21
Oct

“Teen Driver Safety Week” Is Currently Under Way

October 21, 2015

This week is “Teen Driver Safety Week” across the United States—for good reason, too. Motor vehicle collisions are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens between ages 15-19. As part of the campaign, several organizations are working to raise awareness about the importance of safe driving habits. Our Indianapolis car accident lawyers would also like to remind teens about several rules of the road they should keep in mind:

  • Follow Speed Limits – Most roads have a maximum speed vehicles should maintain. However, it’s important for teens to know they should only operate a vehicle at a speed that is safe for the conditions.
  • Don’t Use Your Phone - An article from WLFI 8 News explains that on July 1, 2015, a new law took effect that prohibits drivers who are under the age 21 from using any type of telecommunications device while driving, including hands-free devices. The only exception to the rule is if the device is being used to make an emergency call.
  • Drive Sober - One of the leading causes of accidents among teens is intoxication due to alcohol or drug consumption. There is a zero tolerance policy for driving under the influence if you are under under age 21.

The legal staff at Stewart & Stewart Attorneys recognize the importance of getting information out to teen drivers about the dangers of the road and our Indianapolis personal injury lawyers are hopeful these tips help teens to prevent accidents in the future.

 

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14
Oct

Lawmakers Consider Raising Indiana Medical Malpractice Caps

October 14, 2015

When patients in Indiana is harmed as the result of a medical professional’s error or negligence, the victim has a right to seek compensation by filing a medical malpractice lawsuit. But the Indiana medical malpractice lawyers at Stewart & Stewart Attorneys explain that damage caps may limit the amount in damages a victim can receive.

A medical malpractice cap is the maximum amount of money a defendant can pay in a medical malpractice case. The current limit on non-economic damages in the Hoosier State is $1.25 million. This limit was set 16 years ago, and many feel the law could now stand to be updated.

According to Indiana Public Media, legislative committees are currently examining the constitutionality of the current cap, as well as what changes are needed to the law. A bill proposed during a recent legislative session called for the cap to be increased by $400,000. However, opponents claimed raising the caps would increase doctors’ costs of doing business, and the proposal was shot down.

Those in favor of the increase claim the costs of medical care have inflated since 1999 when the cap was implemented. This means the $1.25 million a victim is allowed to receive may barely cover the costs associated with damages caused by a doctor.

At Stewart & Stewart Attorneys, we’ve seen the struggles many victims of medical malpractice face, and our team of Indianapolis personal injury lawyers is hopeful that our state’s medical malpractice caps are increased sooner, rather than later.

 

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7
Oct

Drivers Struggle to Keep Up With New Auto Safety Technology

October 07, 2015

Automobile manufacturers are scrambling in a race to develop new technologies that will make vehicles safer. But could all of these new safety features actually be failing at their mission of reducing accidents? The Indianapolis car accident lawyers at Stewart & Stewart Attorneys point out some data indicates the answer to that question is “yes”.

A survey conducted by the University of Iowa showed that more than half of all drivers don’t fully understand the safety features of their vehicle. Experts say the reason is that auto manufacturers fail to educate motorists about the features, which often results in motorists simply turning them off altogether.

These findings prompted the researchers to partner with the U.S. Department of Transportation to educate drivers about the safety features in their vehicles.

You can learn more about your vehicle’s safety features by visiting MyCarDoesWhat.org. The website provides a list of the safety technologies found in a majority of today’s vehicles and offers motorists a video tutorial about how each feature functions.

Safety features can save lives. The Indianapolis personal injury lawyers at Stewart & Stewart Attorneys encourage you to get up to speed on how the safety features in your car work. Doing so could save your life!

 

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30
Sep

Resources for Reporting and Preventing Indiana Nursing Home Abuse

September 30, 2015

As the number of aging Americans continues to swell, so do rates of elder abuse and neglect. Estimates from the National Center on Elder Abuse show as many as one in 10 adults becoming the victims of abuse or neglect annually, yet experts go on to explain that only one in 14 of these cases are reported to the authorities.

The Indiana nursing home abuse lawyers at Stewart & Stewart Attorneys say one of the most important things for victims of abuse or neglect to know is that help is available. There are organizations and events that can provide resources for the elderly harmed through no fault of their own.

