Questions to Ask Your Lawyer Before Your Injury Lawsuit Goes to Court

Questions to Ask Your Lawyer Before Your Injury Lawsuit Goes to Court

If you’ve been injured in an accident due to the negligent actions of someone else, you’re probably ready to begin the claims process. In order to hold the liable parties accountable and receive full compensation for the losses you’ve endured, you’ll want to hire a personal injury attorney to help guide you through the legal system.

Although many personal injury cases get settled outside of court, there’s a good chance that the negligent party won’t be willing to pay the full amount of your settlement. In this case, you’ll need to go to court. At Kooi Law, our qualified lawyers are prepared to negotiate on your behalf and secure you the compensation you deserve.

Before heading into trial, you may have some questions and concerns to address with your attorney. We know that the legal process is foreign to most, so we’ve answered some of the most common questions below.

What if I’m Partially Responsible for the Accident?

The state of Indiana has modified comparative negligence laws in place, which follow that anyone who is partially at fault for an accident can still file for compensation as long as they were less than 50 percent responsible. This law protects individuals on both ends of the accident from losing all of their money.

If you were partially at fault for the accident, your percentage of fault will be taken out of your settlement amount. For example, if you’re found to be 10 percent at fault, your total settlement will be reduced by 10 percent.

How Much Is My Claim Worth?

Your Indianapolis personal injury attorney can help you calculate your overall claim value by investigating your case and compiling a list of economic and non-economic damages. Not only will your medical expenses be taken into consideration, but other economic damages will also be examined, such as loss of future wages and property damages.

Non-economic damages that have affected your lifestyle will be considered, as well, such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life.

What Does the Trial Process Look Like?

In a civil trial in Indiana, a six-person jury will be selected to decide your case. This jury will be questioned by judges and lawyers on both the prosecution and defense to ensure all members are unbiased and have no prior knowledge of the case. The steps in the trial will be as follows:

  • Opening statements
  • Presentation of evidence
  • Closing statements
  • Jury deliberation
  • Verdict

Once the prosecution and the defense have both presented their arguments, the jury will deliver a verdict and the settlement will be decided. Your personal injury attorney in Indianapolis will fight on your behalf and do everything in their power to prove to the jury why you deserve compensation for the injuries you’ve suffered.

Contact an Indianapolis Personal Injury Attorney

Although going to court can seem daunting, our experienced attorneys at Kooi Law are prepared to fight for you. We’re here to answer any questions you may have before going to trial so that when the day comes, you’ll feel confident and at ease.

Reach out to an Indianapolis personal injury lawyer today with any concerns you have about your case. You can fill out the contact form below or call us for a no-obligation consultation at 317-569-1335.

What Is an Attractive Nuisance Under Indiana State Law?

What Is an Attractive Nuisance Under Indiana State Law?

What Is an Attractive Nuisance Under Indiana State Law?

The attractive nuisance doctrine is a law that holds property owners accountable for injuries inflicted upon children if a dangerous object or hazardous land condition attracts the child to the property in the first place.

While this law does not extend to those who are able to understand the risks of such objects, children under a certain age and maturity level may not have this appreciation and will be put in harm’s way due to an attractive nuisance.

If your child has suffered an injury on someone else’s property because of an attractive nuisance, get in touch with a qualified Indiana injury attorney who can help you hold the property owner accountable for your child’s injuries.

Examples of Attractive Nuisances

Many different objects have the potential to draw a child onto a property. Some of the most frequently seen attractive nuisances that have caused serious injuries in Indiana include the following:

  • Trampolines
  • Equipment at construction sites
  • Swimming pools
  • Railroads
  • Treehouses
  • Electrical towers
  • Skateboard ramps
  • Artificial lakes and ponds
  • Large equipment
  • Playscapes

Property owners will be held liable for the injuries or potential deaths caused by attractive nuisances if they had reason to believe or should have known that children might trespass on their property, when children are not able to understand the risks of the object, and when the property owners failed to take steps to prevent children from being able to access the object or condition in question.

If the landowner had installed fencing around the property, locked up or removed equipment, or taken some sort of measure to ensure the safety of any child who might’ve been drawn to the hazard, the injuries or death could have been prevented. This is why the property owner will be expected to compensate your family for your child’s injuries.

