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David Lloyd’s Brain Injury Case

After my brain injury, it was a difficult challenge for me even to make contact with people to find the legal help I needed. With limited ability to focus, and ongoing short-term memory issues, I felt like I was swimming at the edge of a waterfall, continually distracted my minor issues, and missing important deadlines. Several law offices set appointments for me that were several days away, creating multiple challenges for me. I had to write down the appointment; I had to schedule multiple alarms for myself to get ready, allow time to drive, arrange to have someone with me in case I got confused, and coach that person on how to coach me so that the things I needed to ensure were discussed, got discussed. I don’t blame the several lawyers who turned me down. I can understand the questionable profitability in working with someone who can be sharp in one moment, and confused or asleep a short time later. Even the lawyers who seemed interested were not willing to work around my intermittent competence, although one lawyer at least helped me set up a power-of-attorney to help ease some of my difficulties, by enabling my daughter to step in as-needed.

When I contacted Chip Clark at Goodin Abernathy, I found someone who understood my situation and my need for someone who could not only fight on my behalf, but also enable me to communicate my concerns. A phone call, followed by a personal meeting that was arranged so I could be at my best, and a willingness to be flexible as my own capabilities changed, assured me I had found an Indianapolis lawyer who could help. He worked out agreements with me and the insurance company that ensured the insurance company’s best offer would still be available to me after further negotiation, with no penalty due to his fees if he was not able to negotiate an improved offer. Chip and his associates were always quick to respond to my questions, even though I frequently was not quick in responding to them. In Goodin Abernathy, I found a level of professionalism and clarity that always left me confident I was getting the best representation. When the reality of the negotiation process didn’t fit my expectations, Chip helped me understand the situation in a way that enabled me to feel confident in my responses, and when potential pitfalls came that could have been detrimental, Chip negotiated around those also on my behalf. He also communicated with my Social Security lawyer, and helped me understand that process, and to trust what that lawyer was doing on my behalf. Chip even intervened on my behalf on a couple of matters unrelated to the case he was working on, that enabled me to focus on what was important for me at the time.

The end result of my brief association with Chip Clark, including the advice he gave me and my daughter on investing the settlement proceeds he negotiated on my behalf, is that now I have a life that is no longer out of control. Part of my settlement purchased an annuity and a bill-payment contract that ensures my bills get paid on time. Part of my settlement is growing for future needs. I cannot speak more highly of him or his law firm.

Injured – No Word from Insured

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

Living Wills

Living Wills

Living Will - Goodin Abernathy Estate Planning IndianaIn 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.

Is Your Child’s Playground Safe?

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. (Read more here.) 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

Spring Break is Almost Here!

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” available here. 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

Jet Ski Safety and Avoiding Personal Injury

Spring Break and Summer will soon be here, which means Jet Ski or Personal Watercraft use will occur. While jet skiing can be fun, the mishandling of these watercraft can lead to serious personal injury including traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury or even wrongful death.

Jet Ski Safety

The American Red Cross has published various water safety tips, including specific safety tips for Jet Ski use. Click here to read article. These tips include learning to swim, knowing the local laws and regulations, operating the Jet Ski with common sense and courtesy, using caution around swimmers, wearing a life vest, riding with a buddy, and refraining from alcohol use during operation.

Along with these tips, it is also important to know how a Jet Ski operates. It is important for a user of a Jet Ski to be trained by an experienced and knowledgeable operator because personal water craft are powerful and therefore, can be dangerous. Jet Skis, similar to other boats, do not stop like a car. Every year there is a tragic story about a person being catastrophically injured or killed due to a jet ski being unable to stop before running into a pier, dock, or other boat.

In Indiana, there also is no requirement to have specific training on a personal water craft unless you are under 15 years of age.  Any person with a valid driver’s license may operate boats and personal water craft.

Jet Skis and other personal water craft use is fun; however, caution should be used to prevent personal injury. If you or a loved one has been injured through the use of a personal watercraft, jet ski, or other boat, contact the Personal Injury Attorneys of Goodin Abernathy, LLP for a free consultation.