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Injured In Auto Accident And Don’t Have a Driver’s License

Injured In Auto Accident And Don’t Have a Driver’s License

In Indiana, in order to legally operate an automobile, and you are required to have a driver’s license. To obtain a driver’s license, you must pass a written driver’s test and pass a road test. These conditions exist throughout the country. Indeed, all states and Washington D.C. require an individual to pass a road test and a written driver’s test before being issued a driver’s license. Thus, may wonder what happens when an individual is injured in an accident but the individual does not possess a valid driver’s license.

In short, although operating an automobile without a valid driver’s license is a criminal offense, the absence of a driver’s license does not automatically prohibit an individual from recovering for their injuries. However, in the context of a claim for personal injuries, disagreements often occur over whether the absence of a driver’s license is even admissible evidence. When these disagreements occur, and if left unresolved, a judge is asked to determine whether the jury will be allowed to hear evidence about the absence of a driver’s license. Like many areas in law, an exploration into the facts of an individual matter is usually necessary to assess how a judge is likely to resolve these types of disagreements.

For example, just because a driver does not possess a valid driver’s license at the moment of the accident, it does not necessarily mean a judge will allow a jury to hear this information and it is important to identify whether the individual ever possessed a valid driver’s license at any time in their life and to identify what the driver was doing at the time of the accident. The basic and indisputable purpose of the driver’s license requirement is to certify that the owner of the license has proven they are capable of operating an automobile on public roads in a safe and responsible manner. Therefore, if an individual previously passed a road test and written test, but forgot to renew their license, and is then rear-ended while stopped at a red light, the fact that the individual did not possess a valid license at the time of the accident has little relevance, and is not likely admissible. This is because the individual had previously demonstrated a base understanding of the rules of the road and a base proficiency at operating an automobile and the competence is not in dispute since they were properly stopped at the time of the accident.

On the other hand, if the individual has never possessed a license and has never passed a road test and written test, and is injured in an accident while changing lanes shortly after passing a sign signifying a lane was ending, it is more likely a judge would allow a jury to hear evidence about the absence of a valid license. This is because the same factors that make it necessary for individuals to pass a written and road test (knowledge of right of way practices and warning signs) are the same factors that are associated with the facts of the accident.

If you have questions about how the absence of a valid driver’s license impacts a claim for personal injuries, call one of our experienced lawyers for a free consultation.

Farming Accidents in Indiana

Farming Accidents in Indiana

Why You Need to be Represented by the Attorneys of Goodin Abernathy LLP for Farming Accidents in Indiana

The Goodin Abernathy LLP trial attorneys are experienced with helping farm and field workers who suffer serious injuries in farming accidents. As Indiana’s harvest season begins, now is the time to use extra caution working in the fields and driving through the countryside.

The Hoosier State is ranked 10th nationally in total agricultural production and ranked in the top five states for crop production like corn and soybeans. It’s also ranked fifth in the nation for swine production and third for poultry. (https://farmflavor.com/indiana-agriculture/) With this high volume of production, numerous workers and large farm machinery are active daily in the fields of Indiana’s farms. Because of this heavy equipment, agriculture is a hazardous industry. Farmers are at a high risk for fatal and serious farm accident injuries. (https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/aginjury/) These injuries are gruesome and can have long lasting effects. Over the years, Goodin Abernathy LLP’s personal injury attorneys have represented farm hands throughout Indiana, helping them understand the legal system and fighting to make sure they collect the legal benefits or damages they deserve following serious accidents.

Our initial consultations are free. More importantly, since each client’s farming accident experience is unique; Goodin Abernathy LLP does not charge a set contingency fee. Our fees depend on the level of legal work your claim requires. When meeting with us for the first time, no one will pressure you to sign a fee agreement or make any decisions right away. We prefer in-person initial consultations. If time and distance are a barrier for out of state clients, we handle video conferencing and telephone conferences at convenient times, all days of the week.

Goodin Abernathy LLP attorneys handle farming accident cases for injured clients and their families from all across the country. If the accident happened in Indiana, Goodin Abernathy LLP attorneys know the law. We handle state and federal lawsuits and are proficient at holding those responsible accountable for their negligence.

Since fall is when the harvest takes place, more accidents occur during this time of year. Most farm operations own and run their own semi trucks for hauling grain. Thus, more big trucks are driving throughout the countryside on state and country roads increasing possibilities that trucking accidents can occur. Grain trucks, filled full of heavy grain, are harder to stop. They can also enter the road at unmarked points during the day or night. Many do not have the proper, legally mandated, reflectors and lights. Some of these farm vehicles are even left on the side of the road without the proper materials to make them visible to other traffic on the road. Big farm machinery can also hit or run over workers in the field—especially those attempting to load produce.

