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When a Driver Without Insurance Hits You

When a Driver Without Insurance Hits You

The “S” family was driving together when another vehicle hit them. During this auto accident, their vehicle flipped, causing the “S” family various injuries. They were taken by ambulance to the hospital and required medical treatment for months after the accident. Their medical bills grew large, but the driver who caused the accident did not have insurance to cover the damages.S family photo - personal injury case, handled by GoodinAbernathy.com in Indianapolis

The personal injury attorneys at Goodin Abernathy LLP are experienced in this area of the law. The “S” family was smart – they were driving with an insurance policy that covered them if an “uninsured” driver caused their damages. The legal team at Goodin Abernathy collected the “S” family’s insurance policy and handled their claims. The “S” family did not need to negotiate directly with their own insurance company or the hospital. The Goodin Abernathy LLP personal injury attorneys handle this work for their clients.

The hospital filed liens to collect any money paid to the “S” family – even from their own insurance company. Goodin Abernathy’s attorneys communicated with the hospital and simply negotiated a distribution of insurance proceeds that left everyone involved satisfied.

This case was complicated due to the insurance policy terms and hospital lien. If someone you know is injured in an automobile accident, contact us for answers to questions about insurance and medical bills. The Goodin Abernathy LLP attorneys first try to resolve the claims through settlement – but take cases to court and present them to juries if and when necessary. Our goal is to optimize your recovery by paying attention to each client’s individual interests.

Contact our Spanish speaking attorneys today at (317)574-3090 or 1(800) 625-4710.

Porch Collapse – Wrongful Death – Premises Liability

Porch Collapse – Wrongful Death – Premises Liability

The news of the tragic death of pizza delivery driver when a porch collapses, Billy Fields, last weekend in Connersville is a graphic reminder of the dangers faced by delivery drivers across Indiana and the United States. No criminal charged or wrongful death charged were claimed. See the news story from Fox59 here.

With an increase in food and goods being delivered directly to people’s doors, it is a stark reminder to homeowners of their responsibility to keep their premises safe for invitees on their property. If the homeowners knew or should have known of the danger presented by this porch, then they can be held responsible for the damages that they have caused this driver’s family. Mr. Fields leaves behind a 13-year-old daughter.

Our partner, Jim Browne, recently represented the family of a delivery driver who was killed in a similar porch collapse in Marion, Indiana. In that case, a UPS delivery driver was killed when he stepped on to a porch that collapsed, trapping him under the concrete. We immediately employed a structural engineer who was able to determine that the porch was dangerous. We were also able to determine that the homeowner knew the dangerous condition of the porch, yet they failed to warn invitees to their property of the danger.

While no amount of money can replace a loved one, we were able to obtain a significant financial settlement on behalf of the family. These cases require quick action as they often require expert witnesses to review the accident scene before evidence is destroyed.

If you or a loved one has been injured or killed while delivering on someone’s property, call us for a free consultation.

Photo by Reba Spike on Unsplash

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

Indiana Trucking Accidents

Indiana Trucking Accidents

Why Experience Matters & Why You Should Hire Goodin Abernathy LLP Attorneys For Your Trucking Accident Case

The Goodin Abernathy LLP trial attorneys are sharp at prosecuting Indiana negligence claims involving semi-trucks and serious injuries. Many of our clients, who live out of state, suffer accidents in Indiana and need reliable legal representation. If you want personal attention by an Indiana attorney that excels in the courtroom, then contact Goodin Abernathy LLP because we are real attorneys who CARE ABOUT OUR CLIENTS.

Our initial consultations are free. More importantly, since each client’s truck 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.

Before you read any more, consider this: If you are attracted to a big box law firm, with a flashy commercial campaign and marketing gimmick, where the named attorney does not even handle your case or go to court, then we are not your firm. Goodin Abernathy LLP attorneys stick to a traditional “attorney and client relationship” – where you have direct access to the attorney, paralegal and staff who actually represents you. If this is the legal care and trust you want, then keep reading.

