Stop and be a Good Witness and Person

On the way to work today at New York and New Jersey streets in Indy a white car ran a red light and I saw it about 24 inches in front of me as I was entering intersection on a green light…. 

I missed him. The car to my right was not so lucky and a hard crash occurred.  I pulled over , stopped , called 911 and headed back to aftermath of the crash. I talked to driver of car beside me ( who did nothing wrong) and went to other driver (who ran the red light )and  who was talking to a police officer. The light runner’s story to police was that he was just following the flow of traffic and that he got hit. I gave the officer my card and told him that guy ran the red light . Point is no one else stopped and if I had not stopped it could have been a police report with each driver saying they had a green light. In these times when no one wants to accept responsibility when they make a mistake and don’t feel the need to tell the truth it is important to stop and be a witness.  When I heard the light runner give his story to the police it reminded me of many such stories I have heard over the years from defendants that I was deposing .  Sad state of affairs.

Speed Kills and Maims and Causes Car Crashes

Indianapolis Auto Injury AttorneysMy older readers may remember this slogan as a part of an anti drug campaign in the 1960’s. It is also true as it applies to automobile accidents. I would modify it to read as “Speed kills and maims”. Increased speed increases stopping time and stopping distances. Increased speed increases the likelihood of serious personal injury and death. Did you know that as a driver doubles the cars speed, the driver quadruples the stopping distance of the car. A drivers reaction time is generally thought to be between 1 second and two seconds depending on the facts of the event. This means that a driver traveling 35 miles per hour will have between one and two seconds to recognize a hazard and react to that hazard, hit the brakes and take evasive action. A car travelling 35 mph is travelling approximately 51 feet per second. This the driver will travel between 51 and 102 feet before they can do anything to avoid a collision. Now take a car going seventy miles per hour. That car is travelling 102 feet per second and will travel 204 feet before the drive even touches the brakes. When the driver does hit the brakes it will take the car four times the distance to stop as the car travelling 35 miles per hour.

So you can see that traveling faster raises the chances of not being able to see a hazard. It increases the distance the car will travel while the driver reacts and it increases the amount of distance a car will travel after the driver reacts. All of this increases the likelihood that a car crash will occur, where if the car was being at a safe slower speed, the crash will likely not occur. If you have to be somewhere at a certain time, give yourself plenty of time to get there. If you have teenagers talk to them all the time about the fact that speed kills. I know teenagers can be hard to talk to but they do listen and some of what you say will sink in. Thanks for listening.

60 Minutes and Social Security Disability

Social Security Disability AttorneyThe key to making a convincing argument is to have a study, based on a large enough sample to make the conclusions of the study reliable. In addition the rules of the study must be sound and reproducible. One cannot simply state that because the number of people on Social Security Disability has increased in the past 6 years, that there is fraud in the system. If I, for instance, who has 25 years of experience representing claimants before the Social Security Administration, say that I can only remember a handful of claimants that I believed was attempting to defraud the system, that that then means that very few people are trying to defraud the system. My experience may or may not be average, but it cannot be used to state that there is no fraud in the system

Likewise, the Senator who was interviewed cannot state with any degree of certainty that because his research turned up what he termed fraud in a high percentage of the cases he reviewed that there is a high percentage of fraud in the system. The 60 Minutes story intimated that the Senator’s sample was small. We have no idea upon what basis the Senator’s staffers (Presumably persons with no medical training or experience with disability claims) conclude that any of the claims they reviewed were fraudulent. The Senator, and 60 Minutes for that matter, would have us believe that just because they say so, their assumptions are correct.

The 60 Minutes story on Social Security Disability is provocative. I am glad that our leaders are doing all they can to make sure that the system serves those who need assistance. However, the story itself did very little to convince me that we are in a crisis. In fact the only thing of which it convinced me, something I already know, is that big government programs need to be kept under scrutiny at all times.

Fall Travel Preparedness Tips

Fall is a time to enjoy the great outdoors and in Indiana we are blessed with a change of seasons that reminds us each season’s particular beauty. Safety when traveling can avoid accidents and injuries.

