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Estate Planning

Estate Planning

An Ounce of Simple Estate Planning Can Prevent A Pound of Legal Work

As the “Silver Wave” or “Gray Wave” segment of our aging population builds, many Gen X kids are taking on the responsibility of addressing estate planning for their parents.   Goodin Abernathy’s estate planning attorneys can support your estate planning with an easy, cost-efficient package of documents.  Our attorneys will meet with you and your loved ones to personalize the details for Wills, Powers of Attorney, appointing a Health Care Representative and drafting Living Will or Advanced Lifecare Directives. Depending on your particular needs, our estate planning packages start at Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00) per person / package.    

Over the years, our Goodin Abernathy LLP attorneys recognize two client tendencies typically frustrate the chances of arranging their estate planning.  First, the “there’s always tomorrow” attitude puts it off.  Of course, we hope our clients lead long, healthy lives. But the best time to plan is when you are healthy and mentally alert.  Recently a family brought in their elderly father seeking legal help for his estate planning.  Unfortunately, a dementia condition that started years ago progressed too far.  Instead of preparing simple estate planning documents, the man needed a court appointed guardian.  Of course this process requires a lot more time and costs a lot more money than preparing our estate planning packages. 

The second phenomenon preventing people from timely preventing their estate planning is the “do it yourself” kit.  The internet advertisements for estate planning offer “cheap” alternatives for handling your estate planning needs.  Unfortunately, this approach usually promotes procrastination and the project is never accomplished because it always seems easy to do “next weekend”.   Plus, let’s be honest and remember the age-old adage that “a person representing themselves has a fool for a client”.  Just contact our Goodin Abernathy attorneys and get it done the right way.  We will meet with you and take the time to evaluate your needs, explain options and suggest your best plan of action.

Basic Estate Planning Packages


A legally executed will expresses your wishes and provides instructions for handling the probate process.  Many clients understand the importance of listing specific bequests and our attorneys walk them through the best course of action for handling these instructions.  Wills may also save your heirs inheritance money by directing your personal representative on how to probate your estate. 

Power of Attorney

Often, before one dies, their mental capacity or physical health begins failing.  The Power of Attorney confers the legal authority to a designated representative.  The representative may use the authority to manage financial affairs, business decisions and other important legal tasks for the grantor if she / he are medically or legally incapacitated. 

Health Care Representative

The Health Care Representative appointment allows you to legally designate a representative to communicate with your health care providers.  Often, hospital systems and doctors are reluctant to share information or accept medical decisions if a legal health care representative is not appointed.  Establishing this directive allows your loved ones to be a part of your health care journey, know what’s going on and help make important decisions.

Living Will or Advanced Health Care Directive

Indiana law recognizes and respects a person’s Living Will document.  This document states your wishes for important end of life decisions.  Frequently hospitals want to know if you have a Living Will for handling treatment in terminal situations.  You may feel relieved to know your family members will not bear the stress of making decisions about life support since your Advanced Health Care Directive will address your wishes. 

Mind you, estate planning packages are important for new families as well.  The documents provide moms and dads the security of know their children are taken care of in the event of accidental death or surprise medical conditions.  You may appoint guardians for your children and develop Trust terms for managing assets until the children are mature enough to make sound financial decisions.  Since our attorneys have helped widows and seen the devastating impact of sudden death on young kids, Goodin Abernathy LLP attorneys understand how to explain important planning concepts to our younger clients as well.

Our attorney handle probate for the heirs and family members of deceased loved ones.  Estate planning is simply distinguished from probate in that it involves planning for the ultimate probate of an estate.  Legal requirements control how estates are managed and property is distributed in the “probate” process.  Start building a trusting and friendly relationship with our attorneys now.  Our professionals will share legal guidance in a comforting manner for your loved ones after you pass.   

Contact Goodin Abernathy LLP to schedule a meeting for your estate planning needs.  We provide personalized service and tailor the documents to fit your wishes.  The task does not take much time – but protects a life’s worth of effort.  Call us, we look forward to serving you today! 

Attorney Help for Indiana Car Accidents

Attorney Help for Indiana Car Accidents

Were you in a car accident and have legal questions?  Make things simple by contacting the Goodin Abernathy LLP law firm.  We have a Spanish speaking team, too, who focuses on representing Hispanic clients suffering physical injuries in motor vehicle accidents.  Put us on your side for recovering the maximum damages the law allows for personal injuries.  We offer free, in-person legal consultations.  When we take your case, our attorneys only charge for services when we win and actually collect money. 