Obtain Compensation for Your Injured Child

When your child has suffered an injury caused by an attractive nuisance, you can file a civil lawsuit against the property owner to recover your damages. These damages might include your child’s pain and suffering or emotional distress, the loss of enjoyment of life, the loss of consortium, medical expenses, funeral and burial costs (where applicable), and a variety of other losses.

You and your attorney will discuss all of the ways in which your child and family have been affected by the injuries your child sustained to ensure that you recover maximum compensation. It will be critical to the success of your case that we consider the expected future impact of your child’s injuries when we are calculating the value of your claim.

Schedule Your Free Consultation

If you need help pursuing compensation after your child has been injured due to an attractive nuisance on the property of a negligent landowner, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer at Kooi Law as soon as possible.

Your attorney will do what it takes to secure the funds your family needs to begin to move forward with your lives. You can schedule your free case review by completing the contact form below or calling our office at 317-569-1335.

Indiana Personal Injury Laws to Be Aware Of

Indiana Personal Injury Laws to Be Aware Of

Indiana Personal Injury Laws to Be Aware Of

If you finally decided to bring a civil lawsuit against those responsible for your injuries, there are certain Indiana personal injury laws you’ll need to be aware of.

This includes how long you’ll have to file your suit, how the insurance company will handle your claim, and what happens when you are partially responsible for the accident in question. Continue reading to learn more about Indiana laws that will apply to your personal injury claim.

The Statute of Limitations

To begin, when you are preparing to file a personal injury claim, you should know that there is a time limit.

In Indiana, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims is only two years from the date the accident occurred or the date you were diagnosed with an injury that stems from the accident you were involved in. This time limit is reduced to to as little as 180 days when your claim will be against a government agency.

Building a winning personal injury case can take time, and you and your lawyer will need as much time as you can get to obtain supporting evidence and consider all of your losses in detail so you don’t settle for less than you’re entitled to. If you’ve decided to hold the liable parties accountable for their actions, act quickly and reach out to an experienced personal injury lawyer who can help win your case.

Your Auto Insurance Coverage

Dealing with the insurance company after you’ve been injured in a motor vehicle accident can be difficult, to say the least. Indiana is a fault state for auto insurance. This means you will pursue compensation for an auto accident through the at-fault driver’s insurer.

This is opposed to a no-fault state for auto insurance, where every driver is required to carry personal injury protection (PIP) auto insurance. PIP allows drivers to file a claim with their own insurance company, which will cover medical expenses and property damage up to policy limits.

How Fault Is Determined in an Accident

In order for your Indiana personal injury claim to be successful, we will need to establish that someone else was at fault for your injuries. Indiana uses modified comparative negligence laws to determine fault in an accident.

If you are partially responsible for the accident, you can still file a claim against the at-fault party, However, your award will be reduced based on the percentage of blame you hold.

For example, if you were awarded a sum of $100,000 but were found to be 25 percent responsible for the accident, you would walk away with a final award of $75,000—25 percent less than your initial award. In addition, once you exceed the 50 percent threshold of liability, you will no longer be able to obtain compensation from the other liable party.

Talk to an Indianapolis Personal Injury Lawyer

Indiana’s personal injury laws are complex. But with an experienced Indiana personal injury lawyer at Kooi Law on your side, you have a better chance of being successful with your case. Contact our office at (317) 569-1335 or fill out the quick contact form below to schedule a free consultation today.

The Five Most Dangerous Intersections in Indianapolis

The Five Most Dangerous Intersections in Indianapolis

The Five Most Dangerous Intersections in Indianapolis

When you’re traveling in Indianapolis, you’ll likely encounter a number of intersections that cause countless accidents and injuries every year. Some intersections are more dangerous than others, but every intersection can pose risks when there are careless drivers on the road.

Although it’s important to drive carefully at all times, if you are going to be traveling in any of the five most dangerous intersections in Indianapolis, you should exercise extreme caution. Read on to learn more about what makes an intersection risky and which streets you’ll need to be extra careful on.

What Makes Intersections Dangerous?

Many factors can make an intersection more dangerous than others. Many intersections have multiple cross streets that go into and out of the area, for instance.

