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Can you be fired for any reason in Indiana?

Can you be fired for any reason in Indiana?

The general answer to this question is “Yes.”  Indiana is an “at-will” employment state, which simply means that you work at the will of your employer.  However, there are some very significant exceptions to this general rule.  Specifically, you cannot be fired for a discriminatory reason.  That means that an employer cannot fire you for being a member of or having the characteristics of a protected class.  The protected classes are Race, Color, Age (over 40), National Origin, Disability, Religion, Pregnancy, or Genetic Information.  If you can demonstrate that the reason for the termination was due to discrimination based on one of the aforementioned protected classes, then it is likely that the termination was discriminatory, and therefore considered a wrongful termination.

Employers typically will argue that the termination was based on something other than the protected class, for example: performance.  If the employer can present evidence of poor performance, then the burden shifts back to the employee to prove that the employer’s reason is pretext (not true) and that the real reason was based on discrimination.  If an employer is unable to document a legitimate, non-discriminatory basis for the termination, then it may be easier to prove discrimination was the employer’s motivation for firing the employee.

Choosing the Best Personal Attorney for Car Accidents and Injuries in Indiana

Choosing the Best Personal Attorney for Car Accidents and Injuries in Indiana

Do you need a car accident attorney in Indiana?

When you, a loved one or friend suffers a serious personal injury in a car accident, choose a car accident attorney that provides excellent personal service.  Call Goodin Abernathy LLP and learn what it means to work with attorneys that actually care for you and your case.  This is a personal service profession and we mean to keep it that way! Check out the Indiana Rule of Court – Rules of Professional Conduct.

Here are services that Goodin Abernathy LLP clients enjoy with their attorneys:

Anticipate One on One meetings with the attorney.

We prefer to meet with you in person – at our office or a location that is convenient for you. If you need a video call for health of convenience, the same attorney that handles your case from start to finish is the one that you will meet with. A direct line of communication is vital to the legal work we offer. “In all professional functions a lawyer should be competent, prompt and diligent. A lawyer should maintain communication with a client concerning the representation.”

You speak directly with our own people – NOT call center workers or answering services

The real people that answer calls in our law firm will know you and have immediate information about your file. They connect you with the attorney handling your case.

Expect attorneys that stay in touch with you

Our attorneys care about your recovery and medical treatment. They want to know how to help along the way. Goodin Abernathy LLP attorneys actually call our clients to collect updates. So if we do not hear from you, then expect a call from us!

Enjoy attorneys that patiently explain the legal process.

Our personal injury attorneys do not lose patience with clients. Although we do this work every day, we understand our clients don’t and they need time to best understand how the legal system works.

Your case stays with our firm because we do not refer it out.

We keep the clients that engage us for auto, truck, work, construction and general accident injury cases. We stick with you from beginning to end. It sounds crazy, but other firms will send you on to another law firm after you sign a fee agreement.

We are located in and licensed to practice law in Indiana.

Indiana law is what we focus on. Hoosier citizens and businesses are who we help. Different states have different regulations when it comes to contacting potential clients – but we play by Indiana’s rules.

For instance, Indiana law does not permit attorneys or their “agents” to directly contact a potential client. Indiana attorneys only connect with injured clients if their help is asked for. Maybe you are getting calls by out of state attorneys. Maybe people are showing up at your door offering to connect you with legal services. Well before you sign anything, please take time to research their services because here is what Indiana’s legal commentary says about it:

Other than as authorized by law or this Rule, a lawyer who is not admitted to practice generally in the State of Indiana violates paragraph (b) if the lawyer establishes an office or other systematic and continuous presence in the State of Indiana for the practice of law. Presence may be systematic and continuous even if the lawyer is not physically present here. For example, advertising in media specifically targeted to Indiana residents or initiating contact with Indiana residents for solicitation purposes could be viewed as systematic and continuous presence. In any event, such a lawyer must not hold out to the public or otherwise represent that the lawyer is admitted to practice law in the State of Indiana. See also Rules 7.1(a) and 7.5(b).

