sue happy.  As you know, drivers and companies and people are insured.  They are insured so that if they are negligent and hurt someone, the insurance will pay for the harm done.  If the Insurance industry convinces people that lawsuits are dirty, then those same people, when they are jurors, will not give the injured person fair compensation for the harm they have suffered.  Really, the insurance industry has convinced us that what our Mothers taught us is not right, that you should make up for the harm you cause.  If people think it is ok not to have to make up for the harm they cause only the insurance company profits.  Society does not profit from this thinking.  On the contrary, society suffers when people think it is okay not to make the insurance companies pay fair compensation. For example, think about the person who is in a wreck and becomes paralyzed.  If the insurance company for the person who negligently caused the collision is not made to make up for the harm, by paying medical bills and lost wages, then we, as a society have to make up for that harm by paying to keep the injured Hoosier through Medicare or Medicaid, and Social Security Disability.  So the truth is when we buy into the insurance company’s lies, we only hurt ourselves.  

Now, let’s talk about those toys.  The problem with the toys is that the paint on them contains lead.  Lead is a poison that cripples a child’s brain.  If the child’s brain is damaged by the lead, then that child will not be able to be a healthy contributing member of society.  That child will require support through Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.  So is the issue really about that dirty idea a suing someone or is it really asking the person who causes the harm to make up for the harm? If people and businesses know they will have to make up for the harm they cause, they will be more careful and less likely to buy cheap lead painted toys. If McDonald’s bought toys from a reputable manufacturer (maybe even an American rather than Chinese manufacturer) there would be no lead in the toys.  However, because they buy cheap toys with lead in the paint and then entice children to come to their restaurant to eat and play with those lead tainted toys, then yes, McDonalds, and anyone else who attempts to make an unjust profit, should be sued.  McDonalds should make up for the harm they cause.  If McDonald’s (and its insurer) knows it will have to make up for the harm caused by the lead in the toys, they will be less likely to allow lead in the toys.  Should the maker of the toys be held responsible as well?  Yes they should be held responsible too.  There should be no incentive to take the cheap way out and endanger children.  As long as American Jurors stick to what their mother’s taught them, that people should make up for the harm they cause, the incentive to take advantage will be lost.

Indiana Injury Attorney on Crib Safety

John P. Young is your Indiana Injury Attorney.  Mr. Young has been in practice more than 22 years, practicing with the Indianapolis, Indiana law firm of Young and Young.  Young and Young has been in the business of assisting injured Hoosiers since 1954.  We help injured Hoosiers all over the state.  We specialize in serious injury cases only, such as wrongful death, spinal cord injury resulting in quadriplegia and paraplegia, burns, blindness, broken bones, amputation and brain injury.  Given that the risk of death of babies is a huge concern for us, we would like to pass on information about cribs that is of immediate importance to parents.  It is a maxim of safety engineering that any product defects which can reasonably be reduced or eliminated must be reduced or eliminated.  If they can reasonably be eliminated it is not enough to simply reduce the risk. The risk must be eliminated.  Reasonable means from an engineering and cost prospective.  Therefore if there is an effective engineering solution at a reasonable cost is available it must be used to reduce or eliminate unreasonable risks of harm or death to the consuming public.  A very simple example of this is toys with lead paint.  Paint without lead is available and cheap.  There is no excuse, therefore to use leaded paint on toys. Those manufacturers that use leaded paint on toys (China) must be forced to fix the harm their toys cause to children.  They must not have any incentive to use leaded paint in their toys.

More than two million baby cribs have recently been recalled.  The cribs pose a risk of serious injury or death to infants by suffocation or brain injury.  The defect is in the sliding door which can fall open and creating the risk of a baby having their head caught causing brain injury or death.  The paper states that at least seven children have died as a result of the crib’s design.  The recalled cribs were manufactured by the following manufacturers: Delta, Child Craft, Jardine Enterprises, LaJobi, Million Dollar Baby, and Simmons Juvenile products.  If you need more information you can visit the website for the Consumer Product Safety Commission.  If you have such a crib, stop using it immediately and contact the manufacturer immediately for further instructions.   This recall brings the total recall of cribs at 9,000,000 since 2005.

We applaud the Consumer Product Safety Commission for its vigilance.  We know some will say this is just another example of unwarranted governmental intrusion into the lives of Americans.  Anyone who says this has never encountered the pain and hopelessness of the loss of a child.  Even one unnecessary death is too many.  Everyone with empathy for their fellow human beings understands this truth.

Fatal Accident in Indianapolis; Alcohol May Have Played a Role

Especially during the summer travel season, driving drunk and/or recklessly and not buckling up can sadly be a deadly combination. On Wednesday night, police say a motorist in a Ford Explorer ran a red light on the southside of Indianapolis and crashed into the front of a Chevy Tahoe. The motorist in the Ford was pronounced dead at the scene; the Tahoe occupants were uninjured. Police indicate that the deceased motorist, age 26, may have been drinking alcohol; he was also operating the vehicle with a suspended learner’s permit.

Driving responsibly is job number one for all Hoosiers when it comes to roadway safety, particularly as more of us get out on the roads during vacation season. If you or a family member have been injured in a highway accident owing to the negligence of another driver, however, it is important to retain legal counsel with the experience and skills needed to obtain full compensation for your injuries in civil court. The accident lawyers at Young and Young in Indianapolis have represented thousands of Hoosiers with serious auto accident injuries. We have more than 55 years of Indiana personal injury experience waiting to help. We may also be able to help you access Social Security Disability or other benefits if you are unable to work.

Suspected Drunk Driver Crashes Into Indianapolis Residence

In a famous, recurring sketch, the Monty Python comedy group used to joke that nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition. No one really expects a car to come crashing through your front door, either, but the following incident suggests that you can’t be totally safe from the actions of a drunk driver, even if your own car is parked in the garage.

Earlier this week, a motorist swerving to avoid another vehicle wound up smashing into the front of an Indianapolis residence on Troy Avenue. Police arrested the driver on suspicion of driving under the influence. According to news reports, the motorist was only slightly injured in the actual accident but later suffered some kind of medical issue after being admitted to the hospital and is now on life support. Miraculously, none of the family members in the home were injured, but the house itself was damaged to the tune of about $75,000, including a kitchen that will need to be entirely rebuilt.

if you or a loved one have been seriously hurt, or incurred property damage, as a result of the negligence of a drunk driver, please contact the Indiana personal injury lawyers at Young and Young to obtain full information about your legal rights to recover money damages in civil court.

Trooper Killed By Alleged Drunk Driver

As everyone knows, last night was Game 7 of the NBA Championship between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Boston Celtics. A horrific highway accident out of Massachusetts may have a connection with the deciding game. A state trooper who had pulled over another driver weaving across lanes in an Acura on suspicion of drunk driving in the early morning hours was killed by another driver, who apparently also was drunk. According to the Boston Herald, "As [the officer] spoke with that driver… another driver allegedly smashed a Ford truck into the Acura, which dragged [the officer] across three lanes."

A 28-year-veteran of the force, the trooper leaves a wife and four children. Both drivers in question had extensive driving infractions and multiple traffic accidents on their records.  The driver of the Ford truck on a preliminary basis has been charged with vehicular homicide among other things, and additional charges may be forthcoming following an investigation. The Acura driver has been charged with drunk driving. There are a lot of as-yet unanswered questions in this incident, which the investigation will probably resolve.

This is pure speculation at this point, but perhaps one or both of the men could have been returning from Celtics viewing parties or sports bars. For what’s it worth, the Ford motorist is pictured in the Boston Herald wearing a Celtics jersey as he is being led into a Massachusetts court today. The state has revoked the licenses of both drivers, and the likelihood is that the operator of the truck will spend a significant time behind bars. A civil suit for wrongful death is also likely.

Major sporting events, particularly the Super Bowl, have almost become national holidays. With celebrations comes drinking. Most people drink responsibly, but this tragedy reaffirms that sadly not everyone takes the dangers associated with alcohol and driving seriously.

Helmets Reduce Risk of Serious Head Injuries

As we’ve discussed previously, the most effective "cure" for brain injury is preventing or minimizing the injury in the first place. And one sure way to minimize most brain injuries is to wear a helmet while riding a bike or motorcycle to absorb the impact of a possible collision. As Michigan orthopedic surgeon Dr. Joseph Guettler writes in an online article: "Cuts, bruises, sprains, and even broken bones will heal, but damage to your brain can last a lifetime. In an instant your head can smack the street, sidewalk, curb, a car, tree or anything else around you. Some of the most tragic cases that I have seen are closed head injuries. Sadly, many would have been prevented if a helmet was worn."

Kids are particularly vulnerable to head injuries, he explains, because of their proportionally larger heads, higher centers of gravity, and less developed coordination skills.

In choosing a helmet for yourself or any member of your family this summer, the doctor recommends getting one that meets the standards of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. He advises that an appropriate helmet should be snug, level, and stable.  It also should be brightly colored so motorists can see you easily.

