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Injured – No Word from Insured

I Was Injured in an Accident Two Weeks Ago and Haven’t Heard from Anyone

Twenty plus years ago, the aforementioned set of circumstances would probably never have happened. In the past, the person who was at fault for your accident and injury, whether it be a motorist or a landowner, would have contacted their insurance carrier and reported the incident. That insurance carrier would have promptly assigned the matter to a claims adjuster who, more likely than not, would have contacted you within days, if not hours of the incident and worked with you to assure you that your medical bills and lost wages would be covered.

Unfortunately those days are long behind us, and today we commonly hear from our new clients that weeks have gone by since their injury occurred; they’ve not heard from anyone; their medical bills are mounting up, and they are losing income.

The reasons for this difference in the claim handling procedure are numerous, but the bottom line is that in today’s world the insurance carrier for the at-fault party is rarely going to be of any assistance to you whatsoever.

We even had instances where the injured party has attempted either by mail or telephone to contact the at-fault party to start the claim handling procedure only to run into a stone wall.

Personal injury lawyers are not magicians, however, they are well-trained and experienced in representing people who have been injured through no fault of their own. More importantly, we know how to “get the attention” of the insurance carriers for the landowners, the businesses, or the motorists who are responsible for the injuries sustained.

In addition, most people now assume that there is insurance coverage available for the at-fault party when in fact that is not always the case. The alternative to having the at-fault party’s insurance carrier pay for medical bills and lost wages often involves a claim against the injured party’s own insurance carrier through either uninsured or under-insured motorist coverage, medical payments under the injured party’s own policy.

Quite often in premises liability cases there is also medical payments coverage available to pay the injured party’s medical bills irrespective of who is at fault.

All of these different possibilities require knowledge of how the insurance industry works, of the various forms of liability insurance coverage available, and how those coverages interplay with the facts of any particular accident involving injury.

The absolute worst thing that a layperson can do is to try to traverse these obstacles by themselves, as it is all too easy to commit a fatal mistake in the claim even after you determine to whom the claim is to be made.

For all these reasons, it is extremely important for injured parties to consult an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after any event which causes personal injuries.

*Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Bicycle Safety

Bicycle Safety

The weather is finally turning, and Spring Break is almost here. Both mean children and adults alike will be dusting off their bicycles and riding through our neighborhoods and streets. Bicycling is a fun and healthy activity, but precautions should be taken to avoid personal injury and automobile accidents.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has created the “Roll Model” program. As listed on their website, this if for everyone to adopt advanced bicycle safety.

In this program, being a “Roll Model” means:

• Riding and Driving Focused – never distracted.
• Riding and Driving Prepared – always expect the unexpected.
• Putting Safety First – we never know when a crash will occur, regardless of skill level or age; always wear a bicycle helmet when on a bicycle and a seat belt when in car.
• Following the Rules of the Road — a bicyclist is considered a vehicle on the road with all the rights on the roadway and responsibilities of motorized traffic.
• Expecting law enforcement officers to monitor and address unsafe behaviors between motorists and bicyclists that put bicyclists at risk.
• Sharing the Road – both vehicle drivers (motorist and bicyclist) should look out for one another and show mutual respect.

The website also has pledges that children, youth and parents may take to be good “Roll Models.”

While these precautions are great, if you or a child have been injured in a bicycle accident, please call Goodin Abernathy, LLP to discuss your situation.

Image courtesy of khunaspix at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Running Safety Tips

Running Safety Tips

Running Safety TipsAbout once a week, I hear about a pedestrian struck by a car in Indianapolis. Often these accidents result in personal injury, including traumatic brain injury, broken bones, spinal cord injury, or even death. I often wonder how this happens and whether it is due to driver inattention, cell phone use / texting or road conditions.

Then last night, after dark, in winter, while driving home on a busy street, I saw a person who was dressed head to toe in black with no flashlight or reflective gear to alert drivers to his or her presence, running through traffic. Since I am a runner also, I did recognize a nice running form, once I recovered from the shock of this person not taking basic precautions and running safety measures.

As the weather warms up, please remember as a runner, these rules that will help you avoid personal injury. These tips may also be applied to prevent bicycle injuries, as well.

Follow These Simple Running Safety Rules:

• Wear reflective material before dawn and after dusk. If your running gear does not have running gear, carry a flashlight.
• Run against traffic and stay observant to make sure vehicle drivers see and acknowledge your presence. Do not assume the driver of a vehicle sees you.
• Do NOT use headphones.
• Carry a cell phone or change for a phone call.
• Run in familiar areas and vary your running location. Avoid unpopulated areas, deserted streets, and trails that are not regularly used.
• Use your instincts. If a situation or person gives you unease, do what you need to do to stay safe. This could range from simply leaving an area or calling the police.

Exercise and running are great, but please stay safe.

Headsets and Personal Injury

Smartphones and media players are convenient ways for people to listen to music or talk with friends while on the go.   However, if earbuds or other headsets that prevent sound from entering the ear are used, the music and conversation can be the cause of personal injury.

Currently, state laws are all over the place regarding the use of headsets while driving.  (See AAA’s Digest of Motor Laws, available at drivinglaws.aaa.com/laws/headsets/).  However, just because it is not illegal, this does not mean it is safe.

Anytime a person’s senses, whether it is sight or sound, are distracted from paying attention to road conditions, on-coming traffic, sirens of emergency vehicles, or children playing, there is additional risk to the motorist, bicyclist or walker.  When earbuds or headsets that almost or completely drown out other sounds are used, there is no way for a person to hear anything that would alert them to these conditions.

At Goodin Abernathy, we want you to enjoy music and talking with your friends, but we want you to do so safely.