Articles Posted in Wrongful Death

scales of justiceIndiana laws allow certain survivors of a person who has been killed as a result of the negligence of another to file compensation through a wrongful death claim. Such claims can help survivors recover compensation for lost benefits, loss of parental guidance, and a number of other damages.

Who can file a wrongful death claim in Indiana?

Under Indiana law, the personal representative of the deceased’s estate is eligible to file a wrongful death claim to recover damages. However, damages may be distributed among several eligible parties including the deceased’s spouse, children and others.

2015 Kwanzaa
The attorneys and staff at Montross Miller Muller Mendelson & Kennedy, LLP hope that you and your family has a safe and happy holiday season.  Whether you celebrated Hanukkah earlier this month, or will celebrate Christmas or Kwanzaa in a few days, or New Years at the end of the month, we trust that the celebrations are special for all involved.

This time of year can be filled with joy and love because it brings family together and reminds us of many fond memories.  The lights, the colors, the smells of great food, and the closeness of family and friends can warm any hard heart.

2015 HanukkahBut for some, this can be the hardest time of the year.  It is a reminder of those loved ones who are not with us again this year.  The sadness that accompanies this season is often hard to express and explain.  Worse, for those who just lost a loved one, this might be the first major holiday without them at the table.  Their absence is as real this year as their presence was last.

pedestrians.jpgIn spite of efforts like education campaigns and enforcement campaigns, pedestrians continue to be killed at a high rate in Indiana. In fact, those numbers actually increased between 2013 and 2014.

New statistics released by the Governors Highway Safety Association clearly find an increase in pedestrian fatalities in 2014, compared to the previous year. In 2014, there were 37 pedestrian fatalities in Indiana, an increase from 34 fatalities in the previous year.

In fact, nationwide, it was a similar picture in 2014. There was either no change at all in accident statistics between 2013 and 2014, or those numbers actually increased. Nationwide, 14 percent of all motor vehicle accident fatalities now constitute pedestrians. That is an increase from just a decade earlier, when the percentage was in single digits.
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01%20turkey.jpgFor many in Indiana, the Thanksgiving Holiday is one in which families gather together to give thanks for the many blessings that have entered their lives over the past year.

But for some, this holiday is a painful reminder of what they’ve lost, including precious family members who have been injured or died as a result of an act of medical negligence, another person’s dangerous driving, or a company’s faulty product. For these families the Thanksgiving Holiday is a day when they recount the painful story of the events that took away their mother or father, sister or brother, husband or wife. An empty chair at the table is a painful reminder of the long days spent in the hospital waiting for a word of hope, that late night call that announced their loss, and the confusion that surrounded the event. For many, there are still unanswered questions.

The attorneys and staff at the Indiana personal injury firm of Montross Miller Muller Mendelson & Kennedy, LLC hope that you have a wonderful holiday season. Contact their office if you or a loved one has been injured due to someone else’s negligence and get the answers you deserve.

crosswalk%2034.jpgThere is a nationwide trend of lower pedestrian accident fatalities in the first half of 2013 compared to the same period in 2012. Unfortunately, Indiana’s numbers are going the wrong direction, showing an increase in fatalities over the same period. According to statistics released by the Governors Highway Safety Association, Indiana was one among several states that actually posted increases in pedestrian fatalities in the first six months of 2013.

According to the data, there were 27 pedestrian accident fatalities in the state of Indiana for the first six months of 2012. That number increased to 35 pedestrian deaths in the first six months of the following year. The fact that there has been a significant increase in pedestrian fatalities in Indiana is disturbing, especially in light of the fact that many states with large populations like Florida and California, which also face several pedestrian safety challenges have actually managed to post significant declines in pedestrian fatalities.

