Avoiding Serious Personal Injury with Child Safety Seats

They tug at our heart strings, gripping your finger with their tiny mitts.  Looking at you with all the confidence that love provides.  You feel whole in ways you never experienced before. Unconditional love is a powerful thing.  I hear people lamenting the loss of the good old days when everyone wasn’t so concerned about safety, when we could ride in the back widow of the car and no one thought twice. I want to sit with those people for just a moment and ask them how they would feel if their child was in the back window when a car pulls out in front of the car and the child is flung forward into the back of the front seat, or worse yet, out the front wind screen.  I know these people are just talking, not really thinking about what they are really saying, but I wish they would stop.

Of the great inventions of our times, and there have been many, a precisely constructed child safety seat deserves recognition.  It is a simple device to use.  It is a simple device to make.  It is a simple device to carry from place to place and it can even be transformed into a pumpkin seat.  Yet in this simplicity is an element of safety that protects the apple of our eyes.  I have a case right now involving a roll over crash. One person was suffered wrongful death and another endures an amputation as a result of the roll over.  However, the 12 week old baby was left with nary a scratch.  When the car stopped, on its roof, the car seat held baby fast, allowing the rescue personnel the opportunity to remove him from the wreckage. 

These seats are inexpensive and the companies will work with you to instruct you on the proper use of the seats.  It is a small price to pay for such protection.

Motor Cycle Safety and Serious Personal Injury

Yesterday was a glorious day.  A friend called and invited me to the Indianapolis Moto Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.  The weather was perfect. The fans were excited.  The food was delicious and the racing was incredible.  I marveled at the bravery and skill of the riders as they sped along at speeds of up to 190 miles per hour.  This got me to thinking.  There was one collision in the two races I saw.  This collision occurred on the last lap at the last turn of the Indianapolis Moto Grand Prix.  Three riders were neck and neck going into the last turn.  Each was desperate to pass the other.  One rider dipped low to pass on the inside.  In order to hold his line he put a huge amount of pressure on the front wheel, but it did not hold and he slid out, off the bike and into last place of the active riders.  He tried, but it did not pay off.  So, how is it that bikers going that fast, in close contact with all the other riders and no one is seriously injured or killed?

In my opinion, the greatest danger to the safety minded biker is the other guy.  So often the car does not take time to see what is clearly there.  It may be because the driver is used to seeing a larger object and reacting to that.  It may be that the driver is not taking enough time to check his blind spot on to look back a second time for oncoming traffic.  Whatever the reason, a major cause of serious injury and wrongful death of Hoosier motorcyclist is having a car turn in front of them, or pull out in front of them.  In either event, there is little time for the biker to react and avoid impact.  As the biker is usually thrown from the bike serious personal injury such as brain injury, spinal cord injury, paralysis, broken bones, and amputation can occur.

Fellow Hoosiers, please take a little bit of extra time to make sure you are not about to pull out in front of a biker.  Look over your shoulder after checking your mirrors, but before merging into the next lane to make sure a biker is not riding along there.  Just a little bit of extra time can save the biker from a lifetime of pain and misery.  It will also allow you to avoid the burden of guilt such a crash will leave behind.

Indiana Serious Personal Injury Lawyer Talks School Zone Safety

On my way to work, I pass through three school Zones.  During the hours of 7:30 -9:00 am and 3:00-4:30 pm, the speed limit is reduced to 25 miles per hour.  In the last week, since school has been in session, I have had drivers race up to my back bumper and tailgate me from three feet behind, honk at me, yell at me and give me the finger,  as he raced around me on the right, all because I was travelling at 25 miles per hour for 2 blocks.  I know these people feel comfortable being that aggressive within the anonymous protection of their air conditioned womb, but I wish, just once we could all have a “It’s a wonderful Life” moment.  I wish that each one of these drivers could feel what it is like to stand over the bed holding the broken body of a child, their child, run over by a driver who wanted to get someplace three minutes faster.  I wish they could feel the agony of dropping that rose on the casket of their child as the most precious gift in their lives turns to dust.  I wish they could be that person on the side of the road tending a memorial to what they have lost.  I wish they could be awakened in the middle of the night to the cries of pain and need because the little body in the next room can no longer walk to go to the bathroom and needs help with taking care of the ordinary activities of living, like making it to the toilet on your own without having an accident.

 I wish Clarence, the Angel, could be with them as they realize the horror they feel when they realize that it was their own lack of caring for the welfare of others that has inflicted these agonies upon them.  Clarence would point out, as they are screaming, “No”, that it is their face upon which they must look as blame is being assessed and meted out.  I wish I could be there as Clarence takes each of them into his arms and comforts them.  Clarence will ask, “Do you believe in the sanctity of life?” and they will sob “I do”. Clarence will ask, “Do you understand the searing pain you cause when you think of no one but yourself?” and they will cry out, “I do, God help me, I do!”. Clarence will ask, “What will you do now?” and they will come to themselves at the stop light, just before the school Zone, sweating and shaking and sobbing, but they will know that honoring the safety rules designed to protect our children is their duty.  They will thank the Lord it was a dream, and smile at the faces of our children from 25 miles per hour and get where they are going three minutes later.