Machinery accidents only allot for a portion of farming accidents. Here are some of the other accidents the attorneys of Goodin Abernathy LLP have handled:

  • a dairy farm hand who slipped in cold, frozen mud and fell into a manure pit where he died from toxic fume exposure;
  • a young teen who was working as a temporary farm hand and put his hand in an auger to dislodge material when the machine started running again and mangled his hand;
  • silo accidents where young or untrained farm hands get sucked into huge amounts of grain.

Goodin Abernathy LLP attorneys also realize that many of Indiana’s agricultural workers come from out of state or even out of the country. In fact, 73% of America’s farming labor force is comprised of migrant workers.

If you are injured in Indiana, Goodin Abernathy LLP is the firm to represent you. When Goodin Abernathy LLP attorneys take a farming accident case, we grab it hands-on and work to collect the details that accurately describe how and why the accident happened. Our experience handling medical testimony, using top quality experts and showing a jury the anatomy of an injury is just as important as our experience investigating accidents. We have the skills necessary to represent you, and the attorneys of Goodin Abernathy LLP CARE ABOUT OUR CLIENTS.

Goodin Abernathy LLP also offers all of these services, in Spanish, to the Indiana Latino community. Marca aquí por un versíon en Español – Legalmente Hablando Indy.

Indiana law allows farms to cover cases under Indiana Worker’s Compensation law or face a potential negligence claim. Worker’s compensation should provide you with medical, rehabilitation and income benefits if you are injured on the job. These benefits are provided to help injured workers return to work. It also provides benefits to the worker’s dependents if they die as the result of a job-related injury. The attorneys are Goodin Abernathy LLC understand the legal intricacies of farming accidents claims. We care about you and your families and are ready to help you fight for the maximum amount of compensation allowable by law.

Let Goodin Abernathy LLP guide you through your legal claim. We walk beside you through the entire process handling your case with the care and attention you deserve. We want to get to know you, discuss the legal process, provide you the opportunity to ask questions and explain our fee structure. Reach out to Goodin Abernathy LLP and let us show you how we set ourselves apart from other attorneys. Experience the care, wisdom, and experience Goodin Abernathy LLP has to offer by calling 317.843.2606 today for your free consultation.

 

 

Photo by Spencer Pugh on Unsplash

Indiana Trucking Accidents

Indiana Trucking Accidents

Why Experience Matters & Why You Should Hire Goodin Abernathy LLP Attorneys For Your Trucking Accident Case

The Goodin Abernathy LLP trial attorneys are sharp at prosecuting Indiana negligence claims involving semi-trucks and serious injuries. Many of our clients, who live out of state, suffer accidents in Indiana and need reliable legal representation. If you want personal attention by an Indiana attorney that excels in the courtroom, then contact Goodin Abernathy LLP because we are real attorneys who CARE ABOUT OUR CLIENTS.

Our initial consultations are free. More importantly, since each client’s truck accident experience is unique, Goodin Abernathy LLP does not charge a set contingency fee. Our fees depend on the level of legal work your claim requires. When meeting with us for the first time, no one will pressure you to sign a fee agreement or make any decisions right away. We prefer in person initial consultations. If time and distance are a barrier for out of state clients, we handle video conferencing and telephone conferences at convenient times, all days of the week.

Before you read any more, consider this: If you are attracted to a big box law firm, with a flashy commercial campaign and marketing gimmick, where the named attorney does not even handle your case or go to court, then we are not your firm. Goodin Abernathy LLP attorneys stick to a traditional “attorney and client relationship” – where you have direct access to the attorney, paralegal and staff who actually represents you. If this is the legal care and trust you want, then keep reading.

Indiana is known as the Crossroads of America and handles a huge volume of interstate traffic. Over the road semi-trucks pass through our state every minute – working to stock our shelves with food and keep the economy running. But sometimes those truckers make mistakes. From the congested Terre Haute section of I-70 over to the hills and bridges of I-74 near Cincinnati; along the I-65 pressure exchanges near Louisville, driving through the stop and go traffic of Indianapolis and up to the incredible volume and speeds of I-90, I-64 and I-65 corridor through the Indiana Region, Goodin Abernathy LLP takes the time to investigate cases as if they occurred in our own parking lot.

Some trucking accidents are caused by innocent mistakes with small damages. Other Indiana trucking accidents are horrific, resulting in death, paralysis that forever change lives. Often these accidents are caused by truck driver inattention, fatigue or plain risky driving. These are the cases Goodin Abernathy LLP’s attorneys aggressively handle.