When preparing to take a road trip be sure to check your headlights, taillights and turn signals. Examine your wiper blades and change if necessary. Don’t forget your tires. Inspect them and check the air pressure.. Include the spare in that inspection. You want make sure all doors work properly and that the air conditioner and heating systems works properly as well. Be sure to check the fluid levels including coolant, oil, transmission fluid , brake, power steering and windshield washer fluids. Finally be sure to prepare or update your emergency road kit.. Make sure you have your cars manual, a flashlight, extra batteries, jumper cables , tire pressure gauge,  a signal flag, blanket, umbrella, cell phone, pencil , notebook and gloves.

A few moments of prevention  now can provide hours of comfort  and lowered stress levels if the need arises. These steps can help you avoid auto accidents. Accident and injury prevention can be greatly increased by following these few precautions as you and your family hit the road and explore the great fall outdoors.

Social Security and Residual Functional Capacity

Indianapolis Social Security AttorneyWhen reviewing a social security application, the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration, by and through her employees, uses a five step process to determine whether an individual is disabled. The last step in the process seeks to determine the claimants residual functional capacity and then determine whether that person can do any work. The Social Security Administration is concerned whether the applicant can still perform the job they used to perform. If the applicant can perform the physical requirements of their former work, then they will not be found disabled. Not surprisingly, applicants generally are not capable of performing their past job. This does not mean, however, that the applicant is disabled. The Social Security Administration will have to decide whether there is any other work the applicant can perform. If not, the applicant will be found to be disabled. If so, the applicant will be found not to be disabled.

A person’s residual functional capacity is what the applicant’s body can still do despite the medical disabilities an applicant can prove. The administration looks at the applicant’s medical records and decides what medical problems exist and what limitations those problems cause. Next the administration determines the applicant’s residual function. The Administration looks at how much a person can lift, both occasionally and frequently, how long they can stand, how long they can sit, can they kneel, squat, crawl, bend at the waist, climb stairs, climb ladders, climb ropes, reach over head, manipulate small objects, stay on task and other physical and psychological activities.

Once the Social Security Administration determines the applicant’s RFC, they next look at whether that allows them to do Sedentary work, light work, medium work or heavy work. Generally in order to be considered disabled, the applicant must not be able to complete the full range of sedentary work. Sedentary work is work that requires a person to lift up to 10 pounds, walk or stand for up to 2 hours in an 8 hour day, to be able to sit for up to six hours in an 8 hour day, and to be able to communicate in English.

If you are an applicant and have questions about any issue involving Social Security, please give us a call.

Drunk Driving Accidents Shatter Lives

Indiana auto accident attorneysWe have stated many times that drunk driving collisions must end. I personally think the serious personal injury and even wrongful death caused by the recklessness of the drunk driver is shameful. It can be summed up in this way: What is good for me is good, it matters not how it affects you. The drunk driver is only thinking of themselves. They do not think about the consequences of their decision to drink and drive. Sad as it is to kill or maim a fellow Hoosier, it is just as sad when the drunk driver accident causes the death of the drunk driver. I know, it is hard not to say they deserved it, but try and say that to a child who will never have the benefit of hugging their mother, brother, father, or sister.

I know I am not alone in these feelings. I share with you the following link that proves others want to do away with drunk driving. I hope it helps you find a way to prevent others from driving drunk. Be careful.

Click here

The Problem with Insurance in Automobile accidents and Semi Tractor-Trailer Collisions which Cause Serious Personal Injury and Wrongful Death

Indianapolis wrongful death attorneysIn one of my last posts, I talked about what the insurance companies do not want you to know. They do not want you to know that most, if not all persons who were driving a car, who did not drive safely (i.e. did not follow the rules of the road) who injured another Hoosier and who has been sued by that injured person has insurance to pay for the harm caused. Everyone has insurance. It is mandatory.