In California, there was a drop of 37 pedestrian accident fatalities in the first half of 2013, compared to the previous year. The Golden State has a traffic safety culture that strongly focuses on the rights of motorists, with little attention paid to pedestrians and bicyclists. In spite of that culture, there has been a significant decline in accident fatalities in that state. Florida faces significant pedestrian safety challenges of their own with large numbers of retirees. Yet, the state posted a decline of 55 fatalities in 2013, compared to the previous year. In contrast, the lack of progress made in pedestrian safety in Indiana is disappointing, to say the least.
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bus%20close%20up.jpgInvestigations into the recent bus accident near Indianapolis, which killed three people, have already begun. Currently, investigators are looking at the possibility that mechanical malfunction, specifically with the bus’ brake pedals, could possibly have contributed to the fatal crash.

Three people were killed in the deadly accident that occurred when the bus which was returning home from a church camp in Michigan, overturned. The bust hit a wall while it was turning a curve, and then flipped over. The three dead included a young pastor and his wife. The third victim was a mother of five.

Some of the passengers were ejected from the bus at the time of the rollover. The most common injuries were contusions, head and neck injuries and back injuries. As many as 11 passengers of the bus, who were seriously injured in the accident, remain hospitalized. The bus was carrying teenagers returning from church camp, and many of the injured involved teenagers.
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Even as parents of children who were injured in a school bus accident in Indiana last month consider legal action, authorities are waiting for the autopsy results of the truck driver. The results will provide major clues into the cause of the accident that killed the truck driver, as well as a 5-year-old child passenger on the bus.

This has been one of the deadliest school accidents in Indiana in recent years. It also comes as a series of accidents have been reported from Pennsylvania, Missouri and Washington. Several students were critically or severely injured in those crashes too.

In the Indiana accident, the bus which was making its morning rounds, crashed into a support pillar on the Southeast side of Indianapolis. A 5-year-old girl and the truck driver were killed in the accident. Many students on the bus suffered serious injuries that included head and neck injuries and fractures. The children also complained of trauma after the accident.
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wheat.jpgIn a letter earlier this year to local farmers and grain storage facility operators, the US Department of Labor released a warning. Every year farm workers are trapped in grain bins around the country. A recent study at Purdue University documented 51 entrapments last year alone. This is a concerning trend that is continuing despite education and enforcement.

The letter, written by David Michaels, PhD, MPH, the Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health outlines several key steps to take to help prevent injury to those who work in and around grain bins.

Dr. Miachaels’ letter outlines that grain entrapments occur as a result of three primary causes: non-compliance with OSHA guidelines, employer negligence or poor safety practices. It is the responsibility of every employer to recognize the possible dangers and establish clear safety guidelines that will help keep workers safe.
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Infant_Car_Seat.jpgYour forward-facing car seat may not necessarily protect your two-year-old from serious injuries in an accident. For years now, industry recommendations have held that children above the age of one must be placed in a forward-facing car seat, instead of a rear-facing one. However, the American Academy of Pediatrics is now revising that recommendation. According to the group, children are safer if they are in a rear-facing seat.

The group has issued a policy statement that it bases on data from a study conducted in 2007 at the University Of Virginia. That study found that children aged two and above are 70% less likely to suffer injuries in an accident when they are in a rear-facing seat. According to the group, the truth is that children’s chances of avoiding injuries in accidents declines when you move them from rear-facing seats to front-facing seats.
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sissor%20lift.jpgIndiana regulators fined Notre Dame $77,500 for six safety violations related to the October death of a 20-year-old student. The studend was killed when the school’s hydraulic scissor lift fell in high winds while he was filming football practice.

According to the regulators in the Indiana Department of Labor, the university failed to maintain safe working conditions or heed National Weather Service warnings. The lift toppled in windy conditions. At one point in the day, wind speeds in the area reached 53 mph. The scissor lift should not be used if winds exceed 28 mph. The National Weather Service had issued a high wind warning with winds gusts of 45 mph expected. The school was found negligent for allowing the student to be in the lift after the advisory had been issued.

Other violations listed in the findings include a failure to regularly inspect the lifts and have the operator’s manual on the equipment. In addition, some warning labels were missing. Other labels were faded and weathered.