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Sunday, April 14, 2019

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)

ADR is a procedure that parties to disputes give each other as options or alternatives to lawsuits. Partly because of the growing number of claims and the extra work that this has caused the court system and partly because of a need to solve problems at less expense and with less time. Examples of ADR are arbitration and mediation. These do not use the courts, judges or juries.

Firstly, let me point out that this is an optional set of procedures for the claimant. Neither they nor the insurance company is required to choose the option of arbitration or mediation. But may do so as an alternative to court or jury trial. 

Secondly, both sides must agree to submit the case to ADR as one side generally cannot force it to be done. Thirdly, the costs of presenting a case in this manner can be greatly reduced; in some instances at a fraction of the cost. Fourthly, as to timing, cases can generally be disposed of by arbitration or mediation in as sort a time as 2-4 weeks compared to months or even years for court. 

The law is changing. The law is adjusting and adapting to the needs of the people it serves and the development of ADR, giving people additional ways of resolving their differences, is good evidence of this. 

Tofaute & Spelman have been using ADR to resolve our clients' cases for many years and are skilled at making sure this option is used when it benefits our clients the most.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Personal Injury: Do We Understand? You Bet We Do. By George B. Tofaute

A few years ago, I was hit from behind by a semi-truck driver. In a split second, and without any warning except a terrifying glance in the rear-view mirror, there was a crash of a semi-truck into my car. It changed my life forever. I knew I was hurt. First I felt nauseated. I knew I was going to be sick. My head, neck, back and shoulders began to hurt. I was very hot. But I sat still until I heard sirens and then help arrived.

Even though we help people every day in similar situations, it was still hard to know what to do next. A police officer wrote his report and told me the semi driver was to be arrested. I was able to take myself to the doctor and then started months of diagnostic tests and treatments: x-rays, a CT scan, 2 MRI's, physical therapy and ultimately surgery on my neck and another one projected from my shoulder.

In a moment, I went from the attorney to "the client." Thankfully, I work with several professionals who would help me manage my case. As a result of my own journey from the accident, I vowed to always remember what it is like to be a client on the other side of the table. It literally turns your life upside down.

At Tofaute & Spelman, we have a team of men and women who know and understand the effects of injury situations. We care about injured people and their families, because we too, have been there.

Monday, January 28, 2019

Good Medicine Makes Good Law by George Tofaute

Tofaute & Spelman has limited its practice to serving injured persons and their families for 30 years. Our clients hear from us that we are most interested in following their medical treatment and being advised of their medical course. We explain to them that as the case progresses, we will need precise written reports from all their doctors and treatments and the future prospects as a result of their injuries.There are several reasons we are interested in following the course of medical treatment.

  1. Our clients sometimes undergo long series of medical treatments. Office visits, surgery, p/t, diagnostic procedures such as MRI's, CT Scans, and X-rays, therapy with chiropractic physicians and more.
  2. There are times when the client is not familiar with the various services available for the injuries they sustained. Since we deal with many health care providers, one might think we can recommend a provider. We actually have no preference for any provider, but may have suggestions about certain treatments.
  3. Sometimes, surgery is the best medical approach to our client's injuries. Clients who have surgery usually have a period of disability during the recuperation process. This increases medical expenses and can result in lost income. Lost income and is also an element of damages under Indiana law that we will be concerned about.
Like all other professionals in the filed, we strive diligently to avoid making mistakes. That is why we are so insistent that our clients tell us EVERY TIME they are treated for their injuries so we can follow their medical treatment course. This is also why we need written and accurate medial records and reports from all providers and their findings. It is only with the best medical care, evaluation, and documentation that we can render the very best of LEGAL services to those injuries and their families who's ask for our legal help.

Monday, July 18, 2016

More and More Truck Accidents by George Tofaute

National statistics show that big truck (18 wheelers) accidents are increasing. In 2012 more than 100,000 folks were hurt by big trucks. Almost 4,000 were killed. Did you know that fatal truck accidents KILL eleven (11) people every day? Why? How?

According to our government, reports show:

1. drivers who drive too long and "fudge" their logs;  
2. hiring of non-qualified drivers just to get trucks on the road at any cost;  
3. not adopting new safety technology;  
4. driver fatigue;
5. cell phone use;  
6. excessive speed; 
7. driver distractions.
Remember actor Tracy Morgan's horrible crash in New Jersey a year or so ago? One man was killed and Morgan was left with a traumatic brain injury.  The truck driver who caused the crash was a semi-truck driver for Wal-Mart and drove 12 hours to work BEFORE DRIVING A TWELVE (12) HOUR SHIFT. The investigation found that he had been on the road more than twenty-eight (28) consecutive hours at the time of the crash.  This crash occurred despite the ''hours of service rule" that limits operators to no more than eleven (11) consecutive driving hours.

Do big trucks on the highway scare you? Me too!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Cell Phones and Driving Do NOT Go Together! Drive Now - TXT L8R

Drive Now - TXT L8R by George Tofaute

See that car coming toward you? Is it "drifting" over the center line into your lane? Is the driver talking on a cell phone? How does this make YOU feel? Stomach tense, panicky very VERY afraid, then angry!

Flash your lights, honk your horn…did it work? Did they see you and "pull back" in time not to hit you head on??  Great. Don't do this to someone else! Remember how it made you feel.

Do not, repeat, NOT, talk on your cell phone or text while driving.  For more information, visit Drive Now - TXT L8R

Monday, February 3, 2014

Insurance Adjusters and YOU! By George Tofaute

You've been injured in an accident. An insurance adjuster from the company that insures the at-fault driver calls and wants to come to your home -- or hospital room -- or the funeral home.

Why? Probably because the insurance company feels they can "control" the claim and keep you away from hiring a lawyer. Why would they want to keep you or a loved one away from a lawyer?

Because they know (and facts bear this out) that injury claims are paid higher amounts when the injured person, or their loved ones, have attorneys helping them.

Call us today. We can answer your questions and if you like what you hear, we can be YOUR lawyers. You pay NO money upfront. We are paid out of the settlement or court verdict. And, only if you are paid and the case is won.  Call us today 800-468-8736. The call and the consultation are FREE

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Do's and Don'ts After an Accident by George Tofaute

  1. Call 911;
  2. Get witness names and take pictures of injuries and vehicles;
  3. Get good medical care ASAP;
  4. Report to your insurance company;
  5. Call Tofaute & Spelman -- it's FREE!!

  1. Give a statement to the other insurance company;
  2. Sign anything before talking to an attorney (call us for FREE);
  3. Set a "price" on your case with the other insurance company (may be too low).
We have been helping the injured and their families for over 50 years. Call us. 800-468-8736. The call and consultation are FREE!