What you may not know is that not everyone has enough insurance to pay for all the harm they cause. For example, say you are in a drunk driving accident. Say you are hurt badly. Say the drunk driver has $50,000.00 in liability insurance to pay for they harm he caused. Your medical bills alone are $150,000.00, and that does not figure in your lost wages and your permanent injury which will not allow you to return to your old job. Ah, but you say, I was smart, I bought Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UIM) to protect myself. UIM coverage is a type of coverage you can buy that will pay for the serious personal injury caused by another who does not have enough insurance to cover your harms. Now you say to yourself, well I bought UIM insurance in the amount of $100,000. You think to yourself, well at least I have a total of $150,000.00 ($50,000 from the drunk driver and $100,000 UIM) to help me pay my bills. You call your insurance company and tell them you are making your claim for the $100,000.00 in UIM coverage you bought to protect yourself. The insurance company says, Sorry, in Indiana, we (the Insurance Companies) are protected by a law (which we lobbied hard for by wining and dining legislators and getting the kind of access to power that you Joe Hoosier can only dream of getting) which allows us to offset the $100,000 of UIM coverage you bought from us (and paid full price for) by the amount of the drunk drivers liability insurance. You say, that’s crazy, why didn’t you (Insurance Company) tell me that when I bought the UIM coverage? You get some snarky reply like because you did not ask.

You are mad so you go to a lawyer to find out your rights. The lawyer tells you that the Insurance companies influence in Indiana is strong and that they do indeed enjoy the protection of the setoff.

I am that lawyer, and I have had that conversation with many Hoosiers who just can’t believe its true. I tell them we all need to stand together against these kinds of injustice, but it is difficult to overcome the influence the insurance companies money achieves. I say lets get rid of the setoff. Let Hoosiers get the benefit of what they thought they were buying to protect themselves.

Distracted Driving and Semi Tractor-Trailer Accidents

I have been very vocal about distracted driving.  It is as bad as drunk driving.  Now I want to share with you a sad tale involving a detracted driver.  To make things worse, the distracted driver was driving a semi tractor-trailer at the time he was driving distracted and predictably caused a distracted driver collision.

Indianapolis Truck Accident AttorneyA group of young people were on their way to a concert in another state.  The young people were in 3-4 separate cars, and they were in a kind of caravan.  In the rear of the line of cars was a young man, about 27 years old.  He worked for a major retailer and his talents were just being recognized.  You see he had a gift for using the computer and an eye for how to use that gift to make his employer more efficient and profitable.  He was driving his girlfriends van.  The young woman was  skilled at her marketing job, and the future looked so bright for these two.  They were exactly what Hoosiers take pride in, they were smart, hard working, and committed. They were looking forward to the concert and spending time with their friends. They were looking forward to a life promised by the American Dream.

They were in a another state.  They were on a major highway.  They realized traffic was slowing in front of them and they braked.  The problem up front was a collision.  They brought their van to a stop behind their friends at the rear of a long line of cars who were also stopped.  Unknown to these young lovers, a semi tractor-trailer was barreling down upon them at highway speed.  The driver, was distracted, looking either at a phone or other media delivery device.  The driver did not notice that traffic was stopped.  The driver realized too late that traffic stopped.  The semi tractor-trailer smashed into the van.  We want to think that the young couple suffered their wrongful death instantly.  We just don’t know.  The van exploded into flames.  The semi tractor-trailer continued its carnage, blasting into other cars causing serious personal injury to many others including serious burns, broken bones and brain injury.

All this carnage wrought because one man could not keep his eyes on the road and away from his phone.  A mother is left to grieve.  She endures the weight of this loss.  She hears herself saying to other parents, I hope you never know this pain, and cannot fathom that this is her life, her loss, her burden for the rest of her life.

Don’t cause drunk driving accidents- Just don’t drive drunk.  Don’t cause distracted driving accidents- put the phone down.

How Long Does it Take to be Determined Disabled and Receive Social Security Disability Benefits?

I am asked by every Hoosier asking for information about Social Security Disability Benefits how long it will take for the Disabled Hoosier to receive benefits. The answer is not a one size fits all. Each claimant has differing medical issues that will affect how long the process takes. So, let me start out with a general discussion of the process.

Indianapolis Social Security AttorneyFirst one files and application. It generally takes three to four months to process the application. If the application is denied, the applicant must appeal that decision by filing a Request for reconsideration. It takes, again, about three to four months to process this appeal. If the Request for Reconsideration is denied, the applicant must file a second appeal known as the Request for hearing Before Administrative Law Judge. It generally takes 10-14 months to process this appeal to the point of having a hearing. If the Judge denies the appeal, the applicant must file an appeal to the Appeals Council. This process takes anywhere from a couple months to 14 months to complete. If this appeal is denied, the applicant must file an appeal in the Federal District Court. This process can take 4-8 months. If this appeal is denied, the applicant can file an appeal to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.

