Archive for January, 2019


What is the Difference Between a DUI and a DWI?

January 31, 2019

When you drink and drive, you are putting not only yourself, but all those around you, at risk for serious injury and harm. Because of the dangers of driving while drinking or under the influence on drugs, the consequences are vast and always include hefty fines, a revoked license and often jail time.

While the consequences are often well known, many people are unsure of the difference between a DUI or DWI. Both of these terms are used equally when referring to drunk or under the influence driving and usually carry the same weight and lead to the same consequences. The acronym DUI stands for driving under the influence and DWI stands for driving while impaired. Most often, the main difference is that a DWI includes the use of drugs, but both offenses can be placed on a driver under any type of influence.

The true difference comes down to each state. Most states will use both terms interchangeably, while others have different meanings for each. For example, some states use the term DWI to refer to a charge that includes a blood alcohol content that is over the legal limit and use DUI for a charge that is not technically over the limit but still under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Either way, getting pulled over for a DUI or DWI is a life-changing experience. Many people still associate these charges with drinking, but as drug usage continues to rise, the law has changed to include drug use as well. Standard field sobriety tests and Breathalyzers often do not show drug use, so an officer is able to charge you with impaired driving just by their suspicion alone. Once you arrive at the station, more significant testing will be done to determine if there is any type of substance in your body.

If you have been charged with a DUI or DWI, you are looking at hefty fines, a trial, possible jail time and higher auto insurance. The more serious your crime, the more serious your charges will be. No matter what term you were charged under, you are going to need an experienced DUI or DWI attorney on your side throughout the process. For more information about how the attorneys at Stewart & Stewart can help you after a DUI or DWI, give us a call at 1-800-33-33-LAW or visit our website for more information.


What Happens if I Get a DWI?

January 29, 2019

Drinking and driving is a major offense that has serious consequences. If you are caught drinking and driving, you could be facing fines, court appearances and even jail time. When you are stopped for drunk driving, you will receive either a DWI or a DUI. A DWI stands for driving while intoxicated and includes not only alcohol, but drugs as well, and a DUI stands for driving under the influence. Both of these are serious offenses and all who are stopped for a DWI or DUI will undergo similar treatment.

As soon as you are stopped and an officer suspects drinking or other substance is involved, you will be taken to the nearest police station. A police officer only needs a suspicion for this to occur and while many may perform sobriety tests on the spot, some will make the decision without these tests. Once you arrive at the station, you can either be bailed out or will be required to stay and sober up, depending on the state you were arrested in. At the same time of your arrest, the police officer will hand you a ticket. This ticket will state the day you must appear in court.

After your initial time at the police station, you will return home until your set court date. During the trial, you will stand before a jury who will hear your case. You can choose to plead guilty or not guilty during this time.

If you do plead, or are proven, guilty, you will face a variety of consequences:

  • Suspended license: all states suspend a driver’s license if a person is drunk driving or driving while intoxicated. Some states allow drivers to continue to drive to and from work or school. The period of time that your license is suspended depends on your court case, your state and the outcome of your trial. If you do not cooperate with police on the scene, for example, you refuse to take the field sobriety test; your license can be suspended before your court hearing.
  • Fines & fees: Even if no one was hurt and no property was damaged, all DWI and DUI cases come with a fine. The fines can be hefty and will vary depending on state-set maximums and minimums. If there was an accident that involved damage or injury, the fines will be much larger as you will have to pay out compensation.
  • Driving school: Before you can get your license back, you must attend driving school and complete an alcohol and drug education program.
  • Auto insurance increase: A special type of insurance is needed after a DUI or DWI called a SR-22. This type of insurance is usually double or even triple the amount a driver pays for regular insurance and is usually required for about three years.
  • Jail time: Possibly the most alarming consequence of a DUI or DWI is the possibility of jail time. Some states now require jail time for drunk driving offenders. If you are a first time offender, you may be looking at a few days while repeat offenders or those involved in a deadly crash will face much more.

If you were pulled over and given a DUI or DWI, you will need an attorney on your side to fight for your rights and avoid long jail times and hefty fees. For more information about how the attorneys at Stewart & Stewart can help you after a DUI or DWI, give us a call at 1-800-33-33-LAW or visit our website for more information.


What Do I Do If I am Injured or Hurt By a Defective Product?

January 28, 2019

When we purchase a product in a store, we expect that product to only work but to be a safe item to use. But what can we do if a product we buy ends up hurting us and causing life-altering injuries instead? This type of case is called product liability and involves a defective product hurting a consumer due to negligence of the manufacturer or seller of the item.