Indiana is known as the Crossroads of America and handles a huge volume of interstate traffic. Over the road semi-trucks pass through our state every minute – working to stock our shelves with food and keep the economy running. But sometimes those truckers make mistakes. From the congested Terre Haute section of I-70 over to the hills and bridges of I-74 near Cincinnati; along the I-65 pressure exchanges near Louisville, driving through the stop and go traffic of Indianapolis and up to the incredible volume and speeds of I-90, I-64 and I-65 corridor through the Indiana Region, Goodin Abernathy LLP takes the time to investigate cases as if they occurred in our own parking lot.

Some trucking accidents are caused by innocent mistakes with small damages. Other Indiana trucking accidents are horrific, resulting in death, paralysis that forever change lives. Often these accidents are caused by truck driver inattention, fatigue or plain risky driving. These are the cases Goodin Abernathy LLP’s attorneys aggressively handle.

Goodin Abernathy LLP attorneys handle personal injury 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 involving trucking companies and drivers from all around the United States. We are proficient at holding trucking companies and drivers accountable for their negligence. Since trucking companies are structured for financial profit, the companies must also be prepared to pay for damages they cause.

Semi-trucks are gigantic and extremely heavy. When you mix their speed and weight with the consequences of driver inattention, faulty maintenance or driver fatigue, it creates a deadly recipe. The most common truck accidents we handle include rear end collisions, head-on collisions, jackknifes and rollovers. On the highway, these trucking accidents usually involve multi car pileups and cause problems for the police re-construction experts to evaluate. When Goodin Abernathy LLP attorneys take a trucking case, we grab it hands on and work to collect the details that accurately describe how and why the accident happened. This includes interviewing the investigating police, contacting other drivers that witnessed the incident and hiring qualified experts to report on safety violations. We also use reconstruction experts who describe why the collisions occurred with diagrams, photos and video production.

Big trucks cause big accidents and big injuries. Many of our cases involve fatalities, brain trauma, spinal cord injuries and amputations. Highway collisions, like under-ride and override accidents are the most likely to cause fatal injuries, severe brain or spinal trauma, often leading to permanent damage or paralysis. 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.

The scope of injury isn’t the only thing larger than normal in a trucking accident. The claim process itself is much more rigorous. More people are involved than in your typical motor vehicle accident. Since trucking companies often have greater financial resources than the common driver, they create legal headaches for injured drivers and families. That is why hiring an experienced truck accident attorney is so important.

The attorneys at Goodin Abernathy LLP understand the legal intricacies of collecting evidence and using it in the courtroom. As important as our legal abilities is the fact that WE CARE ABOUT OUR CLIENTS.

Trucking accidents are complicated. Let Goodin Abernathy LLP guide you through a 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 Stephen Tafra on Unsplash

Wrongful Death:  Indiana Law and How it Impacts You

Wrongful Death: Indiana Law and How it Impacts You

The attorneys at Goodin Abernathy LLP handle Wrongful Death claims – fighting to honor the memory of lost loved ones and supporting their dependents as the law allows. Losing a loved one is catastrophic. The physical and emotional void left by a family member’s death feels insurmountable. These emotions don’t even include the financial toll of losing a family’s bread-winner. Money can’t replace someone we love, but as a practical matter, it’s something families need legal help collecting. In Wrongful Death cases, not only do Goodin Abernathy LLP attorneys know we are legally obligated to pursue the fullest extent of damages under the law – we want to fight for them because we care about our clients.

Indiana law allows family members and dependents to recover money as legal damages when their loved one is killed by another’s negligence. “Damages” is a legal term referring to the compensation – normally a sum of money – provided to a person who suffers harm or loss due to the negligence of another. Negligence causing one’s death is commonly known as a “wrongful death” claim.

Here are some things to consider when deciding what to do after losing a loved one to Wrongful Death.

