Types of Personal Injury Cases We Handle in Indiana
But, not all injuries are entitled to a recovery of money in a court of law. There are a few hurdles to clear when an injured person is seeking compensation for an injury suffered in Indiana.
The right to recover for an injury is ruled by the "laws of torts" or commonly referred to as "negligence" case law.
"Negligence" simply means the injurious person or business did not act the way one is required to do by law. It is commonly referred to as "fault." Legally speaking, negligence refers to an individual's or entity's commission of a "tort", i.e., the failure to exercise reasonable care under the circumstances. To establish a case of negligence, or a tort, the plaintiff must present evidence showing:
- The defendant had a duty to conform his conduct to a standard of care
- The defendant breached that duty
- That breach of duty caused damages to the plaintiff.
Stratmeyer v. U.S., 67 F.3d 1340 (7th Cir. 1995).Duty
In most cases, the existence of a duty to use care is apparent and nobody argues about it in a court of law. For example, it is unquestioned that a driver of a vehicle owes a duty of care to other drivers, his passengers, and pedestrians.
Duty is a question of law for a Judge. Generally, it is defined by the relationship between the parties and the existence of foreseeable harm.
In law school, we were taught various word games involving "duty." For example, we were asked if there was a duty for a man using a hammer on a windy day to fix something on his house when a 250+ MPH wind storm lifts the hammer from his hand and carries it two miles down the road, where it strikes a little old lady.
Certainly, we could all agree that 250+ MPH was unforeseeable (or an Act of God) and it was not foreseeable that the hammer would fly two miles and strike somebody and injure him. But, the law professor would add, what if the person using the hammer was in a crowd of people and the wind was only gusting 25+ MPH? Or that the man using the hammer knew it was going to be windy? Or that the hammer was extremely slippery because the man had been eating greasy food?
The point of the exercise was to get law students to decide what acts would foreseeably cause an injury and which ones could be be considered foreseeable. A Judge does the same intellectual exercise when deciding whether a duty existed by the Defendant to the injured Plaintiff if it is argued.
For example, a recent Indiana Supreme Court case, Goodwin v. Yeakle's Sports Bar and Grill, Inc., recently held that no duty existed to patrons of a tavern by the taven to be free from unforeseeable acts of violence by other patrons. Although most people could agree that a tavern can be a dangerous place, the Indiana Supreme Court held that a shooting in a neighborhood bar is not foreseeable as a matter of law.
In Goodwin, the three injured people were visiting with acquaintances in the defendant's tavern when another customer took offense by a remark of one of them. That customer pulled a gun and shot at the plaintiff who made the remark; the other two plaintiffs were accidentally shot by the gunfire. At the trial court, the defendant tavern asked for the case to be dismissed by "summary judgment" (meaning if all facts were true, then there was no way for the Plaintiffs to win because no "duty" existed by the tavern to them).The Court also held that a shooting in a neighborhood bar was not foreseeable as a matter of law and argued the shooter's criminal acts were unforeseeable; consequently, the bar did not owe a duty of care to the plaintiffs. The trial court agreed and entered summary judgment in favor of the bar.
Generally, a person owes a duty of care to others to avoid harm caused by his or her activities. In the use of vehicles, the legal duty of any motorist is most often established by laws, i.e., statutes and ordinances defining proper and improper operation of a vehicle. A breach of duty occurs when the motorist violates the terms of such statute.Cause
It is not enough to show a breach of a law (breach of duty).
In order to recover damages, an injured person must also establish "causation." This is a very difficult concept to understand fully.
But, in short, a plaintiff must also establish causation between the breach of duty and his or her injuries. In Indiana, only proximate, direct, or material causation will support a negligence action. Huey v. Milligan, 175 N.E.2d 698 (Ind. Ct. App. 1961). Proximate cause is defined as that cause which is in a natural and continuous sequence, unbroken by any efficient intervening cause, and which produces the results complained of. Ortho Pharmaceutical Corp. v. Chapman, 388 N.E.2d 541 (Ind. Ct. App. 1979).
For example, say a plaintiff is involved in a car accident, but develops a skin rash the next day. Even though he was involved in a car crash, there might not be a "causal" connection between the car crash and a skin rash. Oftentimes, doctors are asked if there was a link or cause between an accident and a breach of duty by the defendant. Many Indiana cases turn either for the Plaintiff or the defense based upon the doctor's answers in a deposition (sworn statement outside of court) or at trial.Standard of Care
The standard of care owed to the plaintiff depends upon the capacities of the parties and is different depending upon various factors including whether the defendant was a minor, a parent, a business, a professional or violated a law the legislature considers so dangerous that mere participation imposes liability upon him or her.
When it comes to businesses, employers are liable for the negligent acts of employees committed during the scope and course of their employment. Consequently, a driver of a business van who runs a red light subjects the employer to pay damages to the injured person if it was done "on the job."
Semi-truck drivers and other professional drivers such as bus drivers are held to the standard of care of a "professional" driver and not someone who is a typical operator of a vehicle. After all, professional drivers are paid to follow the Commercial Driver's License Operator's Manual and know statutes, ordinances and other traffic laws because they are paid to do so.
