Back Injury - Car Accident

The case was set for trial. Stephenson and Rife hired an animation company to prepare a video exhibit to help the jury understand the complexity of the surgery C.M. had to endure. Our attorneys shared the exhibit with State Farm at mediation shortly before trial. State Farm paid $850,000 to settle the case.

our client results

Indiana Boat Accident Lawyer

What causes boating accidents in Indiana?
Does alcohol play a part in boating accidents?
What types of watercraft are most likely to be involved in accidents?
Lakes, rivers or oceans?
Injured in a Boating Accident? What to do?

What causes boating accidents in Indiana?

The top five contributing factors in recreational boating accidents are:

  • Operator inattention, defined as failure on the part of the operator to pay attention to the vessel, its occupants, or the environment in which the vessel is operating.
  • Improper lookout for dangers such as other boats, logs, sandbars or swimmers.
  • Operator inexperience, either in general or with the particular vessel in use.
  • Excessive speed, which means more than the reasonable and prudent speed, not necessarily the posted speed limit.
  • Machinery failure, from a defect or design or construction of parts like engine, steering system, fuel system or electrics.

Boating is an enormously popular pastime, and for a variety of reasons. Some love the challenge of fishing; some enjoy the athletic adventure of skiing; and others spend summer days cruising the open water, finding the warm sunshine and rush of air exhilarating. Unfortunately, every year some boaters experience the pain of injury or loss of loved ones caused by those who operate their boats and personal watercraft with disregard for the law or commonsense safety procedures.

The U.S. Coast Guard reports that in 2013, there were 4,062 accidents on the water, injuring 2,620 and killing 560. In Indiana in 2013, there were 44 boating accidents, with 5 fatalities and 31 injuries.

The Indiana boat accident lawyers of McNeely Stephenson have been successfully litigating personal injury cases since 1982. Call Mike Stephenson at 1-855-206-2555 if you or your loved one was the victim of a drunk or inattentive boater.

Does alcohol play a part in boating accidents?

Driving while intoxicated is the sixth most common cause of boating accidents and the leading factor in 16% of boating deaths nationally. Alcohol was a contributing factor in 63 of 75 boating accidents recorded in Indiana in 2011, and in 60 of 64 boating accidents in 2010.

In Indiana, the blood-alcohol limit for boat operators (and for operators of personal watercraft) is the same as for drivers of cars or trucks — 0.08 – but you can be arrested for having a lower level if your actions are impaired and cause a danger to others. Those who are convicted of boating while intoxicated (BWI) can lose their right to operate a boat and also their vehicle driving privileges. They also face jail time and fees. A person boating while intoxicated who causes the death or serious injury of another person will, upon conviction, be guilty of a felony.

Boaters often don’t realize that they cannot safely consume the same amount of alcohol while on the water as they would at home or in a restaurant. Factors such as the motion of the boat, the glare and heat of the sun, and dehydration cause impairment more quickly for boaters.

What types of watercraft are most likely to be involved in accidents?

Nearly half – 46% — of the accidents on the water involve open motorboats, followed by personal watercraft (PWC) such as WaveRunners, Sea-Doos, and Jet Skis (18%) and cabin motorboats (17%).

Lakes, rivers or oceans?

Most boating accidents happen on lakes, in calm water, when visibility is good, according to Coast Guard statistics.

Indiana’s largest lake, Lake Monroe, was the site of a tragic accident in July of 2010 which killed a woman and her grandson. The accident led to passage of legislation to include drugs as well as alcohol as prohibited substances while boating.

In May 2014, an accident on Dogwood Lake resulted in the death of one man; alcohol was thought to be a factor.

On Memorial Day Weekend of 2014, an accident on Bass Lake injured two people riding PWCs.

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

Injured in a Boating Accident? Your Next Step...

At McNeely Stephenson, we believe justice matters.

Someone who takes the wheel of a boat while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or who acts with reckless disregard for the safety of others on the water, must be held to account.

The negligent party should compensate the injured or grieving victims . . . that’s only just. Mike Stephenson can help you pursue justice from those who caused your pain and financial loss.

Call him at 1-855-206-2555, or use our convenient online contact form.

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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