There are many different ways a product can be deemed defective. They could be designed incorrectly, have manufacturing defects or failed to warn or label the product correctly. Products can range from prescription medication to car parts, food items, and more. Common examples of defective products include an air bag that is manufactured incorrectly and fails to protect or even harm an individual after an accident occurs, or a drug not listing all of the warnings and risks associated with taking it, and in turn, resulting in damage to the user.

If you are injured by a defective product, there are steps you should take to ensure you get compensated for your injuries.

Stop Using the Product

If you become aware that your airbags are defective, yet continue to drive your car, you could be jeopardizing your case. No matter what the product is, stop using it as soon as you realize it is defective.

See a Doctor

Some defective product injuries will likely result in a trip to the emergency room. But for those products that may not cause that serious of harm, you should still go see a doctor. Explain all of your symptoms and/or injuries and how they relate to the defective product. Be sure to get a copy of your medical records, including any treatment plans you are put under to further prove your claim.

Gather Evidence

As soon as you are injured, take photos of your injuries to prove that they existed and immediately secure the product away into a place where it won’t be touched. If there was someone else who witnessed your injury, ask them to write down their statement and gather their contact information. Your attorney will use this information to further prove that your injury was directly caused by the defective product.

Hire an Attorney

Often, product liability cases can be difficult as it can be hard to prove that a certain product was the direct result of your injury. Having an experienced defective product attorney on your side can help you prove negligence and get you compensation.

If you were injured by a product, you need a defective product attorney on your side to help prove your case and get you the compensation you deserve. For more information about how Stewart & Stewart can help you with your defective product claim, give us a call at 1-800-33-33-LAW or visit our website for more information.


What is a Defective Product?

January 27, 2019

If you’ve been injured by a product you’ve purchased, you are likely a victim of a defective product. When you purchase a product, you have certain rights as a consumer, mainly that you remain safe while that product is being used. In fact, product manufacturers, designers and distributors are legally obligated in the United States to ensure that products released onto the market do not pose an unreasonable risk of injury to consumers. When a company fails provide products that are safe to use for consumers, they can hurt many people and run the risk of a defective product lawsuit

There are many different factors that can determine a product defective, all relating to some sort of negligence, whether the manufacturer did not create the product correctly, the label was wrong or the product was sold unintentionally or in the wrong manner. Most legal claims about defective products involve one of the following:

  • Failure to Warn: The manufacturer did not include adequate warnings about the potential dangers of using the item.
  • Marketing Misrepresentation: The sellers did not provide instructions or warnings about how to use the product, or they misrepresent how the item should be used.
  • Design Defect: The very design or nature of the product itself is unreasonably dangerous and poses a threat to the consumer or user.
  • Manufacturer Defect: Something went wrong during the assembly which causes the product to fail or pose a threat to the consumer.

Defective Product Lawsuit

If you were injured by a product, you deserve to be compensated for any injuries you sustained. To prove that you were injured by a product, you must prove that your injury was directly caused by the product, which requires medical records and evidence in the form of photos.

You will also need to prove the product was defective. This part can get tricky and an experienced attorney is often needed to help determine this. If the product in question was being used as it was intended and the defect directly caused the injury, then you will have a strong case to be made against the responsible party.

If you were injured by a product, you need a defective product attorney on your side to help prove your case and get you the compensation you deserve. For more information about how Stewart & Stewart can help you with your defective product claim, give us a call at 1-800-33-33-LAW or visit our website for more information.


5 Ways to Keep Safe at Work

January 27, 2019

When we go to work each day, we never expect to end up in the hospital or injured due to work activities. Most companies, especially those that involve heavy machinery, factories or special equipment, will have safety guidelines in place to ensure that all employees are kept safe and out of harms way during working hours. Unfortunately, even with these guidelines, many employees still end up hurt. Here are a few ways to ensure your safety at work.

Always Stay Alert

Even if you are taking a short break or having a friendly chat with a coworker, always be aware of your surroundings and what is happening around you. A faulty piece of equipment or coworker not paying attention can lead to extreme harm. Before you begin each day, take note of the area around you and pay attention to any potential dangers or hazards—this will help you avoid any injury should something happen.

Wear the Right Clothing

Whether you work in an office, a factory or outside at a site, what you wear will always come into play. If you need to dress professional but know that your office has uneven flooring or requires a lot of walking up stairs or to others offices, consider wearing flat shoes. If you work at an outdoor site, wear appropriate clothing based on the weather. While it may seem trivial, having the right outfit can help you avoid day-to-day injuries.