This can cause drivers to not understand who has the right-of-way in each area. Complex intersections cause even greater problems when motorists aren’t driving carefully. Speeding or driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol can exponentially increase the risk of a crash.

Not only are some intersections complicated to drive through, but when an intersection has visibility issues due to misplaced street signs or large barriers or overpasses, it can become dangerous or even lethal for the safest drivers.

Additionally, an intersection will often be more dangerous if the area is heavily traveled by pedestrians and bicyclists but doesn’t have appropriate crosswalks and bicycle lanes.

Indianapolis Intersections with High Injury and Death Rates

When you are driving through any of the following intersections, you are going to want to pay close attention to your surroundings to avoid a motor vehicle accident. These streets have some of the highest injury rates in Indianapolis.

21st Street and Shadeland Avenue

This intersection is surrounded by hotels, restaurants, and shopping centers. With four lanes of traffic running in both directions on 21st and three lanes on each side of Shadeland, there are multiple opportunities for collisions.

Madison Avenue and Stop 11 Road

With grocery stores, gas stations, and drug stores at corners of the intersection, the intersection of Madison Avenue and Stop 11 Road has up to four lanes of traffic, turn signs that aren’t easily read, and no crosswalks on three sides.

38th Street and Franklin Road

These cross streets are not as heavily populated as some, but they are lacking in crosswalks, which puts pedestrians at risk for serious injuries. Franklin and 38th is also an intersection where people frequently travel at a higher rate of speed because there isn’t as much traffic.

86th Street and Keystone Crossing

Keystone Crossing is home to the Fashion Mall at Keystone and is congested with multiple hotels, restaurants, and places to shop. There are many entries and exits at the shopping centers, few crosswalks and bike paths for pedestrians and cyclists, and up to five lanes of traffic going away from the mall with only two going in.

38th Street and High School Road

Another heavily populated intersection right off of I-465, 38th and High School features five lanes of traffic leading to and coming away from the interstate. The lanes are faded and right-of-ways are hard to distinguish. There are also only a couple of pedestrian crosswalks—one across High School Road and one crossing 38th Street.

Meet with an Indianapolis Car Accident Lawyer

If you’ve been injured in any intersection in Indianapolis, an Indianapolis car accident lawyer at Kooi Law can help you obtain the compensation you’re entitled to. The person responsible for your crash should cover your costs so you don’t have to deal with undue financial stress while you recuperate.

Schedule a free consultation today by filling out the convenient contact form below or giving our office a call at (317) 569-1335.

Can Collecting Workers Comp Benefits Stop Me from Filing a Personal Injury Claim?

Can Collecting Workers Comp Benefits Stop Me from Filing a Personal Injury Claim?

Can Collecting Workers Comp Benefits Stop Me from Filing a Personal Injury Claim?

When you suffer an injury at work, you probably have concerns about how you will be able to support yourself and your family while you recover from your wounds. Fortunately, Indiana requires the majority of employers to carry workers compensation insurance.

There are some cases, however, in which the benefits you receive from workers comp simply do not cover the total costs of the damages you’ve endured. There is a way to recover additional compensation: filing a personal injury claim. However, to do so, you’ll have to meet some very specific criteria.

Because a personal injury claim can allow workplace injury victims to recover the full extent of their losses, many people want to file one. But many also wonder whether collecting workers comp benefits can stop them from filing a personal injury claim. Read on for more information on that topic.

How Workers Comp Works

In Indiana, being injured at work entitles you to collect workers compensation benefits. It is a common misconception that you must have been employed with your company for a minimum amount of time or work a minimum amount of hours to qualify; from the moment you begin your first shift, you are covered under your employer’s workers compensation insurance.

These benefits are designed to cover your medical expenses and replace your income while you are unable to work and recovering. Generally, injury victims are able to collect between 65 and 85 percent of their pre-injury income while out of work. You’ll be able to receive your workers comp benefits until your physician clears you to return to work.

Why File a Personal Injury Claim?

Many people believe that they can only collect workers compensation benefits or file a personal injury claim. But it isn’t really one or the other. Filing a personal injury lawsuit for your work injury shouldn’t interfere with your work comp benefits, and collecting work comp benefits shouldn’t interfere with your personal injury lawsuit.