I know this seems daunting. However, a vast majority of those who receive benefits are approved at the hearing before the Administrative Law Judge. In addition, there exists a Compassionate Allowance. This is a list of injuries, illnesses and or diseases which usually result in a finding of disability. Thus, if you have a condition which is listed on the compassionate allowance list, you claim will be expedited.

Remember, the burden of proving disability rests with the applicant. This proof comes in the form of medical records, tests, and reports. Therefore, an applicant must be able to present evidence of the disability in the form of medical records of treatment. If you have not sought medical treatment, I suggest you do so immediately. If you do not, your chances of proving your disability are very, very small.

Truth in The Civil Justice System

A jury serves the function of resolving disputes between citizens in a civil, non violent manner. In the personal injury case, the jury is asked to decide what is the proper remedy for the harm caused to another Hoosier by another’s negligence. As we stated last, most defendants have liability insurance to indemnify the defendant for any judgment entered against them. This means that the defendant, the one who caused the harm to another, will never pay anything out of their pocket.

Indianapolis personal injury trial lawyerI say again that I think that if a jury is to be fair, then it should be told the truth. For instance, did you know that many defendants have immunity for the harm they cause. This means that the person who was injured by the negligence of two different defendants, and one is immune, the first defendant can claim the injury was caused by the immune party’s negligence, but the jury cannot know that the immune person will never be responsible for making up for the harm caused to the injured Hoosier. So when a jury returns a verdict for the injured party for say one million dollars and divides the fault for the harm equally between the two responsible parties, the immune party will not have to make up for the harm they caused and the injured party will only receive $500,000.00. Now you may say that $500,000.00 is a lot of money and the injured party should be happy with that. While, I agree $500,000.00 is a lot of money in the abstract, it may not be enough money if the injured person’s medical bills are $500,000.00 and the injured person can no longer work and support their family. In this situation, not only is the injured party no longer a tax paying productive and contributing member of society, the injured party becomes a drain on the public resources of Medicare, social security, Medicaid, food stamps etc. So who ends up paying for the immune person’s negligence? Everyone who pays taxes.

That is not fair.

The laws granting immunity, which ultimately place responsibility on the tax payer while letting the responsible party off the hook need to be abolished. In addition, jurors should be told that a immune person is not going to be held responsible for their actions.

Tell Jurors The Truth

Indianapolis Personal Injury AttorneyI represent people who have suffered serious personal injury or wrongful death in car accidents, drunk driving accidents, trucking accidents, construction accidents, and really any type of case where a Hoosier is injured as a result of another person who is not responsibly careful. When we ask a jury to help us decide whether the person was not responsibly careful, and if so, what the compensation is for the injured Hoosier, we face a lot of prejudice. The insurance industry has done an effective job convincing the public that anyone who has been injured because another person was not responsibly careful, and who asks that person to be responsible for making up for the harm caused, is a cheater, out to get something for nothing.

Well, I am not going to try and convince you this is right or wrong. I am asking , however that the playing field be level at trial. To this end, I say let’s stop lying to the jury. The insurance industry has also been able to convince the powers that be that jurors are not smart enough to handle the truth, and that we must hide the truth from them. Some examples:

  1. No one can inform the jury that the defendant, if he/she has liability insurance, will not have to pay any defense costs or the judgment entered against them. This is all paid by the defendants insurance company. The insurance industry argues that if jurors know this information they will unfairly return verdicts based on that information. On the other hand, the industry is perfectly happy to benefit from the possibility that jurors may feel sorry for the defendant (they don’t want them to go bankrupt) so they do not decide a fair amount of compensation. I don’t think jurors do this either, but that’s not the point. The point is, if we are after the truth in a trial then let’s start by being honest with the jurors. Hoosiers are smart.
  2. In Indiana the Medical Malpractice Act places a cap on the amount of damages an injured person can receive, and jurors cannot be told this fact. For example, a baby is injured at birth, and the evidence shows the doctor was drunk during the delivery and that drunkenness caused the baby to be seriously and permanently injured. The jurors hear all the evidence and decide that to take care of the baby, it will cost $10,000,000.00 dollars. After they have been dismissed, the judge will have to reduce their judgment to $1,250,000.00 because state law requires the judge to do so. That law is unfair, but knowing it will not change the jurors ability to do anything about it. So, why not just tell them the truth?

