Most Indiana personal injury lawsuits involve a claim for reimbursement of medical expenses – past and future. Thus, a central point of contention for some litigants is “what is the reasonable cost of medical care?”car crash

Many courts have accepted that the amount billed for services can be taken at face value as “reasonable” for services rendered. However, defendants are increasingly challenging these amounts, saying they should not be taken at face value as “reasonable.” One thing that constrains this rebuttal, however, is the collateral source rule. Jurisdictions vary greatly on the collateral source rule application and scope, and the law is constantly evolving. Indiana is no exception, as shown in the recent case of Patchett v. Lee, before the Indiana Supreme Court.

In general, American case law prevents the admission of evidence that a plaintiff or victim in a personal injury lawsuit received compensation from a source other than damages sought by the defendant. Thus, for example, if you are injured but had private health insurance that covered a substantial portion of your medical costs, that information would not be subject to review by the jury. The idea is that this could unfairly affect the jurors’ perception of the compensation to which a plaintiff is entitled.

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The estate of an Indiana man who died following a fistfight at a house party won a partial victory before the Indiana Supreme Court recently, paving the way for at least one wrongful death claim to proceed to trial. keg

In Rogers v. Martin, the plaintiff alleged the defendant, who co-hosted a house party at which alcohol was served, breached her landowner-invitee duty to exercise reasonable care to protect those on her property and also violated the state’s Dram Shop Act, resulting in harm to another person.

This case highlights the duty of care party hosts owe to their guests, which is an important consideration especially as we’re nearing the holidays, when there tends to be an increase in large gatherings.

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Each year, more than 5,000 trucking accidents result in roadway fatalities. In addition, more than 700 bicyclists are killed annually, and many of those incidents involve large trucks. bicyclist

Just recently, as reported by WISHTV-8, a kindergarten teacher from Indianapolis was killed on State Road 37 in Greenwood when she was struck by a large box truck while riding her bicycle. The 38-year-old teacher was hit from behind at around 9:30 a.m. as she traveled northbound on the road. The 56-year-old truck driver is believed to have swerved into her as she rode in the shoulder lane. She was pronounced dead at the scene. The investigation remains open.

These types of tragedies are by no means unique to Indiana. Recently in Chicago, Streetsblog reported a spate of bicycle vs. truck accidents, many of them involving the dreaded right-hook scenario, in which a trucker made a right turn and collided with a cyclist riding to the truck’s right. (Left-hook bicycle accidents at intersections are also a big problem.)

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A bicycle accident proved fatal for a 64-year-old rider struck by a 92-year-old driver. The elderly motorist insisted he didn’t see the yellow-t-shirt-clad rider, who was the last in a group of riders traveling from the Daviess County Airport to the Glendale Fish and Wildlife Area. The elderly driver was operating a sport utility vehicle. Police responded to a report of a bicyclist who wasn’t breathing. He was rushed to a local hospital, where he died of massive internal injuries.

Cyclists who are injured in collisions with motor vehicles may have a number of legal options worth exploring, which could include:

  • Claims against the at-fault driver;
  • Claims for uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (from the cyclist’s own insurer);
  • Dram shop law claims against a provider of alcohol (if the driver was drunk);
  • Vicarious liability claims against a vehicle owner or the driver’s employer (if applicable).
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In this case, the cyclist was a U.S. Air Force veteran, married for 35 years and an electronics technician, who, according to his obituary, enjoyed not just cycling and mountain biking but also climbing, yoga., and hiking, as well as spending time with his five children, 12 grandchildren, and 10 great-grandchildren.

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Bike share programs have been cropping up across Indiana in recent years, most recently in Fort Wayne.

These programs have generally been regarded as safe, with the number of bicycle accidents and injuries reported among larger cities being quite low. Still, more bicycles on the road means a higher risk of bicycle accidents. This is especially true when drivers aren’t paying attention, particularly in urban areas. bicycles

Officials in Fort Wayne report that its downtown is slated to launch a small bike share operation, with 25 bikes available at five locations across the city, including the Arts Campus and the St. Francis downtown campus. Users there will pay $3 hourly – up to $30 each ride – to rent a bike, or they’ll have the option of a less expensive monthly or annual membership. The program cost $45,000 to start.

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The Indiana Court of Appeals recently took on the divorce case of a well-educated couple who married in 1995 and had two children. The husband, a tenured professor at Purdue University and the wife, a chemical engineer with a master’s degree in business administration, were in the process of separating in 2014 after nearly 20 years together.

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At issue before the appellate court in Klimeck v. Klimeck was whether the trial court:

  • Properly and reasonably divided the marital estate;
  • Abused its discretion by ordering the husband to pay spousal maintenance to the wife;
  • Abused its discretion by imposing a gag order on the husband with regard to the wife’s medical conditions and treatments.

Ultimately, the court affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded.  Continue reading

The Indiana Court of Appeals has affirmed a lower court decision in Laesch v. Laesch, finding a husband must:

  • Pay interest on his monthly payments to his wife, because he did not pay each in a lump sum;
  • Be held in contempt for failure to obtain a life insurance policy naming his ex-spouse as the sole irrevocable beneficiary;
  • Pay for her attorney fees in taking the matter to court. sadness2

The outcome has proven costly for the husband, and it illustrates the importance of ensuring you fully understand your obligations under each provision of the original Indiana divorce agreement. Failure to abide by any part of it could prove an expensive mistake.  Continue reading

Spousal support, once a critical aspect of any divorce case, has waned in recent years as both spouses often work outside the home and contribute somewhat equally to the financial stability of the household. Where husbands once were always required to pay spousal support – and often for many years after the divorce – it’s not so common these days. When it is approved, it’s often for a finite period of time. sadness3

Indiana Code 31-15-7-2 specifies the circumstances under which spousal support can be awarded in Indiana. Most often, spousal support is awarded during the provisional period of the divorce, which is after the filing for divorce but prior to its finalization. However, it may also be awarded when:

One spouse lacks sufficient property to meet his or her needs and/or the spouse is the custodian of a child whose physical or mental incapacity requires the custodian to forego employment. The court will consider the educational level of each spouse, whether family responsibilities resulted in an interruption in education/training or employment, the earning capacity of each spouse, and the time and expense needed for the lesser-earning spouse to acquire sufficient education or training. Continue reading

The Indiana Court of Appeals has affirmed that a former husband’s early military retirement pay is in fact payable to his ex-spouse, per their Indiana divorce agreement, despite the husband arguing it was not.salute

In the case of Seal v. Seal, the court ruled that the terms of the original distribution formula, which were agreed upon by all parties, were clear and unambiguous.

This case highlights what is an increasing point of contention in many Indiana divorce cases: that involving the apportioning of retirement funds. People are living longer, more often divorcing later in life, and these funds are what will determine each spouse’s quality of life in the golden years ahead.  Continue reading

When the custodial parent of a minor child in Indiana plans to move to a new residence, that parent must understand his or her rights or obligations with respect to child custody.suitcase

As of July 1, 2006, a parent with custody or court-approved parenting time with a minor has to first file a notice with the court and send a copy to give notice to the other parent. The court may then choose – or the other parent may request – a hearing to determine whether there should be a change in existing child custody, visitation, or support. If the other parent has parenting time or is trying to obtain it, they must be afforded a copy of this required notice to the court.

The court can’t refuse to give you permission to move. However, it could refuse to allow you to take your child with you, or it could substantially alter the existing custody, visitation, or support orders if you go through with the move. The court is generally going to consider:

  • Distance of the move;
  • Difficulty for the other parent to exercise parenting time after the move;
  • Whether the parent-child relationship can be preserved after the move;
  • Whether there is a pattern of trying to support or deny contact between the child and the other parent;
  • Reasons for the move;
  • Reasons the other parent opposes the move.

In the end, the court will always consider what is in the best interests of the child. Continue reading