Call Today for a Free Consultation 317-843-2606
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. Legalmente Hablando Indy 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 / Legalmente Hablando Indy’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 – Legalmente Hablando Indy 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 – Legalmente Hablando Indy – 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/

Legalmente Hablando Indy 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 Legalmente Hablando Indy 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.

Real Estate – Purchasing a Home?

Real Estate – Purchasing a Home?

Spring and summer are the most popular times for first-time home buyers to purchase their first house. It is also a popular time for current homeowners to upgrade or downsize depending upon their needs.

In Indiana, there is no requirement that a lawyer be involved with a real estate purchase. Most of the time there will not be a reason to involve another professional beyond your Realtor, Loan Officer, and Title Company. But what about those times when something does not feel right about the title work, home inspection, or closing documents? What if you are buying the property from via a For-Sale-By-Owner transaction? What exactly are all of the documents you will sign at closing?

At any point during a real estate closing from before signing the purchase agreement through closing, if you are uncomfortable or concerned, do not hesitate to contact Goodin Abernathy, LLP. Purchasing a home is one of the most exciting, but stressful times of a person’s life. We have the experience in resolving conflicts in real estate transactions and can sit down with you to discuss your concerns. Sometimes a simple discussion is needed, other times you may need one of our attorneys to become more involved.

This is a large investment for you. Goodin Abernathy, LLP wants to help you enjoy your new home. Contact us for a consultation!

GA Welcomes Attorney, Garrett Lewis (Video)

Transcript:

Jim Browne:  Hey, welcome to Goodin Abernathy. I’m attorney Jim Browne. We have a new member to our group, Garrett Lewis. He is a young attorney, and I thought we would spend a little time with him so you get to know who he is and what he can do for you.  Come on in, Garrett.

Garrett Lewis: Alright, glad to be here Jim.

Jim Browne:  Where are you from, Garrett?

Garrett Lewis:  So, I’m actually from the South Bend area. I practiced there for a couple years before moving down here.

Jim Browne: What time of law did you focus on?

Garrett Lewis: We did Real Estate; we did Torts, which is contracts, defamation, things like that; and intellectual property, which is sort of copyrights, trademarks and patents.

Jim Browne: Do you have a typical client that you helped with the intellectual property?

Garrett Lewis: Yea, we dealt with small businesses. We had a few global businesses that we worked with and a lot of individual clients  with patents and trademarks.

Jim Browne: What about people with inventions?

Garrett Lewis: All, all the time.

Jim Browne: Awesome.

Garrett Lewis: Yea, some that we knew weren’t going to anywhere right out of the gate and some that where very successful.

Jim Browne: That’s great. Where you go to school?

Garrett Lewis: So I went to Purdue and I studied business first, “Boiler up!”  And then after that, I went straight from Purdue to Valparaiso for law school.

Jim Browne: I’m happy you joined us, remind me when did you start here?

Garrett Lewis: I started in April of this year.

Jim Browne: Right in the middle of the Covid.

Garrett Lewis: Right in the middle of it, right.

Jim Browne: And what areas of law are you focusing on right now?

Garrett Lewis: So right now, we still do Real Estate work but also do Personal Injury, Workers Comp and sort of ADA and EEOC Discrimination.

Jim Browne: Well, what’s that? I mean is that employment law type of work?

Garrett Lewis: Yea predominantly. Yep.

Jim Browne: And you are helping clients – individuals with their questions about discrimination? Tell us about that for a second.

Garrett Lewis: Yeah, so it sort of depends – when it comes to the ADA – businesses, for example, have legal obligation to provide reasonable accommodations and….

Jim Browne: so, there are seven core areas – age, race, religion, sexual discrimination, physical disabilities – those are things that you’re focusing on?

Garrett Lewis: Correct

Jim Browne: Great. You’ve already had a jury trial in that area… and what court was it in?

Garrett Lewis: So that was actually in the southern district in the…

Jim Browne: A federal court?

Garrett Lewis: A federal court, yea.

Jim Browne: And that trial, what was it about?

Garrett Lewis: So, that case was about a woman who was working at a grocery store for about 12 years and because of her chronic conditions and disabilities, she needed to be able to use a chair, as necessary.

Jim Browne: And the new employer said “No, you can’t use the chair.”

Garrett Lewis: That’s exactly right.

Jim Browne: So, it’s something probably a pretty easy fix.

Garrett Lewis: It was a very easy fix.

Jim Browne: You had a nice result with that jury trial?

Garrett Lewis: We did.

Jim Browne: You where able to learn some things.

Garrett Lewis: Yes.

Jim Browne: Give me one thing that stood out to you about that process.

Garrett Lewis: Well, first thing is you know maybe as a last resort everybody paid attention on the jury, which was nice – and whereas outside of the court room, Covid has sort of made remote working a little bit more convenient, inside the courtroom it’s made it much more of a challenge.

Jim Browne: I understand, so you’re preparing and you’re going to teach us old guys what to do about those technological challenges right?

Garrett Lewis: Yep.

Jim Browne: Well, I’m glad you’re on board Garrett. If you have questions about any of those areas of law please call us at Goodin Abernathy. A lot of your questions can be answered by phone, and we really care about the quality and responsiveness of our work, so please call us at 317-843-2606. You’ll get in touch with whichever attorney probably best suits the area of law you’re looking for, and we appreciate you tuning in to Goodin Abernathy.