We cannot achieve justice and find the truth if we are lying to the persons making the decisions. I say lets tell the jury the truth. This is not a liberal or a conservative point of view. It is just the truth.

Social Security Disability and Compassionate Allowances

Indianapolis SSDI AttorneyIn order to be eligible for Social Security Disability Benefits, the claimant must show proof of the existence of a disabling condition that is expected to last at least twelve months. Some conditions are known to be so disabling that they are considered compassionate allowance conditions. Compassionate Allowances (CAL) . CALs are way of quickly identifying disabling conditions and diseases that invariably qualify for disabled status under the Listings of Impairment. The Listing of Impairments is exactly what it sounds like., It is a list of Injuries, illnesses, or diseases, that qualify you for disability if your condition is severe enough. We can help you identify whether your condition qualifies as a CAL. Please give us a call or write for more information.

Head On Collisions and Serious Personal Injury

Auto Accident AttorneyTwo people were suffered wrongful death in a head on collision in Madison County last night. At least three people were flown by life line helicopter as a result of serious personal injury. According to news reports Lukas D. Green of Muncie Indiana crossed the centerline and collided head on with the car driven by an as yet identified driver. It is not clear why Mr. Green crossed the centerline. This presents another reminder to all Hoosiers that distracted driving kills and maims. Distracted driving includes a wide range of behaviors which take the drivers full attention away from the road. Distracted driving may include talking on a cell phone, texting, reaching to the floor board for a dropped item, turning around to talk to someone in the rear seat and driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

I say that distracted driving includes drunk drivers and impaired drivers because numerous studies show that texting impairs a drivers concentration just as much as alcohol. Parents, take this time to have that discussion with your children. Distracted driving, in any form is dangerous and potentially deadly.

We wish the injured passengers a full and speedy recovery. We are saddened by this awful loss of life. Be careful out there.

Social Security Disability and Medical Treatment

Indianapolis Social Security AttorneyOne of the most common questions I get, when talking to people about their social security claim is, “ Do I qualify for benefits?”. My first response to that question is well, why do you think you are disabled and what do your doctors say about the subject? Usually the person tells me why they think they are disabled. I then have to ask, because they usually forget to tell me what their doctor has to say, do you have any medical proof that you have a medical condition that is causing you those terrible symptoms. The callers usually asks, what kind of proof are you talking about. I respond by saying andy kind of objective evidence that proves you have the problem you say you have. Objective evidence of a condition usually takes the form of some kind of test. If the problem is a spine problem, the objective evidence can be one of many tests such a CT scan, MRI, Bone scan or x-ray. If the problem is a nerve problem, and EMG is a common tests. If the problem is a breathing problem, a pulmonary function test is a common objective test. If the problem has to do with a blood disorder (Anemia, polycythemia vera, rheumatoid arthritis) a blood test is an objective test. Generally there is an objective test for most problems.

The rules and regulations put out by the Social Security Administration require that the claimant submit medical evidence of the existence and the severity of the medical condition causing the alleged disability. If the claimant has not seen a doctor and obtained the tests, I tell them they stand no chance of getting benefits. Many folks complain that they are uninsured and cannot get the medical tests performed to see if they have a medical condition that is causing disability. I encourage these folks to apply for Medicaid, The Healthy Indiana Plan, or the Wishard Advantage Program if they live in Marion County. I also encourage them to seek out free or reduced cost clinics to get that medical treatment. Sometimes, I encounter folks who have some money but are uninsured, essentially the working poor. They tell me that they would have to give up things for their children or paying their mortgage to pay for the medical tests. I tell them that although their choices are few, and not very good choices, they are still choices and if they think they are disabled, they must provide evidence of that disability.

If you are thinking you are disabled, make sure you get proper medical care and treatment. It may help you avoid disability, but if it cannot, it will be the evidence you need to make your claim.

