Articles Posted in Car Accidents

Many people look forward to the holidays, but fewer look forward to the drive time. There are the long-distance trips, for certain, but there is also the overall congestion, the aggressive driving by those pressed for time and snow and ice leading to slick roads and reduced visibility.drowsy driving

But there is one risk on the roads around the holidays that often gets overlooked: Fatigue.

Just recently in Putnam County, authorities reported a 20-year-old truck driver crashed his rig shortly before 2 a.m., veering off the highway, into the median and striking several trees. Although the dangers of fatigued truck drivers are well documented, given their long hours of tedious work, we often take for granted the devastation that can be caused by other motorists who aren’t getting enough sleep – and there are a lot of them.  Continue reading

When Pokemon GO was first released in early July 2016, it quickly became a smash hit, with millions scrambling to “catch” characters in the interactive game that required users to travel around their neighborhoods and communities. Apparently, some didn’t let the fact that they were behind the wheel stop them. Researchers at Indiana’s Purdue University have released a 49-page study that estimates this game alone caused 145,000 car accidents, 29,000 injuries and 250 deaths just in the first five months after it was released. car accident attorney

But while the augmented reality Pokemon Go craze has since died down significantly, what hasn’t is the fact that smartphones and apps continue to divide drivers’ attention in a way that endangers all of us on the roads. Our Indiana car accident attorneys know that this raises some interesting legal questions about what duty of care – if any – technology companies have to motorists.

Case law on the matter has not been hopeful for plaintiffs. In August, a superior court judge in California dismissed a lawsuit filed by the parents of a young man killed when he was struck by a driver who was texting. The distracted driver was charged with a misdemeanor, but the parents took legal action against the technology giant, alleging Apple failed to implement a lockout system on the iPhone. In the order for dismissal, the judge cited another lawsuit in that state with a similar fact pattern, wherein the appellate court ruled it would be “unreasonable” to assume the tech firm was responsible for the ultimate harm.  Continue reading

Drunk driving in Indiana kills more than 200 people a year on average, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. As part of an effort to address this, Nwitimes.com reports the Hammond Police Department is among the approximately 150 agencies that received new portable breathalyzer test devices to use in roadside stops. beer

The NHTSA issued a $750,000 grant for the purchase of more than 1,700 breathalyzers to be used by state and local law enforcement agencies throughout Indiana. Another $300,000 has been allocated to buy 725 new breathalyzer tests for Indiana State Police over the next 12 months. The new Alco-Sensor FST includes gas canisters and mouthpieces to calculate the individual readings. These devices come equipped with “passive sniffers” that are able to detect alcohol in the air around an individual or concealed in an open container. Results of that particular feature can’t be used in court to prosecute criminals, but they can be used as probable cause to take the next step in evidence-gathering, WDRB.com reports.

Word of these purchases comes just in time for popular drinking days, which include the night before Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day.

When a worker acting in the course and scope of employment is negligent and causes injuries or death to another person, there are two ways the employer could be held liable:

  • Vicarious liability, through the legal doctrine of respondeat superior; or
  • Direct liability (i.e., negligent training, negligent hiring, negligent supervision, etc.). cars

Recently, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled that plaintiffs in these cases may move forward with one of the two legal theories – but not both.

This Indiana car accident case, according to court records, involves the alleged negligence of a pizza delivery driver that resulted in a fatal crash that killed a man on a scooter.

It occurred in August 2012 while the defendant driver, while working for a franchise of a national pizza chain, was operating her own vehicle when she struck the back of a scooter operated by the decedent. The rider was tossed off the scooter and onto the road, where he was run over by another motorist. His injuries proved fatal. Continue reading

In an issue of first impression, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled recently in an Indiana car accident lawsuit that a vehicle that is insured but denied coverage following a crash should be considered uninsured under state law. car

The case has implications for future uninsured motorist (UM) claims in Indiana.

Indiana requires every newly-written auto liability insurance policy to include uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage – unless it’s rejected in writing by the insured. Minimum UM/UIM liability limits are $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident of UM benefits, $25,000 per accident for property damage, and $50,000 per accident for UIM benefits. This coverage protects insureds in the event they are involved in a crash with an at-fault driver who either doesn’t have auto insurance (as required by law) or doesn’t have enough auto insurance liability coverage to cover the full cost of the plaintiff’s injuries and damages.

Jurors in central Indiana have awarded more than $6 million in connection with injuries suffered in a fatal crash eight years ago. street scene

The Marion-Chronicle Tribune reported jurors awarded the two men damages – approximately $3 million each – for the negligence of another driver, who perished in the collision.

While the decedent’s estate insisted the crash was caused by a faulty throttle cable designed and manufactured by Ford Motor Co., jurors ruled the decedent was 100 percent at fault. Specifically, they ruled she pressed down on the accelerator rather than the brake, causing her vehicle to crash into the victims. Her estate will be responsible for the entire award.

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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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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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Law enforcement officials throughout the state will be cracking down on drunk driving during the Super Bowl weekend. It’s all a part of the “Fans Don’t Let Fans Drive Drunk”.
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When it comes time for the big game, fans will be cheering either the Seahawks or the Broncos at a local sports bar, a restaurant or over at a friend or family member’s house. With these gatherings, we see a significant increase in the number of drunk driving accidents into the early and late evening hours. Many departments will have higher staffing levels to help get those dangerous drivers off of our roadways.

Our Highland drunk driving accident lawyers note these Super Bowl gatherings usually begin in mid-afternoon and extend deep into Sunday night, creating mayhem that rivals some of the other big drinking days, such as St. Patrick’s Day, Halloween, July 4 and the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, when kids returning from college regroup with their friends. Luckily, over 170,000 NFL fans pledged to be designated drivers this season – a new record! But that doesn’t mean we’re in the clear. We’re asking you to step up and do your part to help make our roadways as safe as possible during this year’s Super Bowl extravaganza.
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