Let Yourself Take Breaks

A tired employee is far more prone to accidents than one that is alert. If you are feeling tired, overworked or simply need to take a breath, let yourself take a short walk, go get a cup of coffee or simply sit in your place and take deep breaths. Working through times of irritability or stress is a surefire way to get injured on the job.

Ensure You Are Properly Trained

Before you begin your job, you should be trained on the proper way to use all machinery and tools. If you feel you do not understand the right way to use them, inform your supervisor before you begin using them. Not being trained properly may hurt your company in the long run, but it will hurt you more as you deal with your injuries.

Report Unsafe Conditions

If you see anything that looks off, notice faulty equipment or witness a coworker toying with machinery, report it to your supervisor. You may not only be saving yourself from injury, but all those around you as well.

If you were injured in a workplace accident, you will need an experienced workers compensation attorney on your side to help you fight for you rights and get you the compensation you deserve. For more information about how the attorneys at Stewart & Stewart can help you, give us a call at 1-800-33-33-LAW or visit our website for more information.


7 Types of Damages a Personal Injury Lawsuit Covers

January 26, 2019

Personal injury encompasses a lot of different things, from workers’ compensation claims to slip and falls and car accidents. Because of the vast number of personal injury lawsuits, many people are unsure exactly how much their specific case is worth and how serious the claim actually is. Overall, the severity of a claim comes down to the damages involved. If you were severely injured or your property was greatly damaged, your case will hold a lot more weight than an accident that left victims with scrapes and bruises. But damages don’t just include injuries. Below, we look at the types of damages that a personal injury lawsuit covers.

Injuries & Medical Treatments

The most common, and often most important, type of damage a personal injury lawsuit will cover is your medical treatment. This includes not only the treatment you received after the accident occurred, but also any future treatments, medications or procedures you will need that relate to the accident.

Loss of Income

When you get injured, you often face injuries that leave you unable to work, either temporarily or permanently. If this happens, you should seek to collect compensation for the loss of income, or loss of earning capacity, that resulted because of the accident. This includes any income you lost while you recovered and any income you will lose in the future due to your injury.

Pain and Suffering

A personal injury accident, whether it was a car accident, a slip and fall or other type of accident, can be traumatizing and lead a victim down a painful path. If this happens to you, you can seek compensation for any pain you are left with after the accident ends. Pain and suffering is often hard to determine, so an experienced personal injury attorney is often needed.

Loss or Damage of Property

Did your car get totaled during the accident? Was your home, property or personal belongings ruined or damaged as a result of the accident? You should be able to collect compensation to either replace or repair these items.

Emotional Suffering

Many people suffer from emotional trauma after an accident. This can range from PTSD and increased anxiety to loss of sleep and fear. If you are suffering from emotional distress following an accident, you deserve to be compensated.

Loss of Life

Similar to emotional suffering, loss of life refers to the fact that after your injury, you lost interest in every day activities and no longer find joy in things you used to love, like taking a drive, going on long walks or spending time with others.

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages come into play when the person who caused the accident was increasingly negligent in their actions. An example of this is a drunk driver. For the victim, punitive damages will come in the form of monetary compensation and often awarded to punish a defendant for their actions.

If you were involved in a personal injury case, you deserve to be compensated for everything you have suffered through. The attorneys at Stewart & Stewart know what it takes to get our clients what they deserve following an accident and are ready to help you too. For more information, give us a call at 1-800-33-33-LAW or visit our website for more information.


What Happens if More Than One Person is at Fault for an Accident?

January 24, 2019

When we get into an accident, our first reaction is to figure out who was at fault. As attorneys, we use this information to determine the parameters of a claim and decide who will be paying who and for how much. Insurance companies hold fault to a high standard as well—an insurance claim will not hold any grounds if an attorney can not prove negligence or fault.

But what happens if that fault is shared? You may have experienced an accident with multiple cars—such as a pile up or chain reaction crash—or you yourself may be at fault for part of the accident. In both of these cases, the blame is shared among two or more people and the law can get a bit more complicated.

If you are involved in an accident and partially to blame, the first step is determining which legal ground your claim falls on: contributory negligence or comparative negligence.

Contributory Negligence: This is the law that states that if you had any fault in an accident, even if that fault was minor, you are not eligible to receive any compensation. This law is tough and often puts victims in a difficult position as they are unable to receive payment for medical bills, even if only 1 percent of the fault was proven to be theirs. Most states have let go of this law and instead opted for comparative negligence.