Impact Of Drunk Driving

On Monday afternoon, while I was enjoying Labor Day with my family I received a call from a distraught driver.  He told me of how he was driving through an intersection, on the green light, and was hit broad side by a drunk driver who ran the red light.  The caller’s partner was killed in the collision. The next day, my wife and I were walking our dogs near our home when we noticed paint marks on the road of a busy intersection.  I knew they meant that there had been a collision at the intersection, but I did not think much of it.  As we walked on, we met my wife’s sister who lives near the intersection.  She told us that a drunk driver had disregarded the stop sign and hit a motorcycle.  The two Hoosiers on the motorcycle were killed

Indianapolis Auto Accident AttorneysWhat is going on?  I know we have done much better in the last decade focusing attention on drunk driving collisions, but this destructive behavior continues to kill, maim and ruin lives.  Consider these statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:

More than a third of the people killed when an alcohol-impaired-driver* crashes are not the impaired drivers. In 2011, 9,878 people lost their lives because of drunk driving. These people make up one-third (31%) of all motor vehicle crash fatalities in the United States. The total number of people killed in motor vehicle crashes has fallen, but the proportion of those fatalities that are from drunk-driving crashes has remained the same for the past 10 years.

Our attitudes on impaired driving have changed but we still have room for improvement. Forty years ago in a roadside survey of drivers, almost 1 in 12 (8%) were driving drunk. The most recent data (2007) from the same survey shows that rate is down to 1 in 50 (2%), which is good progress. Those impaired drivers still claim the lives of nearly 10,000 people a year – and one-third are their passengers, occupants of other vehicles, pedestrians, or bicyclists. Drunk drivers cost our economy nearly $60 billion

Before you drink and drive, consider this- It can happen to you. 9,878 people is a good night for the Indianapolis Indians. Think about all those people, gone in the swig of a bottle. Do not drink and drive.

Social Security-Is There a Problem with Filing If Your Disability May Not Be Permanent

Indianapolis Social Security AttorneyThe Short answer is no.  First, your disability does not have to be permanent to receive Social Security Disability Benefits.  The standard used by the Social Security Administration to determine one’s eligibility for Disability Benefits is whether the disabling condition is likely to last more than 12 months.  If your condition is expected to last more than 12 months, but may resolve at a later date, then I suggest that you file at your earliest possible opportunity.

What happens if you do not know whether your disabling condition is expected to last 12 months.  Say for example you are injured in a drunk driving  car accident, and have serious personal injury.  You might even need surgery.  However, the doctors are telling you that if all goes as hoped you should be up and around in 10 -12 months?  Should you wait to file?  No file right away.  The reason is because the doctors are basing their opinions on the hope that all goes as hoped for.  Unfortunately, recoveries do not always go that route.  Sometimes the recovery is delayed by infection, and other medical complications.  Sometimes the recovery just does not reach the level hoped for.   There is no penalty for filing for benefits under these circumstances.  If you do recover as hoped for you simply dismiss your claim when you return to work.  However, if you cannot return to work, your application will have already clear several administrative hurdles, making a determination by an administrative law judge sooner.

If you have been injured in an automobile collision, or in a construction accident, or suffer and injury or condition that is causing you to be disabled, and you have a question about filing for Social Security Disability, call a lawyer and find out your rights and obligations early.

Watch Out for Bicyclists – Put down your phone, pay attention to your driving.

Indianapolis Personal Injury AttorneyPut down your phone, and drive. As I ride my bike I see many motorists who do dumb things. Most of these folks are using a cell phone. I see many folks with the phone to their ear, but I also see people looking at their phones. I do not know what they are doing, texting or surfing the web, but I do know they are being distracted from their primary responsibility, driving safely. Many of these folks drop their phone into their lap when they see me watching them. This indicates they know what they are doing is wrong. I guess it is going to take a tragedy in their lives before they learn their lesson. Unfortunately, the tragedy will be the wrongful death or serious personal injury of another Hoosier.

