Indiana Slip and Fall Lawyers
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Although the title of this blog post might seem ridiculous at first blush, I’m personally surprised that businesses who invite customers upon their land for products or services have not tried to sneak “waivers of liability” into receipts…yet.  And, as you can see from my photo above, I spend a lot more time at McDonald’s than I do at a local gym.  Keep reading…you’ll see why that’s important below in our 3-part series on Exculpatory Clauses under Indiana law.

First, let’s examine Indiana law with regard to whether individuals can “waive” or “forfeit” the right to sue a landowner for accidents that occur on that property that injure others.  These waivers are called “exculpatory clauses” under Indiana law and under certain circumstances, Indiana courts have ruled “yes,” exculpatory clauses are valid in contracts.

The most common “waiver to sue” (exculpatory clause) occurs when a person signs a lease to rent a property to live or to run a business.  Often, the lease will contain waivers to sue the landlord in the event of an injury that occurs on the property.  Other times, a waiver is inserted into other contracts where a person uses the land of another – like a member of a health club, gym, country club or sports activity participant.  In both circumstances, Indiana courts have held that exculpatory clauses are not void as against public policy.

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Not very often.  But, automatic exclusion by a Judge is not always the right legal ruling.

Usually this topic comes up when clients ask if I can mention other similar trips or falls on the defendant’s property that occurred before our incident at an upcoming trial.  The most common situation involves “another fall” involving a different person who fell on the same day — often overheard by my client from store employees.

When I try to explain that other falls and prior incidents are difficult to allow a jury to hear, I am often met with quizzical looks from my clients.  I try to explain the success of being able to mention a prior slip and fall to a jury is slim (and that it might not be in our best interest).

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One of the most common complaints received from clients concerns unpaid medical bills while a case is pending.

I remind clients that until and unless you prove your case of negligence against a wrongdoer in a court of law, the medical treaters have a right to be paid for the medical services they provided you now.  This includes the right to seek collection of the unpaid medical expenses associated with your treatment.

Remember, those medical professionals provided a service — treatment of your injuries.  And they were not a participant in the incident that caused your injuries.  Consequently, they have a contractual right to seek payment for their services despite the fact that your injuries were caused by the negligence of somebody else.

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Wal-Mart, Inc. will not settle your slip and fall case based upon avoiding bad publicity.  

It will settle your case if you have a good case with sound evidence presented by capable attorneys, like Shaw Law.  We’ve done it before, we can do it for you.

It is estimated that Wal-Mart, Inc. operates over 4,500 stores in the United States.  In the United States, the company includes Wal-Mart discount stores, Supercenters, Neighborhood Markets, and

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What once seemed like science fiction is coming and it’s almost here.  Google is coming out with a driverless, robotic car that will not have a driver. Rumors are that Apple and other major auto manufacturers will soon have driverless cars.

Who knows?  Someday it might be illegal to drive your own car. 

Google and Apple are currently working on software that will be available to the public in the next few years.

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After 30 years of helping injured people get back on their feet, Shaw Law Office has noticed two recurring defenses used by landowners in litigation over and over again:

Notice and Notice.

Wait, you say, that looks like only one defense, right?  How can that be two separate defenses?

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Trial Rules can be your friend and your opponent’s worst enemy.

One of the better trial rules for a slip-and-fall attorney (premises liability) is the Rule 30(b)(6) deposition.  Unlike other depositions, the questions are noticed in advance to the responding organization’s attorneys, who must then designate the appropriate witnesses who can give answers (after a dutiful search) to those questions presented.  This can result in multiple designees at one setting giving answers to the various questions or it can result in one witness who gathers all the facts into a tidy package.

Unfortunately, the Rule 30(b)(6) isn’t often used (for whatever reasons) and defense lawyers are particularly devoid of practical knowledge (probably because they rarely use them due to the requirement that an “organization” and not individuals can be deposed in this manner).

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Trick: No. 1:  Walmart Created its own Investigation Company — Claim Management, Inc. (CMI) designed to Defeat your Slip and Fall Case or Lower Your Recovery.

This company will do whatever it takes to see that you lose your case.  They will bend the truth or distort your words.  What other company has its own investigatory claims management team? That’s how big Walmart truly is — self-insured and willing to go to extremes to defeat you or discourage you.

Trick No. 2:  Walmart (through CMI) Wants your Statement.  Don’t Give it to Them!

This is a slip and fall case.  That means it’s going to difficult and tough to win your case even with an attorney.  Do not go it alone! Do not think you know more than CMI or an attorney experienced in dealing with Walmart.

You cannot “persuade” this professional investigatory company into seeing your point of view and paying you by your oratory skills.  They are not going to do that.

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One of the most common situations in which a person slips and falls is the parking lot or sidewalk or business entrance that was not properly plowed or salted following a snowstorm.

The most important concept to remember when trying to prevail on those cases is the facts matter.  Each case can be very different and result in different outcomes.

First, the courts recognize a duty under Indiana law for businesses to remove ice and snow from their premises — they just can’t ignore it and wait for warmer weather (Hammond v. Allegretti, 311 N.E.2d 821, 826, Indiana Supreme Court, 1974).  The duty stems from the landowner’s overall duty to exercise “reasonable care” when running a business with regard to the premises.  

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When I was about 10 years old, my mother forced me to go out for the local baseball team in Fish Lake, Indiana.

I much preferred sitting and watching television like Scooby-Doo and eating bowls of Frosted Flakes until I was in a sugar coma.  But, like all dutiful sons, I went to an abandoned corner lot where Mill Creek Elementary School was located (the former high school in the 1950s).  It was a warm May, 1974 Saturday afternoon and a group of about twelve kids stood before the infamous Fish Lake Coach “Inky” Schoof (known as “Stinky Inky” to his contemporaries, he struck fear in the hearts of young boys with his military haircut and abrupt manner of speaking/yelling).

Inky made us line up before him that afternoon — very reminiscent of an inspection of the troops — so he could size up the Fish Lake squad for that summer.  As he passed down the line, looking none too pleased, I was shaking in my Converse when he approached me.

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