Possible Link Found Between Concussions And ALS

You’ve probably seen the footage of New York Yankees legend Lou Gehrig giving his poignant retirement speech in 1939. Gehrig was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), an incurable, fatal brain disease which became known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

The field of traumatic brain injury is benefiting from a substantial amount of ongoing investigation conducted by medical experts. Boston University researchers, for example, are now suggesting that ALS may be concussion related. They apparently found a large amount of an abnormal protein called TDP-43 in the brain and spinal cord of two former football players and one boxer all of who suffered from ALS.  The common denominator among all three was a history of repeated blows to the head. It turns out that Gehrig, too, was apparently hospitalized three and four times with major concussions. It’s too early to tell if there is a direct link, so more research will be necessary, but one of the researchers told CNN the following:

Is there a possibility that Lou Gehrig did have this new disease instead of sporadic ALS? It is possible but we really will never know. What’s important to know is that Lou Gehrig, like so many athletes, went back to play over and over again with a repetitive head injury. We know that’s not good.

As a practical matter, most Hoosiers are more likely to “get their bell rung” in a car wreck or in slip-and-fall accidents than in competitive sports. If you or a loved one have been involved in an accident involving a blow to the head, see your doctor immediately, and follow the medical advice given. If the condition was the result of an injury caused by the negligence of someone else, legal representation is also important. Contact the experienced Indiana personal injury lawyers at Young & Young in Indianapolis for a private, confidential, and free consultation.

After Fatal Accident, Indianapolis PD Considers Field-Sobriety Policy For Officers

John Young has written several blog postings about the firestorm surrounding IMPD officer David Bisard who was involved in a collision while operating his police cruiser allegedly under the influence of alcohol. A motorcycle operator lost his life in the accident. There was no field-sobriety test taken administered at the scene which is in part the source of the controversy, but a change in police department policy may be on the horizon.

The IndyStar.com website reports as follows:

The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department doesn’t require officers involved in crashes to take breath tests to determine whether they were under the influence of alcohol…”My sense is we will be moving very quickly in that direction” for police,  [Indianapolis public safety director Frank] Straub said.

DUI charges against the officer were dismissed for lack of evidence, but he is far from out the woods.  He still faces reckless homicide and criminal recklessness charges.

Mandatory field sobriety testing following accidents is already in effect for Indianapolis firefighters, so the precedent has been established; it’s likely a similar protocol will soon be implemented for police officers.

Leaving aside the specifics of this controversy, drunk drivers sadly come from all walks of live.  In a drunk driving-related traffic accident, each motorist should be treated equally under the law, and then let the chips fall where they may based on where the evidence leads.

Alleged Drunk Driver Sends His Own Family To Hospital

It’s bad enough for a drunk driver to harm someone in another car, but it’s even more devastating when the driver’s own family winds up in the emergency ward perhaps because of incredibly irresponsible behavior by the head of the household.

Earlier this week, a motorist in Noble County, Indiana, failed to stop at an intersection and collided with another vehicle. The motorist had his wife and two young daughters (one of whom was a toddler) in the car, and the girls were flown to a Ft. Wayne hospital for treatment for internal injuries. Apparently neither child was buckled in which may have compounded their injuries.  According to media reports, police found open alcoholic beverage containers in and around the car. Police charged him with operating a vehicle while intoxicated, and he may have had prior convictions for the same offense. Additional felony charges may emerge from this incident. Fortunately no one was hurt in the other vehicle.

Someone who may be an active alcoholic has no business getting the wheel and putting his or her own family in harm’s way.  What about the other potential innocent victims too? In this particular incident, two families came close to almost being destroyed in a car wreck that apparently could and should have been avoided. What will take for people to get the message?

If you (or a loved one) have been injured in a drunk driving accident through no fault of your own, Young & Young wants to help you with our experience as Indiana drunk driving accident lawyers and attorneys. Call us toll free, at 1-888-639-5161, for a no-obligation consultation.

Teen Driver Allegedly Falls Asleep, Crashes Into Minivan

A local Indiana media outlet is reporting that an 18-year-old man avoided serious injury despite being in a car-minivan accident westbound on the Indiana Toll Road. The accident occurred on Monday afternoon near the S.R. 19 overpass in Elkhart. The driver may have fallen asleep, according to the media report and perhaps as a result, his car struck the minivan. The minivan went off  into a ditch but the minivan operator was unhurt. The car, however, flipped and burned, although the driver fortunately escaped with minor burns. The car was a total loss.

