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Truck Accident Multimillion-Dollar Settlement.

"M.A.," a 30-year-old man, was driving to work in New Mexico. Suddenly a commercial truck veered across the center line and struck his vehicle head on. M.A. died at the scene. The McNeely Stephenson firm was hired shortly after the crash to represent the family of the deceased.

our client results

A favorable personal injury settlement can accomplish a lot.
It can pay for property damage, cover medical bills, and compensate for pain and suffering. In some cases, it can even be used to punish bad actors and deter future wrongdoing. Ironically, though, no amount of settlement money can ever accomplish what damage awards were designed to do in the first place – put the victim back in the position he or she was in prior to the accident. Nowhere is this more evident than in a catastrophic injury case.

Catastrophic injuries are those that either cause death, or, at a minimum, cause a significant and permanent deterioration of the victim’s quality of life. A spinal cord injury resulting in paralysis is a classic example. For victims and their families, these cases do not end when a settlement check is issued or the jury renders its verdict – the consequences last a lifetime.

At McNeely Stephenson, we understand that financial compensation will not undo the harm you suffered. But that does not mean your catastrophic injury claim is something to be taken lightly. The fact that you or your loved one may never fully recover from the physical injuries inflicted during the accident makes proper handling of the legal claim imperative. Your future depends on it. Contact our team of Indiana trial attorneys now to learn more about your rights.

The Dangers of Childhood Head Injuries

How Catastrophic Injuries Happen

Newspaper reporters love to use the term “freak accident” to describe horrific incidents. Apparently, this terminology is meant to characterize one-of-a-kind accidents that no one could have foreseen or prevented. The truth is that very few (if any) accidents can be accurately described this way. The facts surrounding a catastrophic accident are always unique, to be sure, but the conduct involved usually fits a familiar pattern. Here are the most common causes of catastrophic injuries, with examples of each:

Operator Error

Negligent or reckless operation of vehicles is the most common cause of catastrophic injuries in Indiana.

Faulty Products

The items we use every day have the potential to inflict great harm if they were not designed and manufactured correctly.

Negligent Handling of Hazardous Materials

From leaking storage facilities, to tanker truck accidents on the interstate, hazmat exposure can lead to serious injury.

  • Flammable substances
  • Explosives
  • Corrosive materials
  • Toxic byproducts and other industrial waste
  • Drinking water contaminants
  • Fumes and gasses


The careless conduct responsible for an accident can begin hours beforehand, when the choice to consume alcohol or drugs is made.

  • Drunk driving
  • High driving (marijuana, party drugs, prescription medication)
  • Boating while intoxicated
  • Operating equipment/machinery while intoxicated
  • Furnishing intoxicating substances to others

Medical Malpractice

Negligent conduct is especially dangerous when committed by the healthcare professionals we trust.

Intentional Acts

Catastrophic injuries are not always accidental. Sometimes the responsible party purposefully inflicted the harm.

Disregard of Safety Protocols

Violations of government, industry, or company safety rules are common causes of workplace accidents in Indiana.

  • Falls from height
  • Electrocutions
  • Crane and other heavy equipment accidents
  • Explosions
  • Falling objects or materials
  • Cave-ins

Irresponsible Animal Ownership

An Indianapolis/Marion County ordinance requires animals to be confined or leashed. Disregard for the law can lead to tragedy.

Failure to Maintain Safe Premises

Devastating injuries can occur when owners or their tenants fail to address dangers on the property.

  • Slip and fall (especially dangerous for elderly victims)
  • Building code violations
  • Failure to provide adequate security
  • Elevator and escalator injuries
  • Recreational sports accidents
  • Swimming pool accidents
  • Firearm accidents in the home

Consequences of a Catastrophic Injury

After 30 years of representing accident victims in Indiana, the attorneys at McNeely Stephenson have witnessed catastrophic injuries affecting every function of the human body. The worst of these injuries are the ones that permanently impede a victim’s:

  • Mobility
  • Cognitive skills
  • Ability to communicate
  • Physical appearance
  • Longevity

Limitations in one or more of these areas causes irreparable harm not just to the victim, but to the wellbeing of the victim’s dependents and loved ones. The amount of compensation obtained in a catastrophic injury settlement should reflect this fact.

