No Using a Phone While Driving

A new law set to take effect July first in Indiana states that now, while driving, you can only use hands-free technology. You may now be pulled over for holding your phone. Previously, the law stated that it was illegal to be texting or emailing while driving; now it limits phone use to hands-free technology or using your phone to call 911 in the event of an emergency.

What does this mean for drivers involved in an accident while using their phone? To put it simply, a driver who uses their phone may now possibly be per se liable for the accident as the would be violating a statute and injuring a party the statute was meant to protect. The driver who uses their cell phone and causes an auto accident will be held liable for their distracted driving and negligence. Whether the statute creates per se liability or not is yet to be seen.

Out-of-Network Docs Can Now Only Charge In-Network Prices

Starting July 1, an out-of-network physician at an in-network facility can only charge in-network prices for their services, unless they have given the client written notice of the charges five days prior to the appointment and the client consents to the cost. The law does not address any extra out-of-network costs associated with emergency services, however.

The text of HB 1004 reads, “Requires certain health care providers, beginning July 1, 2021, to provide a good faith estimate to individuals of the price for non-emergency health care services to be provided to the individual by the health care provider and sets forth requirements.” The requirements state that the out-of-network provided must give the patient a written statement at least five days before the appointment which lays out the charges, and they must receive a signed confirmation that the patient agrees to the charges.
This means that the out-of-network physician could still charge out-of-network rates, but first they would have to get approval from the patient. They must receive a signed document in order to get consent for the charges from the patient.

Concerning personal injury, this could mean that medical bills would be lowered if you happen to be in some sort of accident. Out-of-network physicians would have to charge the in-network price unless you give consent to pay the out-of-network price 5 days or more before the appointment. Treatments for specific injuries would potentially be cheaper at an in-network price.

Schools Must Test Their Water For Lead

On July 1, schools must test their water for lead by New Year’s Day 2023, unless they have been tested since 2016. Starting in 2023, schools in Lake County, which has seen lead levels rise in their water, must test every two calendar years. The law states that if the lead levels in the water exceed 15 parts per billion, the entity in charge of the school must remedy the high lead level.
Concerning personal injury law, this law could make drinking water in schools safer. However, if a school does not test, or does not take the necessary steps to lower the lead level, they could be sued if students start having issues with lead-poisoning. A school may also face the possibility of a class action lawsuit if the number of students affected reaches higher levels.