In June, we blogged about a Virginia study suggesting that sleep deprivation may be a factor the high rate of teen traffic accidents. Police are investigating this incident, and it  remains to be seen if the driver in this case dozed off.  As another common-sense principle, drivers should never get behind the wheel if they are having a hard time keep their eyes open.

Leaving aside the age of an 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, impaired, 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. With 55 years of experience, we stand ready and able to help you make the person who caused the harm to fully compensate you for that harm.

Campus Safety Recommendations

In addition to kids in public school, parents in this back-to-school season also need to be mindful of the safety of their children who have left the nest to embark on the new college semester. This is especially true for incoming freshman moving in to a dormitory for the first time and who may be somewhat unfamiliar with campus life. Courtesy of the Indiana State Police, here are a few higher-education safety tips for the dorm and out and about on campus:

  • –  Keep your dorm room door locked whenever the room is unoccupied, if you are in
  •    the room alone or if you are sleeping.
  • –  Take care of your room keys. Don’t give anyone the opportunity to duplicate
  •    them and never leave a key over the door or nearby your room. [That could also
  •    apply to car keys]
  • –  Don’t leave valuables, like your wallet, checkbook or jewelry, in open view.
  • –  Keep drapes closed when changing clothes.
  • –  Never walk or jog alone at night. If alone, avoid secluded or dimly lit areas. Stay
  •    away from wooded areas or locations where shrubs or buildings might provide
  •    cover for assailants.
  • –  Never hitchhike or offer rides to strangers.
  • –  Have your car or residence hall key (or swipe card) in hand and ready as you
  •    approach your vehicle or dorm.
  • –  If you are at a party, never leave your drink unattended. It becomes an easy
  •    target for someone to spike with alcohol or drugs.
  • –  Trust your instincts. If you feel uncomfortable in a place or situation, leave.

In addition, with binge drinking unfortunately also a popular activity on and off campus,  college students should once again be reminded never to drink and drive. As we have documented time after time, the consequences of getting behind the wheel in an intoxicated condition can be horrendous. A car wreck or even a  fatal accident, caused by a drunk driver be the result. Call a cab, make arrangements with a designated driver, or find another safe way back home or to the dorm. As we mentioned in a previous blog entry, tell your college-age children to stay put if it’s safe; anything to keep them from drinking and driving.

Indiana Spinal Injury Attorney

We hope neither you nor family ever have to deal with a spinal cord injury that is visited upon you because of another negligence. Negligence, you will remember, is simply the failure of another person to act like a reasonable person. In an auto accident, a negligent person is the person who fails to follow the rules of the road. In a construction accident, the negligent person (or company) is the person who does not comply with OSHA rules and regulations, in a semi tractor-trailer accident, the negligent truck driver is the driver who does not follow the rules of the road, and does not comply with all safety rules and regulations for maintaining and operating the big rigs. The list goes on and on. After all, the purpose of tort law is accident and injury prevention. It is only when we fail in this first purpose that we turn to the second purpose of tort law, fair compensation to the person who was injured because another did not act reasonably.

If you are dealing with spinal cord injury because of the negligence of another, the lawyers of Young & Young stand ready to assist you in obtaining the fair compensation to which you are entitled. We hear, all the time, “I am not the suing type, I just want what’s fair”. We are glad to hear this. Although there are always exceptions to the rules, almost no Hoosier is the suing type. You’d have to be crazy to want to put yourself through such a trying ordeal. For all your troubles, you get to be cross examined by smart attorneys hired by the insurance company. There are always insurance companies, but in Indiana we have to sue the person who caused the harm, we are not allowed to even mention insurance. I am here to tell you, there is almost always insurance. Think about it, we have mandatory financial responsibility laws that require all drivers have insurance. You get to have your truthfulness questioned, you get to have people be suspicious of you for not being honest, just because you are asking a negligent person to make for the harm they did. Nobody, who has a spinal cord injury, and is paralyzed in any part of their body is the suing type. They are just asking to be treated with fairness, dignity and respect, those things everyone is entitled to.