Types of Catastrophic Injuries We Handle

Catastrophic injuries and catastrophic accidents do not necessarily go hand in hand. An accident that appears terrible, like a high-speed traffic crash, may produce only minor injuries. Conversely, a seemingly innocuous accident, like falling on an icy sidewalk, may lead to permanent disability. That is why, when it comes to proving damages, our lawyers focus on what matters most – your injury.

We represent people who have suffered all types of catastrophic injuries, including:

real-life cases

“B.K.” was driving on a two-lane road one Sunday afternoon with his mother in the front seat and his brother and sister-in-law in the back seat when his life was forever changed. B.K. was struck head on by D.C.

D.C. had spent the day drinking with a friend and had stopped at a restaurant less than five miles from the point of the accident where D.C. had been served several drinks. D.C.’s blood alcohol level was more than twice the legal limit.

As a result of the terrible wreck, B.K. received devastating injuries, which included multiple broken bones, facial fractures, and loss of vision. B.K.’s mother, brother, and sister-in-law were all killed in the accident.

As one would anticipate, D.C. had virtually no insurance. Stephenson, through his thorough and detailed investigation, was able to prepare claims against the restaurant and those that provided the alcohol.

Stephenson pursued dram shop claims against those responsible CASE SUMMARY

D.H. was a competitive bicyclist who was riding in preparation for a cross-country fundraising ride. In the spring of 2010, D.H. was riding across an old steel-grated deck bridge in Shelby County when he hit a hole in the bridge and flipped over the handlebars of his bike. The impact to the bridge decking caused severe injuries to his face, teeth, tongue, and elbow.

Through the investigation, they were able to learn as early as 1998, the bridge inspection reports showed the bridge in question needed to be replaced. The county never authorized additional inspections. The county obtained $844,000 in funding for the replacement of the bridge in 2000, but the Historical Society and adjacent property owners wanted the bridge repaired rather than replaced.

This crash could have been avoided if the inspectors and county had done their jobs. CASE SUMMARY

Our client (“D.W.”) was a front-seat passenger in a vehicle that was struck by a UDF truck making deliveries. D.W. received broken arms and legs, as well as internal injuries. Stephenson was retained by D.W.’s personal counsel to prepare and try the case. Discovery determined that the UDF driver had multiple driving violations. Stephenson retained numerous experts to show the jury the devastating effects of the injuries. Before trial, the defendant’s company stated that a jury in a small southern county in Indiana would never return a verdict for $1 million in this case.

The defendant was correct; the verdict was twice that amount. CASE SUMMARY

Speak to an Indiana Personal Injury Lawyer Today

When an insurance company is notified that one of its insureds may have caused a catastrophic injury, it immediately goes to work strengthening its side of the case. As a victim, you need to do the same. The first step is to contact an experienced Indiana personal injury law firm for a consultation and case evaluation. McNeely Stephenson has offices in Indianapolis, New Albany, and Shelbyville.

We can also visit with you on the telephone, or even at the hospital or at home if necessary. Call (888) 991-8278 or use our intake form to tell us about your case now.

Personal Injury Lawyer
March 9, 2018 / Vehicle Accidents
PERCLOS: The Newest Way to Detect Drowsy Drivers

How many times have you seen a weaving car on the road and wondered, is that driver under the influence? Did you ever consider that they might be sleepy and not drunk? It turns out that drowsy driving is a much bigger problem than the official statistics would lead you to believe. The U.S. government’s figures have traditionally pegged drowsy driving as responsible for, at most, 2 percent of all crashes. But a new study using the PERCLOS m...


Mike Stephenson is a Super Lawyer in Indiana along with many of his peers at McNeely Stephenson. This is one of the highest honors an attorney can achieve


The AV Preeminent Rating from Martindale Hubbell is the HIGHEST RATING and considered a significant accomplishment. It is a peer-reviewed process reflecting that other attorneys rank Mike Stephenson at the highest possible level of professional excellence.


Attorney Mike Stephenson is a proud member of The Litigation Counsel of America’s Honorary Society. A close-knit, peer-selected, and aggressively diverse honorary society of 3,500 of the “best trial lawyers” in the country. Less than one-half of one percent of American lawyers, vigorously vetted for skills, expertise, and service; an invitation-only collegial network.


The American Board of Trial Advocates is an invitation-only organization for attorneys of “high personal character and honorable reputation.” ABOTA works for the preservation of the civil jury trial, “Justice by the People,” and supports the right of a jury trial.


Our attorneys are proven advocates and trial attorneys. They have served as lead trial counsel in more than 100 civil jury trials, and have handled litigation in 18 states