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Personal Injury Claim

JR was offered a settlement of $35,000. The jury returned a verdict in her favor for $157,000, a net verdict over two times the amount offered by the RTB’s insurance company.

our client results
Thanksgiving Turkey Fryer Injuries

Ever hear of a turkey torch? That’s what fire departments call a deep-fat turkey fryer, an appliance increasingly being used for cooking the Thanksgiving Day turkey. Fried turkey aficionados say this method produces a juicier bird with crispy skin, and in a fraction of the time needed for oven roasting. A lot of guys seem to like the adventure of this outdoor cooking technique which depends on gallons of hot oil and a propane-fired open burner. It’s more “fun” than sliding a roaster into the kitchen oven. What’s not fun are the fires and injuries that occur each year from turkey fryer fires.

State Farm Insurance says that grease and cooking-related claims more than double on Thanksgiving Day compared to an average day in November. During 2012, fire departments in Indiana responded to more than 1,500 cooking fires. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) says deep fryer fires cause an average of 5 deaths, 60 injuries, and more than $15 million in property damage each year.

You may have seen the news reports of these recent Indiana turkey fryer fires:

  • In September of 2012, a Valparaiso man lit the burner of the turkey fryer he had in his garage and then went inside for 15 minutes while it heated the oil. When he returned, the fryer was on fire. He tried to carry it outside but the oil spilled and caused an uncontrollable fire. The man suffered burns to his hands and arms; the house was fully engulfed by flames.
  • In St. John, Indiana, a turkey fryer started a fire that destroyed a garage and an SUV. The fire began when oil in the fryer boiled over. No people were injured, but the house was damaged by smoke and water.

State Farm releases data each year on the number of November claims for cooking fires. In 2011, Indiana was in the top ten states for the number of grease and cooking-related claims; we fell off the list in 2012, so maybe we’re doing something right. Here are some of the things you should do right if you’re going to fry a turkey this year:

  • Look for the newer model fryer which has a sealed lid to prevent oil spills.
  • Put the fryer in an open area away from all walls, fences or other structures.
  • Put the liquid propane tank at least 2 feet away from the fryer burner.
  • Never use the fryer in, on or under a garage, breezeway, carport, porch, deck or any other structure that can catch fire.
  • Make sure the turkey is completely thawed (the USDA says 24 hours for every 4 to 5 pounds).
  • Make sure the turkey is dry when placed in the hot oil. Slowly raise and lower the turkey to reduce hot-oil splatter and to avoid burns.
  • Don’t overfill fryer with oil. Turkey fryers can ignite in seconds after oil hits the burner.
  • Keep the fryer in full view while the burner is on.
  • Keep children and pets away from the cooking area.
  • If oil begins to smoke, immediately turn the gas off.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher nearby and know how to use it. It should be made specifically for grease fires.
  • Do not use a hose in an attempt to douse a turkey fryer fire.
  • If you do burn yourself, or someone else is burned, seek immediate medical attention.

Most turkey fryer fires are due to “operator error.” But the fryers themselves have inherent problems. Underwriters Laboratories, the product safety testing and certification organization, refuses to certify any turkey fryer as safe. Their Director of Consumer Affairs, John Drengenberg, stated, “Although we recognize that the industry has made improvement to turkey fryers, we’re still concerned by the increasing reports of fires related to turkey fryer use. Based on our observations, the fryers used to produce those great-tasting birds may not be worth the risks. And, as a result of these observations, UL has decided not to certify any turkey fryers with our trusted UL Mark.”

UL has produced a video demonstrating their concerns:

Additionally, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has stated that “turkey fryers that use oil, as currently designed, are not suitable for acceptably safe use by even a well-informed and careful consumer.”

Shelbyville Attorney Mike StephensonMike Stephenson of McNeely Stephenson has been successfully litigating personal injury cases since 1982, including claims of injury caused by defective products. If you or someone you know has been harmed by a turkey fryer that was faulty or was defectively designed, we may be able to help.

Call Mike Stephenson for a free consultation.

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, 2018 / Truck Accidents
Truck Tire Blowouts: Danger on the Road

In late September 2017, a terrible truck accident occurred on I-70 in the Mt. Comfort Road area of Buck Creek Township, near mile marker 95.2. A tanker truck ran off the highway, hitting a bridge and spilling thousands of gallons of oil when it split in two. It took HAZMAT teams several hours to clean up the oil, and the interstate was shut down in both directions for more than three hours. The driver was taken to the hospital with critical injur...


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.


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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