Archive for May, 2018


How Can a Law Firm Help Parent’s Handle Bullying at a Child’s School?

May 31, 2018

A child being bullied is a personal injury case.  If your child is being bullied to the extent that you need to take legal action, it’s vital that you look for a family-oriented law firm to help you. At Stewart and Stewart, we all have children in our local schools, on our little league teams and are a part of a community we hope to be safe and bully-free. We’re very involved in the community and we keep tuned into what’s going on with our schools and what’s going on with our children in our schools. Unfortunately, school bullying has become more of a problem and it’s more pervasive today than it’s ever been, graduating beyond the school grounds and into social media and online outlets where some bullies feel that they’re protected and can bully emotionally through words.

The outlet for school bullying has grown and that explains why it’s more pervasive today than it’s ever been. The arena has grown and the ability for one child to bully another one has become greater. But, regardless of the format of the bullying, whether it’s at the lunch table or on a laptop, it affects our kids’ wellbeing, their grades and sadly, their own self-worth.

At Stewart and Stewart, two of our last four jury trials were cases involving school bullying scenarios. Our message to the jury in these cases is always the same and it’s not a difficult message or a complex legal argument. Instead, it’s a common-sense rule that when we put our kids in school and they walk in that front door, we as parents or guardians should be able to trust that the school will keep them safe.  If school bullying finds its way into the lives of our children, we should also be able to trust that the school is going to handle that situation quickly and appropriately.

Even if the incident doesn’t occur on school grounds, if it’s involving two students from the same school, it’s going to find its way back into the school.  The question becomes how is the school handling this?  Did they handle it appropriately?  Did they have measures in place to prevent the bullying from happening in the first place?  If they did, what did they do to remedy it?  What did they do to help the situation?  Even if they did do all that they could do, even if they did have all the rules in place and the measures in place to protect students from bullying, did they find out about bullying and not do anything about it?  Did they ignore it?  Did they not tell the parents?

At Stewart and Stewart, we have had several cases where the school has tried to deal with the bullying on their own internally but not consult the authorities or even tell the parents. Children are not as forthright about being bullied as they are about other, more positive things. It is not natural for a child to feel intimidated, so school bullying can affect them in ways they don’t quite understand. Oftentimes, many of these children think there’s something wrong with them and avoid telling their parents the extent of the situation.

If the school ignores those concerns and fails to keep our kids safe, they become liable for the parable effects the school bully has on our students.  School bullying is the cornerstone of a whole host of problems students can face, from suicidal thoughts, low self-worth, grades plummeting, and other aspects that affect a child’s life.

Your attorney should deal with school bullying just like any other personal injury case.  Whether the bullying caused physical or emotional distress, there is an injury occurring. In all of these cases, schools, just like drivers, doctors and dog owners, have rules to follow. Schools aren’t any different, they’re not exempt from lawsuits, so we look at that school bullying case the way we look at all other cases that cross our desks.

If your child has been the victim of bullying, know that you have the right to contact an attorney to fight for your child’s rights. Our team at Stewart and Stewart has handled many of these cases and we are passionate about helping the children of our community lead safe and bully-free lives. Give us a call at 1-800-33-33-LAW or visit our website for more information.


Do I Need Uninsured Motorist Coverage on My Insurance Policy?

May 30, 2018

What happens when I get in a wreck with someone who doesn't have insuranceEven with laws in place that require drivers to carry auto insurance, many still go without it. Every day, innocent people are hurt in car wrecks where the at-fault party doesn’t have insurance. When this happens, a car wreck can become much more complicated and harder to resolve. That’s why it’s so important to carry uninsured coverage on your own auto insurance policy to be ready for situations like this. If you don’t have uninsured coverage on your policy and you are in a wreck with someone who doesn’t have insurance, a judgment against that driver may only be worth as much as the paper it’s written on, which is extremely unfortunate.

Because of this, it’s so important to be ready for that scenario to happen by acting proactively and getting an uninsured coverage policy. If you do have uninsured coverage, your attorney will look to your own insurance company for help once an accident occurs. Your insurance company steps into the shoes of the person who hit you from an economic standpoint.  If you have uninsured coverage, you’ve paid premiums for that and you’ve done your job so your own insurance company becomes the source of recovery.

Our legislator has done their part in requiring drivers to have insurance by making it a law, but it doesn’t mean that everybody is going to have auto insurance. If you get into an accident with an uninsured driver and don’t have uninsured motorist coverage, your collision coverage will usually cover the costs, but you won’t be able to seek any payments for medical bills. If neither you or the driver has insurance, you will have to pay for all repairs and medical bills out of pocket, and could be in trouble with the law.

