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Summaries of Successful Cases From Our Indianapolis Law Firm

Summaries of Cases Involving Medical Malpractice

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Medical Negligence Affecting Both Mother and Child

A family physician was responsible for failure to provide medical care within the standard of care. In this case, the family physician was responsible for the death of a mother and for her child developing cerebral palsy. The expectant mother had gained over 100 pounds and had a fundal height of 51 cm in her 38th week of gestation. Yet, the physician did not order an ultrasound or seek a consultation regarding the size of the baby. The expectant mother previously had a C-section. The physician allowed the mother to be in labor for almost two days to give natural childbirth. The physician used contraindicated medications, all of which allowed her uterus to rupture, causing amniotic fluid to enter her bloodstream and ultimately to her lungs which caused her death. The child was deprived of oxygen as a result of the mother's distress, which in turn led to cerebral palsy. The husband and father received maximum compensation for the loss of his wife under Indiana law. The daughter received compensation for injuries that will affect her for the rest of her life. This is one of the first cases in Indiana to establish compensation for both the mother and child for a single act of medical negligence.

Tragedy Resulting From Failure to Provide Standard of Care

A family physician prescribed Methotrexate without monitoring the patient's blood level. The patient had objective medical signs of having adverse reactions to Methotrexate, which the doctor ignored. Ultimately, the patient died as a proximate result of the doctor's failure to follow the appropriate standard of care for his patient by not monitoring the patient's blood levels. The case was resolved for the maximum medical compensation provided under Indiana law.

Summaries of Cases Involving Wrongful Death

Inadequate Medical Care Provided to an Inmate

A county sheriff was sued in federal court for the wrongful death of an inmate for failure to provide medical care under 8th and 14th amendments. The defendant sheriff failed to provide proper medical treatment and precautions for an inmate who had a history of suicide attempts while suffering from paranoid schizophrenia. The inmate committed suicide in his jail cell by tearing the sheets in his bed, tying them to the jail bars and hanging himself.

Strip Club Alcohol Service Leads to Fatal Car Accident

A strip club was held responsible under the Dram Shop Act for the death of a 22-year-old married woman. The jury found that the strip club served alcohol to an obviously intoxicated customer. The intoxicated customer left the bar and drove his motor vehicle the wrong way on an interstate highway, hitting the 22-year-old woman head on. Both were killed instantly. The defendant claimed that its employee refused to serve the intoxicated customer. The plaintiff was able to demonstrate through a toxicologist that the intoxicated driver consumed most of his alcohol during the time period that he was at the strip club.

Hospital Guilty of Deliberate Indifference to Patient Care

Lawsuits were filed in the federal district court by three patients' estates against state officials for violation of civil rights in their care and treatment of the patients, which resulted in the patient's deaths at Central State Hospital. The estates accused the director of Central State Hospital of violating the patients' civil rights through deliberate indifference to their care and treatment. It was shown that the medical director was directly involved with the care of two of the patients. The two patients were hard to manage and had apparently been overmedicated which ultimately led to their deaths. The third patient was found drowned in a bathtub while employees were playing cards.

These cases received a great deal of publicity, which led to the closing of Central State Hospital. This led the state of Indiana to reform its care and supervision of mentally handicapped patients.

Summaries of Cases Involving Personal Injury

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Substantial Workplace Injury on a Construction Site

A worker was on a construction site when another subcontractor at the job site placed a tarp over an open pit. Worker stepped onto the tarp and fell into the hole and suffered significant back injuries. The case was resolved by settlement.

Malicious Prosecution and Battery at a Local Bar

A patron was injured in a local bar. The patron was authorized to carry a handgun, which he placed in the waistband of his pants. An altercation broke out between the patron and another customer. The bouncer attempted to break up the incident when he saw the gun in the patron's hand. The bouncer took the gun away from the patron and started striking him on the head, causing numerous wounds. The patron was falsely accused of aiming his handgun at the bouncer. The patron was found not guilty of pointing a handgun at the bouncer. The patron filed suit against the local bar for malicious prosecution and battery. The jury trial verdict was in favor of the patron. The verdict included compensation for pain and suffering, mental distress and punitive damages. The case was settled on appeal.

