Hillis, Hillis, Rozzi & Achey Expand to Lafayette, Indiana

I am excited to announce that Hillis, Hillis, Rozzi and Achey opened a Lafayette office on September 15th. The new office is across from the courthouse in historic downtown. This is our  firm’s first expansion outside of the Logansport area. Lafayette is a wonderful place to practice law. We are opening a new office to more effectively serve the many clients we already have in Tippecanoe County. We hope to be the premier criminal defense and personal injury firm in the Lafayette area. The local office will be headed by partners Andrew Achey and Brad Rozzi, who will travel between Lafayette and Logansport, Indiana.

Hillis, Hillis, Rozzi and Achey is one of the oldest law firms in the state of Indiana,  and we are dedicated to community involvement. We have actively supported the Logansport area and will continue to do so with enthusiasm. We have well-established professional and family ties in Lafayette, and we look forward to developing strong community partnerships in support of the Lafayette area. Hillis, Hillis, Rozzi and Achey will join the Tippecanoe County Bar Association and the Lafayette-West Lafayette Chamber of Commerce.

Founded in 1907, Hillis, Hillis, Rozzi, and Achey provides legal representation for clients throughout the state of Indiana. Our major practice areas include criminal law, corporate and banking law, family law, and personal injury. Hillis, Hillis, Rozzi and Achey has three lawyers with a wide-range of professional experience, including criminal defense, public defense, deputy prosecutor, work in private industry, private investigation, and service in the U.S. military. We have been recognized for our enduring commitment to the community, and John R. Hillis, grandson of the firm’s founder, has been admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Cass County’s Favorite Attorney

We are pleased to announce Andrew Achey’s recent selection as “Favorite Attorney” in Cass County by the readers of the Logansport Pharos-Tribune. This recognition is especially meaningful because it comes from the folks we work for and those we work alongside every day. As a lawyer, a former prosecutor, and as a client himself, Andrew has experienced the American legal system from all sides, and he believed this helps him to make a real difference for his clients. Heartfelt thanks to everyone who voted for Andrew.

 

Top 40 Criminal Defense Lawyers Under 40

Attorney Andrew Achey has been nominated as one of the 40 Best Criminal Defense Lawyers under 40 by the National Academy of Criminal Defense Attorneys (“NACDA”). The top 40 under 40 list recognizes up and coming criminal defense attorneys determined to make a difference in their communities.

Andrew was nominated for this accolade because of his uncompromising standards of excellence, dynamic leadership, and notable legal skills. Compassion and a tireless commitment to his clients characterize Andrew’s approach to practicing law, and his first-class legal reputation is built on this work ethic. Andrew’s impressive accomplishments signal the start of a long and distinguished legal career, and the NACDA quickly identified Andrew’s rising star.

Andrew’s principal areas of practice are criminal law and personal injury. Andrew is a member of the American Bar Association, the Indiana Bar Association, the Cass County Bar Association, the Indiana Trial Lawyers Association, and the National College for DUI Defense.

Personal Injury Part 3

In part one of this series on personal injury, we learned the basics about personal injury and personal injury claims. Personal injury can happen anywhere, and the following types of injuries generally fall under the category of personal injury: car, motorcycle or truck accidents or crashes, hit and run accidents, dog bites, injuries from using a dangerous or faulty product, or medical negligence. If you are injured because of an accident caused by the negligence of another person, you may be able to recover damages to help compensate you for losses you have suffered.

In part two of this series, we learned more about personal injury claims and the possible alternative methods of resolving them in the state of Indiana without going through a trial in a civil court.

In part three of this series, we will learn how the legal process works when you file a personal injury claim to seek compensation and damages for your physical and emotional injuries through the civil court system.

What happens after I file my Personal Injury Claim?

What is the Discovery Process?

After your personal injury claim has been filed, the first step in the legal process is called Discovery. The discovery process helps your attorney gather information to prepare your case for trial. Discovery is important because it allows your attorney to develop a legal strategy for your personal injury claim.

The discovery process allows your attorney to gather information critical to your case by requesting information from the other person or group involved in your lawsuit. You and your attorney are also required to provide information, if it is requested from the other person or group involved in your lawsuit. For example, you might be asked to provide your work or medical history, insurance information, or you might be asked to provide details about the accident that caused your personal injury. Some tools of the Discovery process include Depositions, Interrogatories, and Requests for Production of Documents.