Unlike big personal injury firms, you meet and work with Goodin Abernathy LLP attorneys throughout your whole case.  We do not refer out your case to other attorneys or law firms.  If you hire us, then expect our attorneys to handle your case.  Too often we hear about “big box” advertising injury law firms that refer their cases other firms and lose touch with the client.  That is not how a profession works.  That is a business model where helping the client is secondary to income goals.

While we are at it, beware when you see or hear these advertising lines:

  • “Size Matters” – Some law firms advertise that the number of attorneys in their multi-state law firm is important.
  • “Call the Tool” – Some firms use advertising gimmicks like tools or standing on top of moving trucks for marketing.
  • “Superhero Service” – Some attorneys with advertising videos magically change into superhero outfits. But do you really want them to wear that in front of a judge and jury?
  • “Millions, Billions, Zillions of Dollars Recovered!” Are attorneys selling hamburgers?! Or are they discreetly and honorably representing their clients?

Advertising stunts mean nothing for promoting the relationship injured clients deserve from their attorneys.  In real life, those tricks do not make a difference when dealing with insurance adjusters, negotiating during a mediation or actually presenting cases in the court room.  Goodin Abernathy LLP injury lawyers approach their work as a true profession, offering clients quality legal help when they need it the most.

How do we charge for legal work on injury cases?

To begin with, we charge a contingency fee.  Our fees are a portion of the overall recovery we win for the client.  The fee percentage we collect is connected to when in the legal process your case is resolved.  If we settle your case before filing a lawsuit, then our fees are a smaller percentage (%) than if we take your case to trial.

Let me put it this way – you will not see or hear this at Goodin Abernathy LLP:

  • “No matter when and how your case gets resolved, our legal fees are 40% or more.”

Goodin Abernathy’s legal fees reasonably consider what work is needed.  Not every case requires the same work.  We look at your case, explain our evaluation and have a written fee agreement to review during our free initial meetings.

We do not want our clients feeling pressured into “signing up” the first time we meet.  A pressured client leads to a troubled attorney relationship.  Since we need happy clients to maintain a good reputation, reasonable fee agreements are a big part of our practice.

Contact the car injury attorneys at Goodin Abernathy LLP to learn how experienced attorneys treat their clients.  We handle your case because we care about you and your future.  Call us for a free initial consultation and let us share our legal support when you need it the most.

Discrimination Due to Special Needs

Discrimination Due to Special Needs

If an employer has discriminated against you because of your special needs, he or she is may be violating federal law as well as state and local laws.

In 1990, Congress passed a piece of civil rights legislation called the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). Title 1 of this legislation specifically prohibits workplace discrimination against individuals with disabilities. Such prohibitions apply to any business that has 15 or more employees on its payroll. The ADA also offers protection to individuals such as spouses or parents who may be subject to bias on the basis of a close relationship to a person with a disability.

Four other federal laws also specify protections for psychologically or physically challenged individuals:

The Rehabilitation Act

Section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act prohibits disability-related bias by federal employers and mandates affirmative action programs that will increase the number of employees with disabilities in federal workplaces.

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA)

Section 188 of the WIOA prohibits disability-related bias on the part of any employers who receive financial or programmatic assistance under the terms of the WIOA.

The Civil Service Reform Act (CSRA)

The CSRA contains language that stipulates against disability-related bias that targets both Civil Service employees and prospective employees.

Additionally, all 50 states have laws in place that prohibit workplace bias against individuals with disabilities though in some states, these laws only pertain to workplace discrimination on the part of public employers.

What Is a Disability?

The ADA doesn’t contain language that categorizes all the physical and psychological conditions that constitute disabilities. Instead, the ADA imposes a standard: If a condition has a negative effect on an individual’s ability to carry out the routine activities of daily life, then it constitutes a disability.

