Archive for February, 2020

24
Feb

How to Avoid Accidents When It Snows in Indianapolis

February 24, 2020

Indiana winter weather usually brings with it a host of car accidents and related injuries. As a general rule, you should try to stay indoors during extremely severe weather. But if you must venture outdoors, here are a few things to help you avoid an accident in snow and ice.

Winterize Your Vehicle

There are vehicle components and fluids that merit changing as Indiana winter rolls in. It is best to check with a trusted mechanic to make sure that your vehicle is ready for the winter roads.

Check your tires. Depending on your vehicle, you may want to change to winter tires. At the very least, make sure that your tire pressure is where it ought to be. Remember that cold weather causes the air in your tires to constrict, lowering tire pressure. 

Change your fluids. Make sure that your vehicle is full of antifreeze as well as wiper fluid that has antifreeze.

Test your battery. Check your battery and clean it of any corrosion so that it will behave optimally during extreme cold. If your battery is old, you should probably replace your battery before winter approaches.

Keep supplies inside the vehicle. It is always a good idea to include a survival kit in your car, along with an ice scraper and hand warmers.

Be More Alert

Don’t drive too close to other vehicles. You never know when a driver in front of you may break or move suddenly. On snow and ice, you will need more time and room to avoid an accident. 

Drive slower. Smart Indiana drivers lower their speed significantly over snow and ice. Just as creating extra space between you and the other vehicle increases your ability to maneuver, a slower speed gives you more time to react. 

Leave your phone alone. Texting and holding a phone is dangerous in normal weather conditions, but it is incredibly dangerous during snow and ice. While wearing a hands-free device is much safer, it is often best to avoid using your phone altogether so that you can focus on the road.

Keep distractions to a minimum. Depending on the severity of the weather, blaring music could distract you from responding carefully and avoiding an accident. Secure objects within your vehicle and make sure you have everything you need before you start your car.

Master Driving Techniques on Snow and Ice

Know if your car is front, rear, or all-wheel-drive. Rear-wheel-drive vehicles are the most susceptible to slips and skids. If at all possible, use a 4-wheel-drive vehicle if you must go outside during snow and ice.

Approach hills carefully. If you begin hitting the gas pedal while climbing, your wheels might spin. Also, if you try to brake while climbing a hill, your vehicle may start to slide backward. Be extra careful on hills by gaining the momentum you need to get up the hill and then pumping the brakes slowly as you descend. 

Turn in the direction of the skid. Most experienced winter drivers learn early on that they should turn the wheel in the direction of the skid to get out of it. If you try to turn the other direction, your car will spin in circles. 

Sudden movements might not work. As a general rule, if you need to turn, brake, or speed up quickly, the snow is likely to prevent your wheels from responding on the road. Always move slowly enough so that you have plenty of time to maneuver your vehicle properly. 

For more information about how an Indiana attorney can help you protect yourself in the event of a vehicle accident, contact Stewart & Stewart Attorneys at 800-333-3529 or visit our website.

17
Feb

If You Slipped and Fell at Work, You Must Read This

February 17, 2020

If you suffer a slip and fall at work, there are steps you can take to make sure that you are treated fairly until you recover from your injuries. Consult our quick guide here, and then speak with an experienced personal injury attorney to protect yourself after your accident.

Seek Medical Attention 

If you were injured at work, anticipate that you will be following the process for workers’ compensation. In this case, you will need to consult your employer on which physicians their workers’ comp insurance will approve. However, if the injuries constitute an emergency, someone must call an ambulance and workers’ comp benefits can be sorted out later.

Even if you can walk away from the accident, do not delay seeking medical treatment. Waiting to seek medical attention could risk the employer claiming that you were injured at a different time and place. Your treatment will need to coincide closely with the date and time of your accident.

Understanding Premises Liability

Under premises liability law, all property owners are required to keep visitors safe. Property owners must either repair dangerous parts of the property or block off and clearly warn visitors of unsafe areas until repairs can be made. As such, if you or someone you love was injured in a slip-and-fall accident on work property where a property owner was negligent, that property owner is liable for the injuries.  

If the property owner is your employer, then you will most likely be filing for workers’ compensation. However, if the property owner is someone other than your employer, you may qualify for a personal injury claim against the property owner in addition to seeking workers’ compensation for your injuries.

Workers’ Compensation in Indiana

Employers in Indiana are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance to protect workers in the event of an accident. Workers’ compensation pays for your medical bills, rehabilitation and a percentage of your lost wages until you can return to work. 

You can initiate a workers’ comp claim by requesting and completing form DWC-1. When completing the form, you must include as much specific information as possible about when, how and where the accident occurred. 

Indiana workers can qualify for workers’ comp even if the slip and fall was their fault. However, if your employer can prove that you intentionally tried to hurt yourself, your claim would constitute a fraud claim, and you would not be awarded any benefits.

Workers’ Compensation Exclusivity

By Indiana law, you are not allowed to sue your employer for a slip and fall so long as the accident occurred while you were working and your employer has workers’ comp coverage. Instead, you will need to follow the process to collect workers’ comp as soon as you are able after your accident.

However, if your slip and fall took place on a property where someone other than your employer possesses premises liability, you may qualify for a third-party action personal injury claim.

Third-Party Actions

If your slip and fall occurred somewhere other than employer-owned property, you may be able to prove that the property owner was negligent in his duties under premises liability law. You should consult with a personal injury attorney to see if you qualify for a personal injury lawsuit as a result of your slip and fall.  

