Do I file for Disability or Early Retirement?

Do I file for Disability or Early Retirement?

Filed under the "Things Every American Should Know But Doesn't" tag, this short entry details a little known option that many folks have if they have become disabled and are also approaching early retirement age (age 62).

3 Reasons Fishermen Make Good Trial Lawers


The comments below reflect the views of the author only, and not the legal community at large, the local bar association, or any state or national trial lawyers organizations. Further, the views of the the author are specifically disclaimed by his firm, staff, family, Facebook friends, and acquaintances. Schad & Schad, PC (an Indiana public corporation) and its heirs, successors, assigns, and affiliates expressly disclaim (and disapprove) of the opinions set forth in this blog entry, and discourage both lending it credence or re-posting in any manner. 

#1 - A Fisherman is an excellent storyteller. 

Everyone knows that fisherman are good storytellers.  Just ask them to tell you about that special big fish, and be prepared to strap yourself in for a long ride.  The story will be filled with drama, plot twist, and colorful language. And, in the end, the hero always gets the fish.  Aren't trial lawyers just storytellers with suits? 

#2 - Fishermen, like lawyers, don't let the facts get in the way of a good story. 

Fishermen have a flexible approach to facts.  Lawyers and fishermen don't let the facts get in the way of a good ending. Both skilled lawyering and skilled fishing require a certain ambivalence toward reality. Fishing may be the only profession which has a lower public perception of truthfulness than the law. 

#3. Fishermen are doggedly persistent and seldom, if ever, give up before they've nailed their quarry. 

A fisherman will drive 1000 miles for the privilege of fishing in the rain for three days in the vain hope of of catching one big fish. He will set his alarm for 3:30 a.m. and hike through the woods to jump a good hole.  He will sit in the broiling sun for eight hours without sunscreen to bring home his catch.  I recently drove 1000 miles in the vain hope of getting an opposing expert to tell the truth in a deposition. 

Bonus: The "Fly Fisherman Enhancement" factor

If you have the good fortune to be represented by a lawyer who is a flyfisherman you can expect some added value. He will be obsessively compulsive about case details. He's probably well dressed. He will have spent so much money on flyfishing equipment that he has to work twice as hard as he should. 

But - and this is the most important bonus - he'll be smiling a lot of the time. 








Nursing Home Abuse: Top 5 Lessons Learned

I recently settled a nursing home negligence case. They're disturbing, not just because of the treatment that our elderly receive, but because they forced me to think about aging, dying, and our responsibilities to our parents. Here are some of my takeaways. 

1. Nursing Home cases are difficult and complicated. You're trying to prove that negligence caused medical problems. But almost all nursing home patients have lots of health problems already. Some are nearing the end of their life, regardless of the care they receive. There were over 6000 pages of medical records to review in this recent case, many of them indecipherable. Taking them on takes meticulous attention to detail. 

2. Everyone, regardless of their age, is entitled to their dignity. As we age and our bodies fail we grow accustomed to certain losses of our independence, and consequently, some of our pride. When I look at these cases I am struck by the absolute truth that the same will happen to me and most of the people I know.  And yet, we are all entitled to basic human dignity as we age and die. To my way of thinking, that's the most important things that nursing homes can provide. When they fail, the loss hits everyone. 

3. At some point, most of us will have to put our parents in a nursing home - and there's nothing wrong with that. Looking through these records you realize just how much care and expertise it takes to care for the elderly. Most of us would not be equipped to handle it. Medications, frequent MD appointments, personal care. . . most families are simply not equipped to handle it.  And yet, it makes the decision to place our loved ones in care no less anguishing. If they are harmed in nursing home care, there is even more guilt involved.  I think that the best we can hope for is to make sure that once our loved ones are in care we remain their guardians. Caring and supportive. Making sure they are not lonely. Connecting them to their past. And, remaining vigilant against carelessness. 

4. As a society, we have work to do. Our nursing home facilities vary widely in quality from one place to another. Most of us have no insurance to cover better accommodations.  The government regulates facilities but really does little to enforce standards. Most for profit homes can't afford to pay the right people - or enough people - and they are perpetually understaffed. I've come to the conclusion that we would be better off as a society if the government took over these functions.  After all, Medicare and Medicaid pay for virtually all of this care anyway. That money could be put to better use it was going for care, not for the profit margins of the nursing home. 

5. Be a bulldog. The best way to protect your loved ones is to complain.  I hate to say it, but it's true. Send a clear message to care providers that you are watching. That you care. That you will hold them accountable for their failures - and at the same time praising them when they do a good job. Your family is safer when you are involved. 

Bonus Lesson: when all of the above fail, and something bad happens, call me. 

Matt Schad speaks at Trial Lawyers seminar

This week Matt spoke at the Indiana Trial Lawyers Association Lifetime Achievement seminar.  His topic: Using online demands for creative settlement and trial negotiations.  Matt is perhaps the first attorney in Indiana to use the unique approach of setting up a specific web page to present a settlement demand for a client. The demands include photos, video, multimedia, and text to tell each client's story. The approach is a radical departure from to traditional approach of writing a letter and sending a few medical records.  Matt is a frequent speaker on trial creativity and technology. 

Jury Verdict: $1.2 million against Sheriff department

In a hotly contested jury trial, Matt Schad and our trial team fought for a $1.2 million jury verdict against the Harrison County Sheriff's Department.  The jury held the department responsible for a deputy's negligence during a domestic dispute which resulted in the death of our client. There was practically no offer to settle the case prior to trial.  Micky Weber, a rising star from Jeffersonville, also participated. 

$625k Settlement in Louisville Auto Crash

$625k Settlement in Louisville Auto Crash

Sometimes the hardest part of a case isn't proving who's at fault or how badly a person is hurt - it's digging through corporate red tape to find insurance coverage that the company doesn't want you to know about