Comparative Negligence: This law looks at each person at fault and assess what percentage each party is at fault for. Whatever percentage is determined is the amount each party will have to the other party for injuries or lost wages. For example, if you were 40 percent at fault for an accident and suffered extensive injuries, the other party will only have to pay 60 percent of the costs to you. If they also suffered injuries, they will only receive 40 percent of the cost.

Modified Comparative Fault: Some states, including here in Indiana, follow the modified comparative fault law. This states that as long as the injured party was responsible for less than 50 percent of the accident, they can collect compensation (for the percentage determined) from the others involved in the accident. If you are proven to be more than 50 percent at fault, you are not eligible to receive any payments from the other party.

To determine who is legally liable for an accident, or at what percentage each party is liable for, an experienced accident attorney must be able to prove carelessness. They may be able to prove that the injured person, while careless, was not fully at fault and still requires compensation, but they can also prove that the manufacturer of the car is partially at fault or that the location of the accident was at fault due to a dangerous area or maintenance issue on the grounds.

If you are involved in an accident in Indiana and may be partially at fault, you will need an experienced attorney on your side to help you prove comparative negligence and get you the compensation you need for your injuries, damages and lost wages. The attorneys at Stewart & Stewart have extensive knowledge on comparative negligence, specifically here in Indiana, and will help you get the compensation you deserve. For more information, give us a call at 1-800-33-33-LAW or visit our website today.


5 Things to Consider When Filing a Personal Injury Claim

January 23, 2019

When you get into an accident, slip and fall at a restaurant or hurt yourself on another person’s property, you are likely looking at a personal injury claim. Personal injury encompasses many things and a skilled personal injury attorney will walk you through the process and how you can maximize your compensation. But, there are things you should consider doing before filing your claim to ensure you get everything you deserve.

Always Accept Medical Help

Even if you feel you were not badly injured, it is always smart to see a doctor directly after your accident if you plan to file a claim. Many injuries do not show up right away and with adrenaline running high after an accident, most injuries will not be noticeable to you until it is too late. Instead of running the risk of not being able to include all of your injuries in a claim, head to a doctor or hospital so you can have everything on file and ensure that you are properly cared for.

Get Copies of All Reports

Before you leave the hospital or doctor, ask for a copy of your medical records. You may also want to ask the police officer on duty for a copy of his police report so you have everything ready to hand over to your attorney. In addition to these reports, try to get witness statements from others who may have been at the scene and take pictures of the car, person or property involved in the accident. All of these things will help your attorney with your personal injury case.

Call the Police

You may not think you need the police to get involved, but if you were hurt or anything was damaged, you are going to want to have a police report underlining exactly what happened. Different people can have different memories and give different accounts of what occurred, so having an unbiased officer explain to the attorneys and the insurance company what happened will forgo any confusion and avoid back and forth.

Know When an Insurance Company Isn’t Cooperating

Insurance companies work hard to pay out the least amount of money possible. This often results in them delaying your claim, denying it without a just reason or giving you the run-around so you give up and take a lower offer. It’s important to know if this is happening to you so you can get your attorney involved and avoid getting less compensation than you deserve.

Hire a Good Attorney

At the end of the day, a personal injury claim can take a lot out of a person, especially someone who just went through a traumatic experience and is now dealing with the aftermath. Hiring the right attorney will help you avoid all of the legal matters that come with a personal injury case so you can focus on your recovery and getting back to your normal life.

If you were injured in an accident, contact Stewart & Stewart to learn more about how we can help you file a claim and get the compensation you deserve. For more information, give us a call at 1-800-33-33-LAW or visit our website for more information.


What Do I Do If My Child Was Injured in a Car Accident?

January 23, 2019

Almost everyone, as a driver or passenger, has seen the “Baby on Board” sign in the back window of cars on our streets and highways. This sign is not only for other drivers on the road to know a child is in the car (so be extra careful), but it’s also for first responders. During an accident, that sign serves a pivotal purpose by letting EMTs and paramedics know that there is a child on board that may or may not be trapped in the vehicle. While the professionals know what to do once they arrive on the scene of a car accident, do you know what to do during and following? If you are involved in an accident where your child is injured, follow these important steps.Baby on Board stickers help give guidance to first responders

Stay Calm

An accident can cause blood pressures to spike and adrenaline to rush through the body creating momentary shock. For the child/children in the car, they are looking at you for guidance, so you remaining calm is the first step to making sure everything moves forward as smoothly as possible. If you’re able to move at all, get your car to the side of the road and out of the way of traffic to avoid any further damage to yourself or others.

