Articles Posted in Personal Injury Litigation

Recently, the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit issued a written opinion in an Indiana slip-and-fall case involving a woman’s fall at a pharmacy chain. The case required the court to determine if a lower court was proper in granting summary judgment in favor of the defendant. Finding that the plaintiff failed to establish that the defendant had knowledge of the hazard that caused her fall, the court affirmed judgment in the defendant’s favor.

Spilled LiquidThe Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was visiting a Walgreen’s pharmacy when she slipped and fell on what she believed to be a puddle of water. However, witness accounts differed regarding whether there was water on the floor after the plaintiff’s fall. Several store employees claimed that no water was present. However, the plaintiff and her friend testified that there was a puddle of water present. The plaintiff also told responding paramedics that she had slipped on a puddle of water.

At trial, the court determined that the plaintiff’s statement to paramedics was inadmissible hearsay, precluding it from consideration. Thus, the court then held that the plaintiff failed to make out her case against the defendant. The plaintiff appealed.

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The legal theory of negligent entrustment allows for an Indiana car accident victim to seek compensation from the owner of a vehicle who negligently allowed another person to use the vehicle that was involved in the accident. Since a negligent entrustment claim allows for an accident victim to hold a third party (the vehicle’s owner) liable for the negligent actions of a party (the driver), it is a form of vicarious liability.

Sunny HighwayCommonly, negligent entrustment claims are brought against those who lend their cars to young or intoxicated drivers. Each state has its own laws when it comes to establishing a negligent entrustment claim, but a universal requirement is that the plaintiff be able to establish that the owner of the vehicle had some reason to believe that the person they allowed to use their car posed a danger to other motorists.

A federal appellate court recently issued a written opinion in a negligent entrustment case illustrating how courts analyze these claims.

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Earlier this month, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in a personal injury case involving a plaintiff who was mauled by a pack of four or five dogs. The case presented the court with the opportunity to discuss whether the state imposes strict liability on the owners of dogs and, if so, whether the doctrine of comparative fault should be applied to take into account the plaintiff’s own negligence.

Dog PackThe case is important for Indiana dog bite victims to understand because it shows the type of analysis that courts conduct when viewing these types of claims. However, it is important to keep in mind that Indiana’s dog bite law is somewhat different from the law discussed in this case.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff and her friend were walking along a path on the friend’s property while hunting for squirrels. At some point, a pack of several dogs approached the plaintiff and attacked her. A passing motorcyclist saw the plaintiff was being attacked and intervened. As a result of the attack, the plaintiff sustained serious injuries and filed a personal injury lawsuit against the owner of the dogs.

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Earlier this month, an appellate court issued a written opinion in a personal injury case affirming the denial of the plaintiff’s motion for a new trial based on the alleged failure of the jury to consider what the plaintiff claimed to be uncontroverted evidence. The court, however, interpreted the evidence differently, finding that the evidence presented at trial was in conflict. That being the case, the court held that the jury was free to come to the conclusion that it did. Therefore, the trial court was proper in denying the plaintiff’s motion for a new trial.

Crashed CarThe case is relevant to Indiana car accident plaintiffs because it illustrates the analysis courts apply when determining whether a new trial is necessary. Additionally, a similar standard is applied by courts when determining whether a plaintiff’s case is sufficient to be submitted to a jury for trial in the first place.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff and the defendant were involved in a car accident. Both parties believed that the accident was caused by the other’s negligence. However, only the plaintiff filed a lawsuit. The plaintiff testified at trial, claiming that the defendant changed lanes without signaling, resulting in the collision.

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Earlier this month, an appellate court issued a written opinion in a personal injury case discussing the potential repercussions for committing fraud on the court. The case is instructive to Indiana car accident plaintiffs in showing the importance of selecting a reputable and honest attorney, as well as the importance of being truthful in all pleadings and testimony before the court.

LuggageThe Facts of the Case

The plaintiff hired a car company to take her to the dock where she was planning on boarding a ship for a cruise. Once the plaintiff arrived, she was unloading her luggage from the rear of the vehicle when it suddenly began to reverse. The vehicle pinned the plaintiff underneath the rear axle and caused serious injuries. The plaintiff was admitted to the hospital for 10 days and suffered a broken leg.

The plaintiff filed a personal injury lawsuit against the car company, arguing that the driver’s negligence resulted in her being run over and sustaining a broken leg. During pre-trial discovery, the plaintiff completed written interrogatories indicating that she had a permanent limp, that she uses a cane to walk, and that she cannot carry large objects due to her injuries.

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All Indiana personal injury cases must be filed within a certain amount of time, or the case will be dismissed and the plaintiff will be without any means of recourse. In Indiana, the statute of limitations for most personal injury cases is two years from the date of the injury. However, this time period can be extended in certain situations.