The ADA’s definition includes people who’ve been impaired in the past even though they may not be impaired when they’re employed or when they apply for employment. The ADA’s definition also includes people who are able to carry out major life activities but who are affected by a condition that is typically classified as a disability. Disabilities also include injuries that may prevent employees from working in their customary capacity for a limited amount of time.

Reasonable Accommodation

The ADA requires employers to make “reasonable accommodations” to either job duties or to the layout of a workplace that will enable an employee with special needs to do his or her job adequately. What might these accommodations reasonably include? Here are a few possibilities:

• Physical modifications such as raising or lowering the height of desks for people in wheelchairs or installing screen magnifiers on computers that are used by individuals with visual impairments.

• Moving a workstation closer to a restroom for a worker whose disability includes bladder or bowel control issues.

• Allowing a more flexible work schedule and use of leave time so that a worker can pursue medical treatments. This accommodation may also require granting additional amounts of unpaid leave time.

Under the ADA, however, employers are not required to make particular accommodations for physically disabled workers if those accommodations would impose “undue hardship.” The burden of proof will be on employers to prove that an accommodation an employee has asked for is too costly or too disruptive to be implemented. Both courts and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) , which is the federal agency charged with enforcing ADA compliance, will look at a variety of factors here, including potential tax credits and the disabled employee’s own willingness to supply the accommodation or to pay for its costs.

Workplace Harassment

Harassment is considered to be a type of bias whether or not an individual is affected by a disability. The ADA has language that prohibits harassment as does the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967.

In its broadest sense, harassment is any unwelcome conduct that’s instigated by an individual’s race, color, sex, age, religion, place of national origin or disability. However, not every offensive remark constitutes unlawful harassment. In order to meet that standard, the offensive conduct must be a condition of continuing employment, or it must also create a workplace that a “reasonable person” would consider hostile or intimidating.

The harassing individual can be anyone who is connected with a workplace, including a company’s owner, its managers, its employees, its independent contractors or even individuals who are not employees as might be the case with a vendor who delivers inventory on a regular basis. A harassment victim doesn’t have to be the individual who’s actually subject to unpleasant behavior, either; he or she can be someone who overhears the harassment and is deeply affected by it.

Employers are liable for harassment on the part of employees over whom employers have control. They’re also liable for harassing behaviors on the part of supervisors particularly if that harassment has negative implications for employment unless employers can prove either that they tried to correct the harassing behaviors or that the employee reporting the harassment did not take advantage of corrective opportunities offered by the employer.

Protect Your Rights

If you’re experiencing an unfair workplace situation that’s related to your disability, you have legal rights, and an experienced attorney can help you protect those rights. You are looking at tight statutes of limitations, so it’s important to contact a lawyer as soon as possible. In most instances, you will need to file a charge with the EEOC within 180 calendar days of the time you were refused accommodation or were subjected to harassment. (If you’re a federal employee, that statute of limitation is only 45 days.)

A discrimination attorney can evaluate your situation and help you decide whether or not your case is worth pursuing. These claims can be difficult to prove without concrete evidence of an employer’s bias, so it’s important to work with a legal professional who can help you compile the necessary evidence. An attorney can help you negotiate with your employer to get the accommodations that are your right. In worst-case situations, if your employer isn’t willing to make the accommodations that would help you keep your job, a lawyer may be able to help you receive compensation for your employer’s unlawful actions.

Why Are So Many People Dying Preventable Deaths in Indiana Prisons?

Why Are So Many People Dying Preventable Deaths in Indiana Prisons?

This blog contains discussions of suicide. If you or someone you know may be struggling with suicidal thoughts, please call the suicide prevention hotline at 800.273.8255.

There’s only one place in America where basic healthcare is an undeniable right; that’s prison. Since the incarcerated have no opportunity to seek out healthcare on their own, they rely on the 8th amendment to get the minimum standard of medical care they need. The 8th amendment of the Constitution protects the incarcerated from cruel and unusual punishment, enabling them to receive medical care while behind bars—as being literally locked up without access to medical care is be deemed both cruel and unusual. What’s truly cruel and unusual; however, is the rate at which inmates are dying in Indiana prisons.

