Pedestrians in The Crosswalk

Indianapolis Personal Injury AttorneysAnytime there is a collision between a car and a pedestrian, the law of gross tonnage applies.  The law of gross tonnage means that the body in the collision with the greater weight is going survive the collision and inflict great damage on the other body.  It is for this reason I write this blog.  Pedestrian car collisions result in serious personal injury to the pedestrian including brain injury, broken bones, spinal cord injury, amputations, paralysis and even wrongful death. For these reasons, pedestrians in a cross walk are given greater protections which place greater duties on drivers.

A cross walk is specifically defined in Indiana Law.  A crosswalk is either part of the roadway at an intersection included within the connections of the lateral lines of the sidewalks on opposite sides of the road measured from the curbs , or in the absence of curbs, from the edges of the traversable roadway. Or A part of the roadway distinctly indicated for pedestrian crossing by lines or other markings on the surface.  It is my experience that cars hit pedestrians at cross walk most often in one of two ways.  The first is at the intersection.  A driver wants to make a right turn, and to do so is looking to the left for oncoming traffic.  Once traffic clears, the driver fails to look left, starts the turn and hits the pedestrian in the crosswalk.  Remember to look back to the right in these situations, before entering the intersection.  The second common collision is at the non-intersection crosswalk.  This crosswalk may be in the middle of the block.  Another car stops to let a pedestrian cross, and the second car does not stop and hits the pedestrian.  Be warned, it is against the law for a car to pass another car stopped at an intersection. See  Indiana Code 9-21-17-6. 

Please keep alert for pedestrians.  You will never forgive yourself for the harm you cause and the family who suffers the loss associated with a pedestrian/car collision may never recover.

Indiana Serious Injury Lawyer Discusses What to do After An Auto Accident

At Young and Young we represent thousands of Hoosiers who are seriously injured in automobile collisions.  We represent those injured in drunk driving accidents, large truck accidents, and motorcycle accidents.  We know the medicine involved in the care in treatment of brain injury, amputations, paralysis,  nerve damage and broken bones.  We want to take this time to discuss what to do if you are involved in a collision that is someone else’s fault.

If your car is not on fire, or if you are no longer in immediate danger, while in your car, do not move.  Your body is in shock as a result of the crash.  Your pulse is up, your blood pressure is up, your thoughts are not carefully ordered.  Your body’s response to the impact may by, and probably is, masked by the shock condition.  This means you may not feel the pain that indicates injury.  To be on the safe side, stay where you are until emergency personnel arrive.  If you have a cell phone, and are able to make a call, call 911 immediately.  It is likely that good Samaritans will arrive at your vehicle before the emergency people do.  If so, tell them where you are injured, and allow them to make calls for you.  Do not allow them to move you unless there is an immediate danger if you stay where you are.

If you are able, completely cooperate with the police.  This includes giving a statement to them about what happened.  It is also a good idea to ask the police officer if he/she has the names of all the witnesses.  Sometimes the witnesses approach the officer, but their names and addresses are not recorded by the officer.  Make sure you keep your insurance information in your glove compartment for easy reference .  If there is any question of injury, seek medical treatment immediately.

If you require legal assistance, Young and Young is ready to assist you.  We represent seriously injured Hoosiers all over the State of Indiana out of our Indianapolis offices.

Fair Compensation is Not Vengeance

I read in the paper today about a family who lost their son in a tragic accident.  The paper indicated that the family rejected vengeance (bringing a claim for wrongful death).  The paper included the quote “Why would we want to deprive the University of resources which could benefit others?”  We respect this family’s choices.  We hope they find peace in the memories they have of their son.  We hope that their sorrow eases, but we know that theirs is a difficult path.

We do want to say, however that fair compensation is not vengeance.  Our mothers taught us that if you make a mistake, and that mistake causes others harm, you are honor bound to make up for the harm you cause. Your obligation is to make up for all the harm you cause, not just what you think is ok.  Of course the person who has suffered the harm has every right to say to you, “Thank you for your offer to make up for the harm you caused, but I choose not to either ask for or receive this fair compensation.”  However, if the injured person accepts your offer to fully make up for the harm that you caused, that does not mean that person is vengeful. It only means that they accept your offer to make up for the harm. 

Insurance companies gain much by vilifying “fair compensation”. 

The University at issue is well insured.  There insurance rates will stay the same whether the families claim is or is not made.  The University would not have to “divert resources”, because any payment would be from their insurance company.

Fair compensation is not vengeance.  It is the ultimate recognition that our mothers are right, that we all have to live together and take care of each other.

Social Security Disability and Early Retirement Benefits

Indiana Social Security LawyerMost of my readers already know that they may opt to elect early Social Security Retirement benefits at age 62.  Under this program, people who make the election to accept Early Retirement benefits receive a reduced amount of monthly benefit (as opposed to waiting until age 65, 67, or 70) in exchange for receiving a guaranteed amount now. However, most people do not know that if they become disabled at this time in their life they may apply for both Early Retirement and Social Security Disability at the same time.  You may wonder why anyone would make such a choice, after all isn’t it easier to elect for early retirement and not have to worry about the disability process?  While it is easier, it may not be in your best financial interests.

