Archive for December, 2019

27
Dec

5 Common Places for Slip & Fall Accidents

December 27, 2019

Slip and fall accidents can happen anytime and anywhere. Here is our list of the top five common places that slip and fall accidents occur.

1. Work

Slip and fall injuries occur most frequently on the job. This is especially true for manual labor jobs that make frequent use of scaffolding, ladders, and/or heavy equipment. Not only are employers expected to enforce regulations that keep the workplace as safe as possible, but those who are injured at work are also entitled to worker’s compensation.

In more extreme cases where an employer’s negligence created a hazard that should not have existed, or when an employer tries to intimidate their employees from claiming worker’s compensation, there may be cause to file a claim against the employer. If you or someone you love has suffered due to employer negligence and/or intimidation, you should speak with a worker’s compensation attorney right away.

2. Stairs and Escalators

In a 2017 study, experts found that stair injuries have increased by over 20% since 1996. Hospital emergency staff also point to escalator mishaps as contributing to a significant number of slip and fall injuries.

Property owners are responsible for maintaining stairs and escalators. Most importantly, they are responsible for warning and roping off any stairs/escalators in disrepair until such hazards are addressed. When invitees (such as customers or invited visitors) injure themselves in a slip and fall as a result of hazardous conditions on stairs or escalators, the property manager assumes premises liability and may be forced to compensate the injured party in a personal injury claim.

3. Ice on Sidewalks and Parking Lots

During winter, Indiana can see its fair share of snow and ice. For businesses, they must take extra care to make sure that all pedestrian areas are reasonably clear of snow and ice. If a jury finds that a commercial property owner failed to address snow and/or ice conditions in a reasonable amount of time before the slip and fall accident occurred, that owner will be required to pay damages to the injured party.

For other issues pertaining to “winter liability,” there is no clear standard wherein property owners are tried. However, many victims of a slip and fall injury as a result of ice/snow have successfully taken their personal injury case to court and won. If you or someone you love has been injured in a slip and fall case as a result of snow/ice, it is best you consult a personal injury attorney as soon as possible.

4. Restaurants

More so than other types of business, restaurants can be hotbeds for slip and fall accidents. Not only do customers roam the aisles, but the servers are often moving about quickly while holding drinks and food. When food and liquids spill onto the floor, the establishment must address the spill right away and post warning signs if the floor remains slippery. Failure to address these hazards can result in slip and fall injuries that may end in a personal injury lawsuit.

5. Assisted Living and Nursing Homes

Slip and fall injuries at assisted living and nursing homes abound. As such, any licensed facility must meet rigorous demands in order to protect elderly residents and visitors from injuring themselves accidentally. Due to the frequency with which residents are reportedly falling and injuring themselves, it is not always the fault of the facility (or the facility’s staff).

However, if the facility and/or its staff fail to meet industry regulations and provide reasonable care to patients, that facility may be liable for slip and fall injuries to their patients in a personal injury claim.

For more information about how an Indiana attorney can help you with your slip and fall accident case, contact Stewart & Stewart Attorneys at 800-333-3529 or visit our website.

19
Dec

How is Fault Determined If There Are Multiple Vehicles Involved in an Accident?

December 19, 2019

In a vehicle accident that involves only one or two vehicles, it is pretty simple to determine who was at fault. However, in a multi-car pileup, it is not always clear who was ultimately or partially responsible. 

Determining At-Fault Driver or Drivers

Every motorist in Indiana is expected to exercise a reasonable “duty of care” with regard to traffic laws and defensive driving.  

In some cases, expectations of driver responsibility can be higher. For example, drivers with limitations that could impair driving are expected to compensate for those limitations or not drive at all. Similarly, car drivers are expected to be extremely vigilant when looking out for pedestrians and motorcyclists, due to the fact that that pedestrians or motorcyclists may be harder to see and are less protected when involved in a car accident. Lastly, commercial truck drivers are expected to exercise even greater care since their larger vehicles pose a greater risk of injury in the event of an accident. 

After a multi-car accident, any driver(s) discovered to have been negligent may be faulted for the accident. Police officers that respond to the scene typically examine damage to vehicles and the area where the accident occurred. They will also take statements from anyone involved or who witnessed the accident.

