A Nationally Acclaimed
Law Firm

Devoted to your personal injury or accident case.

Million Dollar
Verdicts & Settlements

For injury victims throughout Indiana and the Midwest.

Our Firm
was founded in 1899

On the highest of ethical, moral, and legal standards.

Earlier this month, an Ohio woman recovered over $1.3 million after a jury found in her favor in a premises liability lawsuit filed against a supermarket chain. The lawsuit alleged that the supermarket chain failed to provide adequate instruction to customers using motorized shopping carts.

Shopping CartsAccording to one industry news source reporting on the case, the accident occurred back in 2012, when another customer lost control of a motorized grocery cart and struck the plaintiff. After being struck by the cart, the plaintiff was tossed four feet and struck her head on the side of a nearby shelf. As a result, the 71-year-old plaintiff suffered serious head and neck injuries, requiring ongoing treatment.

While no supermarket employees were involved in the accident, the plaintiff proceeded under the theory that the grocery store was negligent in failing to provide adequate instructions for customers using the motorized carts. To help her case, the plaintiff submitted evidence of 119 similar accidents involving motorized grocery carts in the same supermarket chain over a nine-year period. With this evidence, the plaintiff was able to argue that the grocery store chain was aware of the dangers involved in letting customers use the motorized carts without instructions. The jury’s verdict consisted of $125,000 in compensatory damages and $1.2 million in punitive damages.

Continue reading

Last month, an appellate court in California issued an interesting opinion regarding when a negligent driver’s employer can also be held liable in a personal injury lawsuit. In the case, Jorge v. Culinary Institute of America, the court ultimately determined that since the fatal accident occurred while the defendant’s employee was on his way home from work and was not engaged in any work-related activity, the defendant was not vicariously liable for the employee’s actions.

ChefThe Facts of the Case

Da Fonseca worked for the defendant, the Culinary Institute of America. He was an instructor who worked primarily at one location but occasionally did some consulting for the defendant at various other locations. On the day of the accident, Jorge was his way home from work with his chef’s jacket and knives in the car. At some point on his commute back home, he struck and killed Jorge, a 14-year-old boy, with his car.

Jorge’s family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against both Da Fonseca and the Culinary Institute. Da Fonseca and Jorge’s family reached a mutually acceptable settlement agreement, so the case proceeded only against the Culinary Institute. The Institute’s request to dismiss the case based on a lack of vicarious liability was denied, and after a jury trial, a verdict of roughly $885,000 was awarded to Jorge’s family.

Continue reading

Earlier this month, a court found that pharmacists have a duty to retain medication returned to the pharmacy by a patient if the medication was returned as a result of a potential pharmacy error. The court in the case of Burton v. Walgreen Corporation held that the pharmacy should keep the returned medication because it may be relevant to an upcoming civil lawsuit, and a failure to preserve the potential evidence may result in court sanctions for the spoliation of evidence.

White PillsThe Facts Giving Rise to the Lawsuit

According to a summary of the court’s opinion, Walters was prescribed blood pressure medication by his physician. Upon taking the prescription to a local Walgreen’s pharmacy, he was provided a single vial of medication. He didn’t realize it at the time, but there were two types of pills in the vial, his prescribed blood pressure medication as well as lithium pills.

Walters took the medication as directed when he got home. As it turns out, he took five doses of the lithium pills before his wife noticed that there were two different types of pills in the vial. She took the medication back to the pharmacy to confirm that this was a mistake. The pharmacist on duty told her that the lithium pills were given to her husband in error, and he kept the medication. The pharmacist followed the company’s written protocol, quarantining the medication and then eventually destroying it.

Continue reading

Earlier this month, one state’s appellate court discussed and adopted the “continuing course of treatment” doctrine in the context of a medical malpractice case. In the case, Parr v. Rosenthal, the court determined that it would adopt the doctrine, but it held that the specifics of the case at issue prevented the doctrine from being applied to extend the statute of limitations.

Doctor at ComputerParr v. Rosenthal:  The Facts

The plaintiffs were the parents of a young boy who was treated for a rare desmoid tumor by the defendant. At birth, their son had a large bump behind his right calf. For several years, the bump was undiagnosed, but eventually a team of doctors diagnosed the bump as a desmoid tumor.

The defendant was among the practice group of doctors treating the boy, but he was not initially involved. After diagnosing the boy, the treating doctors referred the parents to the defendant, who was a pioneer in the use of radio frequency ablation to treat tumors. However, the defendant had never used the technique on a desmoid tumor. After discussing the procedure with the plaintiffs, it was agreed that the defendant would perform the procedure on their son.

Continue reading

Good Samaritan laws were designed to protect passersby from liability when they try to help an injured person during an emergency. The idea is that if the law fails to offer protection to someone trying to help another person in peril, citizens are unlikely to ever offer such assistance for fear of civil liability. However, the type of conduct that is covered by a Good Samaritan law is not always clear.

Truck UnloadingIn a recent case in front of one state’s appellate court, the court had the opportunity to interpret that state’s Good Samaritan law. Interestingly, the court broadly interpreted the law to include a wide range of actors and a wide range of conduct.

Carter v. Reese:  The Facts

Carter, a truck driver, had arrived at his destination and unloaded his trailer at the loading dock. After he was finished, he pulled his trailer a few inches away from the loading dock and put the air brake on so that the truck would stay put. Carter then got out of the truck to head back inside through the loading dock doors. However, as he climbed up onto the loading dock, he fell and got his leg stuck in the small gap between the truck and the loading dock. Carter began calling for help, and Reese responded.