Auto accidents may include criminal acts.  But when you need to recover your own damages, the process is considered a civil law claim for negligence.  Sometimes our clients are concerned about making legal claims because they are undocumented immigrants.  Do not let this stand in your way because Indiana allows all accident victims the right to legal access – no matter what their immigration status is.  You really should not be concerned about encountering immigration problems for making a negligence claim.  Our legal team will guide you through the process and protect your rights without concern for being deported or harassed due to your immigration status. 

Now let’s start by reviewing basic topics our clients must deal with after an auto accident.  At the scene, police often give our clients a slip of paper with the “accident number.” Although helpful, this is not the report we need.  Using your information, we access an internet portal that law enforcement uses for publishing the auto accident reports.  Police post their Indiana crash reports on and charge Twelve Dollars ($12.00) to download and print it. The police report will supply us with the basic information needed to identify the at-fault driver.  The crash report also describes the investigation results and identifies potential witnesses. 

 If your car was disabled and not drivable after the accident, it was probably towed to a salvage lot.  We recommend addressing this immediately because each day your vehicle sits in the tow yard, they charge you around Thirty-Five Dollars ($35.00) per day.  Before you can get your car out of the lot, you must pay them for the towing service and the daily rate.  If you do not have auto insurance to pay for these costs, the price can quickly jump above an amount you can pay.  Then, if you do not pay the removal fee, the tow yard will sell your car for salvage.  You will not have a chance to fix the car, sell it or maybe even recover your personal possessions.  Our legal team counsels our clients with tips for negotiating with the salvage yards to pay less and collect your vehicle.  Contact us with questions before paying full price at the salvage yard. 

Many people are physically injured in car accidents.  Maybe you visited the emergency room for medical treatment and have questions about the bills.  Or, after the accident your injuries worsened and now you want to visit your family doctor or a specialist.  Attorneys are not medical doctors but we can describe how clients typically search for physical relief from pain.  Often we find our clients are confused about where to go for medical treatment.  The obvious response is 1) if the pain is excruciating, visit the emergency room and 2) if the pain is tolerable, consider contacting your regular primary care doctor.  Of course, there are more medical treatment options that we can discuss for choosing the best path for your recovery.

We know the medical treatment is not free and you want to know who pays the costs.  GA’s legal team will explain how the law applies to this important question and show you how we step in to work with the medical billing departments.  For instance, you want to know if the at fault driver’s insurance company will pay each bill.  When will they pay the medical bills?  Under Indiana’s negligence law, the process typically does not require a responsible driver or their insurance to pay for medical costs as you treat.  Instead, they pay when you are finished with medical treatment.  Even if it is an option, rarely is it a good idea to settle parts of a claim as it goes along.  It is typical to settle the whole case once you finish medical treatment and know what all your damages are.  Unfortunately, we know the bill collectors do not want to wait and they put pressure on you and your family.  Call Goodin Abernathy, and we will step in to handle the bills and relieve you from the immediate financial pressure. 

Another option for handling medical bills can include using your own auto or health insurance.  If you have the right auto insurance coverage, you may be able to use your own policy to help pay bills.  This coverage is typically called Medical Payments or “Medpay”.  GA’s Indy legal team will review your own insurance to identify if you have this option.  You may also use your own health insurance to cover medical bills for treating your injuries.  We will explain how the health insurance company then has a legal and financial interest in collecting their payments from the responsible driver.  If you do not have health insurance, Legalmente Hablando Indy is familiar with various hospitals and medical doctors that use payment systems you can take advantage of for continued medical treatment.  For instance, Eskenazi Hospital in Indianapolis offers applications for the popular “Advantage Plan.” Patients work with financial counselors to qualify for assistance under the plan.

When you miss time at work due to an injury, you likely lose income and we understand this is very stressful. Goodin Abernathy’s legal team will explain how Indiana law applies to this part of your damages.  The law for accident victims allows them to claim lost income for damages in their case against the responsible driver.  We describe how this is calculated and inform you about what to expect for a lost wages claim.   

Another initial concern includes how to deal with the insurance companies.  Understandably, our clients visit us because they are concerned about how the negligent driver’s insurance company is treating them.  Clients want to know the law and make sure they are being treated fairly.  This is where an attorney at Goodin Abernathy helps.  Remember, insurance representatives are trained and experienced with handling claims to save their companies money.  Insurance companies are in business to make money – not pay it out.  This is why you need professional legal help.  Our experienced team will represent you and fight for your legal rights.  Choose to have an attorney on your side (and if necessary, that speaks Spanish), cares about your recovery and is experienced with challenging insurance companies to win the best recovery for your case. 

