As Indiana serious injury lawyers, we tend to see dangers exposed that were not really obvious just before the injury occurs. We represent seriously injured Hoosiers all over the state from our Indianapolis offices. Over the last 57 years we have come to understand that safety does not necessarily meet the eye. Take for instance the situation which occurred yesterday in Marion County. A 53 year old man was sitting on the bench in a metro bus shelter waiting for his bus as he has done for the last several years. Without warning a car near the shelter is struck in the rear by another car which is not paying attention to the rules of the road. The car is pushed out of control and into the bus shelter where our waiting passenger is sitting. In an instant, the shelter is collapsed and destroyed. Our passenger is seriously injured with a broken leg. The driver of the car, who must be as shocked as the bus passenger is also seriously injured. Both the passenger and the innocent driver were taken to area hospitals, and their conditions are not known at this time.
The impact of this story is that the passenger, and even the innocent driver had no way of knowing that the other driver would violate the rules of the road and place them in danger. There was nothing our two seriously injured people could have done to prevent their injuries. We wish them a full and speedy recovery. As to the individual who violated the rules of the road and caused the collision, we say it is now time for you to step up, take responsibility for the harm you caused and fully and fairly compensate your fellow Hoosiers for all the harm you caused. If your insurance company plays games with your fellow Hoosiers claims, we encourage you to take the insurance company to task. Tell them to do the right thing. If they refuse to listen to you, tell them you are switching to a company that will, heaven forbid, in a future incident, do the right thing.
Motorcycle safety should be a priority for all riders. Did you know that in Indiana there is special training available for motorcyclists? Check with your local BMV if you are a rider, to ensure you receive proper training and licensing. Additional training is available through the organization ABATE www.abateofindiana.org/. (American Bikers Aimed Toward Safety). Remember to wear your helmet.
An encouraging piece of news was just recently released. Motorcycle deaths dropped 2 percent in the first nine months of 2010. The Governors Highway Safety Association just released its report. Unfortunately the report also indicates that the trend was not holding for the last three months of that year.
Drivers, remember we must all share the same roads. The motorcyclist is entitled to use the roads and is entitled to be safe from inattention. The number one cause of motorcycle car collisions is blamed on the driver not seeing the motorcycle. Put down that cell phone. Keep alert for all other traffic including motorcycles. Let’s all be safe on the road.
Ah spring is here and with it the sap is rising in the trees. What you may not know is that the tree sap escapes from the tree and falls to the ground. Not all the sap escapes of course, and what does escape is in particles small enough to escape our attention. So, why are your Indiana serious injury lawyers going on about tree sap? Many cars park outside. Many of those cars are parked under trees. Many of those cars parked under trees are catching sap oozing from the trees. Some of that sticky stuff is hitting the wind screen. If enough of the sap hits the wind screen it starts to catch the dust and pollen floating around the air. If the car is parked in the shade and you are backing out of your drive you probably will not notice a problem. However, when you drive into the direction of the sun, the glare on the wind screen sap and dust will blind you. It can be a lot like driving with a frosted windscreen.
There are a few steps you can take to avoid this problem. If you can avoid it do not park under trees. If you cannot avoid that, you can place a screen on the wind screen that catches the sap. Inspect your wind screen before you drive to make sure your visibility will not be a factor.
You might be thinking to yourself, “C’mon, the glare can’t be that bad” but glare causes a lot of car crashes with serious injuries. Take for instance a collision which happened on Wednesday April 13, 2011. A young girl was crossing the 1800 block of Washington Street when she was struck by a motorist who states he was temporarily blinded by glare. Unfortunately the girl was taken to Wishard Hospital in critical condition. We wish this young girl Godspeed with her recovery. We also ask you to take the glare seriously and keep you wind screen clear.
Recently we wrote about the dangers associated with sharing our highways with semi tractor-trailers. We know the benefits of this arrangement far outweigh the benefits, but that does not mean that passenger cars are in greater danger on the highways of having a semi tractor-trailer collision. The danger arises from the serious injuries that are more likely in a semi tractor-trailer accident. Because the trucks are so big and the cars are so small serious injuries such as spinal cord injury, resulting in paralysis, brain injury, broken bones, blindness and even wrongful death are very real possibilities.
