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Indiana Jury Verdicts

Indiana juries are more likely to issue a plaintiffs’ verdict, at least according to a recent Jury Verdict Research report that found that plaintiffs win damages in 57% of Indiana jury trials. The median money award for personal injury trials in Indiana is $25,036.

The Indiana comparisons to the national data are interesting: plaintiffs receive damages in 48% of cases that go to trial. So Indiana is more likely to find for the plaintiff. But they award less: the national median is $40,000. (Remember, this is a median, not an average, which excludes, by definition, large verdicts.)
Statistics mislead – there are a thousand clichés to prove it. Interstate comparisons are even more challenging because they are based on results created by different variables. States with higher thresholds to get a jury trial in the first place should – on average – be higher. But these statistics are still interesting.

The following are recent verdicts from the Hoosier State:

  • 2020, Indiana: $129,000 Verdict. A man helped his long-time friend clear dead trees on his property. He used a chainsaw, while his friend kept a lookout. As he cut an enormous tree, a dead limb struck his head, causing significant injury. The man sued his friend for failing to keep a proper lookout and not warning him once the limb fell. He claimed that they agreed that his friend would keep a lookout and that his friend knew of the hazards. His friend contended that the situation was unavoidable, and the man assumed the injury risk. The jury returned a mixed verdict, based on comparative fault. They awarded $129,000. The court entered a consistent judgment of $64,500.
  • 2020, Indiana: $14,086 Verdict. A 30-year-old man’s Kia Spectra was rear-ended by another driver’s Honda Accord. Its impact pushed the man’s Kia Spectra into the Toyota Prius in front of him. The man suffered soft-tissue back, hip, wrist, and neck injuries. He underwent chiropractic treatment, which appeared to have resolved his pain. However, he claimed that his back would sometimes lock up months after his treatment ended. He sued the Honda Accord’s driver for failing to stop in time. The jury awarded the man $14,086.
  • 2020, Indiana: $1,200 Verdict. A man was driving his Nissan Ultima in Indianapolis. His vehicle was rear-ended by a Mercury Montego in a low-speed collision. He sought treatment the next day for soft-tissue neck and back injuries. The man also sought chiropractic treatment. He sued the Montego’s driver, who minimized his injuries. After a two-day trial, the jury awarded the man $1,200.
  • 2019, Indiana: $300,000 Verdict. A 41-year-old woman was at a Speedway convenience store. As she was using the Slushie machine, an employee mopped around her. She then took a slight step, causing her to slip and fall onto the wet floor. The woman injured her knee’s cartilage and underwent surgery to repair it. She sued the specific Speedway location for creating a hazard and failing to place a warning sign. The store disputed her claims. They claimed that the employee was dry mopping and the wet floor was because of wintry conditions outside. The jury returned a mixed verdict. They assigned 60 percent of fault to Speedway and 40 percent of fault to the woman. The jury determined the woman’s damages totaled $300,000. However, a consistent judgment lowered the amount to $180,000.
  • 2019, Indiana: $800,000 Verdict. A mail carrier made a routine mail delivery to an Indianapolis clothing store. He usually delivered the mail into a trailer located outside of the store. The mail carrier would drive to a fenced area, where a guard would come out of their shack to log the delivery. He would detach the trailer, be logged out, and leave for the next delivery. One day, the guards failed to leave their shack. The man decided to climb a flight of stairs to enter the shack in order to log himself in. He then left the shack to deliver the mail. The man re-entered the shack to log himself out. As he walked down the stairs, he tripped and fell down them. He eventually hit his head on the floor. The record does not mention a head injury, but he sustained a right ankle fracture. He underwent surgical implantation of hardware. The man eventually underwent a surgical removal, which was unsuccessful. He sued the store for improper maintenance of their premises, claiming there was oil on the stairs. The store denied there were any hazards. After a two-day trial, the jury allocated 20 percent of fault to the man and 80 percent to the store. They determined the damages amounted to $800,000. However, the man’s final award totaled $640,000.

 

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