In a third-party action, you can hold the property owner accountable for your injuries and seek compensation for damages even if your accident occurred during work and qualifies you for workers’ compensation. In many cases, workers’ compensation does not fully cover all expenses (such as lost wages) after an accident. Filing a personal injury claim against the third-party property owner can ensure that you receive compensation for your injuries in full.

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

10
Feb

Who Is Responsible for Damages After an Accident with a City Bus?

February 10, 2020

Public transportation is a convenient service, but it also poses a risk to passengers, other drivers, and pedestrians. For these reasons, bus operators and employers are required to take every precaution in order to prevent a city bus accident. Here is a quick guide to help you understand who is responsible for damages in the wake of a city bus accident.

The City Bus Driver

In public transportation systems, the city driver is expected to exercise great care and skill when driving the bus to lower the risk of an accident. Therefore, if there is an accident involving a city bus, there is usually negligence on the bus driver’s part.

 Sometimes the bus driver fails to observe traffic laws, or they fail to look out for other cars and pedestrians on the road before making a turn. In more serious situations, they may have been driving under the influence of alcohol or prescription drugs, or they may even have been driving without proper rest. Regardless, it is important that you speak with an attorney experienced in city bus claims if you or someone you love is injured in this type of accident.

The Driver’s Employer

Ultimately, the bus driver’s employer is responsible for any negligence on the part of the driver. It may be that the employer did not properly vet their driver or train them to handle situations in a way that could have prevented an accident.

Mechanical Failure

If the brakes failed when the driver tried to engage them, then an accident is likely to result in injuries for which the maintenance staff or even the parts manufacturer may be liable. There are a number of bus parts that, should they fail, could result in serious injuries to those inside and outside the bus. Typically, vehicle operators or businesses must keep a vehicle inspection schedule in order to identify potential mechanical failures and prevent a bus accident.

Other Passengers

In some cases, disruptive or violent passengers might be the cause of the bus accident. It is possible for other passengers to be faulted for a city bus accident.

Types of Bus Accidents

Due to the size and number of passengers being transported in a city bus, there are a number of different ways that people are injured in a bus accident. If a bus collides with or crashes into another car, then the car driver is likely to be injured in the accident.

If a city bus gets into an accident, many of the passengers may fall or even injure one another as the bus moves unexpectedly. Because of the nature of public transportation, passengers are not usually seat-belted for extra safety. Many people inside are likely to suffer injuries in the event of a collision. In cases where a bus actually flips, there may even be severe injuries and fatalities.

Usually, the most tragic bus accidents occur when the bus strikes a pedestrian in the street or on the sidewalk. These pedestrians are likely to suffer severe injury or death.

If you or someone you love has been injured or died in any of the bus accidents described above, a number of people may be liable for their injury or death. You may be eligible to receive compensation for medical bills, lost wages, wrongful death, and a number of other qualified damages in a personal injury claim. 

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

3
Feb

How Will a Motor Vehicle Accident Affect My Insurance?

February 03, 2020

It is no secret that those who have not been in any traffic accidents in many years (or not at all) can find great insurance premiums. Still, some are concerned about how an accident will affect their vehicle insurance payments.

Understanding how insurance works can help you pick a plan that works best for you. Choosing a plan carefully can help you strike a reasonable balance between paying less each month and protecting yourself financially after a major accident.

Determining Who Is at Fault for the Accident

Indiana is an at-fault state, meaning police will draft a report naming the party at fault. While insurance will take the police report into account, they will hold a separate investigation with a claims adjuster in order to determine which insurance company must pay for injuries and damage to property.

In some cases, the police and/or the insurance company may distribute fault comparably. This means that there is enough negligence in more than one party to declare each one at fault comparably, or by percentage.

Accidents that involve property damage may remain on your driving record for up to three years. If the police determined that you violated traffic laws resulting in an accident, the citation will also go on your record and have a greater negative impact. Both can also have negative effects on your insurance.

Your Insurance Could Change

If you are accident-prone, your insurance will cost more. Without accident forgiveness on your policy, insurance companies are permitted to increase your premium if you are involved in an accident (whether or not you were at fault). 

It is more likely that your insurance will increase premiums if you are found at fault for an accident. That being said, you may or may not see an increase in your insurance if the other driver’s insurance company claims responsibility.

How Accident Forgiveness Works

Many insurance companies offer their customers accident forgiveness. This is typically an extra charge that keeps your insurance premiums from increasing should you be involved in a car accident. Depending on the insurance company, the accident forgiveness is usually a small, extra charge that makes it a reasonable upgrade to keep insurance premiums from rising in the event of another vehicle accident.

Insurance Claim Limits

If you or someone you love is involved in a major car accident, regardless of who was at fault, damages can exceed insurance limits and leave you to pay the balance of bills owed. For example, if the cost of repairing/replacing your car after an accident exceeds $25,000 (the Indiana state liability minimum), you are liable for anything over $25,000. 

For this reason, many people increase their insurance liability amount so they don’t get stuck paying for extra costs in the wake of an accident. While this will protect you financially after an accident, it also means that your insurance will cost you more.

Injuries Suffered from the Accident

Injuries after an accident prove even more difficult when it comes to insurance payouts. Any significant injuries can easily cost more than the state minimum injury liability of $25,000 per person. 

If you or someone you love is injured in a traffic accident, and the other driver was found at fault, you may be eligible for compensation in a personal injury lawsuit beyond what that driver’s insurance will provide. 

That said, of greater concern than your rising premium should be the cost of injuries after a traffic accident. It is important that you consult with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible after your accident.

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.