Although I do not know if distracted or drunken driving was a contributing factor in the injuries of two bicyclists, there is a high probability one or the other was the cause of the injuries. On Saturday, Jordin Ross, age 15 was struck by a car while riding his bike near Fall Creek Parkway and 30th street. He remains in critical condition at Riley Hospital upon last report. On Friday August 16, 2013 Alex Volz age 12 was struck by a car while riding his bike in the 7200 block of Southeastern Ave. It is likely that Mr. Volz suffered a traumatic brain injury as a result of the impact. We hope that both Mr. Volz and Mr. Ross recover fully from their injuries.

Put down your phone, pay attention to your driving. Be careful.

Social Security Disability Claims- Where We are Headed

The recent AP article(s) (House investigators: Social Security lax in judging disability claims; fund nearing insolvency; and/or Judges: Social Security pushes approval of claims, Associated Press, June 24 and/or June 27[MF1] ) that your paper ran was/were extremely misleading. The articles’ central claim – that Social Security is “lax” in evaluating disability – is clearly contradicted by the facts. As an advocate for people with disabilities, I know firsthand how strict the disability criteria are. Most people who apply are denied, and only about 40% are awarded benefits-even after all stages of appeal. Many beneficiaries are terminally ill-about 1 in 5 male and 1 in 6 female beneficiaries die within 5 years of receiving benefits. Literally every day, I see people with significant disabilities who have been denied benefits.

No one knows when disability or illness will strike. That’s why Social Security Disability Insurance is an important part of our nation’s safety net. Instead of tearing down this vital program with myths and rumors, let’s focus instead on strengthening it for current and future generations.

Objects flying off vehicles causing Automobile Collisions and Serious Personal Injury

Indianapolis Auto Accident AttorneysWe all see it travelling on our highways. An overloaded pickup truck hits a bump on the road and out flies a part of its payload into the path of oncoming cars travelling at 65 miles per hour. Most of the time the cars behind the problem avoid the object and move on down the road. Not so all the time. Yesterday, a hay bale fell off a truck on Highway 46 in Bartholomew county. The bale hit a motorcycle traveling in the opposite direction causing the motorcycle to crash. Two Hoosiers William Eland III and his wife Lindsay Eland were on that bike when the hay bale struck Mr. Eland causing serious personal injury. Mr. Eland was air lifted to Methodist Hospital. He was, at last report, in critical condition. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Elands.

As with many objects flying off of other vehicles, the Elands had no time to react. However, the person who placed the bale on the truck knew that if the object, in this case a bale of hay but it could be any kind of object, flew off the truck travelling at highway speed, it would act like a missile causing serious personal injury and possibly wrongful death. Because that driver knows this, he/she is obligated to use reasonable care to make sure that all objects on the truck do not escape.

This is the basis of our civil justice system. If you know that something you are doing will likely cause serious personal injury to another unless you use reasonable care, then you are obligated to use that reasonable care to make sure others are not harmed. This only makes sense. It is essentially the Golden rule. You do not want to be hurt by someone else not using reasonable care. In turn you are obligated to use reasonable care not to injure another.

Motorcycle Accidents can be Prevented

We send our thoughts and prayers to Indiana State Police Officer First Sgt. Jon Watson. Trooper Watson was injured on I-70 when a vehicle, while attempting to change lanes, moved into a space occupied by Trooper Watson. Trooper Watson lost control and crashed. He suffered serious personal injury including fractures in several places in his leg and abrasions. We wish Trooper Watson a speedy recovery.

Indiana Motorcycle Accident AttorneyLets use this experience as a teaching moment for us all. The best way to avoid automobile collisions, and motorcycle collisions is, as the driver, to be aware of your surroundings at all times. This means to continually scan your surroundings for other vehicles. We all know that a vehicle, whether it be a car or a motorcycle can enter your blind spot where your mirrors are not effective at indicating their presence. However, a continually scanning driver has a better chance of seeing the other vehicle because the scanning driver sees the vehicle before it enters the blind spot. In addition to continually scanning, a quick turn of the head to the right, when entering the lane to the right will, in most cases reveal the presence of the motorcycle or other car.

We know that most motorcycle/automobile collisions happen because the driver of the car does not see the motorcycle. Knowing this means that we must be all the more careful to look for the motorcycle on the road. Put down your phone, pay attention to the road. Doing so will help everyone else get home safely and it will also relieve you of the guilt of making a mistake that causes another Hoosier serious personal injury or wrongful death.

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

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