An article from the Chicago Tribune offers information about several groups who are working to protect the elderly living in long-term care facilities. Links are provided to users so they can gain access to information about how to contact the county ombudsmen, where to file a complaint against a healthcare facility, and even facility ratings.

The Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council has also created a hotline that can be used to report if an adult’s safety is being put at risk. The number is (800) 992-6978.

Protecting the rights of the elderly is important to each member of our legal team at Stewart & Stewart Attorneys. Our Indiana personal injury attorneys are hopeful this information not only helps you to protect your loved one from abuse or neglect, but also helps answer any questions you may have if your family member has been harmed while under the care of a nursing home.

 

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23
Sep

Indianapolis Truck Accident Lawyers Address Controversy Surrounding Bigger Tractor Trailers

September 23, 2015

The size and weight of a commercial tractor trailer can make stopping one of these vehicles difficult in an emergency situation. In fact, data shows it can take a fully loaded big rig traveling 65 mph the length of a football field to come to a complete stop.

Considering this data, the Indianapolis truck accident lawyers at Stewart & Stewart Attorneys say lawmakers are currently considering regulation reforms that would allow longer and bigger trucks to take to the road.

According to  USA Today, current laws call for trucks to only haul trailers that are as long as 53 feet. Under the new regulations, trucking companies would be allowed to pull tandem 33-foot trailers, which adds significant length and mass to the vehicle.

Trucking companies say it would create a more efficient means to move the goods Americans use, but opponents of the changes believe the longer, heavier trucks will compromise the safety of everyone on the road.

Lawmakers are expected to make a decision on the matter during one of the next upcoming legislative sessions.

At Stewart & Stewart Attorneys, we believe in advocating for highway safety and supporting measures that protect the public from harm. Our Indianapolis personal injury attorneys hope lawmakers consider all of the data available before making a decision that could affect public safety on our roads.

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16
Sep

Changes Made to Certain Indiana Wage Laws

September 16, 2015

For Indiana workers earning minimum wage, meeting basic financial needs can be difficult. Money can become even tighter if you have to pay for certain items you use at work, such as uniforms. The Indianapolis wage and hour lawyers at Stewart & Stewart Attorneys say that’s why new laws were created to help protect earnings from these types of expenses.

According to the Indiana Department of Labor, law changes that took effect on July 1, 2015, now allow employers to charge workers for costs associated with the purchase of uniforms, equipment purchases or rentals, or any other item deemed necessary to complete work tasks. However, there are certain stipulations that apply to these new rules.

Under the new policy, employers are not allowed to take more than $2500 or five percent of an employee’s disposable income, whichever is less. Furthermore, the Fair Labor Standards Act requires that the amount that is taken for these expenses not cause the employee’s earnings to drop below minimum wage requirements. The expense cannot take from overtime earnings either.

Changes were also recently made to the laws that require employers to pay workers who have been involuntarily removed from their positions.

The Indianapolis personal injury lawyers at Stewart & Stewart Attorneys would like to applaud our state’s lawmakers for taking a stand in favor of workers’ rights.

 

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9
Sep

Company Offers $200 Million to Settle Transvaginal Mesh Failure Lawsuits

September 09, 2015

Every year, tens of thousands of women undergo surgical procedures to treat conditions like urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse. In many cases, transvaginal mesh implants are used to provide support to patients’ internal organs. However, these devices are notorious for causing serious harm.

Studies show a transvaginal mesh failure can result from the devices moving, deteriorating, or becoming embedded within the body. This can result in severe pain, swelling, irritation, and even bowel or organ perforation that requires corrective surgery.

To help cover the damages associated with a transvaginal mesh failure, some victims filed civil lawsuits against the makers of these faulty devices. Now, it seems one company is hoping to resolve a large number of these types of claims through a proposed settlement.

According to Bloomberg Business, transvaginal mesh manufacturer, C.R. Bard, Inc., has offered $200 million to resolve roughly 3,000 cases involving the failure of their transvaginal mesh product. Experts say that if the terms of the agreement are accepted and approved, each victim will receive roughly $67,000 in compensation.