Wrongful Death is a Civil Claim not a Criminal Claim

Wrongful Death refers to deaths that result from the negligent act of an entity or another person. A negligent act does not always mean a crime was committed. Your loved one’s death need not be the result of an intentional criminal act for you to make a Wrongful Death claim.  We are experienced handling cases involving both criminal and negligent (civil) claims. Explaining how the criminal and civil laws work is one of the first things we address with grieving families. It’s natural to ask “Why didn’t that driver, who ran the red light, get sent to jail?” Goodin Abernathy’s attorneys evaluate and explain cases clearly. Sometimes cases do not involve criminal acts and we understand families are stunned the at-fault driver is not going to jail. While being honest with our clients, we are also sympathetic to their loss. No question is a dumb one and no feelings are dismissed by us. We take the time to walk our clients through legal explanations because we want them to understand and be comfortable with the process. As regular people, Goodin Abernathy’s attorneys actually care about our clients – then we use our training and experience to provide them with superior legal services.

What Sorts of Deaths Qualify as Wrongful Deaths?

Here are some situations that can lead to a Wrongful Death claim: Auto Accidents, Bicycle Accidents, Birth Injuries, Dog Bites, Drunk Drivers, Motorcycle Accidents, Drowning, Electrocution, Construction Accidents, Dangerous Working Conditions, Traumatic Brain Injury and Trucking Accidents.

Was someone driving erratically, causing an accident that killed your loved one? Did your loved one suffer an accident at work resulting in their death? Besides having an Indiana Worker’s Compensation claim, you may also have a wrongful death claim. There is a big, important difference between the two. Because we’ve handled these situations, we’ll explain how we prosecute both legal claims for our clients’ maximum benefit.

I’m Grieving and Don’t Have the Time or Energy to Pursue Legal Action

Losing a loved one is exhausting. It feels like there is a never-ending number of things to take care of and the last thing most people want to consider is a drawn-out legal battle. We get it- just remember two things: 1) In Indiana, the personal representative of the deceased has two (2) years to make a claim. (IC 34-23-1-1); and 2) the longer you wait to engage legal help means the more likely important evidence is lost.  You might not feel like you have the time to juggle a lawsuit and find your way after a loss. But trust the idea we want to help, and we will make it as easy as possible to connect and communicate with us. When it comes to the legal issues involved with a claim, it’s our job to do the work so you and your family can move forward at the same time.

What Sort of Damages are Available in a Wrongful Death Case?

Damages may include medical, hospital, funeral and burial expenses. Damages include the loss of someone’s love and affection. Another big category of damages includes lost income or lost earnings. Under Indiana’s Wrongful Death Statute “recovery of emotional damages is allowed for spouses and dependent children; a decedent’s minor children may recover for loss of parental training and guidance as well as for the loss of their parent’s care.”  (TRW Vehicle Safety Systems, Inc. v. Moore)  “This loss can be determined, in part, from assistance that decedent would have provided through money, services or other marital benefits, but it also includes loss to children of parental training and guidance and loss of love and affection to surviving spouse.” (Southlake Limousine and Coach, Inc. v. Brock)

Wrongful Death cases are complex. The attorneys at Goodin Abernathy LLP are here to help you navigate these difficult times. Unlike a lot of big name advertising firms, our fees are structured for fairness to our clients. Our fees depend on the level of legal work you claim requires. You should not pay one set fee percentage for your case. We will explain how our fee structure works and comfortably answer your questions. Goodin Abernathy LLP gives you the time for decision making – we do not pressure you into signing our fee agreement the first time we meet. In these situations, you deserve an attorney that will walk beside you through the entire process. Contact us, Goodin Abernathy LLP, and see how we set ourselves apart from other attorneys. We know this is an emotional time. Let us help you recoup a sense of security for your family’s future. Call Goodin Abernathy LLP at 317-843-2606 today to schedule your Free Consultation.

 

Photo by Nate Isaac on Unsplash

Wrongful Death Claims In Indiana & Repatriation: Sending a Loved One’s Body to Mexico for Burial

Wrongful Death Claims In Indiana & Repatriation: Sending a Loved One’s Body to Mexico for Burial

We know losing loved ones is sad and very stressful. The COVID Pandemic has been hitting my Hispanic client base hard and causing a lot of heartache. Other cases we see involve “wrongful death” or negligent death claims. Goodin Abernathy LLP focuses on prosecuting these claims. The law allows loved ones to pursue financial damages when their family members die in work accidents or due to the negligence of others. These legal theories are known as an Indiana Worker’s Compensation claim or a negligent death / “Wrongful Death” claim. The law controlling each these claims are very different and it is important that families use Goodin Abernathy’s legal services to prosecute the actions.