What is a Deposition?

A deposition is used to gather information from a person before a trial. A deposition is testimony given outside of a courtroom by the person or groups involved in a lawsuit, or by other witnesses. A deposition typically takes place in an attorney or court reporter’s office. The person who is deposed is under oath and obligated to tell the truth, just as if he or she was in a court room. The person who is deposed answers questions, gives testimony, and may be cross-examined. The deposition is recorded and transcribed by a certified court reporter. The written deposition can be used at trial.

What are Interrogatories?

Interrogatories are written questions sent to a person or group involved in a lawsuit, either the person or group who has been named in a lawsuit or the person or group who filed it. Unlike depositions, interrogatories cannot be sent to other witnesses or non-party. Interrogatories carry the same obligation to respond truthfully under oath as the testimony given in a court room or in a deposition.

Unlike depositions, interrogatories cannot be sent to other witnesses or to any person or group who is not involved in the lawsuit. Interrogatories carry the same obligation to respond truthfully under oath as the testimony given in a court room or in a deposition.

What are Requests for Productions of Documents?

Requests for productions of documents are requests to examine, copy, test or sample specific documents, electronically stored information, or other actual objects. Requests for productions of documents are sent to the person or group involved in a lawsuit, either the person or group who has been named in a lawsuit or the person or group who filed it. Under certain circumstances, requests for productions of documents may also be sent to a person or group who is not involved in the lawsuit.

 

What can I expect when my personal injury claim goes to trial?

If you are charged with a crime, you must be proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a criminal court. In a personal injury lawsuit, the burden of proof is different. The legal standard for a personal injury lawsuit is a preponderance of evidence. A preponderance of evidence means that the facts, evidence, and arguments that you and your attorney present to the judge or jury must be more likely than not to be the correct version of the circumstances that resulted in your injury.

You and your attorney have the burden of proving a preponderance of evidence in your case to a judge or jury, and this evidence must show four components: Duty, Breach, Causation and Damages.

What is Duty?

As we discussed above, duty simply means that the person or group responsible for causing your injuries owed you a duty of ordinary or reasonable care. In other words, the person or other group responsible for causing your injuries had a legal obligation to treat you carefully with attention and concern for your well-being. They had a legal duty not to hurt or injure you.

What is Breach?

Your attorney has already determined that your personal injury claim meets the legal standard to be actionable. Your personal injury happened because of the negligence, reckless actions, or intentional misconduct of another person or group. A Breach is defined as a violation of a legal or moral obligation. The person or group responsible for causing your injuries had a legal obligation to treat you carefully with attention and concern for your well-being, but they failed in their legal duty not to hurt or injure you.

What is Causation?

Causation is the connection between the breach of legal duty by the person or group responsible for causing your personal injury and the hurt or injury you suffered. In other words, you and your attorney must show that your physical or psychological injuries were caused by your accident, and your accident was caused by the negligence, reckless actions, or intentional misconduct of a person or group who was legally obligated to treat you carefully with attention and concern for your well-being. Another legal term for causation is proximate cause. For example, the person or group responsible for causing your personal injury proximately caused your injuries.

What are Damages?

Finally, you and your attorney must show that your accident caused damages to your physical, mental or emotional and financial well-being, and these damages were the result of the negligence, reckless actions, or intentional misconduct of a person or group who failed in its legal duty not to hurt or injure you.

 

What else do I need to know about Personal Injury lawsuits in the state of Indiana?

Indiana has two laws that regulate most personal injury claims. The first law is called modified comparative fault, and the second law is called contributory fault.

What is comparative fault?

Comparative fault is important if you are partially responsible for the accident that caused your injuries. If you are more than 50 percent responsible for the accident that caused your injuries, then you cannot collect any compensation or damages. If you are partially responsible for the accident that caused your injuries, but your responsibility is less than 50 percent, then the amount of your compensation or damages will be reduced according to the extent of your responsibility. In other words, if you are found to share 20 percent of the responsibility for your accident, then you cannot collect more than 80 percent of the total compensation or damages.

For example, you are involved in an accident that happened because another driver turned left into your car’s path, but you were driving a few miles per hour over the speed limit at the time. Your personal injury claim seeks to recover $10,000 damages. The legal process establishes that your speeding makes you 20 percent responsible for this accident, and the other driver is 80 percent responsible. The comparative fault law means that your $10,000 personal injury claim will be reduced by 20 percent, or the percent of the accident that is your fault. In this example, you would collect $8000, or 80 percent of your total claim.

