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
I Was Injured in an Accident Two Weeks Ago and Haven’t Heard from Anyone
Twenty plus years ago, the aforementioned set of circumstances would probably never have happened. In the past, the person who was at fault for your accident and injury, whether it be a motorist or a landowner, would have contacted their insurance carrier and reported the incident. That insurance carrier would have promptly assigned the matter to a claims adjuster who, more likely than not, would have contacted you within days, if not hours of the incident and worked with you to assure you that your medical bills and lost wages would be covered.
Unfortunately those days are long behind us, and today we commonly hear from our new clients that weeks have gone by since their injury occurred; they’ve not heard from anyone; their medical bills are mounting up, and they are losing income.
The reasons for this difference in the claim handling procedure are numerous, but the bottom line is that in today’s world the insurance carrier for the at-fault party is rarely going to be of any assistance to you whatsoever.
We even had instances where the injured party has attempted either by mail or telephone to contact the at-fault party to start the claim handling procedure only to run into a stone wall.
Personal injury lawyers are not magicians, however, they are well-trained and experienced in representing people who have been injured through no fault of their own. More importantly, we know how to “get the attention” of the insurance carriers for the landowners, the businesses, or the motorists who are responsible for the injuries sustained.
In addition, most people now assume that there is insurance coverage available for the at-fault party when in fact that is not always the case. The alternative to having the at-fault party’s insurance carrier pay for medical bills and lost wages often involves a claim against the injured party’s own insurance carrier through either uninsured or under-insured motorist coverage, medical payments under the injured party’s own policy.
Quite often in premises liability cases there is also medical payments coverage available to pay the injured party’s medical bills irrespective of who is at fault.
All of these different possibilities require knowledge of how the insurance industry works, of the various forms of liability insurance coverage available, and how those coverages interplay with the facts of any particular accident involving injury.
The absolute worst thing that a layperson can do is to try to traverse these obstacles by themselves, as it is all too easy to commit a fatal mistake in the claim even after you determine to whom the claim is to be made.
For all these reasons, it is extremely important for injured parties to consult an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after any event which causes personal injuries.
*Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
In Indiana, the legislature has set-up a document that individuals may execute to inform their family and health care providers what they desire in regard to end-of-life decisions. These are called “Living Wills” and can be a part of your will and estate planning. While it is uncomfortable for most people to think about these end-of-life issues, Living Wills allow the person to make their own decision before they are in a situation where they cannot make the decision for themselves.
Recently, Bobbi Kristina Brown, the daughter of Whitney Houston and R&B singer, Bobbi Brown, passed away after she was found unresponsive on January 31, 2015. Ms. Brown reportedly suffered “global and irreversible brain damage.” She was only 22 years-old. Tragedy can even strike young people. If Ms. Brown lived in Indiana, her Living Will could have provided guidance to her family and health care providers about her end-of-life decision surrounding her treatment and care.
Indiana also has recently adopted the Indiana Physician Orders for Scope of Treatment (POST) form. This is filled out between a treating physician, advanced practice nurse, or physician assistant and the patient. The purpose is to inform EMTs and other treatment providers what medical intervention the patient desires if an emergency arises. The POST form is used by patients and their health care providers when the patient has a medical condition that is very serious or terminal. This document provides even more guidance to health professionals.
Goodin Abernathy, LLP can assist you in the creation of your Living Will along with your entire estate portfolio. Contact us today to discuss your estate planning needs.
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 200,000 children go to emergency rooms each year in the United States due to injuries associated with the child’s playground equipment. Most of the injuries are due to falling and can result in traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, or other broken bones.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission has provided the following Safety Checklist for parents to use to help make sure their children are safe.
1. Make sure surfaces around playground equipment have at least 12 inches of wood chips, mulch, sand, or pea gravel, or are mats made of safety-tested rubber or rubber-like materials.
2. Check that protective surfacing extends at least 6 feet in all directions from play equipment. For swings, be sure surfacing extends, in back and front, twice the height of the suspending bar.
3. Make sure play structures more than 30 inches high are spaced at least 9 feet apart.
4. Check for dangerous hardware, like open “S” hooks or protruding bolt ends.
5. Make sure spaces that could trap children, such as openings in guardrails or between ladder rungs, measure less than 3.5 inches or more than 9 inches.
6. Check for sharp points or edges in equipment.
7. Look out for tripping hazards, like exposed concrete footings, tree stumps, and rocks.
8. Make sure elevated surfaces, like platforms and ramps, have guardrails to prevent falls.
9. Check playgrounds regularly to see that equipment and surfacing are in good condition.
10. Carefully supervise children on playgrounds to make sure they’re safe.
If you see any of these issues at a local park or your child’s school, these conditions should be reported to the appropriate authority so the hazardous condition may be corrected.
If your child has been injured on a playground due to one of these conditions or other conditions, contact Goodin Abernathy, LLP to discuss your options.
Image courtesy of Feelart at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Soon high school and college students will be heading off to warmer weather to experience Spring Break. Whether you are going with your child or he or she is going with a group of friends, take the time to discuss safety tips from your own experience. Beyond the issues surrounding binge drinking and partying, consider discussing safety issues involving water, driving, hotels and money. Even if your child may roll their eyes at you or act like they are not paying attention, any information passed could prevent personal injury, traumatic brain injury, a water injury, or even death.
The Girls Fight Back organization has a “Spring Break Safety Tip Sheet”. This sheet provides a lot of tips for safely getting to Spring Break, Hotels, ATM use, Drinking, In the Water, Leaving the Country, and “let’s talk about sex.” If you have a child that is going on Spring Break, consider sharing this list with them, even if they are boys. Knowledge and prevention are powerful. After Spring Break, if your child is injured, contact Goodin Abernathy LLP to discuss your options.
Image courtesy of iosphere at FreeDigitalPhotos.net