Those of you local to Indianapolis may have seen an article in the Indy Star recently highlighting the horrifying statistics related to inmate suicide. Here is what the Indy Star reporters found:

• Since 2010, 125 people have died by suicide in Indiana prisons. That is 42% of all in-prison fatalities, exceeding the national average of 30% and making suicide the leading cause of death.

• 2020 was the worse year for jail suicides in Indiana with 18 total deaths. This is triple the number who died in 2010.

• At least 76% of the suicides occurred in jails that were found by state inspectors to be overcrowded, understaffed, or both—conditions that make it hard to identify and monitor people who might be at risk of suicide.

• 82% of the people were being held pretrial and had not yet had their day in court

• At least 20% of the suicides involved people who jailers should have known, or did know, were suicidal. Some told jailers they had considered suicide or were on suicide watch. Several had even made, and survived, prior attempts to harm themselves in jail. Others were captured on surveillance video making a noose or other preparations.

• More than 40% of the suicides happened within a week of the person being booked into jail. Nearly one in 10 occurred within a person’s first 48 hours behind bars.

• As many as 80% of the roughly 20,000 Hoosiers in Indiana’s county jails are struggling with mental health or substance abuse issues.

Being behind bars is overwhelming. It creates extreme anxiety, stress, and fear with research showing that people in prison are more than twice as likely to die by suicide than a person who is not incarcerated. These facts paint a clear picture. Careful evaluation and close monitoring of those entering prison is critical to inmate safety.

According to the Indy Star, new corrections officers in Indiana are required to attend only 8 hours of state-mandated training specifically focused on suicide and mental health. State law also allows new officers to work as long as a year before receiving that training. Suicidal prisoners are supposed to be checked every 15 minutes. In many facilities, this doesn’t occur and the reasoning is astounding.

Prisons are grossly overcrowded and understaffed leading to inadequate prisoner to staff ratios and a virtual impossibility of meeting the every 15 minute check in rule for inmates at risk for self-harm. Corrections officers are also inadequately trained in the area of mental health. More social workers are needed—licensed mental health professionals that adequately evaluate and recommend the safest course of action in dealing with suicidal inmates. Greater efficiency in prescription medication requests and access to psychiatric care is imperative in adequately treating the mental ill behind bars, a larger staff with access to more video surveillance technology in special padded cells designed to protect the mentally ill and suicidal along with stricter adherence to suicide protocols such as the every 15 minute check in and other state mandated procedures.

If rules are expected to be followed on the outside to avoid landing behind bars, the rules need to be followed on the inside as well. As Lindsay Hayes says, a researcher of suicides in jails and prisons for over 40 years, “preserving life is our moral and legal responsibility. Everyone who dies in our jails could have been our son or daughter, our brother or sister, our loved one, our friend.”

As construction continues on the new Community Justice Campus, the replacement for Indianapolis’ Marion County Jail 1, we at Goodin Abernathy hope that all non-clinical personnel get the training they need to better recognize and react to suicidal and mentally ill inmates. We also hope that those incarcerated get the medical and mental health services they so fervently require.

If you or someone you know may be struggling with suicidal thoughts, please call the suicide prevention hotline at 800.273.8255.

Farming Accidents in Indiana

Farming Accidents in Indiana

Why You Need to be Represented by the Attorneys of Goodin Abernathy LLP for Farming Accidents in Indiana

The Goodin Abernathy LLP trial attorneys are experienced with helping farm and field workers who suffer serious injuries in farming accidents. As Indiana’s harvest season begins, now is the time to use extra caution working in the fields and driving through the countryside.

