Group photo of Parr Richey Frandsen Patterson Kruse LLP
Badges and Certifications of Parr Richey Frandsen Patterson Kruse LLP
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.

One of the more common defenses that Indiana personal injury victims encounter when attempting to recover for their injuries is that of assumption of the risk. Essentially, the assumption of the risk doctrine bars a plaintiff from recovering for their injuries when the plaintiff is fully aware of the risks involved in an activity, but chooses to participate in the activity notwithstanding those risks. In many personal injury cases, such as Indiana car accident cases, assumption of the risk rarely comes up. However, assumption of the risk frequently arises in Indiana sports injury cases.

In Indiana, a plaintiff’s assumption of the risk can be used to assign the plaintiff a percentage of fault for the accident, thus reducing their total recovery amount. Only in rare circumstances will a plaintiff’s assumption of risk result in the plaintiff being prevented from recovering entirely. Recently, a state appellate court released an opinion in a skiing accident case discussing assumption of the risk.

The Facts of the Case

According to the court’s opinion, the plaintiff was a ski instructor at a ski resort. One day, while the plaintiff was giving a ski lesson to a six-year-old child, the defendant came speeding down the mountain. The plaintiff was in an area marked for “slow skiing.” However, as the defendant approached, he went off a jump to perform a trick, and ended up colliding with the plaintiff upon landing. The plaintiff was seriously injured and filed a personal injury lawsuit against the defendant.

Continue reading

All Indiana motorists are required to maintain a certain amount of auto insurance to drive legally. Lawmakers’ idea behind creating such a requirement was to ensure that an at-fault motorist had sufficient assets to cover the costs incurred by the victims of their negligence. Thus, even if an at-fault motorist has no assets themselves, their insurance company will defend the case on their behalf and compensate the accident victim up to the policy limit.

In reality, however, dealing with an insurance company after an Indiana car accident can be a major headache. For one, insurance companies are for-profit companies that rely on taking in more money each month in premiums than they pay out in claims. Thus, it is in an insurance company’s interest to pay as little for each claim as possible. Thus, insurance companies routinely deny coverage in hopes that the accident victim is unfamiliar with the process and doesn’t ask any questions. However, insurance companies who deny coverage can be challenged through an Indiana personal injury lawsuit.

A recent case illustrates one plaintiff’s successful attempt to get an insurance company to cover his injuries.

Continue reading

Figuring out who to name as a defendant in an Indiana car accident case is an important step in any personal injury case. For example, employers may be liable for employees’ actions even in cases where the employer was seemingly not involved in the accident, as a recent case illustrates.

In that case, the plaintiff was evidently a passenger in a truck that was in a single-vehicle accident. At the time, the driver was driving back home after attending a family gathering. The plaintiff filed suit against the driver (the plaintiff’s father), the driver’s corporation, and an affiliated corporation that owned the vehicle. The defendant corporations claimed that they could not be held liable because the driver was not acting within the scope of his employment at the time of the crash.

According to the court’s opinion, the defendant corporations required the driver to be on call at all times—24 hours a day, seven days a week. The driver was required to immediately respond to calls for repairs and maintenance at the defendants’ farms, ranches, and dairies. The defendants had equipment that was operated 24 hours a day, and repairs had to be addressed immediately to avoid disruption of the farm and dairy operations. It was not clear whether the driver was required to use the company vehicle (which contained tools and parts for repairs) at all times so that he could quickly carry out repairs. The driver’s supervisor told him that he was not limited to using the vehicle for business purposes.

Continue reading

Last month, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals issued a written opinion in a case raising an important issue that frequently comes up in Indiana personal injury cases. The case required the court to assess whether a company that provided maintenance for machinery could be held responsible for an accident that may have been able to be prevented if certain safety features had been installed on the machinery. Ultimately, the court concluded that the maintenance company could not be held liable, and dismissed the plaintiff’s case.

The Facts of the Case

According to the court’s written opinion, the plaintiff worked as a truck driver. One day, the plaintiff was waiting at his employer’s warehouse for another employee to load his empty tractor-trailer with goods. As the plaintiff was waiting for the trailer to be loaded, the employee who was operating the forklift backed up over the plaintiff’s foot. The forklift did not have a back-up alarm installed.

Evidently, the plaintiff’s employer had a contract with the defendant company to provide maintenance for the forklift. That agreement called for the defendant company to provide preventative maintenance on the forklift every 90 days. Apparently, the forklift had been serviced just a few months prior to the accident by one of the defendant’s employees, and the installation of a back-up alarm was not recommended. After the accident, the defendant installed a back-up alarm on the forklift.

Continue reading

When someone is injured in an Indiana car accident, the accident victim is entitled to pursue a claim for compensation against any of the parties they believe were responsible for causing the crash. In the majority of cases, car accidents occur on public roads. After an accident on a public road, the motorists involved in the collision should call the police. The police will then respond to the scene, investigate the accident, and issue any citations if they are determined to be necessary. The results of an investigation conducted by the police can be very beneficial to an Indiana car accident plaintiff.