Our attorneys handle personal injuries on a contingency fee basis.  You only pay for legal fees when we win and collect money.  There are no up-front fees that you pay to open a case with our law firm.  Legalmente Hablando Indy enjoys supporting Indiana’s Hispanic community with quality legal services.  Our contingency fee rates are typically less than big advertising law firms.  Instead of trying to pay the cost of marketing, we save our clients money  and provide excellent legal services.  Our initial consultations are free.  We will sit with you, review your photos, accident reports and medical treatment.  If you are in the hospital or unable to travel, we can visit your location or set up a video conference.  Contact Goodin Abernathy’s legal team to schedule an appointment today!



If you speak Spanish, how are you going to testify in court? Can you even open a lawsuit? Many of our Legalmente Hablando Indy and Goodin Abernathy LLP clients speak Spanish as primary language. Our team speaks Spanish. But what happens in court or when we take our clients to depositions for interviews by other attorneys? Who interprets for them in the court room? This article covers basic questions litigants have about using interpreters in a legal proceeding.
To begin, yes, the law allows Spanish and non-English speakers to open lawsuits and testify in court. The U.S. Constitution provides equal access to our courts for individuals and businesses. Access includes removing language barriers for non-English speakers.

Interpreter or Translator?

Many people casually trade the terms interpreter and translator when referring to a person that converts a foreign language to English. The difference is whether the conversion is oral or written. A person who orally converts another language to English, is an INTERPRETER. A person who converts written material written in a foreign language to English is a TRANSLATOR. When attorneys, litigants and judges are working in a court room or another legal proceeding, most often the need is for an interpreter to convert foreign languages, like Spanish, to English on a real time basis.

Who Qualifies As An Interpreter?

Using a family member or friend that speaks both Spanish and English to interpret in the courtroom would be easy and cheap, but the system requires licensed and approved interpreters. The legal process requires accuracy and fairness. Interpreters swear an oath for the judge to truly and accurately convert languages. They are trained to take notes and interpret testimony and court proceedings in real time. Licensed interpreters are trained how to interact with the judges and attorneys while testimony happens. This is a big reason why friends or family are not allowed to interpret in the court room.

Who Pays For An Interpreter?

Legal proceedings occur in and out of the court room. Before a trial or hearing begins, attorneys typically conduct discovery to collect evidence for their case. During discovery, depositions are often taken to prepare for trial. This is where an attorney uses a court reporter to record a formal interview of a party or witness. In this legal setting, the attorney and client who requested the testimony are responsible for 1) hiring a licensed interpreter and 2) paying the interpreter. However, licensed interpreters are not needed for all discovery efforts. An attorney can speak with a witness informally and take a statement without an interpreter. But that informal statement probably cannot be used in court.

If action is taking place inside a courtroom, then the court system is required to provide and pay for a licensed interpreter. Since our legal system is required to serve all people, without language barriers, our government supports the judicial system by paying for the interpreter services.

Sometimes court action takes place outside the courtroom. For instance, if a judge orders parties to mediate a case, the court is responsible for paying the interpreter. If the court orders the activity, the court pays for an interpreter to facilitate the activity.

Can We Call Someone Or Just Use A Computer Application To Interpret?

It seems practical to use a computer application to interpret or translate, but speed and reliability are important. A cell phone app will not be allowed to replace an interpreter. Sometimes, if the court hearing is short and uncontested, the court may use a phone line service to interpret rather than having an interpreter present in the courtroom. Indiana uses a service called Language Line.

However, a court must use a live interpreter for things like criminal guilty pleas, trials and other disputed hearings.

When there are questions about interpreter requirements, courts can contact the Indiana Office of Judicial Administration at This department will support courts and attorneys with questions about interpreters and Indiana legal proceedings.

Contact attorney Jim Browne at Legalmente Hablando Indy and the Goodin Abernathy LLP law firm for more questions. Our Spanish speaking staff communicates directly with our clients and has the experience needed for handling cases involving interpreters.

The Role of Witnesses in Auto Accident Cases: Importance and How to Gather Information

The Role of Witnesses in Auto Accident Cases: Importance and How to Gather Information

If you’ve ever been in an auto accident or know someone who has, you’re aware that the situation can be chaotic and confusing. Amid the dust and the din, every single detail can matter – particularly those that come from the people who saw the event unfold: the witnesses.

Witnesses, in the context of an auto accident, can be an invaluable resource. Their observations, memories, and testimonies can create a rich, unbiased account of what exactly transpired during the incident. They can corroborate your recollection of the event or perhaps shed new light on aspects you may not have noticed.

But finding these reliable individuals, approaching them, and gathering their information is no simple task. There’s an art to it, and that’s precisely what we’re going to delve into through the course of this article. We’ll guide you through the importance of witnesses in auto accident cases, how to identify credible witnesses, and the best strategies to obtain their testimonies effectively. Buckle up, as we navigate this complex yet crucial aspect of auto accident cases together.

