Roy Tabor, founding partner of Tabor Law Firm, LLP in Indianapolis, Ind., discusses his long history of success in personal injury and wrongful death cases.

Name: Roy T. Tabor
Firm: Tabor Law Firm, LLP
Position: Founding Partner
Practice Areas: Personal Injury; Wrongful Death; Trucking Accidents
Location: Indianapolis, Ind.
Law School: J.D. Indiana University Law School 1979 (with honors)
Undergraduate: Vanderbilt University 1975 (magna cum laude)
Quotable: “If you’re winning cases in personal injury and wrongful death cases it means you’ve uncovered and successfully proven that something went wrong.”

Lawdragon: How did you first become interested in personal injury and wrongful death litigation?

Roy Tabor: While at Vanderbilt as an undergrad, I knew I wanted to be a physician or a lawyer. I worked as an orderly on Saturday nights, thinking I’d gain the most experience working on the weekend. One night I was allowed to stay in the emergency room when the doctors were treating someone. I fainted dead away. Afterwards I drew the conclusion that I’d be better as a lawyer with a medical background than a doctor. So while studying at IU School of Law I audited medical courses and I’ve never looked back.

LD: What do you find personally satisfying about this area of the law?

RT: Personal injury allows me to help people who are truly in need, and often at a moment when their lives will never be the same. The satisfaction for me is in knowing that I’ve helped an individual, or their family, by leveling the playing field when dealing with the insurance industry or with hospitals. This is particularly valuable for people who don’t regularly come into contact with lawyers – people who don’t just happen to have a friend who’s an attorney. As we know, in life, as in business, it’s hard to know who will have your back, especially at a time when you’re at your most vulnerable and dealing with the stress or pain of an unfortunate situation.

LD: What types of trends are you seeing in your business?

RT: Years ago, when I began practicing law, serious injury and wrongful death representation was not being marketed on television. Personal injury and wrongful death attorneys weren’t trying to attract frivolous cases or take advantage of a system that has become prohibitively complicated and laced with stumbling blocks.

It has become increasingly challenging for people to defend themselves against large trucking companies and insurance carriers due to the lengths these companies go to avoid civil liabilities. It’s gratifying to me, and to the attorneys in our firm, when, after extensive research and discovery, we’re able to detail why the negligent parties do in fact have a civil liability.

Furthermore, in my experience the trend toward use of captive staff counsel has become the norm. Frequently, insurance firms have counsel on their staff purely to serve the interest of the insurance carrier, rather than the insured. There is almost no way for the average person to guard against the vigorous defense opposing counsel will use to deny fair payment.

LD: Are you involved in any public interest activities as a result of your work representing the injured?

RT: Tabor Law Firm has represented the Indiana State Police and the Indiana Sheriffs’ Association and their families in numerous wrongful death and personal injury cases for years. As a result of these tragedies I’ve had a great deal of experience helping the widows and children of officers injured or killed in the line of duty. Early on I realized one of the most effective ways for me to help them was to insure that they wouldn’t have to take on the additional pain and suffering associated with losing income as a result of someone else’s negligence. For many clients, we are more than just the law firm they chose to represent them during a difficult time. Following the successful conclusion of several wrongful death claims, the firm has assisted clients with the establishment of scholarships or foundations in the name of a loved one that was killed.

LD: You’ve been known to aggressively pursue insurance companies, medical providers, and negligent parties on behalf of your clients. Many of these companies settle out of court. How do you measure success?

RT: Our success is measured by the satisfaction of our clients. Better outcomes don’t happen by chance. They’re the result of years of experience trying cases and achieving settlements in and out of the courtroom. Better outcomes happen when you have a dedicated legal team and a proven process. Our lawyers understand the urgency of our clients’ needs and work with a laser-focused determination to get real results.

LD: What is the most interesting thing about your practice?

RT: If you’re winning cases in personal injury and wrongful death cases it means you’ve successfully uncovered and proven that something went wrong. In uncovering the facts, you need to rely on the intelligence, training and expertise of hundreds of people. Over the course of my career I’ve had the privilege to meet people who have become experts in their field. Every day there’s an opportunity to add knowledge to areas unique to the facts of our cases. Be it toxicologists, pathologists or engineers, I am constantly learning something new.

LD: You’ve represented hundreds of people over the years whose lives have been changed forever due to someone else’s negligence. After seeing their pain from injuries or loss of a loved one, what is it that keeps you fighting year after year?

RT: I knew when I graduated from college that I wanted to help people and taking on these cases has allowed me to do that. Despite an increase over the years in the number of wrongful deaths due to injuries, automobile and trucking accidents, we’ve been able to make changes that positively affect our clients, including working to ensure plaintiffs damages are assessed fairly by a jury. Being on the right side of those decisions is gratifying.