However, to file a personal injury lawsuit outside the work comp system, your case will have to satisfy one or more of the following criteria:

  • Your employer illegally neglected to purchase work comp insurance, or the work comp insurance your employer purchased didn’t meet minimum coverage requirements.
  • Your employer intentionally harmed you or acted with egregious negligence that caused you harm.
  • An outside third party, such as a subcontractor at a construction site, caused your injuries (in which case you would sue the third party—not your employer).

Once we have established that you are eligible to file a personal injury claim, we will begin to calculate what your claim is worth. The remaining 15 to 40 percent of your lost income that you are not currently receiving in workers comp benefits can be recovered, as well as damages for your pain and suffering, loss of future earning potential, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, and loss of consortium.

Our hope is that you are made whole for your losses so that, while you will still have to deal with the physical effects of your work injury, you are able to recover all of the expenses tied to the incident.

Meet with an Indianapolis Workers Comp Lawyer

For more information about collecting workers compensation benefits and moving forward with a personal injury claim against the liable party, reach out to a knowledgeable Indianapolis workers comp lawyer at Kooi Law today. You can schedule your free, no-obligation claim evaluation by filling out the contact form below or giving our office a call at (317) 569-1335.

Medical Malpractice: What Counts as a Healthcare Provider?

Medical Malpractice: What Counts as a Healthcare Provider?

Medical Malpractice: What Counts as a Healthcare Provider?

We trust that the healthcare professionals taking care of us when we fall ill or become injured know what they’re doing. When a caregiver fails to provide good care and is neglectful or negligent in a way that results in further harm, you might have a viable medical malpractice claim.

In a medical malpractice claim, it isn’t so much the kind of healthcare provider who made the mistake as it is the decision he or she made that caused additional injury or illness. Still, knowing whether the type of caregiver in your case can be held accountable in a malpractice claim can be helpful.

In a Hospital Environment

As it applies to medical practice, negligence means that another professional of a similar position, skill set, education level, and level of experience would not have made the same mistake the provider in question made.

When you’re in the hospital, whether it’s for a routine procedure, emergency situation, or childbirth, you will encounter numerous medical professionals. Surgeons, general physicians, obstetricians, nurses, and even interns can all be held accountable for errors in judgement that cause you harm.

Physicians’ Offices

When visiting your primary care physician or your child’s pediatrician, you’ll primarily be working with physicians, physician assistants, and nurses. If any of these professionals makes an error in the diagnosis or treatment of you or your child, you may be able to file a medical malpractice claim.

This is because medical professionals are expected to have the skills and knowledge to properly treat and diagnose various conditions or make referrals to specialists when necessary.

Home Healthcare

For people with permanent disabilities who require help caring for themselves, as well as the elderly who choose not to move into a nursing home or assisted living facility, home healthcare professionals are of the utmost importance.

Often titled home health aides or primary caregivers, medical professionals of this type need to provide excellent care in the home. Without monitoring, home health patients often fall victim to the neglectful and negligent behavior and decisions of their caregivers. Fortunately, negligent home caregivers can be held accountable as healthcare providers.

Nursing Homes and Similar Facilities

More often than not, those who inhabit nursing homes and assisted living facilities are elderly or have suffered a debilitating health crisis, such as a stroke or heart attack. They most often need help caring for themselves.

In a medical malpractice claim for someone who is living in one of these facilities, nurses, primary care technicians, doctors, and even the nursing home or assisted living facility itself can be held accountable if a careless mistake caused further harm to a patient.

Connect with an Indianapolis Medical Malpractice Lawyer

Being made to suffer due to the negligence of a caregiver you entrusted with your health is simply unacceptable. If you have questions about a possible medical malpractice claim and would like to discuss the details with a qualified Indianapolis medical malpractice lawyer, contact Kooi Law today.

You can schedule your free, no-obligation consultation with our firm through the quick contact form we’ve included below or by phone at (317) 569-1335.