When one dies, the damages generally include a lifetime of financial income. This greatly impacts the families that were relying on that support. Legalmente Hablando Indy makes sure the lost income is correctly calculated under the law. Plus, we pursue other damages allowed under the law. Neither the citizenship of the decedent or their remaining families matters – Goodin Abernathy will represent them to the fullest extent of the law.

In the course of handling wrongful death and work accident claims for my Hispanic clients, many families send their loved ones back to Mexico for burial. My law office – Goodin Abernathy LLP helps those families communicate with consulates and local government. We are experienced working with morticians, the local Consulate and other services to coordinate these transfers. Technically, the action of returning a body or remains of a deceased loved one is called “repatriation”. Government Consulate offices, like the Mexican Consulate in Indianapolis, are a starting point. https://consulmex.sre.gob.mx/indianapolis/

Families should also be ready to work with the morgue and local government for handling the process. My law office communicates with the county health department and other services to manage transportation to a final resting place. I find most families appreciate the sense of confidence that things are being handled correctly when my firm supplies this support. Here is a guide for information specific to using Mexico’s process. https://www.gob.mx/cms/uploads/attachment/file/548418/Gu_a_para_el_traslado_de_restos_o_cenizas.pdf You’ll also find general information about the process in this article. https://www.azcentral.com/story/noticias/2020/04/17/como-repatriar-cuerpo-cadaver-estados-unidos-hacia-mexico/5124133002/

Goodin Abernathy and attorney Jim Browne personally handles your case. We speak Spanish and you meet with us personally. Unlike many TV and billboard advertisers, you actually meet with attorney Jim Browne and he handles your case. Recently, we have handled death cases involving work accidents in construction projects, delivery services and an attack at business. Each of the families that hired us benefit from a team of experienced legal professionals that truly care about their cases.

If your friend, loved one or family member is injured or killed, contact attorney Jim Browne and the Goodin Abernathy law team. Listen to how we care and what we will do seeking justice for your loved one. Learn more about us on this website or our Facebook site.

Violating the ADA doesn’t pay—just ask Walmart

by M. Alison Reed, JD

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is “one of America’s most comprehensive pieces of civil rights legislation that prohibits discrimination and guarantees that people with disabilities have the same opportunities as everyone else to participate in the mainstream American life – to enjoy employment opportunities, to purchase goods and services, and to participate in State and local government programs and services.” (www.ada.gov)

Marlo Spaeth is one of these people. Marlo, a seasoned Walmart employee of 16 years, has Down Syndrome. Marlo’s schedule at the retail giant followed the same pattern for years—until Walmart decided to alter it. The change caused hardships for Marlo, who requested that Walmart change her schedule back to its original pattern. Marlo’s mother and sister also spoke to Walmart on her behalf, encouraging the company to grant Marlo’s request alleviating the hardships caused by the schedule change. Walmart refused. Marlo had difficulty adjusting to the new schedule, which lead to increased absenteeism and, eventually, her termination. (EEOC v.Wal-Mart Stores East, E.D. Wis.,No. 1:17-cv-00070 (E.D. Wis. 2021))

The ADA requires that employers provide “reasonable accommodations” for a worker’s disability. Marlo Spaeth was asking that her schedule be altered back to her original shift—a change of 60-90 minutes at the beginning and end of her shift. When Marlo was working her original schedule, she received “consistently positive reviews and feedback from her managers.” This led the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to believe Walmart “failed to provide reasonable accommodations” to Marlo, eventually firing her “due to her disability.” (Ryskamp, Dani Alexis, Jury Decides Walmart Must Pay Over $125 Million in Disability Discrimination Case, www.expertinstitute.com, July 29, 2021)

The EEOC sued Walmart on Marlo’s behalf, winning a judgment in excess of $125 million dollars. The judge has altered that amount according to federal statutory maximums, and Marlo Spaeth waits to hear the final amount of her settlement—which should include amounts to cover Marlo’s lost wages, litigation costs, and interest.