Serious Personal Injury and Foreseeability

A tragedy has once again occurred at the Indiana State Fair.  The canopy, or rigging, or roof (all terms bandied about to describe the structure) collapsed Saturday night killing five people.  Christina Santiago, Glenn Goodrich, Nathan Byrd and Alina Bigjohny  are gone.  We have heard the pundits talking about the collapse.  We have heard officials saying an investigation is underway.  What we do not hear a lot about is the issue of foreseeability.  No, this is not looking into a crystal ball to predict the future.  This is the practice of learning from the past to make judgments about what is likely to happen in the future.  With this in mind I offer a few insights.

Although Indiana is not in tornado alley, we do have our share of high speed wind events. In fact, we have such a good history of high wind events, we can predict, with confidence, that we will experience high wind events in August in Indianapolis.  We rarely see tornados in August, so we can say with some certainty that we are not likely to see tornados in August in Indianapolis.  But, we do see a lot of straight line winds.  These winds are of high intensity over a very short period of time.  These winds are observed to reach speeds of up to 100 miles per hour for very short blasts.  We never know where they might hit, but we do know that they are very often associated with the beginning of a storm front where the changes in air temperature can be great.

So, what is foreseeable? It is foreseeable that we will see high speed straight line winds in August in Indiana.  We do not know where they will appear, but they are most likely to appear at the beginning of a storm front.

Now, what do we know about temporary structures?  Well in the case of the structure that collapsed, we know that it is big enough, and heavy enough that if it collapses and lands on people, it will likely cause serious injury and wrongful death.  We also know that the closer the people are to the structure, the more likely they are to be killed and injured, if the structure collapses. Thus, it just makes sense that the structure be designed and erected knowing it may be in the path of a high speed wind event, and if therefore, it must be erected so that it can withstand that possibility.

I suggest to you it was foreseeable that high winds would hit the structure and if it was not erected to withstand those winds, it will collapse and seriously injure or cause the wrongful death of the innocents.      I hope that a complete and accurate statement of what happened comes to the fore.  In the mean time, our sympathies go out to the victims and their families.

Indiana Serious Personal Injury Lawyer and Keeping a Lookout

There is one rule of the road that seems to be violated more than others.  It is keeping a safe lookout.  A corollary to this rule of the road is to keep your car under control.  These are basic rules, so basic that we should not have to talk about them, but we do.  Violations of both these rules resulted in the wrongful death of a motorcyclist yesterday.  To put this another way (and to put it in perspective) a Hoosier died unnecessarily, a dead father cannot look after his children, children of a dead father will bear this burden for the rest of their days, a wife is without her friend and companion, a solid worker is no longer contributing to our society, schools etc.  It is because a driver did not see what was plainly there to see.  Is it because the driver was in a hurry?  I hope not.  She had her own granddaughter in her van as she pulled out of a parking lot and into the path of a man on a motorcycle.  The collision occurred on west 38th Street in Indianapolis.

We all know that motorcycles are on the road.  We all know that a quick glance, without stopping is not enough to always see what is plainly there.  A motorcycle has a bright headlight, it is plainly visible.  Slow down, take a better look.  Care for the life and welfare of the other guy.  He/She probably has a family that loves and needs them.  Even if they do not, they are entitled to live their life.  Be careful.

Riding in Bed Of Pickup leads to Personal Injury

As I was driving home, the other day, from our Personal Injury law firm, I saw a site that never ceases to amaze me.  I was stopped at the intersection of Delaware Street and Fall Creek Parkway on the near north side of Indianapolis.  I was the first car at the intersection waiting for the light to change.  The speed limit on Fall Creek is in the 30-45 mph range. A pickup truck was travelling east on Fall Creek.  In the bed of the truck, sitting on camp chairs, You know the type-cloth with a metal frame that squeeze shut and fit into a small bag, was what appeared to be a grandmother, and two small children.  Their hair was blowing and their faces were impassive, as if this was the most common thing in the world.  Of course the children do not know what danger they are in, but the driver and the grandmother must know the danger, and yet they apparently do not care.

While riding in a car or truck, a person is travelling at the same speed as the vehicle.  If the vehicle has to make a quick stop, the people in the bed are going to keep moving because they have no brake (ie the seatbelt). So they either fly out of the truck bed or they hit the truck itself.  A quick stop is the least dangerous action, and it can result in death or serious personal injury, so you know all the other actions, (hitting another car, swerving, rolling) can only lead to worse results.  Ejection from a vehicle almost always lead to serious personal injury such as brain injury, broken bones, spinal cord injury and paralysis, amputations and wrongful death.  The only way to avoid such results is to not ride in the bed of a pickup.  Do not allow your friends or family to do it.  In this instance an ounce of prevention avoids a lifetime of whoa, or worse yet wrongful death.