INDOT Testing New Cable System To Prevent Fatal Crossover Vehicle Accidents

INDOT Testing New Cable System To Prevent Fatal Crossover Vehicle Accidents

Posted By Kooi || 1-Jan-2009

The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) has been testing high tension cable barriers on two stretches of Indiana interstate for about 2½ years. In late 2005, barriers were installed on Interstate 65 between Zionsville and Lebanon and on Interstate 69 between Noblesville and Anderson. In the three years prior to those installations, the INDOT reported that the same two sections of Interstate combined had 12 fatal crashes, 11 serious injury accidents, and 69 accidents involving injury.

The13-mile test section on I-65 was hit 69 times within the first eight months of its installation; however, there were no vehicles permitted to pass through the barrier and there were no serious injuries in the crashes where the barrier was struck. The cable barrier stopped also stopped at least one semi tractor-trailer.

Beyond those initial eight months, the success of the barriers have continued. Since their installation, those same stretches have had no fatal crashes, five serious accidents and only 13 accidents involving injury. INDOT reported this as an 84 percent reduction in fatalities and accidents involving injury. Most importantly, the cable barrier has provided a 100 percent stoppage of vehicles crossing the median. The success of these test sections has prompted an increase look on the part of the INDOT to place additional barriers throughout the State. Areas of increased risk and high volume accidents are set to get attention first.


CMS Issues New Five Star Rating To Assist Illinois Families in Finding Quality Nursing Homes

CMS Issues New Five Star Rating To Assist Illinois Families in Finding Quality Nursing Homes

Posted By Kooi || 1-Jan-2009

The CMS and HHS have developed a new Five-Star Rating system that evaluates Nursing Home care.

According to the CMS website, the Five-Star Quality Rating System was created to help consumers, their families, and caregivers compare nursing homes more easily and help identify areas about which you may want to ask questions. This rating system is based on continued efforts as a result of the Omnibus Reconciliation Act of 1987 (OBRA ’87), a nursing home reform law, and more recent quality improvement campaigns such as the Advancing Excellence in America’s Nursing Homes, a coalition of consumers, health care providers, and nursing home professionals.

Nursing home ratings are taken from the following three sources of data:

Health Inspections
Quality Measures

More stars are better.

***** Much Above Avg.
**** Above Avg.
*** Average
** Below Avg.
* Much Below Avg.

Currently, 792 Illinois Nursing Homes have been evaluated under the system and can be researched on the CMS Website.

We provide a star rating for each of these three sources, in case some areas are more important to you than others. Then, these three ratings are combined to calculate an overall rating.

Why is this important?
Nursing homes vary in the quality of care and services they provide to their residents. Reviewing health inspection results, staffing data, and quality measure data are three important ways to measure nursing home quality. This information gives you a “snap shot” of the care individual nursing homes give.

One of the most important things to do is to visit the nursing homes you are considering. If possible, also contact your Long-Term Care Ombudsman or State Survey Agency before making a decision. Take a copy of the Nursing Home Checklist when you visit a nursing home and talk to the nursing home staff about the information on this website.


The Federal Government Places Illinois Nursing Homes On Their Watch List

The Federal Government Places Illinois Nursing Homes On Their Watch List

Posted By Kooi || 2-Jan-2009

The federal government through the CMS (The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services) has placed hundreds of nursing homes on a list of long-term care facilities that it wants to improve systemic issues or face expulsion from the Medicaid program.

The watch list is intended to heighten efforts to bring more attention to quality deficiencies at long-term care or nursing home facilities identified on this “special focus facility,” or SFF, list.

The pressure is important because Medicaid is a significant payer for long-term care facilities. By utilizing financial leverage, CMS hopes to bring about improvements in operations at poor-quality or high risk nursing homes.

In November of 2007, CMS began highlighting nursing homes with serious quality issues on its Nursing Home Compare Web site.

The goal of the added attention is to get these facilities with quality problems to do more than just take enough steps to pass the technical requirements of subsequent inspections. In many instances although they may past follow-up inspections, such facilities have been found to have fallen back and failed future inspections, often for the same issues that were initially discovered.

Such facilities with a ‘yo-yo’ compliance history rarely address the underlying systemic problems that were giving rise to to the failures in the first place.

As watch list facilities improve their quality of care and leave the program, new homes are added to the list. Homes that fail to improve are terminated from the Medicare and Medicaid programs.