Police Use of Excessive Force on an Injured Motorist

A suit was filed in federal court in the Northern District of Indiana for excessive force by Fort Wayne police officers. A motorist was struck by a 14-year-old driver who disregarded a stop sign. The motorist was lawfully driving his fiancé and his two children home. The motorist suffered sternum and shoulder injuries from the motor vehicle accident. The motorist attempted to explain to the police officers that two individuals had run from the 14-year-old's motor vehicle. The police, without justification, suddenly attacked the motorist. The police claimed that the motorist had attacked them and they were only using reasonable force. The motorist was diagnosed with a herniated disk injury to his neck requiring an operation as a result of the police use of excessive force. The jury trial verdict was ruled in favor of the motorist.

Summaries of Cases Involving Brain and Spinal Cord Injuries

Group Home Accident Leads to Spinal Injury

A 35-year-old handicapped woman who experienced epileptic seizures went to a group home to learn to live independently. She was housed in a two-story home, where she suffered an epileptic seizure at the top of the stairs. The woman had a seizure and fell down the stairs, breaking her neck and rendering her a quadriplegic. The woman died of unrelated causes, but her estate was compensated for her injuries and mental suffering from the time of her injury until her death.

Permanent Disability Resulting from a Workplace Injury

A construction worker working on a building in a large northern Indiana metropolitan city suffered significant injuries when the worker stepped through a makeshift cover that had been inadequately secured. This incident caused significant injuries to the worker's back and neck, resulting in reflex sympathetic dystrophy. The worker was found to be permanently and totally disabled. The worker was compensated for his injuries and loss of income.

Summaries of Cases Involving Premises Liability

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School and Security Guard Negligence Leads to Severe Injuries

A 14-year-old student was brutally assaulted by four other students in a high school parking lot. The attack was unprovoked and left the boy with severe facial injuries, including a fractured jaw in two places and missing teeth. This occurred after classes were dismissed for the day. The boys who committed the attack were prosecuted and convicted of battery. A civil suit was brought against the school district for failing to properly supervise the students under its care. The security guard company hired by the school district was also sued. An investigation showed that a large and noisy crowd of young people had gathered around the student just before the attack, which would have placed the school authorities on notice of suspicious activity. However, the security guard had abandoned his duty station in the parking lot in order to make a personal phone call inside the school, and the school officials who customarily observed the students leaving the building were absent that day. The school district sought to have the case dismissed on the grounds that it was immune from such a lawsuit both by statute and the common law. Although the trial court ruled in favor of the school district, the Indiana Court of Appeals held in a lengthy opinion that the school district could be held liable and that this case should proceed to trial. The Indiana Supreme Court agreed with the appellate court's reasoning and affirmed its decision. This case has been cited many times in legal briefs and other appellate court decisions for its analysis of the legal duties owed by schools to their students and how those duties relate to the statutory immunities under the Indiana Tort Claims Act. The case was settled with both the school district and the security guard company before trial.

Unsafe Conditions Cause a Slip-and-Fall Accident

An 83-year-old WWII veteran residing in a small Indiana city went to a community center for the aging. The veteran slipped and fell on the sidewalk containing snow and ice and suffered a broken hip. The community center allowed snow and slush to remain on the grounds even though it had not snowed again for three days. The manager for the community center stated that she had personally observed the sidewalk and that it was dry and safe. The veteran's son took photographs of the sidewalk five hours after the incident, which still showed evidence of snow and slush. The case was settled through mediation after the defendant realized the plaintiff was prepared to go trial.

Summaries of Cases Involving Auto and Truck Accidents

Defendant's Insurance Company Investigation Aids in a Plaintiff's Case

A traveling healthcare provider was driving northbound on I-65 when she was sideswiped by a company vehicle towing a trailer. The healthcare provider went off the road and the car rolled over. The healthcare provider suffered soft tissue injuries. The company's insurance carrier hired an investigator to spy on healthcare provider and her two daughters while sunbathing. The videotape showed conduct of the healthcare provider was consistent with her injuries. The defendant settled the case for fear that the jury would be offended by the insurance company's invasion of the healthcare provider's and her daughter's privacy.

Accident at Auto Auction Results in Notable Compensation

A customer was visiting an auto auction. The customer was injured while inspecting an automobile when an employee of the auction moved a car into the rear of another car, crushing customer's pelvis. The case was settled for significant compensation for the customer's pain and suffering even though the customer had minimal impairment.
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