Whether you have uninsured motorist coverage or not and have been involved in an accident with a driver who does not have auto insurance, it’s important to hire a lawyer to help you get the settlement you deserve. Car accidents involving uninsured motorists can be difficult as you first must prove fault, which is harder to do without two insurance companies working together to make a deal.

If you’ve been involved in an accident with an uninsured motorist, contact the car accident attorneys at Stewart and Stewart. We have tons of experience dealing with these situations and will work hard to make sure you and your family receive the recovery that is deserved. Give us a call at 1-800-33-33-LAW or visit our website for more information.


Do I Still Have a Case if They Say the Accident is My Fault?

May 29, 2018

what happens if the insurance company says you are "at fault"If an insurance company or a representative of the insurance company tells you that you’re at fault, it’s imperative to take this with great caution. This statement is a legal determination and it can directly impact your case. If an insurance company is telling you that you are at fault for an accident, it doesn’t mean you are, and it certainly doesn’t mean that you don’t have a case.

The bottom line is the insurance company owes no allegiance to you, the injured person, but they do to their driver or their dog owner or their business owner who caused your injury. If the only source is the insurance company’s determination that somebody is at fault, it would be extremely wise for you or your loved one to hire your own attorney as this statement is a legal determination and should not be taken lightly. An attorney will combat this assertion or, at the very least, determine whether or not it’s genuine.

Fault can also be determined on the scene when a police report is filled out. While the majority of these reports are correct, there are countless cases where a person has been deemed “at fault” because of a mistake or error within the report. It takes a second set of legal eyes to look at each piece to make that determination. Many insurance companies will look at a report and make a quick decision, but most of the time, it requires much more than that—it requires an investigation.

If you are deemed to share the fault, even by up to 50 percent, you’re still entitled to pursue damages for your injury.  You can share fault in a case and still have a case, although that case might be much more difficult to settle.

By hiring an attorney, they will be able to go to trial and aid and assist the jury in understanding the law so that they can make a reasonable determination of fault allocation.  In other words, it’s up to the jury to decide what your percentage of fault is in any given case and it’s the attorney’s job to make sure that they reach that accurately.  Overall, if you have a case and somebody tells you that you’re at fault, it’s wise to get a second opinion.

If you were in an accident and deemed at fault by an insurance company or through a police report, contact the personal injury attorneys at Stewart & Stewart. We will help you with a second opinion and work hard to determine if that “at fault” description is just. Give us a call at 1-800-33-33-LAW or visit our website for more information.


What Happens After My Lawsuit is Filed?

May 25, 2018

What should I expect after we file my lawsuitOnce a lawsuit is filed, that’s when the gears of litigation start turning. As soon as your case is in the court system, it’s on the court’s docket and things start happening. If you’ve recently filed a suit and are unsure of what happens next, here is what you can expect.

Wait for the Defendant to File Their Answer

The immediate step after a lawsuit is filed is to wait for the defendant to file their answer. An answer is basically just a response to the allegation that is set forward in your complaint. In other words, your attorney will file the lawsuit and allege in that lawsuit who the defendant is, where they live, what they’ve done, and how they’ve harmed you. Their answer is in response to that.

Enter the Discovery Phase

Once the answer is received, you will be able to move forward to what’s called the discovery phase of the case. This is where the majority of the effort, time and expense is set forward. In the lifespan of a case in litigation, it takes the longest but it’s worth it in the end. This phase is where both sides are exchanging information about the respective cases and it’s primarily done through interrogatories and requests for production of documents. These are written questions and written requests that one side sends to the other to find out more about the case.

The attorney for the insurance company will send some of those questions and requests to you and your attorney, who will go through them with you one by one to make sure that the best answers are given. These interrogatories and requests for production of documents are the cornerstones. The discovery is what gets the ball rolling and gets both sides to start feeling the other side out in terms of what they’re going to do at trial and what their position is going to be.

Your Case Gets Built

During the discovery process and even before it, your attorney will be busy getting your medical records and medical bills and building your case. Once all the information is received, it is given to the other side and there may be other discovery that will follow after that, such as doctor depositions that take place to talk about your injuries. These occur to meet the burden of proof to show that you were hurt from a medical standpoint.