Motorcyclist, Trucks and Wrongful Death

 It is a fact of life, the rule of gross tonnage.  This means that in a collision the vehicle with the highest gross tonnage is going to prevail.  In the situation involving a motorcycle accident with a truck, the motorcyclist is in the greatest danger of serious personal injury or wrongful death.   This is why it is so important for trucks to follow all safety rules and regulations to make sure their trucks are safe for operation on the road.  It can fairly be said that truck failures have much to do with a failure of proper maintenance and inspections.  It is not acceptable that a trucks brakes fail.  It is not acceptable for two reasons, the first is that with regular maintenance, a trucks brakes will not fail.  The second is because the harm a truck can do to a passenger in a car, or a rider of a motorcycle can be catastrophic.  The damage is easy to imagine, broken bones, spinal cord injuries resulting in paralysis, brain injuries, amputations and wrongful death.  It is hard to imagine having to endure these damages simply because the trucking company was taking short cuts and endangering people’s lives.

Just such a motorcycle crash happened in Indianapolis yesterday.  The motorcyclist was exiting I465 onto west bound 56th street.  The motorcyclist had the right of way.  As the motorcyclist entered the intersection, a box truck operated by Christopher Schell, of Kokomo, entered the intersection and struck the motorcycle causing the wrongful death of the rider.  The truck was apparently towing a trailer and could not stop.  Clearly it is foreseeable that if you increase the load a truck is pulling or carrying, you are going to increase the stopping distance and the pressure on the brakes.  Although it is not yet known whether the brakes did not respond properly or the driver did not properly judge his stopping distance.  In either event, an avoidable collision occurred and resulted in the wrongful death of an innocent Hoosier.  Our sympathies go out to the family for their loss.

Indianapolis Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer Discusses Preventing Friends from Driving Drunk

We have preached over and again about the dangers of drunk driving.  We have talked about making the personal decision not to drink and drive.  However, we have left off the issue of preventing your friends from drinking and driving.  As we all know, the drunk driving accident causes wrongful death and serious personal injury including brain injury, spinal cord injury resulting in paralysis, broken bones, amputations and other very serious and debilitating injuries.  The social cost of drunk driving accidents is in the billions of dollars in terms of medical bills, lost wages, inability to work and support ones family.  We all know that there are people who have not made the commitment to themselves and to the rest of their fellow Hoosiers to not drink and drive.  These folks will get drunk and not think twice about the harm they are going to cause.  There are also those who, because they are drunk, have forgotten their sensible commitment not to drink and drive.  It is for both these groups of people that the friend needs to step in and prevent a tragedy.

In this light, we salute the efforts of Timothy Bolger, age 20, for his efforts to stop his friend from drinking and driving drunk.  On Tuesday night, August2, 2011, Mr. Bolger’s friend, one Madeline Lemke, age 18 was at a party where the friends of Patrick Trainor were gathered.  You may remember Mr. Trainor, he, lost his life when he drove into a retention pond and drowned a few years ago.  Mr. Bolger tried to stop Ms. Lemke from drinking and driving.  Unfortunately for Mr. Bolger, Ms. Lemke was too intoxicated to respect his efforts and injured him with her car, while he was trying to stop her from driving.  We wish Mr. Bolger a speedy and full recovery while we acknowledge his bravery and empathy for other Hoosiers using our roads.  His efforts stopped Ms. Lemke from killing others on the road.

Anytime there is a gathering where alcohol is being served, non alcoholic drinks and water should be made available.  The designated driver must be found and supported.  There job is so important to the welfare of everyone.  The designated driver should have available to them the number of a reputable cab company, and the ability to talk to those who are drunk so that they see the danger they are putting themselves in and the danger they are putting others in.

Indianapolis Serious Injury Attorney Talks About Rehabilitation Hospitals

Every one knows that when a person suffers a serious personal injury, whether it be in a car accident, a drunk driving accident, semi tractor-trailer accident or construction accident, the injured person is taken to a hospital. At the hospital, the patient is assessed for injuries, stabilized and treated. The stay in the hospital may be for less than 24 hours or it may be for several weeks. This part of the patient’s recovery is called the acute phase of recovery. This is true whether the injury is a brain injury, broken bones, spinal cord injury paralysis, burns or amputation. However, once the patient has reached a certain point in their recovery, but still needs assistance in the form of therapies, including physical therapy, occupational therapy or speech therapies, or requires assistance to relearn to take care of their activities of daily living, they are likely to be transferred from the acute care hospital to a post acute care hospital, also known as a rehabilitation hospital.

Many rehabilitations hospitals exist in the Indianapolis metropolitan area, including the Rehabilitation Hospital of Indianapolis, and Hook Rehabilitation Hospital. These hospitals focus on helping patients continue their recovery by focusing on the therapies and teaching techniques that will allow the revering patient to step back into their normal lives. These facilities are generally less expensive than the acute care hospitals. There are no surgeries performed at these hospitals, they do not have emergency rooms nor do they have intensive care facilities. The medical staff generally uses a team approach to help patients further their recovery. The team may include a Physiatrist (a doctor that specializes in physical and rehabilitation medicine), a physical therapist, an occupational therapist, a speech therapist, educators who specialize in dietary needs, and transition back to home living.

If you, or a loved one, are told that you will be transferred from the hospital to a rehabilitation hospital, rest assured it is in your best interest.

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