The Hoosier State is ranked 10th nationally in total agricultural production and ranked in the top five states for crop production like corn and soybeans. It’s also ranked fifth in the nation for swine production and third for poultry. (https://farmflavor.com/indiana-agriculture/) With this high volume of production, numerous workers and large farm machinery are active daily in the fields of Indiana’s farms. Because of this heavy equipment, agriculture is a hazardous industry. Farmers are at a high risk for fatal and serious farm accident injuries. (https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/aginjury/) These injuries are gruesome and can have long lasting effects. Over the years, Goodin Abernathy LLP’s personal injury attorneys have represented farm hands throughout Indiana, helping them understand the legal system and fighting to make sure they collect the legal benefits or damages they deserve following serious accidents.

Our initial consultations are free. More importantly, since each client’s farming accident experience is unique; Goodin Abernathy LLP does not charge a set contingency fee. Our fees depend on the level of legal work your claim requires. When meeting with us for the first time, no one will pressure you to sign a fee agreement or make any decisions right away. We prefer in-person initial consultations. If time and distance are a barrier for out of state clients, we handle video conferencing and telephone conferences at convenient times, all days of the week.

Goodin Abernathy LLP attorneys handle farming accident cases for injured clients and their families from all across the country. If the accident happened in Indiana, Goodin Abernathy LLP attorneys know the law. We handle state and federal lawsuits and are proficient at holding those responsible accountable for their negligence.

Since fall is when the harvest takes place, more accidents occur during this time of year. Most farm operations own and run their own semi trucks for hauling grain. Thus, more big trucks are driving throughout the countryside on state and country roads increasing possibilities that trucking accidents can occur. Grain trucks, filled full of heavy grain, are harder to stop. They can also enter the road at unmarked points during the day or night. Many do not have the proper, legally mandated, reflectors and lights. Some of these farm vehicles are even left on the side of the road without the proper materials to make them visible to other traffic on the road. Big farm machinery can also hit or run over workers in the field—especially those attempting to load produce.

Machinery accidents only allot for a portion of farming accidents. Here are some of the other accidents the attorneys of Goodin Abernathy LLP have handled:

  • a dairy farm hand who slipped in cold, frozen mud and fell into a manure pit where he died from toxic fume exposure;
  • a young teen who was working as a temporary farm hand and put his hand in an auger to dislodge material when the machine started running again and mangled his hand;
  • silo accidents where young or untrained farm hands get sucked into huge amounts of grain.

Goodin Abernathy LLP attorneys also realize that many of Indiana’s agricultural workers come from out of state or even out of the country. In fact, 73% of America’s farming labor force is comprised of migrant workers.

If you are injured in Indiana, Goodin Abernathy LLP is the firm to represent you. When Goodin Abernathy LLP attorneys take a farming accident case, we grab it hands-on and work to collect the details that accurately describe how and why the accident happened. Our experience handling medical testimony, using top quality experts and showing a jury the anatomy of an injury is just as important as our experience investigating accidents. We have the skills necessary to represent you, and the attorneys of Goodin Abernathy LLP CARE ABOUT OUR CLIENTS.

Goodin Abernathy LLP also offers all of these services, in Spanish, to the Indiana Latino community. Marca aquí por un versíon en Español – Legalmente Hablando Indy.

Indiana law allows farms to cover cases under Indiana Worker’s Compensation law or face a potential negligence claim. Worker’s compensation should provide you with medical, rehabilitation and income benefits if you are injured on the job. These benefits are provided to help injured workers return to work. It also provides benefits to the worker’s dependents if they die as the result of a job-related injury. The attorneys are Goodin Abernathy LLC understand the legal intricacies of farming accidents claims. We care about you and your families and are ready to help you fight for the maximum amount of compensation allowable by law.

Let Goodin Abernathy LLP guide you through your legal claim. We walk beside you through the entire process handling your case with the care and attention you deserve. We want to get to know you, discuss the legal process, provide you the opportunity to ask questions and explain our fee structure. Reach out to Goodin Abernathy LLP and let us show you how we set ourselves apart from other attorneys. Experience the care, wisdom, and experience Goodin Abernathy LLP has to offer by calling 317.843.2606 today for your free consultation.

 

 

Photo by Spencer Pugh on Unsplash