Depositions are Conducted

Depositions, which are the question and answer sessions, will be conducted. This is when the defendant, for example the dog owner, comes in with their attorney. Your attorney will ask them questions and they’ll raise their right hand and swear to tell the truth. This is another way to find out the other side of the case and what really happened and helps to further build your case. It’s equally possible that the other side will want to do the same with you, and if so, you will be sitting for a question and answer session with your attorney by your side.

Decide on an End Result

Once that discovery phase comes to an end, there comes the proverbial fork in the road. Here, you and your attorney will decide to explore settlement or keep getting ready for trial.

If you are looking to file a lawsuit, or have filed one and unsure of what happens next, speak to our experienced attorneys at Stewart & Stewart. Give us a call at 1-800-33-33-LAW or visit our website for more information.


Will I Have to See the Other Person Involved in My Accident in Court?

May 23, 2018

Stewart and Stewart are experienced trial attorneysUnfortunately, a large majority of accidents involve two or more people who actually know each other. From dog bites to personal injury and even car wrecks, an accident becomes much more complicated when the other party involved is a friend, family member or acquaintance.

For many, the idea of coming face to face with that person in court can cause anxiety and an unwillingness to pursue their case. Luckily though, with an attorney on your side, it is unlikely that you will ever have to come face to face with the other person during the trial.

As your case moves forward, there are many steps involved. For some, a case may stretch out across multiple months, and during that time, there will be things like depositions, which is a question and answer session. During these sessions, the attorneys on both sides will do the talking, and in most situations, while your friend may be present, you will not be speaking to one another or interacting whatsoever. Throughout the case, your attorney will be your legal mouthpiece, so you will not have to worry about speaking with your friend or their attorney during the trial. Although, for many, the deposition stage will never come to fruition, and your case will be settled before you have to worry about answering questions about your case to anyone but your attorney.

For some, though, the case will go all the way and end up in court. If this happens, it will be the only time you will have to see the other person involved in your accident in court. During the trial, you will not have to communicate with the other person involved and will speak only with their attorney.

If you have been involved in an accident with someone you know, it can make the situation much more difficult. Hiring an attorney can take a lot of the pressure off as you will no longer have to speak about the case with anyone else but them. For more information about how an attorney can help you, contact us at 1-800-33-33-LAW or visit our website for more information.


What Do I Do If the Insurance Company is Not Cooperating with Me?

May 21, 2018

Are you having trouble getting money back from the insurance company?Oftentimes, when we are involved in an accident, the most difficult part of the process is dealing with the insurance companies. Unfortunately for many, dealing with insurance companies can be so overwhelming that it overpowers what really matters: recovering from the accident both physically and emotionally.

After an accident takes place, one of the first steps is to call your insurance company. When an individual deals with an insurance company on their own, the company often fails to properly cooperate with them, causing people to relinquish their case to settlement just to end the process. This usually results in a lower payout than what was deserved. Unfortunately, insurance companies don’t always have your best interest in mind, and if they are not cooperating with you following an accident, there are things you can do to help.

Get a Second Opinion

Without knowing the inner workings of the insurance company, it can be hard to determine whether their actions are meant to help you or to hurt you. Getting a second opinion will help make this clear. A second opinion is best given by a local attorney, who can take a look at the actions of your insurance company and determine whether they are being sincere and working in your best interest.

Enlist the Help of an Attorney

If it is determined that the insurance company is, in fact, not working in your best interest, the best thing you can do is hire an attorney. Although an unfortunate fact, many insurance companies will unfairly treat clients when there is no legal threat against them. Without a lawyer on your side, the insurance company knows they have a better chance of paying out less money and settling the case to their benefit. As soon as you hire a lawyer, you will see the tides change and have a much better chance of getting the settlement you deserve.

Stand Trial

This may not always happen, as most cases do not end up at trial. But for those who do, know that it is for your benefit. During the course of the lawsuit, your attorney will likely attend various hearings and proceedings on your behalf—all of which you will not have to attend. If your case does go to a jury, you will be required to go to court. This isn’t a bad thing though: a jury is likely to side with the defendant rather than the insurance company and because of this, many insurance companies will settle before the case reaches a jury.

If you have been involved in an accident and your insurance company is giving you the run around, contact the trusted attorneys at Stewart & Stewart. Give us a call at 1-800-33-33-LAW or visit our website for more information.


What is Med Pay?

May 09, 2018

Med Pay, short for medical payment coverage, is an optional type of insurance coverage that individuals living in Indiana can choose to add to their policy. If you elect to add Med Pay to your policy, it will be part of your auto insurance and can help you if you are involved in an accident.

