$48.5 MILLION

Truck Accident Multimillion-Dollar Settlement.

"M.A.," a 30-year-old man, was driving to work in New Mexico. Suddenly a commercial truck veered across the center line and struck his vehicle head on. M.A. died at the scene. The McNeely Stephenson firm was hired shortly after the crash to represent the family of the deceased.

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The latest figures from the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute, printed in their Indiana Crash Facts 2012, show that motorcycle collisions in Indiana increased 15.6 percent in 2012, and the collisions that involved a fatality increased 24.8 percent. It’s worth taking a closer look at some of the factors that may be causing this uptick. Here are the answers to many of the frequently asked questions about motorcycle accidents.

How many motorcycle accidents happen in Indiana in a typical year?

As we said, the numbers have been increasing. In 2012, there were more than 4,000 motorcycle collisions in Indiana; 151 were fatal and 614 caused incapacitating injuries.

What locations in Indiana see the most motorcycle accidents?

Parke County has the highest rate of motorcycle collisions. Other counties with dangerous traffic safety environments for motorcyclists are Brown, Carroll, Dubois, Franklin, and Martin. The area near Gary and Chicago is reported to be more dangerous than many other areas of the state.

It seems risky to ride a motorcycle in the rain. Is that true?

It is true that controlling a cycle on wet roads presents a challenge. Interestingly, however, the statistics show Indiana motorcycle collisions in 2012 occurred predominately under clear weather conditions, on straight and level city roads, and during daylight hours.

What are some of the factors that increase the risk that a motorcyclist will be involved in a collision?

Believe it or not, the likelihood of alcohol use/impairment has been higher for motorcyclists involved in collisions than for drivers of other types of motor vehicles. For the years of 2009 to 2011, they were twice as likely to be impaired; the numbers for 2012 showed an improvement, however.

Is distracted driving a problem for motorcycle operators?

Motorcycle drivers can be guilty of distracted driving just as drivers of trucks and cars can be. It’s easy to get lost in enjoying the scenery and daydreaming, but that lack of focus on the demands of safe riding can lead to loss of control or even collision with a stationary object like a mailbox or signpost. For the most part, however, distracted driving is a problem for motorcyclists primarily when it happens on the part of a car or truck driver who looks away from the road – perhaps to use a cell phone or send a text message – and strikes the cycle. It only takes a few seconds of inattention for a driver to swerve into a vehicle in the adjoining lane, and when that vehicle is a motorcycle, the collision is likely to result in serious injuries.

Are motorcycle helmets mandatory in Indiana?

Only for riders age 17 and younger. The law requiring motorcycle operators of all ages to wear a helmet was repealed in 1977.

But doesn’t helmet use prevent deaths?

Statistics show that to be true. The U.S. General Accounting Office has said that “laws requiring all motorcyclists to wear helmets are the only strategy proven to be effective in reducing fatalities.” Helmets are 37% effective in preventing fatal injuries to motorcycle operators and 41% effective for passengers. Sadly, in Indiana, 80 percent of the motorcyclists killed in 2012 were not wearing a helmet.

What are the most common causes of motorcycle crashes?

The factor most often contributing to an Indiana motorcycle crash is some type of unsafe action on the part of the motorcycle operator. That could be following another vehicle too closely, traveling at an unsafe speed, failing to yield the right of way, or making improper lane changes or passing.
But aren’t motorcyclists sometimes hit by negligent drivers, even when they are following the rules of the road and driving their cycle safely?

Absolutely. And at McNeely Stephenson, we carefully examine the facts of the accidents in which our clients were involved, to determine whether another driver, a dangerous road condition, or even a manufacturing defect contributed to or caused their accident. Other motor vehicles are supposed to share the road with motorcycles and bicycles, but that doesn’t always happen.

Are motorcycle riders more likely to be injured in a crash than car and truck occupants?

According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, motorcycle riders are 30 times more likely to die in a crash than people involved in car accidents. Their risk of injury is five times greater. Motorcycles travel at speeds just as great as cars and trucks, but their occupants lack the protection of those vehicles’ steel frame, airbags, size and weight.

What types of injuries are most common in motorcycle wrecks?

