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.

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Indianapolis Catastrophic Childhood Injury Lawyer

A catastrophic injury changes your life in some major way, usually permanently, and also changes the lives of those around you. Severe bodily damage translates into long-term suffering that can last a lifetime. When a child suffers a catastrophic injury, it can mean many decades of special care, pain, and worry, as well as calamitous financial burdens for the child’s family. If another party’s reckless disregard or negligent actions are responsible for such devastating harm, the situation can be a parent’s worst nightmare. The anguish they experience can feel unbearable.

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 your child may never fully recover from the physical injuries inflicted during an 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.

Situations That Can Create Catastrophic Injuries

Certain types of accidents are more likely to result in childhood catastrophic injury than others, and they can be different than those responsible for adult catastrophic injury. For example, adults can experience catastrophic injuries in the workplace; children, of course, do not.

Ways in which a child can be catastrophically injured include:

  • Falls are the leading cause of nonfatal injuries for children less than 15 years of age and can result in serious brain and spinal cord damage. Each year, roughly 2.8 million children visit hospital emergency departments because of falls.
  • Motor vehicle crashes. Vehicular collisions are a leading cause of injury for teens ages 15 to 19, but that does not mean that smaller children do not suffer from serious injury in collisions. The CDC reported that more than 121,350 children were injured in motor vehicle crashes during 2014. Keep in mind that other types of vehicular accidents also injure thousands of kids a year, including bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, and school bus accidents. Children can also be injured in non-traffic vehicular accidents such as backovers.
  • Sports injuries. Tens of millions of children take part in sports, and some begin playing them as young as four. Approximately 3 million children are seen in ERs nationwide for sports injuries each year. Such injuries are the second most common reason that kids and teens visit emergency departments.
  • Fires and other burn-producing residential injuries. Most common in children under the age of four, burns and scalding from fires and other residential accidents can scar a child for life, both inside and out. Fire and scalding residential injuries can be caused by another’s negligence if a third party was involved or if you rent your residence.
  • Most common in children under the age of four, most poisoning episodes occur in the home, but a negligent care situation or inattentive property owner could result in a child’s eating or drinking something dangerous. Because poisons affect the brain and nervous system, a child who recovers from a severe bout of poisoning can suffer lingering aftereffects that impact their daily lives.
  • Near-drowning or suffocating. Such injuries occur most often in children under the age of four. A lack of oxygen to the brain, when it continues for several minutes, creates lasting damage that can be impossible to recover from. An inattentive property owner with a pool or hot tub could potentially be liable for catastrophic injuries.
  • Defective products. Accidents involving dangerous products, such as from child safety seats, furniture, and toys, can also cause catastrophic injuries.

Childhood Catastrophic Injury Types

Generally, the younger the child is, the greater the risk of injuries to that child. However, all ages of children can potentially suffer from one of the following common types of catastrophic injury:

  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBI). Traumatic brain injuries can be caused by many types of accidents, but the results are the same: long-term brain damage that can affect every aspect of a child’s life. Childhood TBIs are especially dangerous because their brains and nervous systems are still developing. The following slide show can provide you with significant information related to childhood brain injuries.

  • Spinal cord injuries (SCI). Catastrophic spinal cord injuries can cause partial or total paralysis. Motor vehicle crashes account for nearly half of all spinal cord injuries (SCI), often resulting in significant, life-long disability.
  • Burns and scalds. Burns can create some of the most disfiguring catastrophic injuries possible, producing a great deal of pain and suffering and very long recovery and rehabilitation times. The financial costs can be enormous. Some severe burns can also result in the loss of a limb.
  • Fractures can be much more than a broken arm. Severe compound bone breaks can result in nerve trauma or even eventual loss of limb because the bones cannot be sufficiently repaired.
  • Traumatic amputations and crushing injuries can mean limb loss and a long, painful, expensive recovery.
  • Poisoning can mean severe internal burns as well as permanent nervous system and brain damage.

The Costs of Care

Caring for a suffering child carries both an emotional and a financial cost. While emotional costs cannot be measured, financial costs can be and have been measured.

It might shock you to discover that the average dollar amount needed to care for severe injuries can range, per year, from $516,938 to $9,550,704. (Medical and rehabilitative care is generally more expensive during the first year.) Additionally, research has shown that the lifetime costs for an adult with a severe spinal injury who is hurt when they are 25 can be as high as $4,729,788. While we do not have a similar figure for childhood catastrophic injury, we might reasonably expect the lifetime costs of care to be higher for a child.

Practically no one has the resources to pay seven-figure bills—the amounts are mind-boggling—and not everyone carries health insurance that might defray some of the costs. However, if recklessness or negligence on the part of another party caused the catastrophic injury, you could seek the following damages:

  • Payment of past and future medical bills and costs
  • Costs of ongoing rehabilitative and therapeutic expenses
  • Costs of ongoing home care
  • Costs of home and vehicle modifications
  • Loss of future earnings capacity
  • Compensation for pain and suffering.

If a child’s catastrophic injury resulted in death, the child’s beneficiaries may be able to pursue compensation in a wrongful death suit. Monetary damages in Indiana are not capped for child wrongful death cases under the state’s Child Wrongful Death Act.

At McNeely Stephenson, we believe justice matters.

If someone’s negligent or reckless actions have caused injury or death to your child, it is your right to seek compensation in a personal injury lawsuit, but it is critical to have a knowledgeable and trustworthy legal professional representing you. We suggest you talk with the child injury lawyers at McNeely Stephenson. Both Mike Stephenson, with his more than three decades of experience, and Brady Rife, with his diverse experience in personal injury litigation, will commit the highest standards of client care to your case.

Let our Indianapolis child injury lawyers fight for you. The resources of McNeely Stephenson can be your means of achieving justice when your child is the victim of someone’s negligence or recklessness. What is your next step? You can start now by calling Mike or Brady, or you can use our online contact form for a free evaluation of your claim.

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

At McNeely Stephenson, we believe justice matters.

If someone else’s negligence caused or contributed to the situation which made you suffer a burn injury, they and not you should have to bear the costs associated with your treatment and recovery. This could include both economic and non-economic damages. “Economic damages” are things such as past and future medical bills; the cost of rehabilitation; assistive devices and prostheses; and lost wages. Typical “non-economic” damages are compensation for pain and suffering, and for mental anguish resulting from the injury.

Let our Indianapolis burn injuries lawyers fight for you. The experience of Mike Stephenson and the resources of McNeely Stephenson can be your means of achieving justice when you are the victim of someone’s negligence or recklessness. Call 1-317-825-5200 or use our online contact form for a free evaluation of your claim.

Personal Injury Lawyer
March 22, 2019 / Wrongful Death
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Accidental deaths have hit an all-time high in the U.S., at least since government agencies have kept records on the causes of death. About 466 people die accidental deaths every day in the U.S. – one every three minutes. It’s clearly bad news that highlights so many challenges Americans are currently facing, including an opioid epidemic and the persistent uptick in the number of vehicle crash-related deaths. You might be wondering what ma...


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.


The National Trial Lawyers: Top 100 is an invitation-only organization composed of the premier trial lawyers. Membership is extended only to the select few of the most qualified attorneys. Indiana attorney Mike Stephenson is proud to be included in this national organization of top trial lawyers.


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