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

Example Injury Cases

We Take the Hard Cases

At Stephenson Rife, we’re not accustomed to the words, “That case is too hard.” Our law firm takes on cases that other attorneys shrink from.

That’s because we feel strongly that accident victims and their families have a right to compensation after their lives have been shattered by the carelessness and negligence of others.

When gathering evidence, we search high and low for obscure documents, police reports, expert witnesses and medical test results that prove your injury claim and compel defendants to provide financial settlements or face a jury in the courtroom.

You don’t have to go it alone. We’ve helped hundreds of accident victims win cases and receive financial compensation.

Multimillion-Dollar Settlement For Survivors

“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 Stephenson Rife firm was hired shortly after the crash to represent the family of the deceased. Stephenson immediately began an aggressive investigation and preparation for trial. The discovery phase of the litigation included successfully petitioning the court to have important documents turned over by the defense. We took more than 60 depositions in five different states. Experts from across the country were hired and prepared for trial. Because of Stephenson’s tireless advocacy, shortly before the trial was to commence, the defendants settled the case for $48.5 million.

Vehicle Accident Case Summaries

“B.D.” was driving to a local hospital where she worked as a registered nurse in the chemotherapy department. As B.D. was approaching a county road, a semi moved to the left-hand lane of the four-lane road and was making a left turn onto the county road. A pick-up driver could not see around the semi and drove directly into her path, giving her no time to apply her brakes or swerve. B.D. received what was initially felt to be a minor injury to her left foot that resulted in it being placed in a splint. She continued to experience complications with the injuries to her foot that ultimately resulted in surgery.

After Attorney Mike Stephenson’s involvement and communicating extensively with the treating doctors, it was established that the type of injury received by B.D. would prevent her from ever working at a job where she would be required to stand on her feet, as she had done for years. Our client’s injuries were tremendously increased by the fact that she was unable to help those who needed chemotherapy. She was restricted to a desk job and talking on phone. The injuries were difficult to quantify, but were very significant to B.D. The case was eventually settled after mediation for a confidential sum.

Example Bicycle Accident Cases

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.

Other attorneys had investigated this case and turned it down due to Indiana contributory negligence laws. D.H. retained Stephenson and Rife, who immediately starting performing a detailed investigation into the background of the bridge. Through the investigation, they were able to learn that there were multiple past recommendations to replace the bridge. There were no warning signs for bicyclists or pedestrians about the hazards of the bridge. This case settled for $355,000.

Truck Accident Cases

“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.

Drunk Driving Wreck Case Summary

“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.

By Stephenson’s early involvement in the case, he was able to do a thorough investigation and obtain the names of witnesses that were not identified on the police report. These witnesses were able to identify the reckless driving of D.C. long before he ever hit B.K. In addition, other witnesses were able to identify the amount of alcohol that D.C. was served by ABC Restaurant.

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 that resulted in a settlement for a non-disclosed amount shortly after suit was filed.

Example Personal Injury Case

Blackford County jury returned a verdict for client for an amount over four times the last offer from the insurance company. Our client, JR, a 40 year old lady, went with friends to Mel’s Keg in Hartford City, Indiana. Mel’s is a small bar and grill near downtown Hartford City. JR and her female friend, KS, met a group of high school friends at Mel’s. Shortly after JR and KS arrived at Mel’s, KS’s stepsister of 25 years, RTB, came into the bar with a group of her friends to celebrate her birthday.

Unfortunately, later that evening KS and her stepsister, RTB, got into a heated argument which eventually turned into a physical altercation. The altercation was broken up by the groups of friends who had come to Mel’s Keg with both women. Immediately after the two women were pulled apart, RTB grabbed a beer mug and threw it across the room at her stepsister but missed and struck our client in the face, severely cutting her upper lip and breaking off a front tooth. The entire argument and physical altercation was captured on surveillance tape.

JR went to the ER but her injury was so severe that she was referred to an oral surgeon for treatment. JR was taken to Indianapolis the following day where the through-and-through laceration of her lip was sutured. She eventually had a root canal and a cap placed on her front tooth. JR has undergone one revision surgery to minimize the scar, and will likely need the cap replaced over the course of her life time. She was left with a noticeable scar on her lip. JR’s medical expense totaled $8,900.

Suit was filed against JR’s stepsister and Mel’s Keg. At mediation and before trial the most offered to settle JR’s claim was $35,000. The jury returned a verdict in her favor for $157,000, assessing 55% of the liability to one stepsister, 35% to the other stepsister, and 10 % to JR, resulting in a net verdict over two times the amount offered by the RTB’s insurance company.

Product Liability / Tire Defect Cases

A large chain tire retailer sold an “almost new” eight year old tire to an unsuspecting buyer in Nevada.

As the young man was driving his Ford Bronco along a two-lane state road, the tire failed causing him to lose control and go left of center striking a motorcycle killing “J.M.” and his wife.

Stephenson was hired and went to Nevada to examine the wreck and the tire. The family had been advised initially that the age of the tire would prevent the successful prosecution of a wrongful death action against the manufacturer. Thorough research and the employment of national experts led to the conclusion that the original assessment was incorrect. A thorough expert analysis of the tire, along with a trip to the tire manufacturing facility and obtaining the factory specifications for the tire, allowed Stephenson to produce objective evidence that the tire had been improperly manufactured by the manufacturer’s own standards. Stephenson, with the assistance of highly specialized computer animation, put together a state-of-the-art visual presentation that showed objectively how the tire failed to meet the manufacturer’s own standards. This technology demonstrated clearly the magnitude of defects in the tire and how easy it would be to show a jury the reason for the tire failure.

The case settled after the presentation of the computer animation.

Workplace Accident Case Results

Stephenson was hired by an attorney in Indianapolis to assist in pursuing a claim on behalf of “R.K.” against Aldi Foods. R.K. was a delivery truck driver who had made a delivery to an Aldi store during the middle of the night. While making the delivery, he was pushing a pallet jack through a freezer door when he received an electrical shock from an exposed wire and a threshold that had been missing for some period of time.

The defendant denied liability and initially claimed that our client was malingering or grossly exaggerating any injuries he may have received. Before Stephenson’s involvement in the case, the defendants had offered a nuisance value settlement. After a thorough investigation and hiring the proper expert, Stephenson was able to establish that R.K. would never return to his job as a truck driver. Further, Stephenson was able to establish through expert testimony that the injuries and complaints of pain and suffering were very real and legitimate. After a second round of mediation, our client received a confidential settlement.

Medical Malpractice Claims

Stephenson was hired by the Estate of “D.P.” to pursue a medical malpractice claim against Community Hospital in Indianapolis, as well as a claim against a surgeon who failed to timely identify a small bowel obstruction. Our client had gone to the Community Hospital emergency room on three separate occasions within a five day period of time complaining of stomach pain. On her third trip to the hospital, a KUB series of films were ordered by the emergency room doctor. For reasons unknown, after the films were interpreted by a radiologist in the hospital showing the life-threatening condition of a small bowel obstruction, the radiologist’s interpretation was not given to the treating surgeon.

The matter went to trial, and a jury returned a verdict in favor of the estate for $8.5 million.

Example Pedestrian Injury Cases

M.A. was walking on the sidewalk along a bridge on his way home from work one evening when he was struck by a bicyclist who was riding his bicycle on the bridge in violation of local ordinance. M.A. was knocked into the path of oncoming traffic and was run over by at least one car and nearly died as a result of his injuries.