The area of the body most likely to be injured in a motorcycle crash is the lower part, i.e., the foot, ankle, leg, knee, thigh, hip or pelvis. Bone fractures are common. Injuries to the upper extremities — the head, chest and abdomen – are less common but are typically severe. Traumatic brain injury is the leading cause of death in motorcycle crashes. You may have heard the term “road rash.” This is the term given to skin abrasions caused by scraping the road when the cycle falls and slides. Road rash can be mild, causing discomfort, or it can be severe, requiring surgical intervention.

Have you helped other people injured in Indiana motorcycle accidents?

Mike Stephenson of McNeely Stephenson is an Indianapolis motorcycle accident lawyer who has been helping accident victims for more than 30 years. If you have been hurt in a motorcycle crash, hand the worry over to us and let us put the resources of our firm to work for you. Call 855-206-2555 to schedule a free consultation.

real-life cases

“B.K.” was driving on a two-lane road one Sunday afternoon with his mother in the front seat and his brother and sister-in-law in the back seat when his life was forever changed. B.K. was struck head on by D.C.

D.C. had spent the day drinking with a friend and had stopped at a restaurant less than five miles from the point of the accident where D.C. had been served several drinks. D.C.’s blood alcohol level was more than twice the legal limit.

As a result of the terrible wreck, B.K. received devastating injuries, which included multiple broken bones, facial fractures, and loss of vision. B.K.’s mother, brother, and sister-in-law were all killed in the accident.

As one would anticipate, D.C. had virtually no insurance. Stephenson, through his thorough and detailed investigation, was able to prepare claims against the restaurant and those that provided the alcohol.

Stephenson pursued dram shop claims against those responsible CASE SUMMARY

D.H. was a competitive bicyclist who was riding in preparation for a cross-country fundraising ride. In the spring of 2010, D.H. was riding across an old steel-grated deck bridge in Shelby County when he hit a hole in the bridge and flipped over the handlebars of his bike. The impact to the bridge decking caused severe injuries to his face, teeth, tongue, and elbow.

Through the investigation, they were able to learn as early as 1998, the bridge inspection reports showed the bridge in question needed to be replaced. The county never authorized additional inspections. The county obtained $844,000 in funding for the replacement of the bridge in 2000, but the Historical Society and adjacent property owners wanted the bridge repaired rather than replaced.

This crash could have been avoided if the inspectors and county had done their jobs. CASE SUMMARY

Our client (“D.W.”) was a front-seat passenger in a vehicle that was struck by a UDF truck making deliveries. D.W. received broken arms and legs, as well as internal injuries. Stephenson was retained by D.W.’s personal counsel to prepare and try the case. Discovery determined that the UDF driver had multiple driving violations. Stephenson retained numerous experts to show the jury the devastating effects of the injuries. Before trial, the defendant’s company stated that a jury in a small southern county in Indiana would never return a verdict for $1 million in this case.

The defendant was correct; the verdict was twice that amount. CASE SUMMARY

Let us put our resources to work for you.

The attorneys of McNeely Stephenson have been successfully litigating personal injury cases in Indiana since 1982. We know how to conduct a thorough investigation into an accident’s causes. Our many decades of representing Hoosiers injured in car crashes has helped us build a network of medical experts, economists and others who can assist in documenting a victim’s injuries and financial losses. Put our Indianapolis motorcycle accidents lawyer on your side.

Aggressive courtroom advocates and tenacious settlement negotiators, our Indiana vehicular accident lawyers will fight for your rights when you have been harmed in a distracted driving accident on Indiana highways. Contact Mike Stephenson at 1-855-206-2555 or use our online contact form to arrange a free consultation. McNeely Stephenson. Trusted Advisors. Proven Advocates.

 

Updates
Personal Injury Lawyer
May 21, 2018 / Vehicle Accidents
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Mike Stephenson is a Super Lawyer in Indiana along with many of his peers at McNeely Stephenson. This is one of the highest honors an attorney can achieve

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Attorney Mike Stephenson is a proud member of The Litigation Counsel of America’s Honorary Society. A close-knit, peer-selected, and aggressively diverse honorary society of 3,500 of the “best trial lawyers” in the country. Less than one-half of one percent of American lawyers, vigorously vetted for skills, expertise, and service; an invitation-only collegial network.

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The American Board of Trial Advocates is an invitation-only organization for attorneys of “high personal character and honorable reputation.” ABOTA works for the preservation of the civil jury trial, “Justice by the People,” and supports the right of a jury trial.

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Our attorneys are proven advocates and trial attorneys. They have served as lead trial counsel in more than 100 civil jury trials, and have handled litigation in 18 states