If you are dealing with the impact of a spinal cord injury, and the resulting paralysis, you either know, or will find out, that your health depends on good medical attention and adaptive equipment. These things are not cheap. When asking another to pay fair compensation for the harm they caused, these things are as important as anything to help you live as you are entitled, happy and as comfortable as you were before their negligence forced this new set of circumstances on you. What your mother taught you is still true: If cause harm, you fix it, you make up for it. You don’t fix it half way, you fix it as best you can. When Young and Young works with Hoosiers dealing with spinal cord injury, we employ the finest minds available to help us calculate the full extent of the costs to help you live your life as you are entitled to. Call us toll free at 1-888-639-5161 or contact us on the web at john@youngandyounin.com.

We can help with any social security issues as well.

Roadway Safety Rules at the School Bus Stop

With the school year about the start,  safety concerns for new and returning students comes to the forefront. For one thing, it won’t be long before your nearby school bus stop will be crowded with kids waiting for transportation.  In a previous blog entry, we noted that to avoid traffic accidents involving school children, police are reminding motorists of all ages to exercise caution when traveling on school bus routes and through school zones.

It might also be a good time for parents with younger children who will be riding the school bus, perhaps for the first time, to go over some basic bus stop safety rules. The Indiana State Police offers the following dos and don’ts to pass along to your kids:

  • – Don’t run around or play games while waiting for the bus to arrive
  • – Stand well way from the roadway until the bus comes to a complete halt
  • – If your children must cross a street to board a bus, urge them to make sure
  •   traffic in both directions has come to a stop before stepping into the roadway
  • – A child should never try to retrieve any item they may have dropped while
  •   boarding or exiting the bus. Instead, inform the bus driver what happened. Make
  •   sure the bus and/or car traffic has moved on and it’s clear to enter the roadway.
  • – Younger children should have an older student or adult retrieve the article.
  • – Children should secure loose drawstrings and other objects to avoid  getting them
  •   caught in the handrail door of the bus they are exiting.
  • – Once on the bus, children should behave appropriately and keep aisles clear and
  •   remain seated until the bus arrives at its destination

The Indiana personal injury law firm of Young and Young wishes you and your family a very productive and safe school year.

Indiana Injury Lawyer and Government Immunity

John P. Young represents Hoosiers injured by the negligence of others all over the state of Indiana.  Mr. Young works with his partners out of their Indianapolis office.  The lawyers of Young & Young have been Indiana Injury Attorneys for more than 56 years. We know how important it is for Hoosiers to work hard and pull their own weight.  We know that Hoosiers are not the kind that ask for something for nothing.  That is why, at Young and Young, we know that our clients are sincere when they describe the collision that caused their injuries and they tell us how severe their injuries are.  We only represent seriously injured Hoosiers, injured by the negligence of others. We represents Hoosiers dealing with brain injury, amputations, broken bones, wrongful death, spinal cord injuries resulting in quadriplegia, and paraplegia, burns and many other serious injuries.

The Indianapolis Star has been following a story that has a lesson for Hoosiers.  It is a lesson about a law that protects the government, even when they are negligent and cause an accident and an innocent Hoosier is injured.  The law is popularly known as the Tort Claims Act.  Let’s talk a little about the Star story and then I will relate it to the Tort Claims Act.

“An Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department officer involved in a fatal crash with two motorcycles has had five other on-duty accidents in the past eight years.

“Bisard was responding to a call Friday morning when he hit the two motorcycles while they were stopped at a red light. Eric Wells, 30, suffered head injuries and died. Kurt Weekly, 44, was in critical condition at Methodist Hospital with head injuries, and Mary Mills, 47, was upgraded from critical to serious condition with injuries to the abdomen and pelvis, according to police and Margie Smith-Simmons, a hospital spokeswoman.”

Let us assume, just for the sake of this discussion that Officer Bisard was negligent in the operation of his patrol car. (Negligence is the failure to drive according to the rules of the road).  Let’s also assume that Officer Bisard was the sole cause of the collision.  Given this, you would think that the government (Officer Bisard’s employer) would be legally responsible for the death of the motorcyclist and the injuries of the others.  Legally responsible in this sense means making up for the harm caused, paying medical bills, and property damages, and lost wages.

No so.  The Tort Claims act gives the government (and the employees of the government) immunity for causing this kind of harm.  Even if the officer was negligent and caused the harm, the government is immune from having to pay for the harm caused.  The families are on their own to pay medical bills, and funeral bills and all the other bills that stack up when you cannot work.  The government has given itself many more immunities that protect it from its own responsibility.

