Indiana Slip and Fall Lawyers
Indiana Slip and Fall Lawyers
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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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No landowner — not even Walmart — is automatically required to pay your medical bills until you prove it was their “fault.”  Even if you fell upon their land.

Indiana law requires that an injured person prove the other business, entity or person was “negligent” first.  This means proving that the landowner did not do something a reasonable and prudent landowner would do to keep its land safe or did do something unreasonable compared to other landowners.

Now what do you do?

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Suing Walmart is unlike any other Lawsuit.

Trick: No. 1:  Walmart Created its own Investigation Company — Claims 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 by creating its own claims department.

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When I was a younger lawyer, I didn’t pay attention to jury instructions.

 rationalized my disinterest by saying such aphorisms like “juries decide cases upon facts, not what the Judge tells them to do” or “they’ve already made up their minds by the time the Judge reads the instructions.”

In reality, I was just baffled by the art of instructions and chose to ignore them rather than work hard.  It’s been a lifelong struggle for me on many issues — not just instructions.  But, learning instructions and how and where to develop them has changed my confidence level in any jury trial.

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I admit to being an old dog who is trying to learn new tricks. And marketing has changed.  I can no longer just put a shingle up or an advertisement in the telephone Yellow Pages.

Nearly 30+ years in the law practice business and I’m learning new things like Direct Email Marketing and B2C and social media advertising.  It’s all a jumbled mess and everybody pretends to know what works and what doesn’t.  A lawyer could literally spend 24/7 on marketing and not what I love — practicing law.

Here’s a recent tale that changed the way I practice law forever…and for better.

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The Worth of Specific Injuries Depends Mostly Upon Our Ability to Prove “Fault” — So Hire an Attorney who has Jury Trial Experience

The most common question I get asked is “How Much is My Case Worth?”

And the answer is always the same = “It Depends.”

This rarely satisfies the client, but it is true.  Your case depends upon many, many different factors — the most important of which is “fault” and whether we can prove the other person “caused” your injuries.

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No, landowners are not automatically required to pay your medical bills.  Even if you fell upon their land.

Indiana law requires that an injured person prove the other business, entity or person was “negligent” first.  This means proving that the landowner did not do something a reasonable and prudent landowner would do to keep his or her land safe or did do something unreasonable compared to other landowners.

This is a difficult concept for many people to understand due to our upbringing or early education.  It seems that the landowner should have insurance to cover your medical bills regardless of fault (and some do have coverage that covers a small amount of bills regardless of fault, but it is rare).

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Today’s blog post is more personal than the rest and not as legal in scope.  I am going to try and make sure I’m writing to an audience that is human in nature and not write like it’s some sort of legal exercise. 

The reason I write today is to talk about everyday life and the risk of falling.

We had a huge ice storm yesterday here in northern Indiana — the kind that covers your car, the sidewalks and even the screens of the windows of my house.  It was a beautiful expression of the sheer force of Mother Nature.  I could tell from the inside where I sat, next to my electric fireplace, that stepping outside was going to be treacherous for anybody.  I understood the risk involved.  Yet, I looked outside and saw dozens of cars go by as people scurried to their jobs or to do chores.

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

Notice and Notice.

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

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