The Important Role of Witnesses

When an auto accident occurs, the scene is often a whirl of activity, fraught with high emotions and confusion. Amidst this tumult, the perspectives of those involved in the accident might be skewed or limited. It’s here that the role of witnesses becomes crucial, as they can provide an objective account of the incident, helping to reconstruct the events as they truly unfolded.

Witnesses bring a bird’s-eye view to the proceedings, offering an uninvolved perspective that is free from the direct emotional impact of the accident. Their accounts can either support or challenge the narratives put forth by the parties directly involved, such as the drivers or passengers. This objectivity can lend substantial credibility to their testimonies, making them an integral part of auto accident cases.

Moreover, witness testimonies can be the tipping point in the resolution of insurance claims and legal proceedings. An insurance company, for instance, might rely on these testimonies to ascertain the validity of a claim or to determine the degree of fault. Similarly, in a court of law, a well-documented witness account can sway the judge or jury, serving as compelling evidence that supports or rebuts the arguments presented.

Indeed, the role of witnesses is undeniably significant in auto accident cases. However, it’s not enough to simply have a witness; they must be credible and their testimonies accurate. As we move forward, we’ll delve into the process of identifying such witnesses and the best practices for gathering their information.

How to Find a Credible Witness

Finding a credible witness – someone who was in the right place, at the right time, with the right perspective – is easier said than done. The key lies in identifying individuals who had a clear and unbiased view of the incident, and then approaching them tactfully to request their cooperation.

Immediately after the accident, look around for potential witnesses. They could be pedestrians, fellow motorists, shopkeepers, or residents from nearby buildings. Keep an eye out for anyone who seems to be taking an interest in the aftermath of the accident, as they might have seen what transpired.

Once you have identified potential witnesses, approach them politely and explain the situation. Be upfront about why you need their account, making sure to convey the importance of their testimony in achieving a fair resolution of the incident. Remember, they’re under no obligation to help, so your request should be respectful and considerate.

Additionally, it’s a good idea to ask for their contact details – a phone number or email address can be handy. Witnesses may remember more details later on or their account might be needed again during the insurance claim or legal process. Hence, maintaining communication can be beneficial.

Remember, credibility is key. While friends or relatives can also be witnesses, their testimonies might be viewed with a certain degree of skepticism due to potential bias. As a rule of thumb, prioritize seeking the accounts of unbiased third-party witnesses for the most credible testimonies.

Types of Car Accident Witnesses

The world of car accident cases is as varied as the people who get entangled in them. And it’s no different when it comes to witnesses. Not all witnesses wear the same shoes – or in this case, hold the same perspectives. Let’s hit the brakes and take a look at the different types of witnesses commonly encountered in car accident cases and understand what they bring to the table.

  1. First-Party Witnesses: Let’s start with the folks at the heart of the action – the drivers and passengers involved in the accident. First-party witnesses have a first-hand experience of the accident. They’re usually the ones most affected by the incident, which makes their testimonies important, though sometimes emotionally charged.
  2. Third-Party Witnesses: Imagine this – you’re sitting at a cafe, sipping your morning latte, and then suddenly, BAM! A car accident happens right outside. People like you in this scenario are third-party witnesses – bystanders, pedestrians, or anyone not directly involved in the accident. Their perspective is often considered more impartial compared to first-party witnesses, as they don’t have a personal stake in the outcome of the case.
  3. Expert Witnesses: Now picture someone walking around the accident scene with a notepad, making sketches, and taking measurements. This is likely an expert witness, a specialist who knows the nuts and bolts of accidents. From traffic engineers, medical professionals to accident reconstruction specialists, expert witnesses use their specialized knowledge to provide insights into the technical aspects of the case.

Each type of witness brings a different flavor of information to the accident case. While first-party witnesses provide the pulse of the incident, third-party witnesses can offer an unclouded account, and expert witnesses can piece together the complex puzzle with their specialized knowledge.

It’s like baking a cake – you need the right ingredients in the right proportions. Too much of one, and you might end up with a lopsided view of the accident. The right mix, however, can provide a comprehensive and balanced account, helping to paint a clear picture of the events.

Are All Witnesses Credible?

So, we’ve got our witnesses lined up, ready to recount what they saw. But hang on a second – just because someone says they saw something doesn’t make it the gospel truth, does it? The road to establishing the truth in an auto accident case can sometimes be as winding as a mountain trail, and knowing how to gauge the credibility of a witness is crucial.

Here’s the deal: not all witnesses are created equal. Let’s be real; humans are complicated. There’s a range of factors that can make one witness more reliable than another.

For instance, consider the witness’s vantage point during the accident. Was the witness struggling with an umbrella in a downpour, or calmly observing the street from a cozy spot inside a café? And let’s not forget the human tendency to sometimes unconsciously embellish or omit details.