As an extension of the watch list, CMS has been working to develop their Nursing Home Compare Web sitewill help families make better purchasing decisions about long-term care. Information on the site includes performance scores on quality measures, staffing information, and a three-year history of the home’s health, safety and fire inspection reports. The site is anticipated to be updated quarterly.

Illinois Nursing Home Watch List


New Proposal Would Cut Funding for Nursing Homes That Score Poorly On State Inspections

New Proposal Would Cut Funding for Nursing Homes That Score Poorly On State Inspections

Posted By Kooi || 3-Jan-2009

Under a new proposal the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration plans to pursue in 2009, nursing homes scoring higher on their State and Federal inspections would be rewarded with higher Medicaid payments while those that don’t could suffer cuts. The Indiana FSSA disputes that this is just a cost-saving measure noting that they would have pushed for this proposal regardless of the economic condition. To effect the plan, however, the FSSA must have the policy established through a rule-making process that requires a public hearing and economic evaluations. That will likely take about six months. Despite this, the discussion could be usurped by lawmakers, who are expected to have several bills dealing with nursing home reimbursements and inspections when they return to the Statehouse later this month.

Proposed changes face objection by the Indiana Health Care Association

The Indiana Health Care Association is a group that, among other things, serves as a lobbying mechanism for Indiana nursing homes. The Association has cited a number of objections and proposed changes to the FSSA proposal. Local media reported the association’s president, Stephen Smith, as saying “[w]e completely agree with the intent [of the FSSA proposal]“. “But we think there’s more discussion to be had about the actual approach.” The proposal is part of a larger plan by FSSA to adjust to weakening state revenue and put more recipients into plans that manage health costs so that more spending is matched by Federal dollars.

The FSSA is also looking to change the way most recipients receive prescription drugs. Currently, they are provided through the insurance companies that operate the managed care plans and paid for by the state. With the new approach, FSSA will take over buying and distributing drugs, thereby creating savings of as much as $40 million annually, as Federal law gives states big discounts for such purchases. Additionally, the FSSA will pursue a rule that allows it to pay doctors, dentists and other health-care providers 5 percent less than the current rates. This plan, however, is only intended to be enacted if the state appears to be headed to a deficit and the fiscal situation worsened.


Approximately 40,000 individuals live in Indiana nursing homes, and nearly half of them are recipients of Medicaid. Currently, base Medicaid rates are set by complicated formulas that take into account how much the nursing homes spend on specific areas (such as administration and staffing), and include specialized “add-on” services for such units as people with Alzheimer’s disease.

The FSSA’s plan would boost the add-ons for higher-need/risk patients and decrease the rates for those who could be served by community-based services, such as assisted living and in-home care. It would also increase the rates for nursing homes that receive the highest scores under the new CMS / Department of Health report cards. These evaluations are based on inspections that occur annually or immediately following specific complaints. Nursing homes that do poorly on inspections would get lower rates. The FSSA’s outgoing president was reported as saying that the FSSA was not going to pay a premium for quality of care if the care facilities were providing was not “actually quality”.

The Indiana Health Care Association, through its president, Stephens, said the proposal is based on an inspection and assessment system that is “broken, entirely subjective, and lacks a consistent quality of assurance mechanism.”

The Association intends to back a number of changes to the inspection process. Lawmakers intend to take a look at the association’s suggestions, but Terry Whitson, assistant commissioner for health-care regulatory services at the Indiana Department of Health, said investigators must follow federal guidelines — not a state system — when inspecting nursing homes.

Quoting local media reports, Whitson was heard saying, “[w]e have over 100 nurses performing these surveys and not every one is going to have the same mind-set all the time. There are bound to be some inconsistencies. But all our surveyors go through federal training. Every survey is reviewed by the [Federal] Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. There is a level of consistency and fairness.”
Nursing homes vary in the quality of care and services they provide to their residents. Reviewing health inspection results, staffing data, and quality measure data are three important ways to measure nursing home quality. This information gives you a “snap shot” of the care individual nursing homes give.

One of the most important things to do is to visit the nursing homes you are considering. If possible, also contact your Long-Term Care Ombudsman or State Survey Agency before making a decision. Take a copy of the Nursing Home Checklist when you visit a nursing home and talk to the nursing home staff about the information on this website.