In a tragic accident that occurred earlier this week in Indiana, a man who was married for only a few hours was struck and killed as he stopped to render aid to another motorist in need. According to a story by CNN, the couple had just gotten married and was on their way home after their wedding reception when they passed a motorist that had slid into a ditch. The man told his wife that the driver probably needed help and pulled the car off to the side of the road to see if the driver needed assistance. As the man exited the car and began to help the woman, the two were hit by several cars. Both died at the scene.
All drivers involved stayed at the scene of the accident, and police do not believe that alcohol was a factor in the fatal accident. Police are, however, still investigating the scene to determine the cause of the accident.
Proving Negligence in Civil Cases
In cases such as this, the man’s wife may have a civil cause of action against one or more of the drivers who hit and killed her husband. Whether or not that is the case will depend on whether any of the drivers who hit her husband are found to be negligent in a court of law.
Negligence is the civil legal mechanism that allows for accident victims-or their families-to recover monetary damages from those who caused the accident. The negligent party’s insurance company may also be held accountable to the victim, depending on the facts of the case. Generally speaking, a person bringing a negligence action must satisfy four elements:
- Duty: did the defendant have a legal duty to the injured victim?
- Breach: did the defendant breach that legal duty?
- Causation: were the defendant’s actions the cause-in-fact of the victim’s injuries or death?
- Damages: are there damages to be compensated?
If the person bringing the negligence suit can prove all four of these elements, then they will win and the case will then move on to a damages determination where the jury will decide how much money is appropriate given the specific facts of the case. Damages in some negligence cases can be quite substantial, reaching into the millions of dollars in some cases.
Damages Determinations in Negligence Cases
The types of damages that are available to victorious plaintiffs are those relating to:
- Present or future ability to be gainfully employed.
- Loss of income.
- Replacement of property and material loss.
- Mental defect (is it considered temporary or permanent).
- Present or future life enjoyment.
- Age of the injured party.
- Emotional defect such as stress, anxiety or depression.
Have You Been Injured in an Auto Accident?
If you or a loved one has recently been injured in an auto accident that you believe was due to the negligent driving of another motorist, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. To find out more about the law of negligence, and to see if your case may make you eligible for a cash award, speak to an Indiana personal injury attorney.
With over 75 years of combined experience, the Indiana personal injury law firm of Parr Obremskey Frandsen & Patterson has the dedication and experience you need to recover in your case. We understand that you have many choices when it comes to your legal needs and will do everything in our power to serve you to the best of our abilities. Click here, or call 866-987-7277 today to speak with an attorney.
Valparaiso Iron Worker Dies in Workplace Accident, Indiana Accident Attorneys, November 19, 2013.
Two Motorcyclists Killed in Possible Alcohol-Related Crash, Indiana Accident Attorneys, September 23, 2013.