What Are the Real Reasons for Motor Vehicle Crashes?
Sometimes, establishing the reasons for a car crash is complicated. One factor that can make determinations even more imprecise is that state crash report forms used at the scene often lack the appropriate fields or places to enter codes that would explain the precise reason for the collision. Because each state uses its own form, no consistency exists. Compiling accurate national statistics becomes difficult, producing results that are just plain wrong. The problem is known as incomplete crash data, and it’s hindering efforts to save lives. How Do Accurate Crash Explanations Help Save Lives? With 40,000 people dying on our roads each year, and another 4.6 million suffering serious injuries, any reasonable action we can take to save lives seems like a good idea. The National Safety Council (NSC) undertook a study to find out more about incomplete crash reports and how they hamper efforts to reduce motor vehicle fatalities. From a NHTSA study conducted ... Continue Reading
Personal Injury, Vehicle Accidents, Wrongful Death
Most Common Killers
June 11, 2018

Most Common Killers

Although you might not want to think about it, we all die sooner or later. Approximately 2.6 million of us passed away in the U.S. during 2014, according to the CDC. But do you know what the odds are for the most likely causes of death? We have some 2016 statistics, courtesy of the National Safety Council (NSC), that detail the most likely ways we are to die in the United States. Keep in mind that the odds listed below apply to our entire population. You will not have as high a likelihood of dying from heart disease, for example, if you exercise, eat well, keep a healthy weight, and do not have genetic risks. The Top Twenty Ways We Die Most of the types of deaths in the top 20 are considered preventable, at least in part, by the NSC. Here are the odds of dying from: Cancer: 1 in 6 Heart disease: 1 ... Continue Reading
Catastrophic Injuries, Personal Injury, Vehicle Accidents
Is Catastrophic Failure Inevitable for Allegiant Air?
If you’re like most people, you look for low fares when you want to fly, and some of the lowest around are found by traveling on the deep-discount airlines Spirit, Frontier, and Allegiant. But a recent report from CBS’s “60 Minutes,” and a prediction by a Kentucky-based pilot and aviation professional, may give you pause if you fly Allegiant Airlines. “A Sense of Urgency” Allegiant is known for making short, nonstop trips at rock-bottom prices that come with few amenities. Locally, Allegiant flies out of the following Indiana airports: Indianapolis, Evansville, Fort Wayne, and South Bend. The airline also runs flights out of nearby Cincinnati and Dayton, Ohio, and Louisville, Lexington, and Owensboro, Kentucky. You may have flown Allegiant and may even like flying them. If you’re trying to take your family somewhere, you can’t beat the low cost. But do the inexpensive fares mean you are sacrificing safety? Steve Kroft at “60 Minutes” believes ... Continue Reading
News, Personal Injury
Don’t Become a Statistic This Memorial Day Weekend
Most of us consider Memorial Day weekend to be the start of summer — the perfect time to visit family or enjoy the outdoors. About 35 million of us took to the road in 2017, driving more than 50 miles over the holiday weekend, and 2018 may be shaping up to surpass that figure. Don’t set out on your trip until you learn why Memorial Day weekend is the most dangerous one to be on the road. The Riskiest Holiday Weekend All Year Did you know that you are four times likelier to die in a Memorial Day weekend crash than during a regular weekend? Memorial Day weekend is the deadliest of the holiday weekends for road travel. The period from 2011 to 2015 averaged 312 fatalities in each of those years. The other two big summer holiday weekends—Labor Day and the Fourth of July—were close behind, with 308 deaths on average during Labor Day ... Continue Reading
Vehicle Accidents
Pre-Existing Conditions and Motor Vehicle Accidents
If you have a pre-existing medical condition and have sustained injuries in a motor vehicle crash where the other party was negligent, you may be concerned that you cannot win your case. While it can be more difficult to win, having a pre-existing condition does not negate the fact that the other person caused the accident and that you are suffering in ways that you weren’t before the accident. The insurance company for the at-fault party in a car crash will always try to pay you as little as they think they can. That’s the way insurance companies make a profit; never forget they are in business to make money. However, if the accident aggravated your pre-existing condition, you may be able to win your case under something often called “the eggshell skull rule,” “the eggshell plaintiff rule,” or “the eggshell doctrine.” What is the Eggshell Skull Rule? The term is named after a law ... Continue Reading
Personal Injury, Vehicle Accidents