States, and the Federal Government, have been taking steps to protect cars from collisions with semi tractor-trailer. One such step is median barriers. There are several different types of barriers including concrete walls, moveable concrete barriers known as “New Jersey” barriers, and more recently a series of reinforced wires. Beware, however of a false sense of safety. When a semi tractor-trailer loses control at 55-70 miles per hour it is a multiple ton missile capable of overcoming such barriers.
Take, for example, the multiple car/semi tractor-trailer accident which happened on Interstate 70 on the west die of Indianapolis on April 11, 2011. The accident started when a semi tractor-trailer drove into the “New Jersey” barriers separating traffic. The force of the impact caused the barriers to be pushed into the opposite lanes of travel. The drivers on that side of the barriers now had to swerve to avoid hitting the barriers, which just a second before were not in their path. As the first cars began to swerve and brake, they hit other cars, or were hit from behind by other drivers. Unfortunately, Judson D. Dye was killed in the collision. Four other people were injured, fortunately not with life threatening injuries. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family of Mr. Dye.
Please, be careful on our highways. They are there to benefit us all, but danger still lurks there.
At Young and Young we, as Indiana Severe Injury Lawyers, we like to keep abreast of what is happening out on our roads. Our roads are a modern marvel. They allow us to travel across our great country in a couple days. They allow us to transport huge amounts of goods across our country. They allow us the opportunity to, if necessary, move vast amounts of defense equipment rapidly to respond to any emergency. However, with these benefits comes danger. We drive small passenger cars next to huge semi tractor-trailers all the while travelling at speeds between 55 and 80 miles per hour.
Some of the dangers associated with semi tractor-trailers are obvious. A significant danger, if not the biggest danger has to do with the law of gross tonnage. This law, generally speaking, states that the vehicle with the highest gross tonnage is going to win in a collision with another vehicle. Obviously semi tractor-trailers weigh a great deal more than a standard passenger car. As such, in a collision, the most damage will be done to the car. As a result most damage will be done to the passengers in the car. Serious and severe injuries often result, such a broken bones, spinal cord injury, brain injury and even wrongful death.
Other dangers with semi tractor-trailers are not so obvious. Take for instance a curve in a highway. Specifically, we are talking about curves that change the direction of travel more than 25 degrees. One of Newton’s rules of physics is at work on these curves. That rule is that things in motion want to travel in a straight line. So, A semi tractor-trailer travelling around a curve will always want to go straight. So if you are driving a passenger car on the right side of a semi tractor-trailer which is travelling on a left direction curve, the truck’s natural path is to its right, into you and your car. A corollary to this is that the truck traveling on that left curve will, if it tips at all, tip onto its right side and onto your car.
The point of this whole discussion is, do not travel on a curve on the outside of a semi tractor-trailer. Zip ahead, or lay back and wait for the curve to end, then continue on your way. We hope this helps you and your family stay just a little bit safer on the roads.
If you are in a collision and are injured, you should be aware that what you say and do after the collision can be often discovered by the insurance company for the person or business that hurt you. I sat in a deposition recently with a client and the other lawyer wanted my client to sign an authorization to give them access to my clients Facebook page. We live in the Internet age and many people will post or write things about their daily lives on their Facebook page or other internet media and think that it is only for those whom they select to read. Some courts are allowing insurance companies access to injured persons Facebook pages and some carriers send investigator out to try to “befriend ” an injured party to get access to Facebook to see if there are any comments about how the injures occurred or what the extent of the injuries are and how they are described. Sometimes injured persons even post photos that the insurance companies can use against you in your claim.
A good rule to live by is that you should not do anything you would not want your mother to read about in the newspapers. A corollary to that would be you should not post anything on Facebook and other sources of internet media that you would not want someone to read (i.e. just because you have not befriended someone does not mean they may not be able to get access to your thoughts, blogs and pictures). Oh, in our case I was going to object to my client signing the release but it was moot since he did not have a Facebook page…
In most instances the rule is in order to be entitled to Social Security Disability, the Worker must not be working. This rules bumps into the reality that workers who are no longer earning have no income, cannot pay their bills and lose everything before the Social Security Administration approves their application for benefits. There is a rule that allows a worker to work and earn money and still be eligible for Social Security Disability Benefits. The administration allows a disabled person to earn up to $940.00 dollars per month and still be eligible for disability benefits. The reason for this is simple. In order to be eligible for Social Security Disability Benefits, you must be disabled and not be engaged in substantial gainful employment. Substantial gainful employment is defined, in part by how much income is generated by the employment. The cut off is periodically adjusted for inflation, but the last time I checked that cut off for the income to be considered substantial gainful employment, that number was $940.00 dollars per month. This is a gross figure, not a net figure. This means that the most you can earn is $940.00, not $940.00 after taxes.
