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Woman’s tort claim notice insufficient

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A trial court improperly granted summary judgment to a woman on whether her notice to the city of Indianapolis was sufficient to inform it of a potential personal injury claim, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled.

In City of Indianapolis v. Rachel Buschman, 49A02-1108-CT-782, the city of Indianapolis on interlocutory appeal claimed that the tort claim notice Rachel Buschman provided following an accident with a city police officer was insufficient. Buschman was rear-ended by the officer on July 25, 2008; on Aug. 1, she submitted her tort claim notice to the city. In it, she described the damage and said “no injuries.”

Less than a year later she sued the city, alleging as a result of its negligence she suffered personal injuries, including pain in her lower body and back and herniation of lumbar discs. The city contended that her claims were barred because her tort claim notice didn’t include information about personal injuries.

Buschman argued that at the time she mailed her notice, she only had soreness and didn’t believe she had an injury. It was later that she decided to seek medical treatment. The trial court concluded the notice was sufficient as a matter of law.

The Court of Appeals reversed because the notice contained an explicit denial of injuries so the city had no reason to investigate a personal injury claim or anticipate a claim for medical expenses, lost earnings, and pain and suffering, wrote Judge Michael Barnes. The judges rejected her claim that the purpose of the statute was fulfilled because the city knew of her intent to make a claim and they could investigate the specifics of the accident to prepare a defense.

“[W]e hold that, when a claimant’s notice contains a specific and definitive assessment of loss, his or her recovery is limited to the loss described in the original notice. Alternatively, if, as is the case here, additional losses are discovered after the notice has been submitted, we see no reason why the claimant could not amend the original notice or submit another notice in a timely manner,” he wrote.

The judges remanded for further proceedings.

 

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  1. Linda, I sure hope you are not seeking a law license, for such eighteenth century sentiments could result in your denial in some jurisdictions minting attorneys for our tolerant and inclusive profession.

  2. Mazel Tov to the newlyweds. And to those bakers, photographers, printers, clerks, judges and others who will lose careers and social standing for not saluting the New World (Dis)Order, we can all direct our Two Minutes of Hate as Big Brother asks of us. Progress! Onward!

  3. My daughter was taken from my home at the end of June/2014. I said I would sign the safety plan but my husband would not. My husband said he would leave the house so my daughter could stay with me but the case worker said no her mind is made up she is taking my daughter. My daughter went to a friends and then the friend filed a restraining order which she was told by dcs if she did not then they would take my daughter away from her. The restraining order was not in effect until we were to go to court. Eventually it was dropped but for 2 months DCS refused to allow me to have any contact and was using the restraining order as the reason but it was not in effect. This was Dcs violating my rights. Please help me I don't have the money for an attorney. Can anyone take this case Pro Bono?

  4. If justice is not found in a court room, it's time to clean house!!! Even judges are accountable to a higher Judge!!!

  5. The small claims system, based on my recent and current usage of it, is not exactly a shining example of justice prevailing. The system appears slow and clunky and people involved seem uninterested in actually serving justice within a reasonable time frame. Any improvement in accountability and performance would gain a vote from me. Speaking of voting, what do the people know about judges and justice from the bench perspective. I think they have a tendency to "vote" for judges based on party affiliation or name coolness factor (like Stoner, for example!). I don't know what to do in my current situation other than grin and bear it, but my case is an example of things working neither smoothly, effectively nor expeditiously. After this experience I'd pay more to have the higher courts hear the case -- if I had the money. Oh the conundrum.

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