An unprotected head is an easy target for brain injury. A brain injury can leave permanent life-altering damage including spinal cord injury and/or paralysis. As you or your loved ones enjoy the summer weather on a bike or motorcycle, remember that a helmet is an inexpensive way to minimize the harm of a brain injury in a road accident.

Indiana Injury Attorney on Negligent Driving

John P. Young is your Indiana Injury Attorney.  Practicing with the firm of Young and Young, in Indianapolis, Mr. Young has been working exclusively for injured Hoosiers for more than 22 years.  Mr. Young represents Hoosiers seriously injured by the negligence of others.  Negligence is the failure to act like a reasonable person.  Examples include that reasonable drivers stop at stop signs and obey the rules of the road, reasonable drivers do not drive drunk, reasonable truck drivers follow the rules of the road and the rules set out for them by the Federal Highway Safety Administration, reasonable contractors put safety first by following OSHA rules and regulations.  It is not tough to act reasonable.  It just takes a little thought. Remember it may be your mother or father in that other car.

Because we represent people with serious injuries, we have learned much about the medicine involved in brain injury, amputation, spinal cord injury, burns, blindness, broken bones, and the factors that lead up to wrongful death.  Unfortunately the roads present an ever present danger along with the multitude of benefits.  In Brownsburg, Indiana Sunday a young woman died in a two car accident. Kaytlyn P. Merritt, a recent high school graduate was pronounced dead at the Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis.  The auto accident happened about 10:30 p.m. Ms. Merritt was a passenger in the car driven by Lauren Amburgy.  Ms. Amburgy was travelling on Ind. 267 when she turned left off 267, attempting to head north on Northfield.  Unfortunately, Ms. Amburgy turned into the path of the oncoming car driven by Hunter Weaver. Young and Young offers their sincerest sympathies to the Merritt and Amburgy families.

If the information in this report is true (we always take news reports with a grain of salt because our more thorough investigations sometimes reveal errors in news reports) then Ms. Amburgy was a negligent driver.  The rules of the road require her to wait for the car with the right of way to pass before turning.  Failure to follow the rules of the road, without a good reason for not doing so, is negligence.  We understand that Ms. Amburgy did not intend to be negligent, nor did she intend to harm her friend, but her actions were negligent, and she must make up for the harm she caused to the Merritt family.          

If you, a friend or a loved one, have been injured as a result of another’s negligence, call John P. Young toll free at 1-888-639-5161 or contact him on the web at  Mr. Young guarantees there will be no fee unless you recover fair compensation for your injuries.

The “Fast and Furious” Results in Fatal Accident

Add high-speed road racing to the risks to roadway safety in Indiana. Last week, a Greene County jury sentenced a man to four years in prison for aiding in the reckless homicide in the death of an Indiana motorcyclist. In May 2009, he and another man were allegedly racing each other side by side (one in a Camaro, the other in a Toyota Supra) on State Road 43 when they crested a blind hill on a double-yellow line and at least one vehicle apparently crashed head-on into a motorcycle. Both cars were allegedly traveling in excess of 70 mph on the rural road.  (The other alleged racer is already serving an eight-year sentence for the fiery collision in which two people were killed.)

In imposing the four-year sentence, the presiding judge said that "this was a tragic accident that could have and should have been avoided. Just such a shame." The Greene County jury also found the man guilty of the lesser charges of  criminal recklessness with a deadly weapon and reckless driving. The man insists has denied the road race allegation and will appeal his conviction.

It’s the state’s job to pursue criminal charges against the offender in a horrific, tragic  incident of this nature. Money damages are another matter. If you or a family member have been injured in a car accident owing to the recklessness of another driver, it is important to retain legal counsel with the experience and skills needed to obtain full compensation for your injuries in civil court. The accident lawyers at Young and Young in Indianapolis have represented thousands of Hoosiers with serious auto accident injuries. We have more than 55 years of Indiana personal injury experience waiting to help.

Teen Sleep Deprivation and Car Accidents

We’ve discussed previously in this blog how a new driver behind the wheel can create a lethal weapon. Minors have less driving experience, and inexperience (and often lack of maturity and good judgment) means less ability to control a car in an emergency. Drinking and texting are usually key factors in a car wreck, and parents must continue to educate their children about the importance of safe driving habits. But a new study out of Virginia suggests that there may be a cause-and-effect relationship between driving accidents involving high schoolers and lack of sleep.

Researchers at Eastern Virginia Medical School found that Virginia Beach had a 41 percent higher teen auto accident rate than neighboring Chesapeake. In Virginia Beach, high school classes start at 7:25 a.m. while students in Chesapeake begin at 8:40 a.m.