Cleaned-Out GarageEarlier this month, an appellate court in Georgia issued a written opinion in a premises liability lawsuit raising the question of which of two potentially applicable statutes of limitations applied to the plaintiff’s case. The case goes to show the lengths to which defendants will go to get a case dismissed when there is a potential statute of limitations defense.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiffs were the parents of a young boy who was injured after a wall collapsed on him while he was living at a home owned by the defendant and rented to the boy’s parents. After their son’s injury, the plaintiffs filed a personal injury case against the defendant. However, while that case was pending, the plaintiffs’ son turned 18. At that point, the plaintiffs agreed to withdraw their case against the defendant so that their son could proceed on his own behalf.

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One of the most contested aspects in many Indiana medical malpractice cases is the element of causation. Simply stated, in order to succeed in a medical malpractice case, a plaintiff must not only show that the defendant medical provider was negligent but also show that their negligence was the cause of the plaintiff’s injuries. While this may seem simple in concept, the reality is that causation in medical malpractice cases is very complex. A recent medical malpractice opinion issued by a federal court of appeals illustrates one plaintiff’s difficulty in establishing causation.

SurgeryThe Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was the surviving spouse of a man who died from liver cancer. The plaintiff’s husband suffered from numerous medical conditions, including cirrhosis, and was treated by the local Veterans Administration (VA) hospital.

In 2011, the plaintiff’s husband showed signs of elevated liver function and had a CT scan performed. The VA doctor interpreting the scan results noted that the patient’s cirrhosis was stable but failed to make any other observations or diagnosis.

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Indiana is among the several states that has a Dram Shop liability statute, which can act to impose civil liability on establishments that serve alcohol to patrons who later leave the establishment and cause a serious accident. Most commonly, Dram Shop cases involve a patron who leaves the establishment and causes an Indiana drunk driving accident; however, the Dram Shop statute is not limited to drunk driving accidents.

Golf CourseUnder the Indiana Dram Shop statute, an establishment may be held liable for any injury caused by a patron who was served by the establishment. In order to establish liability, the injured party must prove that the establishment knew the patron was intoxicated when they were served, and also the patron’s intoxication was a proximate cause of the accident. A recent case out of Florida illustrates how courts apply Dram Shop statutes to impose liability on establishments that over-serve alcohol.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was the surviving husband of a woman who was killed in a drunk driving accident. The driver who caused the accident had just left a golf course, where he played a round while consuming several alcoholic drinks.

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Most people are aware that when a drunk driver causes an Indiana car accident, that driver can be held responsible for any injuries that occur as a result of the accident through an Indiana personal injury lawsuit. What may come as a surprise to some readers is that, under Indiana’s Dram Shop law, if the drunk driver was served by a bar or restaurant to the point of intoxication, that establishment may also be named as a defendant in the drunk driving lawsuit.

CocktailDram Shop laws are present in some form in most states. Essentially, Dram Shop laws allow for victims of a drunk driving accident to hold an establishment that over-served a drunk driver financially responsible for their injuries. In Indiana, an establishment may be liable if the person who served the driver had actual knowledge that the driver was intoxicated. It also must be shown that the driver’s intoxication was the proximate cause of the accident victim’s injuries. When it comes to proving actual knowledge that a driver was intoxicated, courts will look at all of the surrounding circumstances, such as the number of drinks the driver was served, the manner in which the driver was acting, and any eyewitness accounts of the interactions between the driver and employees of the establishment. A recent case out of Florida illustrates how one court applied the state’s Dram Shop law.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was the surviving loved one of a man who was killed in a drunk driving accident involving another driver. The at-fault driver had just come from the defendant golf course, where he played a round of golf while enjoying several alcoholic drinks. The plaintiff filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the golf course.

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Anyone who has been involved in an Indiana car accident knows that dealing with insurance companies in the wake of the accident can be a real headache. While insurance is mandatory in all states and should act to provide compensation to car accident victims, the reality is that insurance companies are for-profit companies that are financially incentivized to pay out as little as possible for each claim.

Smashed WindshieldIn many cases, insurance companies will approach an accident victim early in the recovery process in hopes of getting to them before they speak to an attorney. An employee of the insurance company may try to act like they know what is best for an accident victim, and they will often explain that the claim is worth a certain amount and offer to settle the claim. However, accident victims should be careful when discussing their claims with anyone from the insurance company because in most cases, the offers made to an unrepresented accident victim are low-ball offers to settle claims that may be worth much more.

In other cases, insurance companies will outright deny an accident victim’s claim. This is especially the case when there are unusual facts surrounding the accident. In such cases, the accident victim may be left with no choice but to file a personal injury lawsuit, seeking to compel the insurance company to cover the claim. That is exactly what happened in a recent car accident case in Rhode Island.

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