Articles Tagged with Indiana wrongful death

Defendants in a Munster wrongful death lawsuit are asking the Indiana Supreme Court to weigh in on whether a woman who drowned in the pastors’ pool was an independent contractor or an employee of the pastors or the church. The answer to that question matters because under Indiana’s Workers’ Compensation Law, workers’ compensation death benefits would be considered the exclusive remedy for an employee killed in the course and scope of employment. However, independent contractors in Indiana aren’t entitled to workers’ compensation, and they would thus have the right to file a lawsuit against the company. swimming pool

As our attorneys can explain, there are some key differences between the two types of cases. On the positive side, with workers’ compensation, one does not need to prove the defendant/employer did anything wrong (i.e., was negligent). It’s a no-fault system, and payments should be made as long as the injury or death arose out of and in the course of one’s employment. However, recipients of death benefits cannot pursue certain types of damages, such as pain and suffering, loss of life enjoyment, or loss of consortium. Those damages are available in an Indiana wrongful death case.

Here, the plaintiff (the decedent’s mother) is asserting she was an independent contractor, and therefore the exclusive remedy provision of the law doesn’t apply, so she is free to pursue her claim in state court. The church is arguing she was an employee, and the exclusive remedy rule does apply, so the claim must be weighed by the state’s Workers’ Compensation Board.

It’s been nearly six years since a deadly stage collapse at the Indiana State Fair killed seven concertgoers and injured 58 others in Indianapolis. Now, the Indiana Court of Appeals has ruled as a matter of law the company paid to provide security to the main event band, Sugarland, could not have reasonably foreseen the collapse of the stage. That ruling in a recent case is one of the last of several personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits filed against some three dozen defendants as a result of the horrific accident. concert

Back in 2014, attorneys for several of those injured and relatives of some killed reached a $50 million settlement against 19 of 20 defendants, including the state of Indiana, which paid $11 million. The details of how that settlement was paid out (which plaintiffs received what) was kept confidential. It was noteworthy not just for the size of the damages awarded, but also for the fact it was the first time in Indiana a lesbian widow received a settlement for the wrongful death of her wife.

The incident occurred in August 2011 when the opening act had just finished, and Sugarland was preparing to take the stage. A large gust of wind from an approaching severe thunderstorm hit the stage’s temporary roof structure, which caused it to collapse, landing on many in the crowd. The issue of foreseeability was raised because there were numerous reports, notices, and warnings throughout the day of the concert from the National Weather Service, indicating that severe thunderstorms were likely. These messages were received by state fair officials through the automated text messaging system.

Continue reading