The decision to settle comes on the heels of C.R. Bard being ordered to pay $2 million to a woman harmed by the company’s transvaginal mesh product in 2013.

The Indiana defective product lawyers at Stewart & Stewart Attorneys are hopeful a resolution can be reached soon.

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2
Sep

4 Tips to Prevent Indiana Farm Equipment Accidents

September 02, 2015

The harvest season is approaching in Indiana, and it can be a dangerous time for farmers and agricultural workers. Data from the Indiana Department of Labor says that one in five workplace injuries in our state occurs in the agriculture industry, and a majority of injuries involve heavy equipment and machinery.

The Indiana farm equipment injury lawyers at Stewart & Stewart Attorneys say that a recent accident claimed the life of a 34-year-old farm worker, highlighting the risks workers in the agriculture industry face. Reports indicate the incident occurred on Tuesday, Sept. 1.

WISHTV 8 News states the victim was pulling a mowing device behind a tractor when the piece of machinery overturned on top of the victim. When Indiana State Police and the Shelby County Sheriff’s Department responded to the scene, they found the victim pinned beneath the tractor. Attempts were made to save the victim’s life, but he was declared dead at the scene of the accident.

The Indianapolis personal injury lawyers at Stewart & Stewart Attorneys would like to send our deepest sympathies to the family of the victim.

We also hope the incident can serve as a reminder to others in the agriculture industry to always keep safety a priority while working. Here’s a few things you can do to prevent on-the-job accidents:

  • Follow Safety Policies and Procedures- Most companies provide workers with instructions and guidance on how to safely perform job duties. Obeying these protocols will significantly reduce your chances of suffering an on-the-job injury.
  • Use Safety Equipment- Specialized safety devices are often necessary to reduce the chances of injury when performing dangerous job duties. Always use these devices.
  • Report Problems- If you notice something that could be a workplace danger, address the issue with your supervisor.
  • Create a Culture of Accountability- Hold other workers accountable for keeping safety in mind on the job and ask that they do the same with you.

 

 

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26
Aug

Cameras May Help Reduce Medical Malpractice Claims

August 26, 2015

One of the most difficult aspects of medical malpractice claims is determining what happened during a procedure or treatment that led to an error. But with today’s technology, the ways that negligence is currently determined may be a thing of the past.

The Indiana medical malpractice attorneys at Stewart & Stewart Attorneys point to a team at the University of Toronto that developed a device known as the surgical black box. The device records actions and movements of a doctor performing surgery so any mistakes can be identified at a later time.

Taking that one step further, several states have, or are considering, laws that allow patients to request medical procedures be recorded with audio and video. New York is considering “Raina’s Law,” which would put a camera in every surgical setting. According to NBC 15 News, Wisconsin is also considering a law that would allow medical procedures to be recorded.

Those in favor of these measures claim the laws will allow hard evidence of medical mistakes to be collected in an unbiased format. Those against the rules said the recordings could potentially violate patients’ rights to privacy.

At Stewart & Stewart Attorneys, our Indiana personal injury attorneys are interested to see how the shift towards the use of cameras in medical settings develops over time.

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19
Aug

Grant Helps Fund Operation to Reduce Indiana Car Accidents

August 19, 2015

Data collected by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows more than 22 percent of vehicle collisions are the result of driver error. The Indianapolis car accident lawyers at Stewart & Stewart Attorneys point out a large number of those accidents occurred at road crossings as well.

To help reduce accidents, law enforcement agencies are using grant money to crack down on drivers who aren’t operating their vehicles safely.

As part of the NHTSA’s Operation Centipede, the Hammond Police Department was given $56,200 in grants to improve highway safety. The funds were used to pay for extra patrols along Kennedy Avenue and parts of Interstates 80 and 94.

According to policeone.com, officers issued as many as 200 citations to motorists making improper turns along Kennedy Avenue. Another 70 tickets were handed out during a sobriety checkpoint as well. The operation also resulted in one arrest for operating while intoxicated and four four arrests for possession of an illegal substance.

Keeping our streets safe is a priority to many in Indiana, which is why the Indianapolis personal injury lawyers at Stewart & Stewart Attorneys would like to applaud the efforts made by local law enforcement recently.

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