Cross-examination is a traditional and potent tool used especially in legal proceedings to sift the wheat from the chaff. It’s like doing a quality check – by asking questions, comparing statements, and weighing them against known facts, you get to see if their account holds water.

Also, corroboration is your friend. If multiple witnesses are singing the same tune, it lends weight to their accounts. It’s like when you’re unsure of the directions, and you ask a couple of passersby; if they both point you in the same direction, you feel more confident in their guidance.

In summary, not every person with a story is a golden witness. The credibility of a witness is often built on a foundation of their perspective, consistency, and how well their account meshes with the broader narrative.

What Factors Affect Witness Credibility?

Alright, let’s put our Sherlock Holmes hats on and delve into the factors that make or break witness credibility. Think of it as fine-tuning a radio; you want the clearest signal, free of static. So, what are the dials and knobs that affect the reception?

  1. Location and Perception: Imagine you’re watching a football game from the sidelines versus the nosebleed seats. Your perspective will be worlds apart. Similarly, where a witness was during the accident makes a heap of difference. Was their view obstructed? Were they at an angle where they couldn’t see crucial aspects of the incident? Perception is equally important. Sometimes even the sharpest eyes miss details, and other times what is perceived is not what actually occurred.
  2. Character and Bias: Let’s face it – sometimes, even the best of us can be a tad biased. A witness may subconsciously lean toward one side, especially if they know someone involved in the accident. Or they may have personal beliefs that affect their recounting. Their character also plays a part – is the witness known to be honest and trustworthy?
  3. Consistency: A story that changes more often than the weather? Red flag! If a witness’s account is like a chameleon, constantly changing colors, that’s a problem. Consistency is key. It’s important for the basic elements of the witness’s testimony to remain stable over time.
  4. Memory and Time: Time can be a witness’s worst enemy. As days turn into weeks, memories can get hazy. The sooner a witness’s account is documented, the better. Also, consider the witness’s memory – some people naturally have a better recollection than others.
  5. Demeanor: Sometimes it’s not just the words, but how they’re said. A witness who is nervous, fidgety, or overly aggressive might be seen as less credible compared to someone who is calm and composed.

So, there you have it – the ingredients that brew the credibility potion. Understanding these factors is essential in weighing the value of a witness’s testimony.

How to Collect Witness Statements

With a clear understanding of witness credibility, it’s time to switch gears and get into the nitty-gritty of collecting witness statements. Imagine you’re a journalist on a mission to get the most accurate story – you’ll need tact, precision, and the right tools.

  1. Strike While the Iron is Hot: Time is of the essence. It’s vital to speak with witnesses as soon as possible after the accident. The fresher the incident is in their memory, the more accurate and detailed their account is likely to be.
  2. Set the Scene: Before you dive into the questions, create a comfortable environment. Explain why their information is important and assure them that their cooperation is highly valued. This can set the tone for a more open and honest discussion.
  3. The Art of Questioning: Ask open-ended questions that allow witnesses to provide detailed responses. Instead of asking, “Did you see the blue car hit the red car?”, you might ask, “Can you describe how the collision happened?”.
  4. Documenting the Statement: There are a few ways to document what a witness tells you. If you have a smartphone or a recording device, audio or video recordings can be incredibly helpful. Ensure you have the witness’s permission before you start recording. Alternatively, taking written notes during the conversation is a classic but effective method. If you go this route, it’s a good practice to have the witness review and sign the written statement.
  5. Sketches and Photographs: Sometimes, a picture is worth a thousand words. Encourage witnesses to sketch the scene if they are able to. This can provide a visual context that supports their verbal or written statements.
  6. Contact Information and Follow-up: Don’t forget to collect the witness’s contact information in case additional clarification is needed later on. Also, be sure to express gratitude for their time and cooperation.
  7. Legal Guidance: If you’re not comfortable collecting witness statements on your own, or if the case is particularly complex, don’t hesitate to consult an attorney. They have the experience and expertise to guide you through the process.

By using these strategies, you can compile a treasure trove of information that could be indispensable in resolving an auto accident case.

Who Can Be a Car Accident Witness?

Alright, let’s get to the heart of the matter: just who gets to wear the ‘Witness’ badge in a car accident case? Is it exclusive to the guy across the street who saw it all happen, or can your buddy riding shotgun chime in too? Let’s demystify this.

