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
In Indiana, the legislature has set-up a document that individuals may execute to inform their family and health care providers what they desire in regard to end-of-life decisions. These are called “Living Wills” and can be a part of your will and estate planning. While it is uncomfortable for most people to think about these end-of-life issues, Living Wills allow the person to make their own decision before they are in a situation where they cannot make the decision for themselves.
Recently, Bobbi Kristina Brown, the daughter of Whitney Houston and R&B singer, Bobbi Brown, passed away after she was found unresponsive on January 31, 2015. Ms. Brown reportedly suffered “global and irreversible brain damage.” She was only 22 years-old. Tragedy can even strike young people. If Ms. Brown lived in Indiana, her Living Will could have provided guidance to her family and health care providers about her end-of-life decision surrounding her treatment and care.
Indiana also has recently adopted the Indiana Physician Orders for Scope of Treatment (POST) form. This is filled out between a treating physician, advanced practice nurse, or physician assistant and the patient. The purpose is to inform EMTs and other treatment providers what medical intervention the patient desires if an emergency arises. The POST form is used by patients and their health care providers when the patient has a medical condition that is very serious or terminal. This document provides even more guidance to health professionals.
Goodin Abernathy, LLP can assist you in the creation of your Living Will along with your entire estate portfolio. Contact us today to discuss your estate planning needs.
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 200,000 children go to emergency rooms each year in the United States due to injuries associated with the child’s playground equipment. (Read more here.) Most of the injuries are due to falling and can result in traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, or other broken bones.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission has provided the following Safety Checklist for parents to use to help make sure their children are safe.
1. Make sure surfaces around playground equipment have at least 12 inches of wood chips, mulch, sand, or pea gravel, or are mats made of safety-tested rubber or rubber-like materials.
2. Check that protective surfacing extends at least 6 feet in all directions from play equipment. For swings, be sure surfacing extends, in back and front, twice the height of the suspending bar.
3. Make sure play structures more than 30 inches high are spaced at least 9 feet apart.
4. Check for dangerous hardware, like open “S” hooks or protruding bolt ends.
5. Make sure spaces that could trap children, such as openings in guardrails or between ladder rungs, measure less than 3.5 inches or more than 9 inches.
6. Check for sharp points or edges in equipment.
7. Look out for tripping hazards, like exposed concrete footings, tree stumps, and rocks.
8. Make sure elevated surfaces, like platforms and ramps, have guardrails to prevent falls.
9. Check playgrounds regularly to see that equipment and surfacing are in good condition.
10. Carefully supervise children on playgrounds to make sure they’re safe.
If you see any of these issues at a local park or your child’s school, these conditions should be reported to the appropriate authority so the hazardous condition may be corrected.
If your child has been injured on a playground due to one of these conditions or other conditions, contact Goodin Abernathy, LLP to discuss your options.
Image courtesy of Feelart at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Soon high school and college students will be heading off to warmer weather to experience Spring Break. Whether you are going with your child or he or she is going with a group of friends, take the time to discuss safety tips from your own experience. Beyond the issues surrounding binge drinking and partying, consider discussing safety issues involving water, driving, hotels and money. Even if your child may roll their eyes at you or act like they are not paying attention, any information passed could prevent personal injury, traumatic brain injury, a water injury, or even death.
The Girls Fight Back organization has a “Spring Break Safety Tip Sheet” available here. This sheet provides a lot of tips for safely getting to Spring Break, Hotels, ATM use, Drinking, In the Water, Leaving the Country, and “let’s talk about sex.” If you have a child that is going on Spring Break, consider sharing this list with them, even if they are boys. Knowledge and prevention are powerful. After Spring Break, if your child is injured, contact Goodin Abernathy LLP to discuss your options.
Image courtesy of iosphere at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Spring Break and Summer will soon be here, which means Jet Ski or Personal Watercraft use will occur. While jet skiing can be fun, the mishandling of these watercraft can lead to serious personal injury including traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury or even wrongful death.
Jet Ski Safety
The American Red Cross has published various water safety tips, including specific safety tips for Jet Ski use. Click here to read article. These tips include learning to swim, knowing the local laws and regulations, operating the Jet Ski with common sense and courtesy, using caution around swimmers, wearing a life vest, riding with a buddy, and refraining from alcohol use during operation.
Along with these tips, it is also important to know how a Jet Ski operates. It is important for a user of a Jet Ski to be trained by an experienced and knowledgeable operator because personal water craft are powerful and therefore, can be dangerous. Jet Skis, similar to other boats, do not stop like a car. Every year there is a tragic story about a person being catastrophically injured or killed due to a jet ski being unable to stop before running into a pier, dock, or other boat.
In Indiana, there also is no requirement to have specific training on a personal water craft unless you are under 15 years of age. Any person with a valid driver’s license may operate boats and personal water craft.
Jet Skis and other personal water craft use is fun; however, caution should be used to prevent personal injury. If you or a loved one has been injured through the use of a personal watercraft, jet ski, or other boat, contact the Personal Injury Attorneys of Goodin Abernathy, LLP for a free consultation.