If you are in an accident, and are seriously injured, call John P. Young for a free consultation.  The call is toll free- 1-888-639-5161.  You may also contact Mr. Young on the web at john@youngandyoungin.com.

Back to School Roadway Safety

The summer seems to go by fast, doesn’t it? Schools in some parts of Indiana will be back in session as early as next week, with the resulting increase in car traffic (and the possibility of a road accident) in the morning and late afternoon. Avoiding any kind of traffic accident should be on your back-to-school list.

With that in mind, state and local police are reminding motorists of all ages to exercise caution when traveling on school bus routes and through school zones. Drivers should be particularly alert in case a child darts out into the roadway. The Indiana State Police particularly warn that traffic in both directions must stop for the extended “stop arm” on the school bus while it loads and unloads children. Remember that this also includes traffic in all lanes in both directions on multi-lane roadways unless there is a physical barrier, a median, or a diving section constructed to impede vehicular traffic.

According to the state police, anyone who sees a motorist disregarding a school bus stop arm or other forms of reckless driving behavior around school buses or school zones should try to note the license plate number and vehicle description (and driver description if possible) of the vehicle in question, and then call the police.

In a subsequent post, we’ll pass along some safety recommendations for students on their way to school, especially for if you have kids that might be riding the school bus for the first time.

Traffic Accidents and Young Drivers: Five Contributing Factors

Teenagers and cars can be risky business, even under the best of circumstances.  But it’s perhaps the worst of circumstances, i.e., when alcohol is involved, that highway safety for all concerned could be most compromised. The  inexperience of teenagers with the effects of alcohol, their fearless and/or reckless attitude towards real danger, and their skills (or lack thereof) with the operation of the vehicle  in general becomes  a potent combination for real trouble on Indiana roads and throughout the country.

According a study by the National Cooperative Highway Research group, young drivers continue to die on the roads at higher rates than any other age group. The good news is that young driver fatalities decreased 36 percent in our state in 2009. About 48,000 young drivers were involved road accident collisions in Indiana in 2009.

The study identifies five contributing factors for teens and car wrecks:

  • Among 16 year olds, the risk of  a fatal crash is about three times higher after 9 p.m. than during the day
  • Alcohol-related crashes increase from low rates among those age 16 to a peak for drivers in the 20-to-24 age group
  • Drivers 18 and older are more likely to not live at home, resulting in more time spent behind the wheel and with fewer “protective constraints” on their activities
  • While 15-to-20 year old cohort represent about 8 percent of the U.S. population and about 6 percent of licensed drivers, they account for about 14 percent of the drivers involved in a fatal accident
  • Younger drivers (especially ages 16 and 17) are responsible for a larger number of passenger injures and fatalities per crash than more experienced drivers; more than 50% of all fatalities occur when there is no adult in the vehicle.

The Indiana State Police advise parents of younger drivers to always find out where their children are going, who their passengers are, and when they will return home. The ISP adds that young drivers should carry full charged cell phones for emergencies (but don’t use them while driving) and make sure to use their seatbelts.

Are You An Aggressive Driver?

When you’re out on Indiana roads, have you ever been cut off, tailgated, or have  someone swerve into your lane for no apparent reason? Or perhaps from time to time you’ve been an instigator of that kind of reckless driving.

We’ve all had experiences of one kind or another that could lead to a road accident. The Indiana State Police defines an aggressive driver as someone who operates “a motor vehicle in a manner which endangers or is likely to endanger persons or property.” For roadway safety, we can all benefit in general by trying to be a lot less aggressive when we get behind the wheel.

According to the ISP, aggressive or high-risk drivers are those who likely do the following:

  • –  drink and drive, speed, or drive unbelted
  • –  use their vehicles to take out their frustrations
  • –  have high frustration levels and a low concern for other motorists
  • –  those who disobey stop signs and traffic signals, follow too closely, weave in-
  •    and-out of traffic, pass on the right, make unsafe lane changes, flash their lights
  •    and commit other dangerous driving violations that show little regard for the
  •    safety of others
  • –  seldom consider the consequences of their action

If you notice any reckless behavior from other motorists while you’re in your car, consider contacting the local or state police. If, however, you see yourself in any of these behavioral descriptions, please consider changing your ways by keeping your emotions in check.

Protecting yourself and your loves ones, and other innocent Hoosiers, from a highway accident–perhaps even a fatal accident–may depend upon it.

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