Med Pay is most often used after an accident happens, and only helps those that hold the policy. This means that the other driver in an accident can never benefit from this part of your insurance policy. It will only cover you and those in your vehicle when the accident happened.

How Does It Work?

Med Pay is offered in two different ways. You can choose to either have primary coverage or secondary coverage. Primary coverage is usually more expensive than secondary but gives the insurance policy holder more coverage. With primary coverage, you can use Med Pay to pay your medical bills up to the amount listed on your coverage.

If you opt for secondary coverage with Med Pay, you must already have health insurance in place. In this case, Med Pay will step in to cover anything that is not already covered by your primary insurance policy. For example, if you have a copay after your insurance pays your bills, you can use Med Pay to pay that remaining balance.

Benefits of Med Pay

For many lucky drivers, Med Pay will never be a word they need to know. But for those involved in an accident, having this coverage added to your auto insurance policy can be a great help when it comes to paying for damages and injuries. Med Pay is no-fault, so you can reap the benefits of it whether the accident was your fault or not.

One of the biggest benefits of Med Pay is the ability to receive your Med Pay benefits while you wait for your accident case to settle. For many, the hardest part of an accident claim is figuring out how to pay bills while the insurance companies work with your attorney to settle, which can take a long time. With Med Pay, you will receive money to help pay for any medical expenses caused by the accident before the claim is finalized, helping you return to your normal life much quicker.

Cashing Out Med Pay

While having Med Pay as part of your auto insurance policy will help with your cash flow following an accident, it can only help with the cash flow related to your medical expenses. Many people unfamiliar with Med Pay will assume that they can essentially cash out their policy amount, but in fact, Med Pay is often paid directly from your insurance company to your healthcare provider, so you will never actually see the money in your hands. If you can prove that you already paid your medical bills, there is a chance that you can change this. Speaking with your car accident attorney will help you understand what, exactly, you can do with your Med Pay benefits.

For more information about Med Pay or to add it to your policy, contact us at Stewart & Stewart. You can give us a call at 1-800-33-33-LAW or visit our website.


What Do I Do If I Get into a Motorcycle Accident in Indiana?

May 07, 2018

Motorcycle AccidentNo matter how safe we are on the roads, sometimes it’s impossible avoid an accident. This is especially true when riding a motorcycle. Motorcycles lack the barriers that cars have, and with their small, sometimes hard to see, exterior, motorcycles quickly become targets for accidents that cause serious injuries.

If you are involved in a motorcycle accident in the state of Indiana, it’s imperative to follow these steps to ensure you are safe, cared for, and eventually, receive just compensation as a result of the accident.

Stay Safe

The most important thing motorcyclists must consider after an accident is their safety. Without the metal barriers you get in a car, a motorcyclist is open to a lot more harm from passing cars, especially on a busy street or highway. Make sure you get yourself off the road and to a safe area where you can then make your phone calls and assess the damage. If it is possible, try to move your bike to safety as well.

Call 9-1-1

Once you have reached a safe place, dial 9-1-1. It is imperative that you call the police before you call your insurance company or an attorney. With motorcycle accidents, injuries are common and it’s important to have an officer on the scene to determine what exactly happened and ensure that all those involved are okay. The police report will also help you down the line when you file a claim.

Get Medical Attention

When you get into an accident, your adrenaline goes into overdrive, causing certain injuries to go unnoticed. But just because you may feel okay, doesn’t mean you actually are. A motorcycle accident can lead to a concussion, broken bones, and other body injuries that may appear later on or may only be detected by a medical professional. Once the police have entered the scene, be sure you get immediate medical attention—the longer you wait, the worse your injuries can become.

Exchange Information

Always remember to exchange information with the other person involved in the accident. There is no need to call their insurance company—in fact, you shouldn’t call the at-fault drivers insurance at all. Be sure to write down things like their license plate number, their car make and model, and the full names of everyone involved. The information you receive from them will help with your claim.

Make the Right Calls

The final step after an accident is to make the right calls. Make a quick call to your insurance company to explain to them what happened, including the time and location of the accident. Once you speak with your insurance, call your attorney. If you don’t have one, consider calling a company with a good reputation for motorcycle accidents. An attorney like those at Stewart & Stewart will walk you through your next steps and help you get on the right track to just compensation and get you back on your motorcycle.

For a free consultation, contact Stewart & Stewart at 1-800-33-33-LAW or visit our website.


What Can I Do If I Slip and Fall at a Local Restaurant?