Have you or someone you know lost a job or not been considered for a position due to a disability? Have you recently been diagnosed with a disability and believe you may be entitled to Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits (SSD/SSDI) or Supplemental Social Security Income (SSI)? Do you have a child with a disability or special needs? The lawyers at Goodin Abernathy can help.

Applying for disability can be frustrating. The process takes a long time and oftentimes first time applicants are denied. Do you need someone to help walk you through the appeals process? Represent you in a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge? You don’t have to attempt this difficult process alone. Call Goodin Abernathy today for a Free Consultation.

Contracts and Leases: Have an Attorney Review Before You Sign It & Pay Too Much

Contracts and Leases: Have an Attorney Review Before You Sign It & Pay Too Much

Many clients visit or call asking me to evaluate problematic business contracts or rental agreements. Often my they are surprised about what the contract terms actually mean. Worse, there are times we discover the contract or other party’s promises are fraudulent.

Please learn this lesson from my experience with so many clients: Don’t be cheap at the beginning of a deal – Visit me, Lic. Jim Browne, to review the business contract, home purchase or lease before you sign it.

At Goodin AbernathyLegalmente Hablendo Indy, many of our Hispanic clients admit they wanted to avoid using an attorney to save money. I understand that idea – it’s reasonable to think that way. But ALL those same clients acknowledge that if they spent a little money for a legal review before entering their agreement, it would have saved them a lot of frustration, time and money.

Rent-to-Own Agreements

Many Latinos enter Rent-to-Own contracts with the idea they are slowly buying their house. The concept, as they understand, uses their rent money to pay off the house. Before signing one of these agreements, make sure the seller also legally owns the house. Do they have the legal authority to sell you the property? Last year I saw an example involving total fraud. The seller did not own the property and collected my client’s $6,000.00 down payment. When they tried to move in, the locks were changed so they contacted the seller. He lived out of state and they did not have his address. He wanted more money for them to move in. Surprisingly, the young couple paid more money. Then, the seller asked for even more money and that is what finally made them think it was a scam. You should meet the seller in person and have their address. If they do not live in the same town or state where you are buying the property, take further steps to verify the ownership. You can check the county government’s records to match the seller’s name with the property’s title. Check if there are other mortgages, liens or taxes owed on the property. If there are, you need to make sure the seller is paying those obligations. If not, the seller will have your money and the lender will keep your house. You can find more information about rent to own fraud here: What you need to know about rent-to-own deals. Then see me for a specific review of your situation.

Business Lease Agreements

Individuals and small companies usually rent office space. One type of rental agreement, or lease, includes the terms for a “Triple Net” obligation. This means the renter makes a monthly payment. Then, at the end of the year, the landlord charges the renter additional money for other costs like property taxes, insurance, mowing, maintenance repairs, snow removal and other costs. This usually amounts to three or four times the cost of the monthly rent. If my clients don’t pay, the landlord changes the locks and denies them access to their equipment or business supplies.

Kitchen Table Contracts

Frequently, individual sellers and buyers sign a short contract over the kitchen table. My buyers think the contract is sufficient to protect their financial investments. Usually the agreement fails to address equipment inventory, describe the payment plan or handle many other practical terms they should have requested for a reliable purchase. Rarely do kitchen table contracts succeed.

Loans to Friends and Family

Monthly we get calls where a client asks if he can legally collect the money he lent a friend or family member. The first question is – Did you put the loan in writing? If not, the borrower may try claiming it was a gift. Besides friends and family, I see this a lot with individuals trying to buy or start restaurants. They will invest money to become owners but not have a written agreement. Usually they lose their money and are left empty handed. Get a written loan agreement signed. It should have terms like the length of the loan, repayment plan, interest, penalties, default provisions and litigation costs.