In the state of Indiana, more than one driver can be faulted for the accident. Particularly in a multi-car pileup, there are sometimes a few drivers who were not exercising an appropriate level of care to prevent the accident.

Indiana Is a Comparative Negligence State

What is Comparative Negligence?

In the event that more than one driver is faulted for the accident, Indiana applies fault on a sliding scale, meaning that they assign each at fault driver a percentage of negligence. For example, Driver A was deemed 50% at fault, while Drivers B and C are deemed 20% and 30% at fault respectively. 

If you or someone you love was injured in a car accident that involved multiple vehicles and found at fault for less than 50%, you should consider filing a personal injury claim against the other drivers.

Insurance Liability vs. Negligence in a Personal Injury Lawsuit

In most situations, an Indiana police report names the at fault driver (or drivers), files a report, and each at fault party’s insurance assumes their percentage of liability. When a driver’s insurance company accepts liability for the accident, then they agree to pay for damages according to the driver’s policy stipulations.

If you or someone you know was injured in an accident, and the other driver’s insurance has claimed liability, insurance claim limits may keep you from receiving full compensation for your medical bills. Additionally, if there were lost wages and other damages, the at-fault driver’s insurance may not be set up to pay those bills either.

In that case, you may be eligible to seek compensation for those bills and damages in a personal injury lawsuit. Typically, once the at fault party (or parties) have been named, the same fault is applied in the courtroom. This is provided, of course, that you and your attorney are able to demonstrate that your injuries and damages are directly linked to the accident.

However, there are cases where a police report faults one driver, and the insurance adjusters attempt to fault another driver instead. Insurance companies will conduct their own investigation and may discover things that they believe the police missed. It is important that you follow-up with the police report that was filed after your accident, and that you provide as much evidence as possible to your own insurance company to prove that the other driver was at fault.

For more information about how an Indiana attorney can help you with your motor vehicle accident case, contact Stewart & Stewart Attorneys at 800-333-3529 or visit our website.

13
Dec

3 Things to Know When Filing a Claim After an Auto Accident

December 13, 2019

If you or someone you love has been injured in an auto accident, here are three things you should know before filing a claim.

There is a Difference Between an Insurance Claim and a Personal Injury Claim

When it comes to personal injury lawsuits and insurance claims, the terminology surrounding the word “claim” can be confusing. After an accident, it is important that you get your insurance company involved as soon as possible. It is their job to help you seek compensation for damage to your vehicle and any medical bills.

 However, if your injuries (and the injuries of your passengers) exceed claims limits, you may be liable for those costs. Depending upon the severity of damage and injuries, these costs could end up being tens of thousands of dollars beyond claim limits.

Insurance Claims Limits

In Indiana, insurance liability minimums are on the low side at $25,000 per person (up to $50,000 total). If your injuries end up costing you $60,000, then, after insurance pays for $25,000 of your medical bills, you will still be left with another $35,000 to pay on your own. 

Indiana requires drivers to carry uninsured/underinsured (UI/UDI) coverage to deal with situations where the other driver doesn’t have insurance. However, there are also claims limits for UI/UDI coverage as well.

 That’s why it may be in your best interest to file a personal injury claim after a car accident. If the other driver is at fault for the accident (and hence, your injuries), then you will be able to seek compensation for damages. These damages include medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.

Personal Injury Claim Process

Many people injured in an auto accident reach their insurance claims limits and seek additional compensation in a personal injury lawsuit. Much of the evidence you will need has already been supplied to your insurance company. Additionally, the responding police officer will have drafted an accident report naming the other driver as the at-fault party.

You will need to demonstrate the costs of your injuries, which would include medical bills, transportation costs, lost wages from missing work, and even emotional trauma you suffered as a result of the accident. If you are considering a personal injury lawsuit, it is important that you seek assistance from an experienced personal injury attorney to help you file your claim.

A filed claim signals your intent to sue the at-fault party. The other person has an opportunity to respond before the discovery process takes place. If the at-fault party belongs to a commercial truck company, the employing company usually offers you a settlement to prevent the claim from going to trial. Your personal injury attorney will be able to advise you on whether or not it is in your best interest to accept a settlement.