Assess the Injuries

Children are more likely to appear absolutely fine at first. While this may give you peace of mind in the moment, it’s important to understand that it is also common for them to actually be suffering from internal injuries or injuries that may surface after an undesignated amount of time. If you notice your child acting differently following the accident, visit your primary care doctor or pediatrician. Typical noticeable actions would be excessive crying, restlessness, disinterest in toys, inability to eat or generally inconsolable. For these reasons, it is imperative that on the scene of an accident, medical personnel examine your child to reduce the risk of any immediate injuries becoming worsened.

Call the Police

While EMTs and paramedics are viewing your and your child’s injuries, it’s best to also call the police. Making a police report can become extremely helpful when determining fault or negligence. All paperwork filed pertaining to the accident should be kept on record for the longevity of a possible dispute. Make sure to give the police witness statements, timing of events and any information that may be used and needed in court documents. Provide contact information and try to get the contact information of all drivers involved. This allows for clear communication through all parties for insurance purposes as well.

Visit the Doctor & Report the Accident

Following the accident, it’s important to visit a doctor and report the accident to your insurance company. Visiting your doctor and your child’s pediatrician allows them to check into any injuries and see how any external or internal damages may be progressing following the accident. This visit will also help determine how much financial loss may have accrued from the accident itself. Informing your insurance company as soon as possible can alleviate the possibility of them not covering your accident fees. We suggest if dealing with an insurance adjustor at the scene or following the accident, it’s best to not sign anything or give them any statements.

Car accidents are traumatic events and for any child involved, they can be truly life-changing. When it comes to getting the help and service you deserve, you should call Stewart & Stewart Attorneys to represent you. We are Indianapolis accident attorneys that have experience with car accident cases involving children and will get you the money you deserve. No child should have to suffer because of the negligence of another person’s poor driving habits. For more information on what we can do for you and your child, please give us a call at 1-800-33-33-LAW or visit our website today.


What Can I Do If I am Bit by a Dog?

January 14, 2019

While most people consider dogs to be “man’s best friend,” we still have to be very wary of our canine companions. According to a study reported by the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 4.7 million dog bites occur in the United States each year, and about 800,000 of those bites result in medical care and treatment. That’s a pretty high number considering the U.S. population is currently 327.7 million. This means 1 out of every 69 people will be or have been bitten by a dog. Those odds do not work in our favor.

Steps to take if you have been attacked by a dogIf you or someone you love falls victim to a dog attack, do you know the proper steps to take to guarantee you receive fair and righteous treatment? A dog bite is a physically and psychologically traumatic event and you need to know your rights when it comes to health costs and other compensation. Unfortunately, some will not inform you on what you are entitled to monetarily or simply are not informed themselves. That’s where an experienced attorney like Stewart & Stewart come in—to relieve you and your family of the stress and time of having to dig for legal information.

First and foremost, you should see your local doctor. Visiting a doctor’s office (private physician or emergency room) will reduce the chance of infections and further complications to the injury. Outside of preventing infection, having your medical records updated and on hand will help add to your overall case. This information will be able to show what was damaged and how serious the bite was or could have potentially been.

Be sure to keep record of all medical expenses, including treatment, related receipts and prescription purchases. These expense records will help demonstrate how this incident has affected your life financially. Don’t forget to take clear photos of injured body parts. This is a step that can easily be forgotten, but it’s extremely important for visual evidence. If the injury requires follow-up appointments or surgery, take follow-up photos as well to track progression. You want to show a clear timeline of impact.

While often an unwanted step to take, one of the most important steps is to contact the dog’s owners, if there is one. Update them on your injuries and ensure you have the correct contact information—you’re going to want to hold onto their information for later. When the owner is known, it builds for a negligence case, meaning the owner knew an attack was a reasonable possibility and has to take responsibility for their animal’s actions. In cases where you are unsure of the dog’s owners, contact the local area’s police department so they can assist in the search for the owner.

Equally important is gathering all witness statements in detail; your attorneys will want to paint a picture of the incident and make it clear what occurred. These can be neighbors, household members in attendance, even the police officer who was first on the scene. Make note of important details such as if the dog was on a leash and how far they were from their residence. These details add context to the situation and give more depth to the scene.

If you go through this unfortunate ordeal, you’re going to want an attorney on your side that knows what to do and treats your case with the utmost care. Stewart & Stewart is your Indianapolis personal injury lawyer that has experience working with dog bite injuries and knows what’s best for their clients. For more information on what we can do for you, give us a call at 1-800-33-33-LAW or visit our website today.