What is contributory fault?

The contributory fault law applies to your personal injury claim if your claim is against a health care provider, such as a medical malpractice claim, or if your claim is against a city, county, the state of Indiana, or any other government agency. The contributory fault law does not allow you to file a personal injury claim against one of these groups if you have any responsibility at all for your accident.

What are Damage Caps?

Damage caps are specific limits to the amount of compensation or damages that you might be entitled to collect in your personal injury claim. Damage caps apply only in certain circumstances, so please consult with an attorney for guidance on damage caps in Indiana.

Find a good personal injury attorney……

Personal injury can happen anywhere, and the consequences can be devastating. Damages can help compensate you for the losses you have suffered, such as medical costs, pain and suffering, and the loss of past and future income. A good personal injury attorney will help you find the best strategy for collecting the compensation that you are entitled to and the compensation can help you to rebuild your life.

Personal Injury Part 2

Personal Injury Part Two

In part one of this series on personal injury, we learned the basics about personal injury and personal injury claims. Personal injury can happen anywhere, and the following types of injuries generally fall under the category of personal injury: car, motorcycle or truck accidents or crashes, hit and run accidents, dog bites, injuries from using a dangerous or faulty product, or medical negligence. If you are injured because of an accident caused by the negligence of another person, you may be able to recover damages to help compensate you for losses you have suffered.

In part two of this series, we will talk more specifically about personal injury claims and the possible alternative methods of resolving them in the state of Indiana without going through a trial in a civil court.

Can I negotiate a settlement to my personal injury case without a trial?

There may be options for resolving your personal injury claim and obtaining compensation for your physical and emotional injuries without going through a trial in civil court. Your personal injury attorney may send a Demand Letter or advise Mediation as alternative methods of resolving your personal injury claim.

For example, if you are involved in a car accident or a motorcycle crash that results in a personal injury claim, the person or group responsible for causing your injuries may agree to a settlement payment in exchange for your agreement to drop your personal injury lawsuit. Settling the case saves the insurance company or the other party the time and expense of defending against your personal injury lawsuit in a civil court.

Resolving your personal injury claim by an alternative method can save you the time and expense of a trial in civil court. Together, you and your personal injury attorney should determine the best strategy for your personal circumstances.

What is a Demand Letter?

A demand letter is a formal letter from you or your personal injury attorney to the person or group responsible for causing your injury. A demand letter generally consists of a packet of information and documents concerning an individual’s damages. The Demand letter includes information about the history of your accident, explains your demand for payment of damages or compensation, and outlines the alternative consequence of proceeding with your personal injury lawsuit. The purpose of a demand letter is to resolve your personal injury claim by obtaining payment of damages or compensation without taking your personal injury claim to civil court.

What is Mediation?

Mediation is a method of negotiation that relies on an impartial third party, usually a specially trained and certified attorney, hired to help you and the person or group responsible for your personal injury claim work out an acceptable resolution to your claim. Mediation can be voluntary or court-ordered, and involve binding or non-binding arbitration. Some counties in Indiana require the use of non-binding arbitration in certain cases.

Non-binding arbitration is an informal process that uses a lawyer who has been appointed to consider evidence, medical records, and other information presented by your personal injury attorney and the attorney for the person or group involved in your personal injury claim to resolve your case. Non-binding arbitration provides a framework for resolving a personal injury claim, but neither you nor the person or group responsible for causing your personal injury claim are obligated to abide by the arbiter’s decision.

Binding arbitration differs from non-binding arbitration in that the court can enforce the final arbitration decision. Everyone involved in the personal injury claim must comply with that decision when binding arbitration is the method of mediation.

Mediation can be an effective alternative method for resolving your personal injury claim without proceeding to trial in civil court. The mediation process moves more quickly than a trial, and mediation is confidential, unlike court hearings which are open to the public.

What happens if my personal injury claim cannot be resolved without a trial?

If the alternative resolution methods do not resolve your personal injury claim, you always have the legal right to seek compensation and damages for your physical and emotional injuries through the civil court system.

If your personal injury claim cannot be resolved, perhaps because you and your personal injury attorney cannot accept the settlement offer, or if there are unresolved disputes about proof or liability, then you must file a lawsuit to continue with your personal injury claim.