  1. Friends or Relatives: First things first, yes, friends or relatives can be witnesses. But here’s the catch – they might not be seen as the most impartial of folks. However, that doesn’t mean their testimony doesn’t count. If they have pertinent information, it’s valuable. Just keep in mind that their relationship to the involved parties will be considered when weighing the testimony.
  2. Passengers: Passengers are right in the thick of it, and they can provide insights that outside witnesses might miss. Like friends or relatives, though, they may be perceived as biased, especially if they are related to the driver. Nonetheless, their first-hand account of events leading up to the crash can be very informative.
  3. Bystanders: The classic witnesses – bystanders who have no personal ties to anyone involved in the accident. They can include pedestrians, motorists, cyclists, or anyone who was in the vicinity when the accident occurred. Their accounts are often considered highly credible due to their detachment from the involved parties.
  4. Emergency Responders: Police officers, firefighters, and emergency medical personnel who arrive at the scene often serve as witnesses, especially when it comes to the aftermath of the accident. They can provide insights into the condition of the drivers, the positioning of vehicles, and other critical details.
  5. Expert Witnesses: As mentioned earlier, expert witnesses like accident reconstruction specialists, mechanics, and medical professionals may also play a role. While they might not have been present at the scene, their specialized knowledge can help shed light on various aspects of the case.

So, there you have it. Being a car accident witness isn’t a members-only club. Various individuals, each with their unique perspectives, can contribute valuable information to an auto accident case.

What If I Can’t Find Car Accident Witnesses?

It’s a scenario we all dread: an auto accident happens, and it seems like witnesses are as elusive as a needle in a haystack. Don’t hit the panic button just yet. There are still avenues you can explore to bolster your case.

  1. Surveillance Footage: Like an eye in the sky, surveillance cameras are often silent witnesses to accidents. These can be traffic cameras, security cameras from nearby businesses, or even dashcams from other vehicles. It’s imperative to act swiftly to secure this footage as some systems may overwrite data after a short period.
  2. Physical Evidence: Sometimes the cars themselves tell a story. Skid marks, paint transfers, and vehicle damages can paint a picture of how the accident unfolded. Photographs and notes documenting this physical evidence can be invaluable.
  3. Expert Analysis: When witnesses are few and far between, expert witnesses come into play. As mentioned earlier, accident reconstruction specialists can use physical evidence to piece together how the accident likely happened. Medical experts can also provide insights into injuries sustained and their likely causes.
  4. Your Own Account: Don’t underestimate the power of your own words. As a party involved in the accident, your account of what happened is an important piece of the puzzle. Be as detailed and accurate as possible, and avoid speculating about things you are not sure of.
  5. Legal Advice: When the going gets tough, the tough get a lawyer. Seriously though, if you find yourself in a tight spot with little to no witnesses, consulting an attorney can be a game-changer. They can guide you on the best strategies for gathering evidence and building a solid case.

While having eyewitnesses can be an ace up your sleeve in an auto accident case, it’s not the end of the road if you can’t find them. There’s more than one way to skin a cat, and with diligence and the right resources, you can still steer your case in the right direction.


We’ve cruised through the essentials of auto accident cases and the pivotal role of witnesses. In a nutshell, witnesses serve as the headlights, illuminating the path to truth with their objective accounts. Their credibility, though, can vary.

Gathering information from witnesses requires a mix of tact and tenacity. Whether it’s bystanders, passengers, or experts, each witness adds a unique brushstroke to the canvas of events. And when witnesses are scarce, other evidentiary heroes like surveillance footage and expert analysis can step in.

But let’s not forget the human element – approach witnesses respectfully, communicate the importance of their insights, and say thank you.

If you find yourself lost in the legal labyrinth, don’t hesitate to seek an attorney’s compass. They can help steer your case to safer shores.

In closing, witnesses are an invaluable asset in auto accident cases. Be diligent, be kind, and be thorough. Your quest for fairness and justice just might hinge on their words.

Contact Goodin Abernathy Car Accident Lawyers Today!

If you or a loved one has been involved in an auto accident and need expert legal guidance, don’t navigate these rough waters alone. Goodin Abernathy is here to support you with experience and compassion. Reach out to Goodin Abernathy for a free consultation, and let their expertise steer you through the complexities of your auto accident case. Take the first step towards peace of mind by visiting their website or giving them a call today.

Mediation Vs. Court: What is Right for You?

Mediation Vs. Court: What is Right for You?

The majority of personal injury claims do not get litigated in court. This is because they go through a negotiation process known as mediation. Implementing mediation before litigation helps to reduce the caseload in the court system. It also enables injured individuals to recover damages sooner. The lawyers at Goodin Abernathy work with clients to explain the mediation and court process. They advise which approach is best for a client’s particular situation. If you recently experienced an injury due to another’s actions, you are probably wondering, is mediation or court right for me? 

What Happens During Mediation? 

