The widow of a man killed in a head-on collision in Indiana two years ago is suing the Indiana Department of Transportation, alleging the state agency is liable for her husband’s death, due to its failure to properly maintain the roadway. road

According to The Daily Journal, the decedent was driving his truck on State Road 135 near Trafalgar in December 2014 when another truck came barreling toward him – in his lane – from the opposite direction. The plaintiff’s husband died as a result of the crash, while her son, who was a passenger, was seriously injured, as was the allegedly negligent driver of the other truck.

In a lawsuit filed in Johnson County Superior Court, the plaintiff asserts there is a history of car accidents along that section of roadway that gave the state’s transportation department actual or constructive knowledge that safety improvements were necessary. Specifically, state officials should have installed center-line rumble strips, widened the road, and installed warnings signs near the road curves at the site of the fatal crash.

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Indiana car accident lawsuits in many cases involve more than just the drivers involved. If a driver was acting in the course and scope of employment or was operating an employer’s vehicle, the company could find itself facing claims of vicarious liability.truck

Corporate responsibility in such cases is based on the legal theory of respondeat superior, which is Latin for “Let the master answer.” What this means is that one can establish a claim of liability against an employer for the negligent acts of an employee carried out in the scope of employment – even if the employer did not engage in any negligent act. This is an important issue because it can directly affect how much compensation you may be able to collect for your injuries. The key determination that has to be made in order for respondeat superior to apply is whether the employee was acting in the scope of employment. Courts have generally broken this down into a four-part test:  whether the conduct is similar to that which the employee was hired to perform, whether the action occurred mostly within the authorized spacial and temporal limits of employment, whether the action furthered the employer’s business, and whether the conduct, although unauthorized, was foreseeable in view of the employee’s duties.

In the recent case of Hudgins v. Bemish, the Indiana Court of Appeals held that a trial court erred in granting summary judgment to a business defendant that argued it was not liable for the negligent acts of its employee. The appellate justices decided there were conflicting facts and inferences that could be drawn as to whether the driver was acting in the course and scope of his employment. Also, the defendant company hadn’t met its initial proof burden for summary judgment on the issues of negligent hiring and retention (which are direct liability claims).

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Undocumented immigrants who are injured on the job in Indiana are entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits under state law. They are also entitled to pursue third-party compensation from any other liable parties. However, should they be paid in U.S. dollars or in the currency of their native country? That’s the question before the Indiana Supreme Court in Escamilla v. Shiel Sexton Co.mason

While the question of currency may seem a trivial one, it actually may have a significant impact on how much companies pay workers hurt on the job. Those who argue all workers injured in the U.S. need to be paid in U.S. dollars say that to do otherwise would allow companies that flout the law by hiring undocumented workers to receive an incentive by giving them a means to pay less in compensation in the event of an injury.

Those who are arguing in favor of being allowed to pay in the injured worker’s native currency say it’s not fair that a worker should be allowed to recover damages for lost wages that they can’t legally earn. Furthermore, if those wages were to be paid in the future, they should be based on what the worker might earn in their own country, rather than what they make in the U.S.

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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.

Three wedding rings stacked on a dark background

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