Goodin Abernathy LLP attorneys handle personal injury cases for injured clients and their families from all across the country. If the accident happened in Indiana, Goodin Abernathy LLP attorneys know the law. We handle state and federal lawsuits involving trucking companies and drivers from all around the United States. We are proficient at holding trucking companies and drivers accountable for their negligence. Since trucking companies are structured for financial profit, the companies must also be prepared to pay for damages they cause.

Semi-trucks are gigantic and extremely heavy. When you mix their speed and weight with the consequences of driver inattention, faulty maintenance or driver fatigue, it creates a deadly recipe. The most common truck accidents we handle include rear end collisions, head-on collisions, jackknifes and rollovers. On the highway, these trucking accidents usually involve multi car pileups and cause problems for the police re-construction experts to evaluate. When Goodin Abernathy LLP attorneys take a trucking case, we grab it hands on and work to collect the details that accurately describe how and why the accident happened. This includes interviewing the investigating police, contacting other drivers that witnessed the incident and hiring qualified experts to report on safety violations. We also use reconstruction experts who describe why the collisions occurred with diagrams, photos and video production.

Big trucks cause big accidents and big injuries. Many of our cases involve fatalities, brain trauma, spinal cord injuries and amputations. Highway collisions, like under-ride and override accidents are the most likely to cause fatal injuries, severe brain or spinal trauma, often leading to permanent damage or paralysis. Our experience handling medical testimony, using top quality experts and showing a jury the anatomy of an injury is just as important as our experience investigating accidents.

The scope of injury isn’t the only thing larger than normal in a trucking accident. The claim process itself is much more rigorous. More people are involved than in your typical motor vehicle accident. Since trucking companies often have greater financial resources than the common driver, they create legal headaches for injured drivers and families. That is why hiring an experienced truck accident attorney is so important.

The attorneys at Goodin Abernathy LLP understand the legal intricacies of collecting evidence and using it in the courtroom. As important as our legal abilities is the fact that WE CARE ABOUT OUR CLIENTS.

Trucking accidents are complicated. Let Goodin Abernathy LLP guide you through a legal claim. We walk beside you through the entire process handling your case with the care and attention you deserve. We want to get to know you, discuss the legal process, provide you the opportunity to ask questions and explain our fee structure. Reach out to Goodin Abernathy LLP and let us show you how we set ourselves apart from other attorneys. Experience the care, wisdom, and experience Goodin Abernathy LLP has to offer by calling 317.843.2606 today for your free consultation.

 

Photo by Stephen Tafra on Unsplash

Trucking Accidents in Indiana

Trucking Accidents in Indiana

Trucks are massive vehicles and often travel at high speeds on the highways. Not surprisingly, accidents can happen –  and when they do occur, they can be very serious and lead to extensive injuries or fatalities of the victims. A collision with a fast-moving truck can send smaller vehicles flying and cause devastating consequences.

Many truck drivers travel over vast distances during the night, which also increases the risk of accidents. Driver fatigue, carelessness and poor safety visibility can cause a number of issues. In order to avoid accidents and the resultant liability, truck drivers are required to make sure their trucks are visible on the road.

Why is Visibility Such a Concern?

Even large vehicles, like trucks, can be almost invisible on a dark road at night. These trucks may be travelling through remote areas that aren’t as well-controlled or well-lit as city street. If there are no reflectors or lights to improve visibility, the trucks can pose a risk to other vehicles on the road. If the trucks have the necessary safety visibility stripes and reflectors on them, they’ll be visible from a distance, so other drivers on the road can take appropriate steps to drive more cautiously on the road or steer out of the way.

In fact, trucks without proper lights and reflectors are three times more likely to get involved in accidents. If a truck is not properly marked, the owner may be liable if an accident occurs. Even if the accident is someone else’s fault, the truck driver can be held liable if they don’t have proper safety and visibility markings on your vehicle.

Truck drivers are also required to follow certain safety procedures. They need safety visibility if their truck becomes disabled or stalls in the middle of the road and they have to park it. They must get the truck completely off the road and away from on-coming traffic and also ensure other drivers can see their parked truck – that it is visible to other drivers from a distance, so they can slow down in order to pass it safely.

Truck drivers are required to place the visible signs around the truck to establish a safe perimeter. This is to ensure that all other vehicles can pass by safely, and it minimizes the risk of collisions.

Truck Drivers are Required by Law to Follow Certain Safety Measures

When truck drivers stop on the roadsides or stall on the road, the drivers are legally required to follow a set procedure and park their vehicle in a specific manner. Most trucking companies must properly train their drivers carefully to ensure they follow these procedures. These drivers also attend refresher courses to ensure they remember their legal obligations and know how to secure their vehicles well.

Here are some of the safety measures truck drivers must take in order to avoid being a danger to other motorists:

• The truck driver must switch on their emergency hazard lights to ensure that the stalled truck is visible from a long distance.

