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Hockema v. J.S.

Indiana Court of Appeals
832 N.E.2d 537 (2005)


Facts

Anne Hockema (defendant) was driving when eight-year-old Jacob Secrest (plaintiff) ran out into the road and collided with Hockema’s car. As a result of the accident, Secrest broke his right elbow and collarbone. Secrest and his parents (plaintiffs) sued Hockema and her father (defendant), alleging negligence. The lawsuit sought to recover medical expenses and compensation for injuries and pain and suffering. The parties stipulated that Secrest’s parents incurred almost $39,000 in medical expenses due to the accident. The jury instructions required the jury to determine the percentage of fault for Hockema and for Secrest and, for Secrest’s claim, to return a verdict for Hockema if Secrest’s negligence exceeded 50 percent. For Secrest’s parents’ claim for medical expenses, the jury instructions required the jury to return a verdict for the parents if Hockema was at fault at all. Hockema objected to this final portion of the instructions, but the trial court overruled the objection. The jury determined that Secrest was 66.75 percent at fault and Hockema was 33.25 percent at fault. The jury returned a verdict of $0 for Secrest and his parents. The Secrests requested that the trial court enter a verdict of approximately $13,000 based on the medical expenses and the percentage fault attributed to Hockema. The trial court granted the request, and Hockema appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Vaidik, J.)

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