Liability and the Duck Boat Calamity
Duck boats have become popular for visitor tours, possibly because they are quirky and versatile. As amphibious vessels, they can travel both on water and on land because they have tires. But near Branson, Missouri, a duck boat sank on July 19, 2018, during a thunderstorm. The Table Rock Lake tragedy killed 17 people, including nine from one family alone; only one female family member survived. The vessels have a checkered past when it comes to safety. Nearly 40 people have died in duck boat accidents in the last 20 years. A partial list includes: May, 1999: On Lake Hamilton near Hot Springs, Arkansas, 13 people died when a duck boat sank. July, 2010: On the Delaware River in Philadelphia, two young people died when a barge hit the disabled duck boat they were on. September, 2015: In Seattle, five students died when a duck boat collided with a bus. April, 2016: A woman died ... Continue Reading
Product Injury, Wrongful Death
What Does “Loss of Consortium” Mean?
In a personal injury case, most of the damage claims are based on the injuries and suffering of the accident victim; but some damages are based on the suffering of loved ones. One of these types of damages is called loss of consortium. You may have heard the phrase and wondered about it. Generally, loss of consortium is intended to compensate the victim’s loved ones for the repercussions that the victim’s injuries or death have caused. Specifically, it applies to relationship losses that occurred between the accident victim and the loved one(s). While some states permit long-term partners and children to seek loss of consortium damages, in Indiana, loss of consortium is limited to spouses. Damages can be sought for the loss of love, companionship, affection, support, and intimate relations. The Indiana Supreme Court has held that damage recovery for loss of consortium is valid for the “loss of care, love and affection” of a ... Continue Reading
Catastrophic Injuries, Personal Injury
A “Wake-Up Call”?
July 30, 2018

A “Wake-Up Call”?

Among young adults, the death rate from 1999 to 2013 dropped 33 percent. However, the death rate abruptly reversed direction between 2013 and 2016, rising 12 percent.  According to a recent report released June 1, 2018, by the National Center for Health Statistics at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). the increase in deaths is due to motor vehicle accidents, drug overdoses, suicides, and homicides, and not to illnesses like cancer, heart disease, or infections. Surprised by the Numbers The lead author of the report, CDC statistician Sally Curtin, expressed astonishment over the findings: “When I first conceded to do this report 2½ years ago, I thought that we would be documenting a decline. We were surprised that there was such a broad increase across so many causes of death. There wasn’t just one that was contributing.” Of the unintentional injury deaths, 62 percent came from traffic fatalities; poisoning (mostly drug overdoses) ... Continue Reading
Personal Injury, Wrongful Death
Make Your Time off Safer
July 23, 2018

Make Your Time off Safer

It’s high summer, and there’s no denying that many of our minds are on vacation time and having fun. Whether you’ll be driving, taking a plane, or staying home, we have some ideas for you so that your entire family can enjoy vacation time safely. Hitting the Highway AAA estimates that nearly 47 million of us will be on the road over the Fourth of July holiday alone. If you’ll be joining the many millions traveling by passenger vehicle this summer, make sure your car or SUV is in good repair well before you leave. If you’ll be bringing larger or heavier items or towing something, learn how to do so properly. Things to do before you leave include: Check your tire pressure and tread. Your tires are critical to safe driving. Make sure your wipers are ready to go. Replace them if they appear brittle or are several years old. Losing a wiper during ... Continue Reading
Personal Injury, Vehicle Accidents
Don’t Leave the Kids in the Car!
Summer’s heat is in full swing, and with it comes an increased number of reports about children dying because they were left in a hot car. On average, each year 37 kids lose their lives to this senseless, avoidable tragedy. In June 2018 alone, we’ve already had two regional deaths due to hot cars: a 3-year-old in Anderson, Indiana, and a 2-year-old in Crittenden, Kentucky. To date in Indiana (late June, 2018), nine kids have suffered motor vehicle heat stroke death. In Kentucky, the number is 17 pediatric heat stroke deaths. Within 10 minutes, the temperature inside a car can rise 20 degrees. If it’s 90 degrees outside, that’s an inside-the-car temperature of 110, which can be deadly to a child after little more than a few minutes. The Facts about Temperature, Cars, and Kids It’s not only the 90-degree days you need to worry about. It’s not even the 75-degree days. Testing done by ... Continue Reading
Personal Injury, Vehicle Accidents
Death from a “Mech Mod” Vape Pen
It’s been noted previously that e-cigarettes can explode, usually because of the lithium-ion (LI) battery in use. A number of e-cigarette accidents have taken place with horrific results. But in May, 2018, a vape pen malfunction meant death in St. Petersburg, Florida, where a man was found burned on 80 percent of his body. It is believed to be the first death directly attributed to a vape pen or e-cigarette. But it wasn’t the burns that killed him. He died because the force of the explosion drove two pieces of the vape pen into his skull. The man was using something called a mechanical mod vape pen, or a “mech mod.” Mech mods are frequently used by more experienced vapers, but they expose a person to more hazards. What Are E-Cigarettes and Vape Pens? E-cigarettes differ from vape pens in that the latter have twice the battery power and a larger amount of flavored liquid ... Continue Reading
Personal Injury, Product Injury
Automotive Technology That Can Be Fatal
Some of us are used to the inseparable linking of our cars and their keys, thinking that the car cannot still be running if its key is removed from the ignition. But keyless ignition relies on an electronic fob with a button you must push to turn the car on or off; removing the fob from the ignition is not enough to shut down the engine. Older individuals are especially vulnerable to forgetting that removing the key isn’t enough, and the purr of modern engines can escape aging ears as they are not as alert as others. Car engines that continue to run after the fob has been removed from the car have been responsible for poisoning dozens of persons by carbon monoxide. At least 28 people have died, with 45 more injured by the dangerous gas. Survivors are often left with permanent brain damage. Carbon Monoxide: Hazardous to your Health Carbon monoxide (CO) is ... Continue Reading
Strengthening Drug Tests for Truck Drivers
In May, 2018, the Trucking Alliance (also known as the Alliance for Driver Safety & Security) publicly stated that they intend to advocate for a drug testing law that would apply to anyone seeking a “safety-sensitive” position in the trucking industry. One of the main purposes of the law is to address the increasing number of opioid addicts, keeping them out of a tractor-trailer driver’s seat. The proposed law would confirm that a potential employee had not used illegal drugs for a minimum of 30 days. Don’t We Already Test Drivers for Drug Use? You might think that the professionals who drive the big rigs would undergo the most comprehensive drug screening possible as part of the employment process. But the managing director for The Trucking Alliance, Lane Kidd, in a 2017 address stated, “Current drug testing methods for truck drivers are failing.” Kidd noted that J.B. Hunt Transportation discovered 1,213 applicants who came up ... Continue Reading
Personal Injury, Truck Accidents
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