Your attorney will file a complaint and a summons with the clerk of court in the county in Indiana where you live or where your accident happened. This action stops the clock on the Statute of Limitations and starts the clock on the person or group responsible for causing your personal injury claim. Within 20 days, the other person or group involved in your personal injury claim must submit a written response to the court, and then the discovery process will begin.

Find a good personal injury attorney……

Personal injury can happen anywhere, and the consequences can be devastating. Damages can help compensate you for the losses you have suffered, such as medical costs, pain and suffering, and the loss of past and future income. A good personal injury attorney will help you find the best strategy for collecting the compensation that you are entitled to….the compensation that can help you to rebuild your life.

Personal Injury Part 1

This is a three-part article on personal injury and the legal process of a personal injury claim in the State of Indiana. Part one presents basic information on personal injury and personal injury claims and lawsuits. Part two presents alternative methods for resolving personal injury claims in the State of Indiana, and part three explains the process of filing a personal injury lawsuit in Indiana to seek compensation and damages for your physical and emotional injuries.

What is Personal Injury?

Personal injury is the legal term for any harm or damage done to your body, mind or emotions. Personal injury happens when you are physically or psychologically harmed or damaged because of the negligence, reckless actions, or intentional misbehavior of another person or group. Personal injury can happen anywhere. You can be injured in a car crash or accident, in a motorcycle accident, while you are on the job, when you use a faulty or dangerous product, because of medical malpractice, a fall, or an animal attack, including dog bites. If you are injured because of an accident caused by the negligent, reckless, or intentional misconduct of another person or group in the State of Indiana, you may be able to recover damages. Damages can help compensate you for the losses you have suffered, such as medical costs, pain and suffering, and the loss of past and future income.

Do I have a Personal Injury Claim?

You should consult with a personal injury attorney to determine whether you have a personal injury claim, but the following types of injuries generally fall under the category of personal injury: automobile accidents or crashes, motorcycle wrecks, and semi or truck accidents, hit and run crashes, dog bites, and medical malpractice or negligence, dog or animal bites, and slip and falls. There is a legal standard for deciding if your personal injury claim is actionable. In other words, before you can file a personal injury lawsuit, you must have an adequate legal reason to justify your claim. First, your personal injury must have happened because of the negligent, reckless, or intentional misconduct of another person or group. Second, the person or group responsible for causing your injuries must owe you a duty of ordinary or reasonable care. This means that the person or other group responsible for causing your injuries had an obligation to treat you carefully with attention and concern for your well-being.

What is a Personal Injury Claim or Personal Injury Law Suit?

If you have suffered a personal injury, you might be able to file a personal injury lawsuit. A personal injury lawsuit is claim against the person or other group responsible for causing your injuries. Your personal injury claim will be filed in a civil court, not a criminal court. Criminal courts hear criminal cases brought by the government against someone who has broken the law. If you are found guilty of breaking the law in a criminal court, the court will decide on your punishment. Civil courts handle many matters, including personal injury or tort claims filed to recover damages and to provide compensation to you for your physical or emotional injuries or damages to your property.

What is the Statute of Limitations or How long do You have to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

It depends on your personal circumstances, but generally, you have two years from the date of the injury, accident, or wreck to file a personal injury claim. In Indiana, this period is called the Statute of Limitations. For example, if you are injured on January 1, 2014, you will need to file your personal injury claim by January 1, 2016. In most cases, if you do not file your personal injury claim within this two year period, you will not be allowed to file your claim at a later time. If your personal injury happened as a result of the negligence of a city, county or other government agency, the Statute of Limitations may be only 180 or 270 days. If you have questions about the Statute of Limitations that applies to your situation, or if you are concerned that you are running out of time to file your claim, please consult a personal injury attorney immediately.

Find a Great Personal Injury Attorney

A personal injury can happen anywhere, and the consequences can be devastating. Damages can help compensate you for the losses you have suffered, such as medical expenses, pain and suffering, and the loss of past and future income. A great personal injury lawyer will help you find the best strategy for settling, trying, and collecting the compensation that you are entitled to because of the negligent, reckless, or intentional misconduct of anther person or party. If you think you have suffered a personal injury, contact a lawyer as soon as possible.

 

 

Ten Mistakes Attorneys Make In DUI or OWI Cases

Never assume that you cannot win your OWI/DUI case.