• The truck driver then must set up three physical warning signs around the truck. These signs should be spaced according to the flow of traffic and length of the road, to get maximum visibility. This warns approaching drivers of the truck’s presence so they know to proceed with caution.

• The truck drivers must also place triangle-shaped reflectors on the vehicle in visible areas. These reflectors are red in color and made of plastic. Drivers are required to carry them in their trucks to ensure they’re always available in case of an emergency.

• Alternatively, drivers can also use roadside flares. These flares are bright and highly visible as they produce active flames.

If truck drivers fail to follow these safety precautions, they may be held liable for any accidents that occur as a result.

Why Reflector Tapes are Essential

According to a study conducted by National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, reflector tapes are responsible for a 44% drop in accident rates in passenger vehicles as well as tractor trailers. This study can be easily applied to trucks and semi trucks as well. Semi trucks and vehicles with extended trailers need to have sufficient reflector tape on them.

If the other drivers on the same road can see the dimensions of the truck and the trailer as they approach behind it, they will know just how big it is, and that will help them drive around the vehicle more safely. Reflector tape should be affixed on top of the trailers, around the doors and windows, along the length of the trailer and truck, as well as along the back. These tapes reflect light so they will be easily visible when the lights of an oncoming vehicle shine on them.

What Should You Do If You’re Involved in an Accident with a Tractor-Trailer?

If you’re involved in an accident, you need to make sure you protect your interests. If your are physically able, you should call the authorities immediately and secure your vehicle. Make sure your vehicle is in a safe place to avoid other accidents.

Once you are able to call the authorities, call a lawyer who specializes in truck accident cases. Oftentimes, trucking companies, or their insurance carriers will send experts to the scene as soon as possible to begin taking photographs and preserving evidence. If you are able, you should take your own photographs of the scene and the vehicles involved.

Finally, never settle your case with the trucking company or their insurance carrier until you have spoken to an experienced accident attorney.  Trucking companies usually have good legal professionals on hand. If you are in an accident with a truck driver, find a legal professional to represent you before you speak to the trucking company or their legal team.

A legal professional will help determine liability and ensure both parties can come to a fair settlement.

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

Semi-Trucks Everywhere!

Every week there are stories in the newspaper and on television involving semi-truck and passenger automobile accidents. Just this morning, there was a tragic semi – passenger vehicle fatality on Interstate 65 near Lafayette, Indiana. Now this afternoon, there is another multi-car accident involving a semi-truck on I-65 in Greenwood, Indiana. As we all travel on roads with semi-trucks, please keep these factors in mind in order to avoid a personal injury and situations of wrongful death involving a collision with an 18-wheeler.

Wide Turns – Semi-trucks are a lot longer than passenger vehicles. They will have to make a wide right turn in order to avoid the curb or other obstacles. Drivers in passenger vehicles should watch to see if a semi is signaling for a turn and avoid pulling up alongside the truck. The semi driver is concentrating on the turn and may not see the driver if they are alongside the truck, in a blind spot.

Blind Spots – Along with turns, semi-trucks have larger blind spots than the average vehicle. Due to their size, there is a blind spot immediately in front of the semi, along the sides near the cab, and directly behind the trailer. The blind spot on the right side of the truck is worse than the left due to the position of the driver. Passenger drivers should move out of these blind spots as quickly as safety permits so the trucker knows if they can safely pass or make an evasive move to avoid collisions due to other drivers.

Passing a Semi – Due to the blind spots that are larger on the right side of the truck, passenger vehicles should pass on the left whenever possible. When the pass is completed, passenger automobiles should also make sure they do not cut off the semi when re-entering the same lane of travel as the semi. Again, due to their size, semi-trucks take a lot longer to brake and come to a complete stop.

Wind Issues – Semi-trucks are susceptible to acting like a sail when there is any type of wind. This is true even for a fully loaded semi, much less a semi pulling an empty trailer. Again, staying out of a blind spot and passing as quickly as safety permits will aid passenger vehicles in avoiding collisions with semi-trucks.

Sleepy Drivers – Semi truck drivers are sometimes under too much pressure by their clients and employers to deliver loads by a certain time. This can make drivers fail to follow regulations regarding sleeping and breaks, which then leads to road weariness and falling asleep at the wheel. When a passenger vehicle sees a semi-truck swerving erratically late at night or even during the day, the semi driver could be drowsy and the truck should be avoided.

These are just some of the issues that come with sharing the road with semi-trucks. All of us enjoy the benefits of these trucks through the shipping of products and food; therefore, we all need to be aware of these issues and help maintain safe driving conditions.

If there is an accident that occurs involving a semi-truck, however, the attorneys at Goodin Abernathy, LLP will sit down with you in a free consultation to discuss what happened. Be safe!