Autonomous Car Fatalities: A Question of Liability
A 49-year-old woman died on March 18, 2018, after an autonomous Uber vehicle, a Volvo SUV, struck her while she was crossing a road in Tempe, Arizona. The facts are: A “safety” driver was behind the wheel who did not take measures to avoid the crash, but who was found to be unimpaired. The woman crossed at night, but not at a crosswalk. No passengers were in the Uber vehicle at the time. The SUV was part of Uber’s Phoenix-area self-driving vehicle testing. Post-collision, Uber halted all such testing it was conducting, in Tempe, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, and Toronto. Preliminary police reports do not appear to implicate Uber or the safety driver. It should be noted that Arizona has the friendliest laws in the U.S. when it comes to testing and using autonomous vehicles. Nagging Questions But the accident opens up a number of questions regarding motor vehicle crash liability. Why didn’t the safety driver ... Continue Reading
Vehicle Accidents
Common sense tells us that when a car and a pedestrian collide, the pedestrian will never emerge victorious. We’re all aware of the dangers vehicles present to those on foot, and we’d like to believe that we’re always on the lookout for one another, whether we’re walking or behind the wheel. Yet, there is a recent and unsettling trend happening on our roads – not just across the U.S., but also here in Indiana. When the Governors Highway Safety Association looked at the most recent pedestrian fatality data, the statistics were disturbing. It was early 2017 when researchers looked at the numbers from the first half of the previous year and found that there was a 17 percent jump in the number of pedestrians killed on U.S. roads. Unfortunately, the increase in deaths was not an outlier. From 2010 to 2015, pedestrian fatalities jumped by 25 percent, meaning that pedestrians now account for the largest ... Continue Reading
Truckers Driving Dangerously: Unsafe Lane Changes
While the vast majority of large truck drivers exercise proper attention when it’s time to move into another lane, a few bad apples drive more dangerously, resulting in injuries and deaths for innocent victims. Abrupt lane changes by large commercial vehicles create havoc. The trailer that’s part of a semi often extends to 53 feet, and, in some cases, even longer. Such a vehicle takes up a lot of space on the road, making lane changes a matter requiring much care and attention to blind spots. McNeely Stephenson handled a case that occurred on US 150 in Southern Indiana, a semi turned sharply left, in the left turn lane, causing its load of steel I-beams to move into the adjoining lane of traffic.  The vehicle passing in the right had no chance to avoid the beams resulting in a crash that took the life of the driver and critically injured the front seat passenger. Mike ... Continue Reading
Truck Accidents, Vehicle Accidents
How Kids Get Hurt in Non-Traffic Accidents
Not all automotive dangers to your children happen on the roads. Some can occur in your own driveway. “Non-traffic accidents,” as they are known, result in hundreds of fatalities and 95,000 injuries a year for children 14 and under. Generally, the risk of injury and death is greater with young children. They often cannot be seen by the driver when they are in front of or behind a vehicle, and they do not fully understand the consequences of their actions, such as “hiding” in a car trunk or pretending they are driving. The Most Likely Perils Even the most careful parent may not be aware of the many dangers for their children in and around motor vehicles. Here are the major dangers to children from motor vehicles that don’t occur on the road: Backovers. Sadly, this is one of the most frequent reasons for child non-traffic fatalities. Many backovers injure or kill children under the age ... Continue Reading
Personal Injury, Vehicle Accidents
Preventing Catastrophic Injuries in Youth Sports
Play Hard, but Play Safely If you have kids, it’s likely that you spend time sitting on bleachers, watching them play and cheering them on. Sports are undeniably good for kids—for their bodies, their minds, and their overall social development. Athletics are one way to battle our modern society’s increasing tendency to spend time lounging in front of a screen. However, growing children are especially vulnerable to injury, more so than adults. While we have started talking more about traumatic brain injuries in football, for example, much of the attention has been focused on professionals. Did you know that high school football players are twice as likely as college players to sustain a head injury? And that 1 in 10 college players end up suffering a brain injury? On March7, 2018, the 8th Annual Youth Sports Safety Summit (YSSS) met right here in Indianapolis to discuss youth sports injuries and safety protocols. Co-hosting the summit ... Continue Reading
Catastrophic Injuries, Personal Injury
What Is the State of Our Roads in Indianapolis?
