Articles Posted in Motor Vehicle Accidents

In the case of Hamilton v. Key (Cause No. 48D01-0905-CT-749), Dewayne Hamilton (the plaintiff) was riding his motorcycle and was seriously injured after a collision with another motorist at the intersection of two roads located northeast of Pendleton, Indiana. Hamilton was driving in the left southbound lane and Jacob Key (the defendant) was driving in the right southbound lane. Key was stopped in his employers’ truck at the intersection due to traffic that had stopped in front of him; traffic was also stopped behind him, however traffic was not stopped in the left southbound lane. Another vehicle, driven by John Owens, was travelling eastbound toward the intersection and had stopped at the intersection to make a left turn to go northbound.

Key thoroughly looked around for traffic approaching the intersection from the north in the lane to his left (Key actually got out of his truck, stood on the doorsill, and examined the traffic) and motioned to Owens that it was safe to enter the intersection to make the left turn. Owens’s view north was obstructed by the line of stopped traffic in the right southbound lane. As Owens entered the intersection, Hamilton also entered the intersection in the left southbound lane on his motorcycle and collided with the car being driven by Owens. Hamilton sustained serious injuries and filed a lawsuit against Jacob Key. Hamilton also sued Ted and Sally Brown, alleging they were responsible as Key’s employers.
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In Person v. Shipley (No. 20S03-1110-CT-609), the Indiana Supreme Court agreed with the trial court that an engineering expert was qualified to provide expert testimony on the cause of a lower-back injury the plaintiff suffered when his tractor trailer truck was rear-ended by the defendant’s Buick sedan.

The engineer’s qualifications included an undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering, a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering, time spent as an assistant professor at a school of medicine, and time spent teaching courses in biomechanics that cover the musculoskeletal system and the principles underlying the calculations he used for his testimony. The Court explained that the expert was qualified to provide expert testimony because his “engineering background, his knowledge of velocity and changes in speed upon impact, and his experience in reviewing these types of cases made him qualified to offer his opinion as to the change in speed or velocity of [the Plaintiff’s] tractor-trailer.” The Court also agreed that the expert was qualified to give his opinion that the accident did not cause the plaintiff’s lower-back injury because, although the expert was not a medical doctor, the expert’s opinion focused on “the science of engineering and physics as opposed to the science of medicine.” Therefore, his education, background, training, and knowledge of the effect of forces on the musculoskeletal system made him qualified to render his causation opinion under Rule 702.
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