Continue reading

Earlier last month, an appellate court issued a written opinion in a car accident case brought by a man who was injured by an on-duty paramedic on his way to the scene of an accident. The case, Aldana v. Stillwagon, presented the issue of whether a case involving a regular traffic accident caused by an on-duty paramedic should be considered a “medical malpractice” case for the purpose of determining which procedural rules apply. Ultimately, the court determined that since the accident was “garden variety” and didn’t involve the paramedic’s professional duties, the case should not be considered a medical malpractice case.

AmbulanceThe Facts of the Case

The defendant, Stillwagon, was an on-duty paramedic who was called to respond to a traffic accident. He was not in a marked ambulance but was instead driving a special pick-up truck that was outfitted with lights and sirens. However, at the time, neither was activated.

On his way to the accident scene, Stillwagon ran a red light and struck Aldana’s vehicle, causing him serious injuries. Aldana filed a personal injury lawsuit against Stillwagon but did so 17 months after the accident. In response to the complaint filed against him, Stillwagon asked the court to dismiss the case, arguing that the appropriate statute of limitations was one year under the state’s medical malpractice act.

Continue reading

Earlier this month, an appellate court in Idaho issued a written opinion affirming a jury’s verdict in favor of a man who lost his wife to a serious infection after undergoing a procedure at the defendant’s cosmetic clinic. In the case, Ballard v. Kerr, the court dismissed the defendant’s approximately 20 claims of error and affirmed the jury’s verdict below. However, the appellate court did find that the award of nearly $150,000 in attorneys’ fees was not appropriate, and it reversed the lower court on that issue alone.

Medical SuppliesA Woman Undergoes an Elective Cosmetic Surgery and Suffers a Serious Infection

Ms. Ballard underwent an elective liposuction procedure whereby the doctor was to implant the removed fat from her stomach into her buttocks. During the procedure, as is common, the doctor used both disposable and reusable medical equipment. The procedure seemed to go as planned, and Ms. Ballard returned home later that day.

However, within a few days, Ms. Ballard called the doctor’s office to move her follow-up visit forward due to immense pain she was experiencing in her buttocks. The doctor inspected the area but did not see any signs of infection. Out of an abundance of caution, he prescribed her antibiotics.

Continue reading

Auto insurance coverage is required in Indiana, and most motorists are familiar with the coverage they have and how to go about using it when the need arises. However, the contract that is entered into between a motorist and an insurance company is lengthy, and most motorists do not take the time to read over the entire policy but instead skim the declarations page to gain a basic understanding of their coverage.

Car AccidentHowever, insurance contracts are long, complicated documents that often require trained eyes to understand and interpret. In fact, there may even be errors or internally inconsistent clauses in an insurance contract that can create confusion for motorists hoping to seek reimbursement for expenses related to property damage or personal injuries. In fact, a recent case in front of the Indiana Supreme Court illustrates how these confusions can arise and what courts can do to resolve problems when they arise.

State Farm Mutual Auto Insurance v. Jakubowicz

Jakubowicz and her two children were injured as a result of an accident caused by a third party. After the accident, Jakubowicz filed a personal injury claim against the third party’s insurance company, seeking compensation for her family’s medical expenses. However, while that claim was being processed, Jakubowicz realized that the total available amount available under that driver’s policy was not going to cover her family’s injuries. She then filed a claim under her own insurance with State Farm, under the underinsured motorist provision. This claim was filed over three years after the accident.

Continue reading

Earlier this month, a federal appellate court affirmed the dismissal of a product liability case filed against a ride-on lawnmower manufacturer. In the case, Parks v. Ariens, the court held that the defendant manufacturer was not negligent in failing to install a roll-over protection system (ROPS) on a ride-on lawnmower because it offered the ROPS as optional equipment at an additional cost.

LawnmowerThe Facts of the Case

In 2006, Parks purchased a used ride-on lawnmower from a licensed dealer. At the time of the purchase, the roll-over-protection system, which consisted of a roll-cage and seatbelt, was optional equipment that a buyer could purchase at an additional cost. When Parks was discussing the purchase of the mower with the defendant’s salesperson, the salesperson discussed the type of terrain where Parks would be using the mower. While the salesperson did not recall whether he offered the ROPS package to Parks, he did testify that it was his common practice to always ask if the customer wanted the package.

Parks decided to purchase the mower but not to add the ROPS. About seven years after the purchase date, Parks was killed when the mower rolled, trapping him underneath. His wife filed a lawsuit against the manufacturer of the lawn mower. She claimed that the manufacturer was negligent in failing to install the ROPS on the mower before selling it to her husband.

Continue reading

While some accidents only involve one plaintiff and one defendant, others involve multiple defendants. This can create an issue when it comes to determining which defendants are responsible for compensating the plaintiff in the event of a plaintiff’s verdict. Jurisdictions around the country have different methods of determining how defendants are required to compensate a plaintiff when there are several at-fault defendants, some of whom may not be present at all or may not be able to afford to compensate the plaintiff.

Broken Tail Light

There are two basic methods that states use to determine which defendants are responsible for compensating the plaintiff. Under one method, called “joint and several liability,” any defendant found to be at fault can be held completely responsible for any and all damages the plaintiff suffered. This is a very plaintiff-friendly rule because it allows for a plaintiff to seek full recovery from just one defendant, if the other defendants are either not present or unable to pay. A defendant that ends up paying for other defendants’ shares can then sometimes seek compensation on their own through what is called “contribution.”

The other manner in which courts split up liability is called “several liability,” under which a defendant is only held responsible for their own percentage of fault. For example, if a defendant was 20% at fault, and the total damages suffered by the plaintiff were $1 million, the defendant would be only responsible for up to $200,000. Indiana uses this method. A recent case in front of an Arizona appellate court illustrates how several liability can play out in the real world.

Continue reading