May 04, 2018

When we go out to eat, we expect to have an enjoyable meal without any concern for injury. Unfortunately, injuries in restaurants are more common that one may think. With constant spills from drinks and food, slip and falls are something we should all be wary of when we frequent a restaurant. If you are in a slip and fall accident at a small, local restaurant and sustain injuries, it’s important to know what you can do to help pay for any damage or lost wages you incur due to prolonged injury.

The first thing you will need to do is prove negligence. An experienced slip and fall attorney will know the right questions to ask to ensure that the restaurant is to blame for your slip and fall. To prove negligence, you must be able to confirm that the restaurant did not do what they could to make sure their customers were safe. In restaurants, proving negligence can be a bit tricky. A slippery floor may have caused your injury, but that doesn’t automatically mean that the restaurant was negligent by allowing their floor to be slippery. In this case, you must prove that the floor was slippery for a long period of time, and that the restaurant knew this but failed to clean up the mess or warn customers of the dangerous area. You must also know exactly what caused you to slip—so never tell a manager or waiter that you are unsure why you fell, it could come back to hurt you later on should you pursue a case.

To help establish negligence before an attorney or insurance company is involved, try to inspect the area where you fell. Take pictures of a slippery or wet floor and the surrounding area to prove that there was no signage to warn you of potential danger. You may also want to try to get witnesses to back up your claim. Write down any names and addresses of fellow diners who can corroborate your story. It’s also extremely important to ask for a manager and make sure the restaurant is aware that you feel and sustained injuries. If you leave without speaking with a manager, it will be harder to prove negligence and make a case.

If your injuries are not life-threatening, you can wait to seek medical attention until after the above is complete. Once you get to the hospital, keep a record of any injuries you sustained and any treatments you are prescribed.

After these steps are completed, an experienced slip and fall attorney will take the lead. They will use all the information you gathered from the scene and work with the restaurants insurance company, or attorney should they have one, to make sure you get compensation for any of the injuries you suffered as a result of your slip and fall. If you were involved in a slip in fall accident at a local Indianapolis restaurant, get the best attorneys on your side. The staff at Stewart & Stewart have handled many slip and fall cases and know the best way to get full compensation for their clients. Contact them today by calling 1-800-33-33-LAW or visiting their website.


5 Steps to take After an Auto Accident in Indianapolis

May 03, 2018

Getting into a car accident can be a troubling and scary ordeal, which is why it’s entirely normal for our first reaction to be one of fear and concern. But instead of getting worked up, it’s important to stay calm and follow the appropriate steps to ensure the accident is handled correctly and any injuries you or the other driver may have sustained are cared for. If you get into an auto accident in Indianapolis, you need to follow these five steps.

Assess Your Injuries & Call 9-1-1

In Indiana, you are required by law to report any accident to the police that causes injuries, death, or damages totaling $1,000 or more. Whether the accident seems serious or not, it’s always a good idea to call 9-1-1 and report the accident. You may not realize just how bad the damage or the injuries may be and you don’t want to end up in a situation that can’t be solved because you failed to call the police.

Gather Information

Once the police have been called, use the waiting time to gather all appropriate information. This means collecting the names and phone numbers of all involved, along with their insurance information, and the names and number of any witnesses, should there be any. Write down the license plate numbers of any vehicles involved and when the police arrive, be sure to write down their names and badge numbers so you can contact them later on if needed.

Take Photos

The insurance companies will never be at the scene of a crash, so it’s important to help them paint a picture of what happened and the damages that occurred by taking as many photos as possible. Take pictures of both cars, where damage occurred and didn’t occur, snap shots of the intersection where the accident happened and any injuries you may have suffered.

Get Medical Attention

Car accidents cause a number of injuries, from simple bruises and scratches to full blown concussions and broken bones. But many of the injuries that occur during an accident don’t show up right away. Our adrenaline is high from the crash, which causes pain to subside longer than usual. Because of this, it’s vital that all those involved in a car wreck seek medical attention as soon as possible. While there, be sure to get copies of all your medical papers for insurance.

Call an Attorney

Getting into an accident can sometimes be the first step toward a long road to recovery. Whether your damages were small or life-changing, having an experienced car accident attorney on your side can make all the difference when it comes to compensation and end results. An attorney should be called before any papers are signed and before you speak with the other driver’s insurance company.

If you were involved in a car accident in the Indianapolis area, call the attorneys at Stewart & Stewart. We will take on the insurance companies and be sure you get the best possible result. Contact us by giving us a call at 1-800-33-33-LAW or visiting our website.