Dr. Robert Vorona, the study author, suggests that school systems in general consider a later start time for students who virtually always tend to stay up later than they should. “We think the Virginia Beach students may be sleep-deprived,” he said, “and that is perhaps the reason for the increased crashes. It’s difficult for teens to get adequate amounts of sleep. Anything we can do to optimize things for them is a good thing.”

Virginia Beach officials want to look more closely at all the data before even considering making a time change. Vorona himself conceded that the statistics don’t prove a direct relationship between school starting times and roadway safety.

Leaving aside the age of the offender, if you or a loved one have been seriously hurt in a traffic accident on Indiana roads owing to the actions of a reckless or negligent driver, please contact the Indiana personal injury lawyers at Young and Young to obtain full information about your legal rights to recover money damages in civil court.

The Wedding “Crashers”

There is never a good time to get into a traffic accident, whether it’s a minor fender-bender or a serious car wreck, but having it happen on your wedding day is perhaps the worst of all possible contingencies. Last Saturday afternoon, a shuttle bus carrying a wedding party in downtown Indianapolis collided with an SUV. The impact tipped over the bus on its side, and tragically one of the members of the party was killed from head trauma. Some 14 others suffered minor injuries. The group of celebrants was on its way to take wedding-day pictures.

Police indicate that one of the drivers in the road accident ran a red light; an investigation is ongoing as to who was at fault. Authorities also drew blood samples, which is standard procedure in a fatal accident.

With the help of nurses and others, the steadfast couple exchanged vows in a conference area in Methodist Hospital’s emergency room later that day, with about 100 people in attendance for the brief, emotional ceremony.

A subsequent news media account indicates that witnesses told police that the bus operator failed to stop at the red light. As an added twist, the SUV motorist apparently was driving without a license. No arrests were made at the scene, however. Presumably multiple Indiana personal injury lawsuits will arise out of this incident–a wedding day that no one involved will ever forget.

Indiana Attorney General Warns Against Texting While Driving

Greg Zoeller, Indiana’s Attorney General, recently met with AT&T Indiana President Geoge Fleetwood and state lawmakers to urge all drivers to avoid sending or checking text messages while behind the wheel. The attorney general’s office is apparently aligning with AT&T’s national anti-texting-while-driving awareness campaign.

Although distracted drivers come from all age groups, Zoeller noted that “Young drivers may already have a false sense of invulnerability. Couple that with the fact that today’s young drivers are from a generation that has possessed cell phones longer than they have had driver’s licenses, and you have a recipe for a multi-tasking disaster."

The AG also warned drivers of the potential legal liability for a distracted driving road accident: “Texting while driving will put you immediately at fault, and so you should consider whether your auto insurance company will cover your own negligence."

Under an Indiana law enacted in 2009, it is illegal for any motorist age 18 and younger to text or use any wireless devices while driving. Legislation is pending that would ban texting for all drivers regardless of age.  Although enforcement of these kinds of well-intentioned laws may help to improve highway safety and avoid car wrecks to some degree, the best way to avoid a distracted driving highway accident is to never be texting yourself and to keep an eye out for other motorists paying insufficient attention to the road.

For more information on the AT&T roadway safety initiative, visit the company’s online resource center.

NFL Player’s Brother in Stable Condition After Motorcycle Accident

Mathias Kiwanuka, the New York Giants defensive end, and his brother Benedict, were riding their motorcycles in Indianapolis on May 28 when Benedict apparently crashed into a car pulling out of an apartment complex. Police indicate that Benedict was not wearing a helmet and was thrown some 100 feet by the impact. Media reports indicate that he was in stable condition in the hospital with multiple injuries including a severe arm injury.

As we’ve noted previously, many crashes occur when a car or truck either pulls out in front of a motorcycle or turns in front of the motorcycle. That may or may not have been the case here. Police are currently investing the incident. That being said, drivers must be extremely vigilant to avoid traffic accidents when the warmer weather brings out motorcycle enthusiasts. Fortunately, report from the Governors Highway Safety Association shows that national motorcycling fatalities dropped by at least 10 percent in 2009, and we hope that trend continues.

And even though a helmet is unpopular with many bikers, and is not required by Indiana law other than for beginners, this incident is a reminder that it is an essential piece of safety equipment.

Participation in a motorcycle training course prior to operating on the road is also recommended. American Bikers Aimed Toward Education (ABATE) of Indiana is a great resource for training and awareness for motorcyclists.  You can also contact your local Bureau of Motor Vehicles for information about safety courses available in your area.  For the summer travel season, and actually year round for that matter, it should always be safety first. Whether you are operating a car, truck, or motorcycle, no Hoosier wants to wind up as an Indiana personal injury statistic.

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