Mediation is a voluntary process designed to be an alternative dispute resolution process that helps people avoid going to court. The parties will hire a professional mediator to facilitate the negotiation process to reach an agreement. This process is informal, and the mediator does not decide the outcome for the parties. The parties will meet at a neutral location on the agreed-upon day of mediation. The mediator will then communicate with the parties together or in separate rooms to create a mutually agreeable outcome. The lawyers at Goodin Abernathy represent clients during this process to ensure their best interests are advocated for. 

What Happens At Court 

Almost anyone can file a lawsuit claim with the court at almost any time. Once that paperwork gets filed, it puts the wheels in motion for a process that requires the defending party to respond. Even if the defendant thinks the lawsuit is frivolous, incorrect, or false; they must respond to the claim. There is a strict set of rules that both parties must follow, and participation is not optional. 

The parties will exchange evidence, and a trial date will be set. During the trial, both parties will argue their point of view in front of a judge. The judge will then review the applicable law, the evidence, and the arguments set forth. From this, the judge makes a ruling that is final and binding. If a party does not like the ruling, they can begin the appeals process. The legal process of going to court can take years. 

Reasons to Choose Mediation 

There are several reasons for someone to consider mediation instead of litigating their claim in court. First, because mediation is a voluntary process that does not preclude you from pursuing your claim in court, it is worth considering. The lawyers at Goodin Abernathy speak with their clients about the best approach and strategy for pursuing a claim for damages. Because each case is different, our attorneys use their experience to advise a plan that will effectively advocate for the client’s best interest. 


One of the biggest advantages of mediation is the cost factor. Litigating in court is an expensive pursuit. Mediation is a more affordable alternative. This is something to consider when litigating a lawsuit could become cost prohibitive to the potential recovery of damages. 


There is a significant amount of freedom and flexibility when negotiating during mediation. Resolutions that wouldn’t be available during litigation in court are available in mediation. First, the parties participating have a voice in who the mediator is. In contrast, parties cannot pick and choose the judge that hears their case in court. Next, the parties can shape and define how the mediation process will work. This enables the parties to choose a process and method that will work best for the uniqueness of the situation at hand. When litigating in court, a strict set of rules must be adhered to. 


Participating in mediation is a voluntary activity. No one can force someone else to participate in mediation or accept an offer extended during mediation. Because of this, it puts people in the right mindset to come to an acceptable resolution for all parties involved. 


The timeline for going through mediation is significantly shorter than litigating in court. How long mediation will take varies based on the facts and details of the claim and the situation causing the claim. The process could take a few weeks, months, or a year. However, this is quick compared to the court process, which can take years. 

The longer a process takes, the more stress, fear, and anxiety someone will experience. So mediation can offer relief sooner, allowing someone to move on from the situation sooner. 

Reasons to Choose Litigation 

While mediation has several benefits that make it worth considering, it isn’t the right course of action in every situation. Mediation may not result in an outcome that delivers the appropriate recovery of damages for some injured victims. Before you agree to participate in mediation, a lawyer from Goodin Abernathy can help you understand your options and possible outcomes. 

Inequitable Party Power 

Mediation may not be the best option if there is a significant difference in power and resources between the two parties. The more powerful party could pressure the other to agree to a less favorable mediation outcome. This is commonly seen when an injured individual attempts to negotiate with an insurance company. The insurance company has significantly more resources and experience. As a result, the individual is at a disadvantage during mediation. One approach is to hire a law firm with experience and a strong reputation for client advocacy. This can level the playing field, making mediation more viable. If an acceptable outcome cannot be reached, the law firm can advise the client to proceed with litigation in court. 

Party Refusal to Compromise

For mediation to work, both parties must agree and want to mediate the disagreement. Despite both parties agreeing to mediation, an agreement will never be reached if one party refuses to compromise. If it is clear that an agreement or resolution will not be reached, then the next option is to pursue the claim in court. 

Contact Goodin Abernathy About Your Claim 

If you have recently experienced an injury due to the actions of another individual or business, then you may be considering seeking compensation. Before you pursue your claim for damages, it can be helpful to speak with a lawyer. The team of attorneys at Goodin Abernathy are ready to listen to the circumstances surrounding your injuries. They will then discuss the available options and recommend a plan to advocate on your behalf. 

Schedule a free consultation and speak with a lawyer from Goodin Abernathy today. 

Unemployment Insurance: 10 Things You Need to Know Before Applying

Unemployment Insurance: 10 Things You Need to Know Before Applying

Millions of Americans have depended on unemployment insurance to help them remain financially stable while in between jobs. This public assistance program began in 1935 as a way of helping people during the Great Depression and has been relied upon ever since. Filing for unemployment requires you to follow a specific process. Failing to do so and you risk not getting approved. The first step is to confirm state regulations, gather paperwork, and prove job loss. Understanding these ten things before applying will help to make the process feel more approachable. 