In addition to accidents occurring on public roadways, there are a significant number of Indiana car accidents that occur in parking lots, parking garages, or on other privately owned property. Because these accidents are not on public roadways, police officers may not respond unless there are serious injuries. However, it is essential that motorists involved in a car accident on private property obtain all the necessary information from the other drivers involved in the crash, including the driver’s name, address, insurance information, as well as the vehicle information, including the name and address of the owner (if the owner is not the one driving the car).

An accident victim may also be able to pursue a claim against the owner of the property where the accident occurred if the owner’s negligence contributed to the accident. For example, parking garages are poorly designed or improperly marked, creating a misleading situation for motorists. However, an Indiana accident victim must be able to connect the landowner’s negligence to their injuries by establishing a causal relationship between the two. A recent state appellate decision discussed a plaintiff’s car accident claim against a private residential community.

Continue reading

Recently, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in a personal injury case involving a parent’s allegations against her daughter’s school. While the case arose in another jurisdiction, it raises important issues under Indiana personal injury law. Specifically, the duty that a school owes to its students.

The Facts of the Case

According to the court’s opinion, the plaintiff’s daughter sustained a serious cut to her thumb in woodshop class. Evidently, the student was trying to free a jammed piece of wood from a table saw when the student’s hand came into contact with the saw’s blade. At the time, the shop teacher was out of the shop supervising other students.

The shop teacher testified that before a student was permitted to use the machine unsupervised, they had to pass a written test. Additionally, the teacher would observe students using the machine until he felt comfortable they could do so safely. He estimated that he observed the plaintiff use the table saw correctly 60 times.

Continue reading

Filing a successful Indiana medical malpractice lawsuit can be a complicated endeavor. Not only do these claims often require several expert witnesses to explain the relevant issues in the case to the jury, but there are also additional procedural requirements that a plaintiff must follow.

Under Indiana Code Article 18 Chapter 8, a person bringing a medical malpractice lawsuit against a healthcare professional must first submit their claim to a medical review panel and obtain the panel’s opinion. If a plaintiff fails to comply with this requirement, or any of the other requirements outlined in Chapter 8, the court will dismiss the plaintiff’s complaint. Depending on the timing of the plaintiff’s case, this could preclude the plaintiff from recovering for their injuries.

A recent case arising in another jurisdiction illustrates that not all claims against healthcare providers will be considered “medical malpractice” cases. Typically, these are cases that are brought against medical professionals but do not implicate a professional duty of care. For example, a slip-and-fall accident in a doctor’s office may not be considered a medical malpractice claim.

Continue reading

Winter is officially here, and along with the season comes the ability to participate in some of the most fun and exciting sports – skiing and snowboarding. Part of the reason why these sports are so thrilling is also what makes them so dangerous. High speeds, steep hills, moguls, tight turns, and trees all contribute to the overall experience of skiing, but also to the risks involved. The question often comes up, can a resort be held liable for an Indiana ski accident?

In theory, a ski resort can be held liable for injuries that occur while a guest is skiing. However, almost all ski resorts have taken precaution to ensure that they will not be held responsible for injuries that are caused due to the inherent risks of the sport. Determining what constitutes an “inherent risk” is subject to interpretation and is typically a job left to the courts. Notwithstanding the potential hurdles involved, anyone injured in an Indiana ski accident should reach out to a dedicated Indiana personal injury lawyer to discuss their situation.

A recent case illustrates the difficulties one plaintiff had attempting to bring a claim against a ski resort after an accident with a snowcat. Although it did not take place in this state, it may be illustrative of how an Indiana court would approach the topic.

Continue reading

Earlier this month, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in a personal injury case discussing a defense that is commonly raised in response to an Indiana premises liability case. The case involved a defendant’s allegations that it was unaware of the hazard that caused the plaintiff’s fall and, thus, could not be held liable for the plaintiff’s injuries.

Indiana Premises Liability Law

In Indiana, landowners owe a duty of care to those whom they invite onto their property. The extent of that duty depends largely on the reason for the plaintiff’s visit. Customers or others who are present on a defendant’s property for business purposes are owed the highest duty. In these cases, the landowner must fix any dangerous condition on their property or warn the visitor about hazards that may not be obvious. However, if the landowner is unaware of the hazard, they may not have a duty at all.

Case Facts

According to the court’s opinion, the plaintiff was a patient at a doctor’s office. As the plaintiff walked by a desk, she felt something catch the leg of her pant. The plaintiff fell to the ground, resulting in serious injury. After the fall, as the plaintiff was prone on the ground, she noticed that a wheelchair was leaning up against the desk just a few feet from where she was.

Continue reading

Recently, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in a personal injury case discussing an interesting issue that all Indiana personal injury victims would be wise to consider before filing a case against a defendant. The case addressed when a personal injury defendant may be able to evoke their privilege against self-incrimination when asked to testify in a personal injury lawsuit.

The Facts of the Case

According to the court’s opinion, the plaintiffs were the surviving loved ones of two pedestrians who were killed in an accident caused by the defendant. Because the defendant was intoxicated at the time of the crash, he was arrested and charged with several serious charges, including two counts of murder.

Evidently, the defendant ultimately pled guilty to the murder charges and was sentenced to a total term of 32 years in jail. The defendant filed an appeal of his sentence, claiming that it was excessive. The plaintiffs filed a civil wrongful death lawsuit around this same time, and submitted a discovery request to the court, seeking the defendant be deposed.

Continue reading