There is an Indiana Statute of Limitations on Personal Injury Claims After a Car Accident

As with any personal injury claim, you must file your claim within two years of the accident and subsequent injuries. While there are exceptions to this statute of limitations, they are rare and unlikely. It is vital that you seek medical attention immediately following an accident and leave yourself time to file a personal injury claim should it be necessary. 

Indiana is a Comparative Negligence State

Comparative negligence means that both (or all) parties were at fault for the accident. Driver 1 may have been going too fast while Driver 2 merged without signaling. In this kind of scenario, each driver will be faulted for a certain percentage of the accident. This approach of comparative negligence is usually considered in some insurance claims as well as in personal injury claims.

If you were assigned fault of 50% or more for the accident, then you are not eligible to receive compensation in a personal injury lawsuit. If you were less than 50% at fault, but more than 0%, then whatever damages would have been awarded to you are simply decreased by the percentage for which you were at fault. For example, if you were at fault for 20% of the accident and total damages amounted to $50,000, then you would be awarded $50,000 minus 20%, which is $40,000.

For more information about how an Indiana attorney can help you with your car accident case, contact Stewart & Stewart Attorneys at 800-333-3529 or visit our website.

9
Dec

How Can I Get My Motor Vehicle Accident Report?

December 09, 2019

After a car crash, it is typical that all involved drivers want a copy of the accident report. Police officers on the scene take statements, declare who was at fault, and then file their report later on that day or within a week. 

That being said, the paperwork that Indiana police officers give to involved drivers on the scene is NOT the vehicle accident report. It does, however, contain each driver’s contact and insurance info, along with a report number. These details are crucial and should be passed on to your insurance company to file a claim. You can also use the report number to locate your vehicle accident report online.

When Motor Vehicle Accidents Must be Reported

It is highly recommended that you always contact the police after a vehicle accident. However, it is legal to not report the accident as long as there were no injuries and property damage amounted to less than $1,000.

Sometimes, though, it can be difficult to know the costs of damage to property in the wake of an accident, so it’s always important to report the accident to the authorities.

How Indiana Accident Reports Work

The state of Indiana partners with BuyCrash.com to help drivers access their vehicle accident reports. Indiana state drivers should first visit IN.gov (see here) and select the button “Request Your Vehicle Crash Report Online.”

Non-Indiana drivers involved in a motor vehicle accident while traveling through Indiana would essentially need to follow the same instructions demonstrated in this article. All Indiana police reports following an accident are uploaded the same way.

Guide to Using BuyCrash.com

After selecting the button “Request Your Vehicle Crash Report Online,” your browser will redirect you to BuyCrash.com. Since BuyCrash.com supports many state and municipality reports, you must first select Indiana from the “Start Search” dropdown menu.

Those looking for Indiana Vehicle Crash Reports are then redirected to the Indiana page on BuyCrash.com. You may choose to either enter the report number (which should be listed on the paperwork the police gave you on the scene) or search via your name, plus the date or police department that issued the report.

After entering the correct information, select your report from the results page and follow the instructions for delivery and checkout. The cost to retrieve your report can vary. 

If you wish to avoid the online fees altogether, you may try speaking directly with the police department that filed the report. However, it is not guaranteed that the reporting agency will agree to give you your report.

Indiana is an At-Fault State: What Does That Mean?

Indiana police officers who arrive on the scene must take statements from the drivers and declare a party at fault in the accident. If you were in an accident where the other driver was found at fault by the police, it is vital that you request a copy of the vehicle accident report and submit it to your insurance company. Though this does not necessarily guarantee that the other driver’s insurance company will accept liability, it does carry a lot of weight.

In some cases, Indiana may declare comparable at fault. That is, more than one driver is partially at fault for the accident. This would have an effect upon rulings in a personal injury lawsuit where one party seeks damages from the other party as a result of injuries and property loss after the accident.

For more information about how an Indiana attorney can help you with your car accident case, contact Stewart & Stewart at 800-333-3529 or visit our website.