1. Are You Eligible? 

You must meet certain requirements to be able to file an unemployment benefits application. Otherwise, your application will get rejected. First, you must be a resident of Indiana. Then, you must meet the following requirements. 

  • Unemployed, and
  • Worked in Indiana during the last 12 months, and
  • Earned wages per Indiana guidelines, and
  • Actively seeking work

2. Gather Paperwork 

Before you start your application, gather all of the necessary information. This will make the application process easier and faster. It will also ensure you do not make a mistake or forget important information. Gather the following pieces of information for your unemployment application. 

  • Email account
  • Driver’s license or valid ID
  • Address
  • Social Security number
  • Date of birth
  • Phone number
  • Last employer’s name, mailing address, phone number, 
  • Dates of employment
  • The reason you are unemployed to prove job loss
  • Bank routing number and account number

3. File Weekly Vouchers 

After you submit your initial benefits application, you must file weekly vouchers. You will file a voucher each week that you wish to receive benefits. This is because benefits are paid weekly. Do not wait to start filing your weekly vouchers. Continue with weekly filings even if your application is delayed or going through an appeals process. Should your application get approved or corrected, all previous payments will get released. However, if you failed to file your weekly vouchers, then there are no payments to release. 

When filing your weekly vouchers, report any income you receive for that week. Failing to do so is fraud. 

4. Keep Detailed Job Search Records 

Each week, you will need to fill out a Work Search Activity form on the website. If you keep a detailed written record of your job search activities, then this should be a relatively quick and straightforward process. You will need confirmation emails for jobs applied to, company contact information, and any proof of your job search activity. The DWD offers a log template to aid in your record keeping. Do not throw away your records after filling out your weekly search activity form. The DWD can request to verify your job search activity at any time while receiving benefits. If your records are determined to be lacking or inaccurate, your benefits claim could be denied, and you would cease to receive unemployment benefits. 

5. Can You Waive the Work Search Requirement?

As a general rule, everyone receiving unemployment benefits must be actively looking for employment. However, there are certain circumstances where this requirement can get waived. For example, you could be enrolled in a training program that is approved by DWD. Or you could be a member in good standing of a DWD-approved union hiring hall. Finally, you have a specific recall date for the company position that let you go that is within 60 days of your filing date. Do not assume you are eligible and do not need to search for work. Speak with a representative to confirm your eligibility so that you do not unknowingly fail to fulfill the requirements to continue receiving payments. 

6. There Is a Time Limit

Unemployment payments do not last forever. The standard maximum length is 26 weeks. During the pandemic, there were federal programs in place that made it possible to apply for additional weeks. However, these federal benefits ended in 2021. 

7. Look for the Monetary Determination of Eligibility Form

After submitting your unemployment benefits application, you should receive a Monetary Determination of Eligibility form within ten days. This form does not mean you qualify for benefits or have the approval to receive benefits. Instead, it simply lists what your weekly benefit would be and the total maximum benefit you are eligible for. Your eligibility determination will happen within 21 days. However, this determination can take longer if there are issues with your filing. 

8. Be Honest and Forthcoming  

The state of Indiana takes unemployment benefits fraud seriously and actively pursues those suspected of this activity. You could face prison time, probation, repayment of money received, and restitution if caught. Thankfully, fraud is simple to avoid. Be honest and forthcoming with information about your unemployment, earning history, and job search efforts. 

Do not intentionally withhold information. Do not provide misleading or inaccurate information. Double-check the information before submitting documents. If you do discover an error or mistake, correct the issue as soon as possible. 

9. Be Responsible 

You must take ownership of your unemployment filing. Read all of the materials provided and watch the tutorial videos to confirm state regulations. This will help you avoid making errors that could result in an under or overpayment. It will also help you understand your rights. This self-responsibility is what led some Indiana residents to stand up for their rights and take their grievances to court. This led to the Indiana Department of Workforce Development (DWD) paying millions in back payments. If you feel you have a right to more unemployment than what you are receiving, it could help to speak with an unemployment lawyer. They can help you understand the regulations applicable and your potential right of recovery.  

10. Hire a Goodin Abernathy LLP Lawyer

Losing a job is stressful as you look for new employment while staying financially stable. Applying for unemployment benefits can help ease the financial pressure while looking for new employment. In addition, unemployment benefits can make it easier to pursue compensation if you feel you have been wrongfully terminated. The team at Goodin Abernathy fights hard to help clients pursue their employment claims. Thanks to their years of experience, clients get the answers and guidance they need to file an unemployment claim. 

Schedule a consultation with the employment lawyers at Goodin Abernathy to discuss your recent loss of employment and potential wrongful termination claim.