Welcome back to Bloomington! For those returning, you know what a wonderful place this is. For the freshmen and those new to Indiana University, your journey is just beginning. I am confident that you will soon come to love Bloomington and to appreciate what a special place it is.
I have had many titles through the years – some formal and some informal. I have been a college freshman at IU; a fraternity member; a Little 500 rider; a college graduate; a law student; a lawyer; a defense lawyer, a plaintiff’s lawyer, a husband; and most importantly, a father. These titles have created the lens through which I see the world. It is through this lens that I would like to provide some general guidance and suggestions on how to stay safe, stay compliant, and to hopefully avoid having to hire me or someone like me during your time in Bloomington.
Indiana Comparative Fault Act:
Most personal injury cases in the state of Indiana are subject to the Indiana Comparative Fault Act. Ind. Code § 34-51-2-1 et seq. http://iga.in.gov/static-documents/d/5/5/4/d5542ff4/TITLE34_AR51_ch2.pdf. Under the Act, any fault of the injured person is used to diminish the amount of any recovery they can receive from the at fault party. If the injured person’s fault exceeds 50% – they are barred from recovery entirely.
Something as simple as walking across the street, for example, is subject to the Comparative Fault Act. Bloomington Municipal Code §15.60.050 provides, “No pedestrians shall cross a roadway other than in a crosswalk.” If you are hit by a car crossing Kirkwood Avenue, and not within a crosswalk, you have comparative fault. If a jury determines that your fault is greater than the driver’s fault – you are barred from any type of monetary recovery no matter how significant your injuries.
The example above how the Comparative Fault Act works. It should, however, be noted that comparative fault can arise even when there is no breach of an ordinance or law. In fact, most comparative fault arguments have nothing to do with laws or statutes.
Tips on Staying Safe as a Pedestrian:
- – Use the Crosswalk. It’s the law and a good idea. The law also provides special protections to pedestrians that are within the crosswalk.
- – Cross with the light. It is important to wait for the light before crossing. (A tip for you college students – make sure you push the walk button on the polls near the crosswalk. If you don’t, you won’t get the walk signal).
- – Distracted walking. Being distracted by your phone, with music, or anything else while walking constitutes comparative fault.
- – Drunk walking. As you might guess, having alcohol in your system or being intoxicated constitutes fault. So when you’ve been drinking, arrange for a sober driver or use a cab or ride sharing service.
I sincerely hope that your time in Bloomington is safe and without injury. I hope these tips and suggestions will serve as a useful reminder to you and that they will help keep you and your friends safe during your time in Bloomington. This area of work is my passion, and I am happy to answer any questions you might have. I am also happy to speak with and present to any group on campus or in town that wants to learn more about safety and about ways to avoid lawyers and lawsuits!
About the Author:
Brian is a partner at Bunger & Robertson and focuses his practice on representing people that have been injured and harmed by others. Bunger & Robertson is a full service law firm that has been serving Bloomington and Southern Indiana for nearly 70 years.
More information available at: