Archive for October, 2018


What is Covered by Indiana Workers’ Comp Benefits?

October 15, 2018

Getting hurt in any capacity is a tough thing to deal with, but getting hurt at work creates a bigger problem that many people never want to face. An on-the-job injury usually results in lawyers, laws and benefits that are not as easy to get as one may think.

Whether you work in a high-risk industry or at a desk job, your company should have workers comp insurance. If they don’t, all employees in the state of Indiana are still eligible for workers’ compensation should they get hurt on the job. A valid injury can be anything from injury due to a faulty machine to a slip-and-fall on an uneven pavement.

If you are injured at work, it’s important to know what is covered by Indiana workers’ compensation to ensure you get everything you deserve.

If it is proven that you were hurt while working and your injury will cause you to miss seven or more days of work, workers’ comp will provide you with lost wages on a temporary basis. The amount you will be paid is a percentage of your average weekly pay, and it will continue until you are able to return to work, in any capacity, or finish your treatments with your doctor. If you are able to return to work, but not necessarily in the same job or able to do as much as you were before because of your injury, you can apply for permanent partial impairment. This will provide you with a partial check every week as long as it is proven by your physician or the physician assigned by the insurance company that your injury will hinder you from working to your full potential.

For some unfortunate employees, their injury is so severe that returning to work may never be in the cards. For them, they will have to try to receive permanent disability, which will allow them to receive workers comp’ checks for the rest of their life. This type of disability is hard to get, and without an attorney, it can be nearly impossible.

For any employee injured at work, Indiana workers comp benefits will cover temporary disability or wage replacement, permanent disability, death benefits, medical treatments (as approved by the insurance and/or physician), job training or job assistance and mileages to and from the doctor’s office. The amount you receive is dependent on your injury and how long you will be away from work and/or your current position. In all matters of injury, Indiana will not cover any pain and suffering.

If you were injured at work and seeking workers’ compensation benefits, it may be wise to have an attorney by your side to help navigate the complicated process. Stewart & Stewart has worked on many workers’ comp claims and helped employees get what they deserve. Give us a call at 1-800-33-33-LAW or visit our website for more information.


How Can I Prove Medical Malpractice in Indianapolis?

October 14, 2018

We trust our doctors to treat us with the highest level of care and to always offer—and provide—what is best for us. Unfortunately, there are many cases where doctors fail to care for us appropriately, and that is where medical malpractice comes into play.

Proving medical malpractice can be tricky — you can’t sue a doctor just because a surgery didn’t work as long as they did it correctly. However, you can sue them if the surgery they performed was the wrong option for your specific condition or you were injured during the surgery due to the doctor’s negligence.

No one ever wants to be involved in a medical malpractice suit, but when a doctor fails to do their job appropriately, it’s important that the patient gets the compensation they deserve so they can get additional treatment or pay for any pain, suffering or lost wages caused by that doctors’ negligence.

In order to prove that medical malpractice occurred, your case must include all 3 of these entities:

1.    It happened with a main doctor or long-standing physician: If you are passed onto a new doctor right before a surgery, it will be harder to prove your case. Negligence occurs when a doctor and a patient enter an agreement and the doctor fails to uphold his or her end of that agreement. This means that you must have a relationship with your doctor: either they are your primary care doctor, or they have been your surgical physician for a decent amount of time. You must have proof that you discussed and agreed upon your treatment option before the treatment took place.


2.    You were hurt: There are many side effects and negative aspects of all surgeries and procedures, and hopefully, your doctor will explain these to you before you decide on a treatment option. If one of those occur due to your treatment, it’s unfortunate, but you won’t have the grounds to pursue a medical malpractice case. Instead, you must prove that you were injured outside of those parameters, for example, you lost a limb or attained a deformity that wasn’t a direct result of the treatment, but rather the doctor who performed it.


3.    Negligence occurred: This is the hardest part of a medical malpractice case. As mentioned, just because a surgery didn’t go as planned, doesn’t mean it was malpractice. Instead, you must prove that the doctor caused your extensive injuries or unrelated harm and that those injuries could have been avoided if you used another doctor. The best way to prove negligence is to have your attorney hire a similar doctor or physician to testify that if they had done the surgery or procedure, the injury wouldn’t have happened.

All three of these items are difficult to prove, and having an attorney on your side is sometimes the best way to ensure you get what you deserve in a medical malpractice case. The attorneys at Stewart & Stewart have helped many victims of medical malpractice get the compensation they deserve after an injury due to the negligence of a trusted healthcare professional. If you wish to pursue a medical malpractice case, give us a call at 1-800-33-33-LAW or visit our website for more information.


What Do I Do If My Employer Owes Me Unpaid Overtime or Wages?

October 12, 2018

You worked overtime with the promise of being paid on your next pay period or a later date. But your next pay period comes—and the pay period after that—and you have yet to be paid for your work. Eventually, you realize that you may never be paid for the work you did—what can you do?

If this happens to you, you have an unpaid wage claim on your hands. The same is true for employees who are not paid the minimum wage amount in their state. When this happens, it is referred to as unpaid wages. Often, a company will pay their employees the federal minimum wage. Unfortunately for them, many states have different rates for this, and if the company is located in a state with a different minimum wage than the federal precedent, they must follow the states wage rates. Not complying with this will cause many issues and many unpaid wage claims.

Those who are tipped employees, like a waiter or waitress, have a lower minimum wage. But, there is still a set wage in each state and employers must pay that by law, no matter how much their employees tips amount up to. If an employer fails to pay the employee their base salary, that is also grounds for an unpaid wage claim.

And while unpaid wages are somewhat common, unpaid overtime is much more prevalent. Some states may have their own laws, but the federal law states that all employees (who are eligible) must be paid overtime if they work over 40 hours in one work week. An eligible employee is usually an hourly employee who is nonexempt. If you are unsure if you are eligible for overtime, be sure to ask your boss or HR department before starting a claim.

If you are eligible and you have not received overtime, you should first try to figure out how much you are owed. The law states that overtime hours must amount to time and a half of your usual pay. Add up all the overtime hours you worked and logged, and add in the extra dollar amount for those hours. This final number will give you, your attorney and your employer a better idea of how much is owed and how dire the situation is.

Unfortunately for your employer, once a claim is filed, it usually isn’t as easy as paying the employee what is owed. Some states have a liquidated damages clause, which means that your employer must pay you what you owe, plus another payment equal to what you owe for liquidated damages. This means that they will end up paying you double. This occurs only after you file a claim and your employer fails to pay you after 15 days, and usually involves a court case.

If you are not getting paid for overtime hours or your proper wage, it’s best to get an attorney involved as soon as possible to resolve the issue before it gets out of hand. At Stewart & Stewart, we are experts in unpaid wage claims and will walk you through every step to ensure you get the money you deserve. Give us a call at 1-800-33-33-LAW or visit our website for more information.


Is Jaywalking Really a Crime?

October 10, 2018

Jaywalking occurs when a pedestrian fails to follow traffic laws and illegally crosses a street. All states have their own set of jaywalking laws, but overall, all pedestrians must follow crosswalks, obey the pedestrian walk signals and yield to cars in the absence of either of the two.

Is Jaywalking a criime?Some states take the law a bit further, prohibiting pedestrians from walking diagonally across a street or from walking in a street when there is a nearby sidewalk. If there is construction nearby or police presence with “do not walk” barriers, pedestrians must also legally follow these.

Breaking any of these laws is considered jaywalking.

What is the penalty?

Jaywalking isn’t at the top of any list when it comes to crimes, but there is still a penalty for offenders who fail to follow the rules of the road. Most states will issue a small fine to anyone caught jaywalking and be let go with a simple infraction. Other states consider jaywalking a misdemeanor, which is a bit more serious and can carry a heavier fine.

But, while the initial fine is minimal, the backlash that comes with jaywalking can be quite large. For one, when you jaywalk, you are putting not only yourself in danger, but also those around you, including vehicles. A pedestrian who runs across traffic without a walk signal can cause cars to break suddenly and create an accident. You can also injure yourself by getting hit by a car or bike that did not see you. When this occurs, the accident is likely to be your fault and you will be in for a lot more than just a small fine.

If you, as a pedestrian, fail to follow the rules and in turn, cause an accident you could be held liable for negligence. If an accident occurs because of this negligence, you could be at fault for the entire, or part of, that accident. Suddenly, you will be involved in a lawsuit, court cases and hefty fines.

On the other hand, pedestrians that were not jaywalking and still get injured may have a personal injury case on their hands and will need to work with an attorney to receive the compensation they deserve for their injures or lost wages.

If you were involved in a pedestrian accident, contact the attorneys at Stewart & Stewart. Give us a call at 1-800-33-33-LAW or visit our website for more information.


Who is At Fault in a Truck Accident?

October 08, 2018

Any type of accident is scary, but when it involves an 18-wheeler truck, it can become a lot more difficult. Unfortunately, with their long hours and heavy loads, truck accidents are extremely common, making it easy to blame the trucker when it comes to fault. But truckers are also very experienced drivers, so it is not always their fault when it comes to an accident. In fact, many people fail to practice safe driving near a truck, whether they speed up, cut them off or try to avoid them. This creates many accidents where the truck driver is not at fault.

But, when an accident is the truck drivers fault, it isn’t as black-and-white as an accident with a fellow car. Truckers are often backed by big trucking companies and are usually not the owner of the truck they are driving. Once an accident occurs, it’s this entire team of people that you will have to prove fault against, and that can get tricky.

Trucks must abide by certain federal laws, and when these laws are broken, it can be a bit easier to prove fault. But once it is proven that the truck was at fault for the accident, who is to blame? Is the truck driver at fault or the owner of the truck? What about the company that was using the truck at the time, or the manufacturer of the truck? Usually, this is when an attorney will step in on both sides to ensure that the blame is placed correctly.

Recently, federal laws have prevented companies from placing blame on the driver alone. In fact, these laws state that any company who has a trucking permit is responsible for any accidents involving their trucks. This may be good news for the victim of the accident, but it can still be tricky to deal with a large corporation’s procedures and insurance.

Besides the difficulty with proving fault and dealing with many different players, truck accidents are frightening because they often involve more injuries and worse outcomes for the victim. When a truck hits a car, the force can overpower a driver and the car can easily be crushed. The injuries and damages to the car and person are usually extensive and require hospital stays, time off work and more.

If you have been involved in a truck accident and sustained injuries, you should be compensated correctly, especially if those injuries caused you to miss work and undergo surgeries or treatments. The attorneys at Stewart & Stewart have successfully handled many truck accident claims and would be happy to take on your case. Give us a call at 1-800-33-33-LAW or visit our website for more information.


What are the Most Popular Malpractice Cases in Indianapolis?

October 05, 2018

What are the Most Popular Malpractice Cases in Indianapolis?

Medical professionals take the Hippocratic Oath to ensure that when someone seeks treatment, they give them all the reasonable care they need. In some cases, however, this does not always work out. Unfortunately, many complications or fatalities arise every year due to the negligence and violations of care standards by those in the medical field. Every life matters, and if that is not taken seriously, you might have a malpractice claim on your hands. To give real examples of medical malpractice, here are some cases that have occurred in Indianapolis.

Medical Malpractice LawsuitsDr. Weinberger: America’s Most Wanted

This malpractice case is held as a very extreme and unique instance that attracted a great deal of media coverage. This case was not only followed closely in Indiana but also throughout the country. Dr. Mark Weinberger, a nose and throat doctor, was first sued in 2002 for malpractice after one of his patient’s died of throat cancer. The patient’s attorney claimed that Weinberger never diagnosed the woman, but instead insisted on an unnecessary sinus surgery. With a little more digging, the deceased’s attorney contacted several others, and before he knew it, had at least 25 other malpractice cases against Weinberger. At the news of this, Weinberger’s employees noticed a secret room that they deemed “the scary room” was slowly being emptied. It was filled with survival gear, and soon after, Weinberger fled to Europe. The original civil case filed by the deceased woman’s family was won, and Weinberger was sentenced to five years in prison and two years of probation.

Smith v. IU Health

Vincent Smith died in 2006, but it took nearly 10 years before his family was awarded $2 million. Smith had gone in for a surgical procedure at Indiana University Health Methodist Hospital to remove hardware that had been placed in him from a prior orthopedic surgery. He was then given a hefty dosage of various opiate pain medications. Following the administration of these drugs, Smith passed away due to an opiate combined drug intoxication. The case was brought to a jury before finally reaching a decision. In Indiana, there is a cap of $1.25 million to be awarded in damages for these cases. Despite winning more in this case, the Smith family can only claim that capped price. However, following the verdict, they claimed that this was just fine with them.



Neurosurgeon Abruptly Leaves

Neurosurgeons are notorious for having a high amount of medical malpractice cases, presumably due to the sensitivity and intensity of their specialty. In 2011, a patient of Dr. John T. Cummings of Community Health Network became permanently disabled after surgery. Apparently, a piece of equipment went into her spinal canal, leaving her paralyzed. She was awarded $1 million in 2014. One month before the settlement, Cummings left Community Health Network suddenly. It eventually came to light that since 2013, 15 cases were filed against him with only two of those being dismissed. For instance, one woman filed a lawsuit because she went to Cummings due to extreme leg and back pain. Cummings recommended surgery; however, after the surgery her condition became incredibly worse causing the need for more subsequent procedures. It was during this time of multiple procedures for the woman, that Cummings left. Searching for answers, the woman became one of those other cases filed in 2013. Following his departure, his patients were left with many questions, but Cummings still lives in the Indianapolis area and does have his license. As of 2017, it was reported that despite having his license, Cummings was no longer practicing.

Medical malpractice is a serious instance of negligence. If you lost a loved one or suffered an unnecessary complication due to healthcare negligence, contact a medical malpractice attorney at Stewart & Stewart. Give us a call at 1-800-33-33-LAW or visit our website for more information.


The 3 Most Dangerous Jobs in Indianapolis

October 03, 2018

Work-related injuries affect a vast number of employees every day. The hardest part besides, the physical pain itself, is usually the financial burden that comes with taking time off of work. Injuries at work are much more common than you may think. They can happen to anyone in any position, but certain jobs are still more prone to injury than others. According to the National Safety Council, in 2016, a worker was injured every 7 seconds resulting in 104,000,000 lost production days. Here are three of the most dangerous jobs in Indianapolis.


Not only would this be considered the most dangerous job in Indianapolis, but also in the entire country. Common injuries for loggers include overexertion from lifting and repeating motions, but loggers are also exposed to many types of painful and gruesome accidents. Some have lost fingers or toes due to the heavy equipment used or from falling tree limbs. Injuries and deaths from logging accidents have improved in the last couple of years due to changes in procedures and equipment from unions, but this job still holds the title as one of the most dangerous jobs in terms of injuries and deaths.


Most dangerous jobs in IndianapolisThis might not come as a huge shock to many, as working at high heights can open the door to a whole slew of dangers. While many unions have worked really hard to improve the safety of roofers, this job is still quite susceptible to many variations of work-related injuries. Many accidents include falls from hazardous heights, burns from many of the tars and chemicals used in the roofing process, and equipment-related injuries. The latter two are common, but nowhere near as common as falling. Last May, a roofer in West Lafayette, died on the job from a fall that caused severe head trauma. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, it is estimated that over 75% of all injuries and fatalities related to roofing are caused by falling.

Sanitation Workers

Some people think that the job of a sanitation worker may not pose many risks to their health, but in fact, per every 100,000 workers, there are 33 fatalities each year. This is actually higher than that of policemen and firemen. The main factor causing injuries or fatalities comes from the compacting process of garbage. Often times, people throw away their old or used items, but do not think much of it once they put it on the curb. Sanitation workers can be impaled or struck by items that get crushed or explode in the hopper. Some examples of these injuries can sound like they come straight out of a horror or suspense movie, like wood moldings splinting or bowling balls being thrown into the air. Another devastating injury these workers endure happens from the moving vehicles. Often, workers on the back of the garbage trucks can fall and be hit by nearby vehicles.

Power Linemen

This probably does not come as too much of a shock with the treacherous heights and dependency on heavy machinery. Unlike roofers, the height for power linemen is not so much about falling as it is for simple things like nosebleeds from the elevation, but the big fear with the height stems from weather. Often times, the true stress of their job comes from power outages during storms. So that means dealing with rain, snow, and very rough winds which can result in serious accidents. When weather is not a factor, they are working with incredibly high voltage equipment. This puts power linemen at a serious risk for being electrocuted.

Despite safety procedures, many jobs are still more prone to accidents. These accidents can cause a major financial burden for the victims and their families. It is important to know your rights when it comes to workplace injuries, especially when they result in time off.

If you have been injured due to a workplace injury, contact a worker’s compensation attorney at Stewart & Stewart. Give us a call at 1-800-33-33-LAW or visit our website for more information.