If your attorney starts the assessment of your OWI/DUI case with the assumption that you cannot win, he or she has already jeopardized your case. The most damaging mistake your attorney can make in your OWI/DUI case is to assume that you cannot prevail. Many attorneys take one look at the blood or breath test results and the Standard Field Sobriety Test results and immediately begin to consider a guilty plea. Do not make this mistake.

A skilled OWI/DUI attorney knows where to look for weaknesses in the State’s case. The success of your case will depend on your choice of an attorney who has both comprehensive skills and solid experience challenging blood and breath test results and Standard Field Sobriety Test results. Do not compromise on your attorney’s credentials. Insist on hiring a lawyer who combines education with experience defending and prosecuting OWI/DUI cases.

Never assume that you cannot challenge the Standard Field Sobriety Tests.

If your attorney does not have the adequate knowledge or experience to challenge the Standard Field Sobriety Tests, you may be convicted unnecessarily.

There are different methods an accomplished attorney can use to attack the validity of the Standard Field Sobriety Tests. If the State intends to offer the Standard Field Sobriety Tests as evidence against you, the State must show that the officer administered the test in accordance with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) manual. A skilled OWI/DUI attorney will work to invalidate the tests by demonstrating the officer’s failure to administer them in accordance with the NHTSA manual.

read more…

Posting Bond… Read this First

What is a bond? Why do you need one?

If you are arrested on a criminal charge, a judge may set a bond. A bond allows your release from jail before you actually go to court for your hearing or trial. Bond is your promise, guaranteed by your own money or by a bondsman that you will show up at court every time you are required to be there for the duration of your case. If you do not show up, you will lose your bond money, or the bondsman will be required to find you and bring you to court. Dog the Bounty Hunter is a bondsman, and he will track you down. If you do not want “The Dog” hunting you, then you must show up for court.

When a judge allows you to post bond after you have been arrested, the judge can impose special or additional conditions on your release, depending on the circumstances of your case. There are four main types of bonds in Indiana, and each has different requirements. The judge can ask you to post a surety bond, a cash bond, a real estate bond, or you may be asked to execute a bond secured by real estate, or some combination of these bonds. The judge may also release you on your own recognizance; in other words, you could be released without having to put up any money at all, but judges will not often release you on your own recognizance without requiring you to post a bond of some type. In most cases, if you are arrested, you will be required to post either a cash bond or a surety bond in order to make your bail and be released from jail before your court hearing or trial.

read more…

Great Lawyers

Who can you always count on? Who do you want by your side for life’s biggest challenges? Who do you trust to protect you and your family? You need a steadfast partner for the long haul. You need a great lawyer.

To compete in the American legal arena, great lawyers have to be smart and stubborn and tough. We are tenacious and unfailingly loyal. We never run from a fight. We litigate.

American lawyers are woven into the fabric of American society. We wrote and signed the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. We rebel against the idea of going along with something just because that’s how it’s always been done.

Great lawyers analyze, strategize and invent ways to overcome obstacles. If we can’t find a way, we make a way. We enjoy solving problems, and we’re good at it. We are unfazed when the fight looks unfair. We never give up.

read more…

Traffic Stops Conducted Without Reasonable Suspicion May Lead to the Suppression of Evidence

Traffic Stops Conducted Without Reasonable Suspicion May Lead to the Suppression of Evidence 

Evidence obtained following traffic stop conducted without reasonable suspicion, including Defendant’s admission, three (3) failed sobriety tests, and marijuana contained in defendants bra, which she voluntarily surrendered to police, was inadmissible in prosecution for Operating While Intoxicated and Possession of Marijuana as fruit of the poisonous tree.” Robinson v. State, 985 N.E. 2d 1141 (Ind. App. 2013).

 

Logansport Office

200 Fourth Street
Logansport, Indiana 46947
574-722-4560

Lafayette Office

128 N. Third Street
Lafayette, Indiana 47901
765-418-4870

About Hillis, Hillis, Rozzi and Achey

For over 100 years, the Logansport law firm of Hillis, Hillis, Rozzi & Achey has provided zealous and competent representation for clients in Cass County and throughout the State of Indiana. We are one of the oldest law firms in the state, founded by lawyer Robert C. Hillis in 1907. Our current staff of four lawyers represent clients in Cass County, Tippecanoe County and other counties in Indiana.