Subcontractor Agreements

My clients who are subcontractors start jobs expecting to get paid. Sometimes, they do not ask for written terms and hope to get paid. During the job, they pay for materials and equipment, travel and the cost of their own workers. Then when the job is finished, the contractor that hired them claims the property owner or general contractor did not pay – and often that’s a lie. These contractors frequently disrespect my Hispanic clients, threatening litigation or immigration problems. I also see this a lot with apartment complexes. They hire my clients to paint, clean or remodel many, many units. The apartment managers change and the new managers avoid paying the money owed. Or, the apartment managers claim the work was poorly done.

You work hard for your money and envision improving a future for you and your family. Protect yourself against the risk of loss.

Contact me before entering important agreements. Our legal Spanish speaking legal team at Legalmente Hablando Indy is ready to collect basic information from you over the phone.

Paying for a legal review BEFORE you enter a contract protects you against much larger heartache and financial loss later. Our legal review will be simple and communicated in terms you understand. We will help you think through the contract language that protects your business. Then, if you need me, I’ll help you negotiate the contract for a better result.

Contact Attorney, Jim Browne, by phone at (317) 843-2606 or submit an e-mail inquiry through our website.

Let’s get ready to ride!–Bicycle Laws and Safety in Indiana

Let’s get ready to ride!–Bicycle Laws and Safety in Indiana

by M. Alison Reed, JD

As temperatures and gas prices climb, many Indiana residents are taking to the road on their bicycles. Comprised of trails, parks, and the open road, the League of American Bicyclists considers Indiana the 24th most bicycle-friendly state. While bicycling can be great exercise and an enjoyable activity for people of all ages, accidents do happen.  Luckily, Indiana law protects bicyclists the same way they protect drivers of motor vehicles. (IC 9-21-11-2)  To help you avoid a bicycle accident, here is a list of Indiana Bicycle Regulations that you should know before hitting the road:

Follow the Rules:  Bicyclists are required to follow all traffic laws applicable to motor vehicles.  Failure to comply can even result in a traffic citation. (IC 9-21-11-2)

Where do I put my stuff?:  If your bike has a cargo hold, like a basket or saddle bag, you may transport items inside.  You cannot, however, carry any package or item on your bike that requires you to take both hands off the handlebars. (IC 9-21-11-7)

One seat, One Rider:  Your bike can only transport the number of people for which it was designed.  One seat equals one rider—no passengers on the handlebars. (IC 9-21-11-4)

White Light, Red Light: It’s important to see and be seen.  From one half hour after sunset until one half hour before sunrise, the front of your bike must be affixed with a light that allows the road to be visible for 500 feet in front of you.  This light must be white.  During that same timeframe, the rear of your bike must have a reflector or light visible from a distance of 500 feet.  This light/reflector must be red. (IC 9-21-11-9)

Can you hear me now?:  This one may surprise you.  Bicyclists are required to have a bell or audible device attached to their bike and the sound has to be able to be heard from 100 feet away.  But, keep in mind, the device cannot be a whistle or siren. (IC 9-21-11-8)

Your Duty to Care:  Motor vehicle drivers and bicyclists alike owe what’s called a duty of care to both pedestrians and other motorists/bicyclists. What this means is motor vehicle drivers are required to watch out for pedestrians and bicyclists, and exercise care to avoid collisions.  Bicyclists are required to do the same for motor vehicle drivers and pedestrians.  (IC 9-21-8-37)

Now that we know the rules, let’s check out what the Indiana State Police say about staying safe (https://www.in.gov/isp/2969.htm):

  • Wear a properly fitted helmet every time you ride
  • Check your bicycle for safety. Use the ABC quick check:
    • Air – check your tire’s air pressure,
    • Brakes – check brakes to make sure they work,
    • Chain – make sure it is tight and oiled
  • Learn and follow the rules of the road; among the most important is always ride in the same direction as traffic.
  • Be seen by other road users. Wear bright clothing during the day and wear reflective materials on your body or equipment at night.
  • Stay alert

Bicycling is a summertime rite of passage, but it can be dangerous.  No matter how closely we follow the rules and adhere to safety precautions, bicycle accidents do happen—and the resulting injuries can be catastrophic and expensive.  If the actions of a negligent motorist or a defect with your bike have resulted in an injury for you or a loved one, you have rights.  Contact Goodin Abernathy, LLP to explore your options.