Taverns are not allowed to "over serve" known intoxicated individuals and allow them to drive away causing car crashes or else that tavern can be held liable to the injured party in what is commonly called a "dram shop" case.
Doctors, lawyers, accountants and other professionals are held to the standard of care to act reasonably like other professionals in serving clients or else they can be held liable in what is commonly called a "malpractice" case.
Nursing Home Negligence cases involved a dangerous and growing trend in America today -- the understaffed and under-trained nursing homes that allow elderly patients and residents to develop pressure sores, get improper medications, suffer poor hygiene and nutrition and, worse, get sexually or physically abused by their caretakers or other residents while at a nursing home.
Dog owners must reasonably contain and control their dogs known to have violent tendencies towards others.
The following pages show some examples of the different types of personal injury cases handled efficiently by Shaw Law Offices.
We will start our examples of personal injury cases with the one we do best -- premises liability cases involving slip and falls, trip and falls, negligent security or general premises liability injuries.
The other major area of cases we handle are business torts -- anytime you are hurt on business property or a business injures you or your company, we can assist you. Shaw Law Offices is one of the few Indiana law firms that will take your commercial injury case (when a business breaches a contract with you or engages in unfair business practices that harms your business) on a contingency basis. This mean NO FEE UNTIL WE WIN.
Call or text Shaw Law Offices now at (877) 225-5742.
Shaw Law Offices.
ANYTIME YOU ARE HURT BY A BUSINESS, THERE'S ONLY ONE LAW FIRM TO CALL.
- Slip & Falls in Indiana
- How to Win Your Slip and Fall Case in Indianapolis and the State of Indiana
- What You Need to Know to Win a Slip and Fall or Trip and Fall Injury Case in Indianapolis and the State of Indiana
- Is a Business or Landowner Obligated to Pay my Medical Bills After I Slip and Fall on Their Property in Indianapolis and the State of Indiana?
- What if Walmart Loses the Videotape of My Slip and Fall and Other Missing Evidence in a Premises Liability Case in Indiana?
- Your Landlord Can be Responsible for Your Slip and Fall on Ice and Snow at Your Apartment Complex or Rental Home in Indiana
- Common Places Where Slip and Falls or Trip and Falls Happen in Indianapolis or Indiana
- Holding a Business Responsible for Your Slip and Fall in Indianapolis and Indiana
- City or Government Liability in an Indiana Slip and Fall
- Common Slip and Fall Injuries or Trip and Fall Injuries in Indiana
- Improper Warning Signs in an Indiana Slip and Fall Injury
- Cables and Cords Trip and Falls in Indianapolis and Indiana
- Cracked Sidewalks, Uneven Pavement and Other Slip and Falls in Indianapolis and Indiana
- Existing Hazards that Cause Slip and Falls in Indiana
- Inadequate Maintenance of Property That Causes Slip and Falls in Indianapolis or Indiana
- Common Slip and Fall Types of Injuries and Damages in Indiana
- FAQs About Slip and Falls in Indiana
- What Indiana Victims Must Know About Comparative Fault in Slip and Fall Cases
- What to do if You Trip and Fall in a Gymnasium or Health Club in Indiana
- What You Need to Know About Building Codes to Help Win Your Slip and Fall or Trip and Fall Case in Indianapolis or Indiana
- Can I Recover Money for More Than Just Medical Bills for Things Like Pain and Suffering in my Slip and Fall Case in Indianapolis or Indiana? If so, How Much is my Slip and Fall Case Worth?
- How to Win Your Auto Accident Case in Indianapolis and Other Locations in Indiana
- Bicycle Accidents in Indianapolis and Indiana
- Brain Injuries, TBI, Concussions in Indiana
- Defective Products, Products Liability and Products that Injure in Indianapolis and Indiana
- Dog Bites Causing Injuries in Indianapolis and Indiana
- Pedestrian Accidents That Involve Vehicles in Indianapolis and Indiana
- Premises Liability -- What Does it Mean in Indianapolis and Indiana?
- Construction Site Injuries in Indianapolis and Indiana
- Negligent Security and Victim of Crime at a Business in Indianapolis or Indiana
- Nursing Home Injuries, Nursing Home Negligence and Injuries to Love Ones in Indianapolis and Indiana
- FAQs About Premises Liability Claims and Cases in Indianapolis and Indiana
- Importance of Building Checking Code Violations in a Slip and Fall or Premises Liability Case in Indiana?
- What Victims Should Know About Resort Premises Accidents
- What You Need to Know About Discovery in a Premises Liability Lawsuit
- Medical Malpractice Cases in Indianapolis and Indiana and Top 3 Reasons Why Most Cases are Turned Away
- Semi-Truck Accidents and Other Crashes With Business Vehicles in Indianapolis and Indiana
- Motorcycle Accidents in Indianapolis and Indiana
- Workers' Compensation
- Wrongful Death in Indiana