Lets use hard numbers as an example of what I am talking about.  Assume that Jane Doe is entitled to $1,500.00 dollars per month in retirement benefits  if she waits until her 65th birthday to retire.  Lets also assume that if she takes early retirement, her benefits will be $1,200.00 dollars per month.  Let’s say Jane becomes disabled on her 62nd birthday.  Should she file for early Retirement, Disability or Both?  The answer is both.  If she applies for Early Retirement, she will start receiving her monthly benefit immediately so she will have a guaranteed $1,200.00 dollars a month she can depend on.  Usually, it takes some time for the disability process to conclude that the applicant is disabled.  However, when the disability is finally approved, Jane will be entitled to her full monthly benefit of $1,500.00.  So what happens to those months where Jane received only $1,200.00 dollars while she was receiving Early Retirement?  She will receive,  in a lump sum payment, the $300.00 dollars per month she should have received,  but did not because her disability application was pending.  Note however, that the first five months of disability payments are eliminated (The rules require that benefits start only in the 6th month after the onset of disability).  So for those five months Jane will not receive the additional $300.00. 

So now you know that if, a loved one or friend is applying for Social Security, they are between 62 and 65 and they are disabled, they should apply for both Social Security Early Retirement Benefits and Social Security Disability Benefits.

Indiana Serious Injury Attorney Discusses Bicycle Safety

I read in the paper today about the death of Ross Faris, the owner of Your Neighbor’s Garden, and former executive at Lilly.  Immediately upon reading the piece, I was taken back to driving along Grandview Drive and seeing the little self help stand.  It is one of those little “summer in Indy” memories that will always bring a smile to my face. 

I do not know any of the details of the Mr. Faris’ accident, but I want to take this time to talk about bike safety.  Bicyclists have a right to use the roadways.  Bicycling is good for so many reasons, not the least of which include improved physical fitness of the cyclist and conservation of fossil fuels.  I am both a cyclists and a motorist.  As a cyclist, I have encountered hostility from drivers. As a cyclist I have also encountered negligence by drivers, mostly those using cell phones, which have put me in danger.  As a motorist, I have encountered cyclists who do not observe the rules of the road and put themselves in danger, or at the least cause motorist frustration.

 There are a few ideas I always consider when I am a cyclist and a motorist that may help the situation.  Motorists:  Relax, you may get where you are going just a tad later than you wanted, but compared with a life time of guilt for that one moment of impatience getting there a little later is a small price to pay.  Get off the cell phone while you are driving.  In the context of this discussion,   it will save the health and welfare of a cyclist.  In the big picture it will save you from killing yourself.  Give the cyclist at least three- four  feet of leeway when passing.  This room will increase the safety for the cyclist immeasurably.  Do not yell at a cyclist as you pass them.  The cyclist has the right to use the road, and if they are using it responsibly, yelling at them does nothing but show you are at best impatient, and at worst a bone head.

Cyclists. Wear your helmet.  Be seen- Meaning wear light clothing, use flashing lights and use reflectors. Obey the rules of the road. Be careful.

I hope to see many more cyclists of the roads.  Let’s make sure everyone has a positive experience, and makes it home safe.

Indiana Social Security Attorney discusses Personal Injury Settlements and Effects on Social Security

Since 1954, the lawyers at Young & Young have been representing Hoosiers who have become disabled as a result of serious personal injury. Our lawyers know that spinal cord injuries, brain injuries, burns, herniated discs and other serious personal injury can prevent the wage earner of a family from earning the money it takes to feed, clothe and educate children.  That is why, back in the 1980’s we decided it was important to read the Social Security Rules and Regulations so that we could assist disabled Hoosiers, from all over the State of Indiana, in obtaining their Social Security Disability Benefits.  One of the most common questions we hear, from Hoosiers who have become disabled as the result of accidents including drunk driving accidents, truck accidents and all other types of accidents, is “Will a settlement or judgment in my personal injury claim prevent me from getting Social Security Disability?”

No, a settlement or judgment from your personal injury claim will have no impact on your Title II Disability claim.  There is a chance that your serious personal injury settlement may impact your Medicare benefits.  Each case is unique, so it is impossible to say in what instances your Medicare will be affected by your personal injury settlement, but when we represent you in your claim for compensation from a serious personal injury claim, we will also work closely with you on your social Security Disability claim, and Medicare claim to ensure your rights are protected.

Indiana Serious Personal Injury Lawyer Discusses Motor Cycle Safety

We see it quite frequently, a car pulls out in front of a motorcycle and causes serious personal injury or wrongful death of  the motorcyclist.  Our heartfelt sympathies go out to the family of Hamilton County Sheriff Deputy Leanea Nyeayea.  Deputy Nyeayea suffered wrongful death as the result of a collision at the intersection of Kessler Boulevard and Binford Boulevard this past weekend.  Deputy Nyeayea leaves behind his wife and several children.  This very unfortunate collision could have been avoided.  We start by thinking that the car  driver did no intentionally pull out in front of Deputy Nyeayea. Therefore, the driver must not have seen Deputy Nyeayea as the driver pulled out onto Binford. If the driver did not see what was plainly there to see, then one of two things probably occurred. The first is that the driver was in a hurry and  simply glanced to the left as they rolled into the intersection.  The glance did not provide the driver a full field of vision and therefore the driver did not see what was plainly there to see, i.e. Deputy Nyeayea on his motorcycle.  The second possibility also involves the driver being in too much of a hurry.  It is possible that Deputy Nyeayea was in the driver’s blind spot.  We all know that cars have a blind spot.  Based on this knowledge, it is our duty, as drivers, to take extra care to make sure a motorcyclist or car is not in the lane we wish to enter, before we even attempt to enter that lane.

Pulling out in front of a motorcycle causes serious risk of harm to the motorcyclist and can have terrible emotional and economic impact on the family.  In addition, the driver of the car causing the collision, and the wrongful death, has to live with the haunting memory of what their failure to use reasonable care causes.  Please be careful out there for your fellow Hoosiers, their families and your family.

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