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police stopRecently, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in a personal injury case involving a plaintiff’s claim against the city that employed a police officer who struck her car while responding to an emergency call. The case presents important issues that frequently arise in Indiana personal injury cases that are brought against government employees or entities under the Indiana Tort Claims Act.

The Facts of the Case

A police officer was responding to an emergency call at a hotel for a person who was unconscious. The officer decided to cut through a parking lot that was adjacent to the hotel’s parking lot. As the officer was approaching the hotel, he pulled forward into traffic slightly so that he could see the hotel from his location. As he did so, the plaintiff’s vehicle clipped the police vehicle’s front bumper.

The plaintiff filed a personal injury lawsuit against the officer as well as the city that employed him. Specifically, the plaintiff claimed that the officer was negligent in the operation of his vehicle, and that the city was vicariously liable for the actions of the officer, which were conducted while in the course of his employment. The plaintiff also claimed the city was negligent in hiring the officer.

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drunk drivingRecently, a state appellate court released an opinion in a motor vehicle accident personal injury case that raised an important issue that commonly comes up in Indiana personal injury cases, especially in the common scenario in which an insurance company is involved in defending the lawsuit. The case required the court to decide if an insurance company that wrote a policy for an employer could be liable for an employee’s drunk-driving accident.

In the end, the court held that the insurance policy, which applied to permissive users, did cover the employee’s conduct. Thus, the insurance company was liable for the plaintiff’s myriad injuries.

Case Facts

The plaintiff sustained injuries in a drunk driving accident. The drunk driver was operating a company vehicle when the accident occurred. The plaintiff was successful in a suit against the defendant, and was awarded damages of roughly $1.5 million. However, the defendant was not able to pay the damages award, and so the plaintiff filed a claim to hold the defendant’s employer responsible. Because the defendant’s employer had an insurance policy with uninsured motorist protection, the plaintiff argued that the insurance policy was on the hook for his damages.

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semi truckDue to Indiana’s location in the central part of the country, the state sees a constant flow of large commercial vehicles traveling along the state’s highways as trucks travel from the East to West Coast and vice-versa. For the most part, semi-truck drivers are well-trained, responsible motorists who take pride in the work they do. However, each year there are thousands of Indiana truck accidents that are caused by negligent truck drivers.

According to the state’s most recent data, there are approximately 14,000 Indiana truck accidents per year. While some of these accidents are minor, it is reported that there are over 3,500 people injured and 120 killed each year due to Indiana truck accidents. In most cases, the motorist who is injured is not the truck driver, but instead the drivers or passengers of the other vehicle that is involved in the collision.

There are several causes of truck accidents in the state, and in some cases the most common causes overlap with the common causes of Indiana car accidents. However, equipment related accidents accounts for a higher percentage of the total number of truck accidents. These incidents include those that are the result of improperly maintained or inflated tires, brakes, signals, and lights.

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golf cartWhen someone is injured due to the unintentional conduct of another, the injured party may be entitled to compensation for their injuries through an Indiana personal injury lawsuit. One of the first legal questions that must be answered in these cases is what duty was owed to the injury victim. In a recent personal injury case involving a plaintiff who was injured by his golf partner while on the course, the court wrestled with this exact question.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff and defendant were golfing together, using a golf cart to navigate through the course. On the eighth hole, the plaintiff was seriously injured when the defendant struck the him with the golf cart. The two sides offered very different versions of what occurred.

The case was tried in front of a jury. When it came time to instruct the jury on the relevant law, the parties disagreed on the standard under which the defendant’s conduct should be viewed. The defendant claimed he could only be liable if he acted with reckless indifference, whereas the plaintiff claimed the proper standard was negligence.

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Legal News GavelRecently, a federal appellate court issued a written opinion in a personal injury case involving competing theories of how the plaintiff’s injury occurred, requiring the court to determine which of the two proposed alternatives were more likely. Ultimately, the court concluded that the plaintiff’s version of events was the only plausible version, and thus permitted his case to proceed.

The case presents an important issue for Indiana personal injury accident victims because it illustrates a common defense that defendants frequently raise in Indiana slip-and-fall cases.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was injured after he slipped and fell in a Wal-Mart aisle. The accident was caught on video, and showed that prior to the plaintiff’s fall, a Wal-Mart employee came through the area with an automated floor-cleaning machine. The machine was designed to dispense soapy liquid, scrub the floor, and squeegee the remaining liquid before sucking it back up into the machine.