This can be the difference between having to sell everything you own, or losing your home to the tax sale and making it.
Fire safety is no laughing matter. As Indiana Serious Injury Lawyers we have seen the devastation fire can wreak. Burns are life threatening. Basic first aid divides burns into three categories or degrees. First degree burns cause the skin to turn red and warm. The skin becomes sensitive to heat and the burns are painful. A sunburn is a good example of a first degree burn. A second degree burn usually causes blistering of the skin, pain and sensitivity to heat. A third degree burn destroys the top layers of the skin. In so doing, the burns interfere with the skins natural ability to fight off contamination and or infection. The burns cause sensory nerve damage and are excruciatingly painful. Rehabilitation for third degree burns is long and difficult. Skin grafts are often necessary. Unfortunately, burns cause severe scarring to the skin. Scar tissue is not nearly as flexible as healthy skin and it does not grow like healthy skin. If the burn victim is a child, multiple surgeries are necessary, as the child grows, to “let out” the skin. Wrongful death is always a risk from infection. This short description of the problems associated with burns and fire make it clear that fire safety is key because avoiding burns is the best way to treat burns.
Fire safety suggestions, in no particular order include: Make sure your smoke detectors work and the battery is fresh and working. Do not maintain open flames in your home. If you must use open flame, make sure that no combustible materials are near the flame. Also make sure that the flame source, such as a candle, is anchored properly and will not fall over. Do not over load circuits with too many electrical appliances. If you use space heaters, never leave them running while you are away, make sure they are away from any burnable items and are on a level and solid surface. If you are unsure about the safety of the device do not use it until you have had it checked out for safety. Do not put extension cords under rugs or carpeting. Do not place flammable liquids in an area where the fumes may come into contact with an open flame, such as a water heater. As a family perform a fire safety inspection of your home. If you are not sure how to do such an inspection, contact your local fire department and ask for advice. Have a safety plan for exiting your home in case of a fire. Have a meeting place where you can be sure all family members are accounted for. Do not reenter a burning home. Nothing is more valuable than your life, leave objects behind.
Recently, a wonderful example of fire safety has occurred. A fire broke out at Regina’s Child Care Ministry in Indianapolis, IN. Twenty four children ages 6 months to 9 years and four adults were alerted to the fire by smoke detectors and the smell of smoke. Although we do not know the specifics of the Ministry’s fire safety plan, it was executed well as all children and adults were able to get out of the building to safety. We applaud all those persons who took the time to prepare their fire safety plan and to practice the plan so that when an emergency did occur they were able to put the plan into effect and save 24 children from burns and burn treatments.
At Young and Young, we have been representing disabled Hoosiers in their application for disability benefits for decades. We are your Indiana Social Security Disability Lawyers. We know that approximately 80% of all initial applications for Social Security Disability Benefits are denied. This makes the appeals process the most important part of the application process. We have represented Hoosiers with brain injury, spinal cord injuries, paralysis, severe burns, degenerative arthritis, lupus, mental disabilities and all other types of disabilities in their pursuit of disability benefits. Every one of our Hoosier clients have told us that they did not want to file for benefits. They would rather be working. They tell us that they feel like they are admitting a fault by having to rely on disability. We know our clients would rather be working. We know that if they are disabled, and their medical records support that, then they have earned their right to their disability payments.
After you file your initial application, and you are turned down, the first appeal is called a Request for Reconsideration. This appeal is filed with the same Social Security branch office where you filed your initial application. If you filed your initial application on line, then it is likely that your Request for reconsideration will be filed in the Downtown Indianapolis Office, if you live in the central part of the State. This office is located at 575 N. Pennsylvania Street, in the Federal building. This is the first step where we recommend that your consult an attorney. There are several documents that you will be asked to sign. There will be many questions you will have about the process. An experienced attorney can answer your questions and allow you to relax. It generally takes the Indianapolis Office of Disability Adjudication and Review about 120 days to process this appeal.
If you are turned down on your Request for Reconsideration, you will have to file a second appeal called the Request for Hearing before Administrative Law Judge. This will require to appear before a Judge and possible medical or vocational experts, to give testimony to support your claim for benefits. Having a qualified lawyer, at this appeal, is , in our experience, essential. A lawyer will help you prepare for the questioning by the judge. The lawyer will insure that all your records have been properly presented to the judge and that all other evidence that supports your claim is also available. Since the vast majority of all claimants receive their benefits after a hearing, this is the most important step in the appeals process. The down side to this is that it can take as long as two years to get a hearing, and that is from the date your request the hearing, not the date on which you first applied for benefits.
If You are turned down by the ALJ, you must file the 3rd appeal to the Appeals Council in Falls Church VA. If you are turned down by the Appeals Council, you may appeal to the Federal district Court. If you are turned down by the Federal District Court, you may appeal to the District Court of Appeals.
At Young and Young, we stand ready to assist you with your Social Security Disability Appeal.
At Young and Young, we travel all over the State of Indiana from our Indianapolis offices representing Hoosiers who have been seriously injured in drunk driving accidents. We are your Indiana Drunk Driving accident Lawyers. Our lawyers aggressively pursue drunk drivers for our clients. We know that drunk driving accidents cause serious and severe injuries including spinal cord injuries, brain injuries, paralysis, broken bones, blindness , burns and even wrongful death. Our purpose is to force the drunk driver to compensate you and your family for your serious injuries. Having represented thousands of seriously injured Hoosiers, we know that these injuries can cause you to have huge medical bills, including future medical bills, lost wages , pain and permanent injury to your body and its ability to function. The person who chooses to get behind the wheel after having too much to drink is obligated to do what all our mothers taught us when we were very young. If you make a mess, it is your responsibility to make up for all the harm you cause. We make sure that the drunk driver makes up for all the harm he causes by making up for your medical bills, both past and future. We make sure the drunk driver makes up for your lost wages and the pain he causes and the permanent problems you have with your body. It is, after all, only fair, you did nothing wrong.
We now report the unfortunate news that a Noblesville man was arrested and charged with driving while under the influence causing death. Brent Ward was arrested for causing the death of his girlfriend. The preliminary reports regarding Mr. Ward’s alcohol level is that he was twice the legal limit for operating a vehicle. We know Mr. Ward did not intend to harm his girlfriend, but he chose to get behind the wheel while he was intoxicated. He knew, or he should have known that this was a stupid choice. Now he will live with his choice for the rest of his life, while his girlfriends family prepares to bury her.
In closing we want to say to you Butler Bulldog fans, celebrate wisely. Do not drink and drive. If you must drink, appoint a designated driver, call a cab, walk, but do not turn what is likely to be a grand celebration into a tragedy for either yourself or for an innocent Hoosier family.
John P. Young recommends that if you have any questions about brain injury, your first inquiries should be made to your treating doctors. After that, please seek information from the Brain Injury Association of Indiana. You may access their website at http://www.biausa.org/Indiana/. BIAI is the portal for Brain Injury information and services in Indiana. John P. Young is currently an Emeritus Board of Directors member, after having served 2 years as the Chair of the Board of Directors and on the Board of Directors for 6 years.
Lets talk for a moment about concussion. A Concussion is a medical condition caused by a blow to the head. The symptoms of concussion vary widely but generally the symptoms include either unconsciousness or a period of altered awareness, followed by dizziness and headaches. There may be long term consequences caused by a concussion and multiple concussions can cause serious complications. These complications include depression, poor memory, and the inability to focus on work tasks both in the workplace and in the class room. If you remember nothing else about concussion remember that it is, by definition, an injury to the brain. Medical science, and public awareness campaigns by such organizations such as the Brain Injury Association of Indiana, have been successful in education the general public about the dangers of concussion and how contact sports are contributing to cause concussions.
The good news is that medical science has come a long way in helping people with concussion with better treatments and recovery. Unfortunately we still have a long way to go. Persons with brain injury may, especially students, return to the activity which caused the concussion too early . This places them at high risk for another concussion which can lead to very serious complications, even wrongful death. For student athletes, the legislature is getting involved. Senate Bill 93 deals with the issue of brain injury and concussion in three ways. S.B. 93 mandates education of coaches, teachers and trainers, as well as students about the dangers of concussion. This educational effort is designed to help identify student athletes suffering concussion. Finally it mandates that students who have been identified with concussion not return to competition until the student is medically cleared for participation. This bill has the support of the Indiana medical community. We ask that you support it as well.