Streets and roads in Indianapolis are scandalously deteriorated, and it’s our own fault. Years of negligence from cutting public works budgets and putting off needed repairs mean that the chickens have now come home to roost—and we will all pay the price for our neglect, not only in dollars, but also in lives. Nationwide, roughly one-third of our nation’s traffic deaths are linked to poor road conditions. In a Word: “Staggering” An internal analysis done by the city asserts that the amount of money and work required to fix more than 8,000 miles of Indianapolis’s streets and roads is “staggering.” The city’s Department of Public Works was forced to conclude that “[t]his deferred maintenance and lack of improvement have resulted in severe deterioration to the city’s transportation facilities.” Just to upgrade the state of Indy’s roads from poor to fair (a 4 on a 1-to-10 scale) would cost $732 million. Keeping the streets at the ... Continue Reading
Personal Injury, Premises Liability
In late September 2017, a terrible truck accident occurred on I-70 in the Mt. Comfort Road area of Buck Creek Township, near mile marker 95.2. A tanker truck ran off the highway, hitting a bridge and spilling thousands of gallons of oil when it split in two. It took HAZMAT teams several hours to clean up the oil, and the interstate was shut down in both directions for more than three hours. The driver was taken to the hospital with critical injuries and has since died. The reason for the crash? Two of the truck’s tires blew out, and the driver lost control. Between 2009 and 2013, almost 16,000 people died in roughly 14,000 fatal crashes that involved large trucks and buses. The numbers show that tires were a factor in 223 deaths that occurred in 198 crashes. What Can Go Wrong? Truck tire blowouts are serious business that can kill the truck’s driver. A ... Continue Reading
Truck Accidents
How many times have you seen a weaving car on the road and wondered, is that driver under the influence? Did you ever consider that they might be sleepy and not drunk? It turns out that drowsy driving is a much bigger problem than the official statistics would lead you to believe. The U.S. government’s figures have traditionally pegged drowsy driving as responsible for, at most, 2 percent of all crashes. But a new study using the PERCLOS method has determined that the proportion of accidents involving drowsy drivers can be as high as nearly 11 percent, or 1 in 9, of all collisions. That’s a significant and alarming increase that requires further examination. What Is PERCLOS, and Why Does It Matter? An eye-opening study published in February, 2018, and managed by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, confirmed the surprising results using the research method PERCLOS. PERCLOS, or the percentage of time during a ... Continue Reading
Vehicle Accidents
Crime scene from wrongful death.
Wrongful death lawsuits are brought when someone’s death is caused by the wrongful actions, or negligence, of another party. Often wrongful death suits are filed directly against the party that caused the harm, such as an employer whose neglect of workplace safety or non-compliance with safety regulations caused an employee to die. In these cases, a lawsuit can be filed on behalf of the family members who are suffering from the loss of company and financial support that the deceased would have provided. Wrongful death cases are civil suits, not criminal ones, meaning that justice involves making someone financially whole. Jail time or other penalties do not apply in civil cases. However, if a criminal case against the defendant is successful, then a civil case for wrongful death is often in order. Third-Party Suits Defined A third-party lawsuit is one in which another, related party can ultimately be found liable for part or all of ... Continue Reading
Drunk Driving, Personal Injury, Worker Injury, Wrongful Death
Indiana's Future Includes Driverless Cars
Indiana may become the 22nd state to provide guidelines for the manufacture and use of autonomous motor vehicles, if House Bill 1341 becomes law. Introduced by State Representative Ed Soliday of Valparaiso, the bill consists of a number of regulations regarding autonomous vehicles, including safety standards and the creation of an automated vehicle oversight task group. Some guidelines for the autonomous vehicle industry have already been approved at the national level by the National Highway and Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA). Once federal regulations are well-established and robust enough for autonomous vehicles, they would supersede any state regulations. But until that day, Soliday wants Indiana to provide some regulatory structure. What Does the Bill Say? Among the many provisions of House Bill 1341, major points include the following: Forbids cities, towns, and other political entities from enacting any law or rule that would prohibit lawful use of autonomous vehicles, automated driving systems, and on-demand autonomous vehicle ... Continue Reading
Vehicle Accidents