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The Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) provides a means for citizens to file a personal injury lawsuit against the United States government. And while the substantive laws governing Indiana car accident cases do not change depending on the defendants named in the case, there may be additional procedural requirements in cases that are filed against a government defendant.Legal News Gavel

One of the most important differences when a case is filed against a government defendant is the notice and timing requirements. In a recent case, a federal appellate court determined that a plaintiff’s claim against the United States Post Office (USPS) was time-barred, based on her failure to comply with the timing requirements of the FTCA.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was injured when a USPS vehicle struck her car. Two weeks after the accident, the plaintiff filed an administrative claim with the USPS, seeking compensation for her injuries. Seven months later, the USPS responded, denying the plaintiff’s claim.

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All business owners owe their customers a duty of care to keep areas accessible to customers in a reasonably safe condition. This generally means eliminating any known hazards, conducting frequent inspections to discover hazards, and warning customers of hazards that are either in the process of being fixed or cannot be fixed. If a business owner fails to live up to this duty, and a customer is injured as a result, the business may be liable for the customer’s injuries through an Indiana premises liability lawsuit.Legal News Gavel

In a recent case, a court considered a lawsuit that was filed against a grocery store by a customer who slipped and fell while shopping. The court had to consider whether the store could be held liable even though the hazard that caused the plaintiff’s fall was the fault of an independent contractor that was employed by a company that the grocery store had paid to keep the store clean.

Ultimately, the court concluded that the grocery store had a non-delegable duty to keep the store safe and free of hazards. Thus, although there was no evidence suggesting that the store was responsible for the hazard, it could still be held liable based on its non-delegable duty.

semi-truckRecently, a state appellate court issued an opinion in a personal injury case discussing what the court called the “sudden emergency doctrine,” explaining how it may be applied to excuse what may otherwise be considered negligent behavior. The case is important to Indiana car accident victims because the doctrine is also applied by Indiana courts.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was driving in a line of cars, all of which were entering the highway. As one of the cars was proceeding up the on-ramp, another motorist pulled around the side of her vehicle, passed her at a high speed, and made an obscene gesture in her direction. The passing motorist then slammed on her brakes, causing the motorist to also suddenly brake.

The plaintiff was traveling immediately behind the motorist who had just been passed. When that motorist applied the brakes, so did the plaintiff. The plaintiff stopped in time to avoid a collision. However, the defendant truck driver was immediately behind the plaintiff and, as the cars in front of him quickly slowed down, the defendant also applied the brakes.

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Recently, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in a case presenting an interesting issue for many Indiana personal injury accident victims. The case involved an Indiana premises liability lawsuit, and required the court determine whether a group of wires on a hospital room floor were an obvious hazard or, in the alternative, if the plaintiff knew of their presence. Ultimately, the court concluded that the plaintiff did not have actual knowledge of the cords, and also that the cords were not an “obvious” hazard.

Hospital RoomThe Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was injured when she tripped on a cluster of wires that ran across the floor in the hospital room where her husband was staying after he was admitted to the hospital. The plaintiff first claimed that her fall was due to a “mess of wires” on the floor, and later stated that the fall was caused by a single telephone wire. The plaintiff later explained that she did not see any wires on the floor prior to her fall. However, she did acknowledge seeing a telephone in the room. The telephone wire ran from the wall to the telephone, which was on the plaintiff’s husband’s bedside table.

The case is unique in that it actually involves a legal malpractice claim made against a law firm that failed to timely file a complaint on behalf of the plaintiff. In order to succeed in her claim against the law firm, the plaintiff had to establish that her underlying claim against the hospital would have succeeded. The lower court granted the defendant law firm’s motion for summary judgment, finding that the plaintiff would not have been able to succeed in her claim because she knew of the hazard that caused her fall and that the hazard was obvious.

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Earlier this month, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in an Indiana car accident case discussing whether a man who was killed by an uninsured driver was covered under his employer’s car insurance policy. Finding that the policy did not include the employee as a covered person under the terms of the contract, and finding that the terms of the contract were clear, the court rejected the estate’s claim against the insurance company.

Legal News GavelThe Facts

The plaintiff was the estate of a man (“decedent”) who was killed while he was mowing his lawn. Evidently, the decedent was mowing his lawn when a driver who was high on methamphetamine struck him. The at-fault driver did not have car insurance.

The decedent’s employer had an insurance policy that contained uninsured motorist (UIM) protection. Additionally, the decedent was named as a “listed driver” in that policy. However, that policy provided that UIM coverage was extended only to “you and others we protect.” In this case, “you” referred to the decedent’s employer, as the insured.

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