Articles Tagged with car accident attorney

A man who was rendered quadriplegic in an Indiana drunk driving accident several years ago was awarded $35 million by a jury in Marion County recently, according to The Indiana Lawyer. However, the most he would be able to collect, following a finding of 40 percent comparative fault on his part, is $21 million. This sounds like a lot, but it’s only going to be enough to cover his around-the-clock care provided by his parents, doctors, nurses, and home health providers. Furthermore, he still faces a battle over whether the auto insurer will even be compelled to pay, since the defendant insurer in a separate case argues the coverage did not extend to the plaintiff as a passenger of his own vehicle. beer glass

There is a lot to unpack in this case, so let our injury attorneys start with what reportedly happened on the night in question. The two men were reportedly at a bar in Marion County, with the plaintiff’s truck parked outside. That truck was insured by Progressive. The two men consumed alcohol, and it is undisputed that both were impaired when they chose to leave the bar. A bartender at the establishment called a taxi company to give the pair a ride. However, as that taxi driver pulled into the parking lot, the two men opted to drive themselves home, with the plaintiff handing over the keys to his truck to his friend. (Although Indiana Code section 7.1-5-10-15.5, the state’s dram shop law, allows for bars and other establishments to be held liable for drunk driving injuries to third parties, the bartender’s effort to have a taxi driver take them home significantly limited the site’s liability, although it was later deemed five percent at fault.)

The driver crashed before the men reached their destination, rendering the passenger/vehicle owner paralyzed from the neck down. Although the defendant driver had initially argued he was not behind the wheel, security footage at a facility near the crash site proved otherwise, since he was seen exiting the driver seat.

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

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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).

Continue reading