COA: Insurer has duty to defend bars and owners following vehicle accident







This was a Karpe Litigation Group Case

COA: Insurer has duty to defend bars and

owners following vehicle accident


See the enclosed article from THE INDIANA LAWYER.


Illinois Casualty Company will have to pick up the tab for a pair of Kokomo watering holes after the Indiana Court of Appeals found the insurer has a duty to defend the bars and the owners in a lawsuit arising from a traffic accident caused by one of their customers.

The Ebert family sued two “show” bars, Big Daddy’s and Little Daddy’s, for the injuries they suffered in July 2015 after their car was hit by a truck driven by William Spence. Prior to the accident, Spence had been drinking at Big Daddy’s and was visibly intoxicated when he was thrown out of the establishment.

Illinois Casualty, which provided a separate general business owner’s policy and a liquor liability policy to each bar, argued it did not owe a duty to defend or to indemnify under either policy. The insurance provider pointed to the policies and asserted all of the Eberts’ claims fell within the coverage exclusion.

The Howard Superior Court agreed. It founds the business owner’s policies precluded coverage for all of the family’s claims.

Arguing the coverage exclusion in the general insurance polices does not apply to all of the Eberts’ claims, the Ebert family and the bars filed an appeal.

The Court of Appeals reversed the trial court’s ruling in William Ebert, Michelle Ebert, Cora Ebert, Alexandra Ebert, Dan the Man LLC, Daniel Parks, and D&D Saloon LLC v. Illinois Casualty Company, 21A-PL-69.

Writing for the appellate panel, Judge Elizabeth Tavitas explained, “The language of the coverage exclusion in the general business owner’s policies, just like the language of the dram shop statute, unambiguously declares that the root of liability is the furnishing of alcohol to another party. Thus the question before us on this appeal is: do the Eberts assert any claims that could potentially prevail independently of whether defendants furnished Spence with alcohol?”

Spence was ejected from Big Daddy’s after he got into an altercation with another patron. Local police were called but when they left, the bouncer, Christopher “Razor” French confronted Spence. French told him to get his truck and leave. Subsequently, Spence got into his vehicle and eventually sped out of the parking lot, throwing gravel and squealing tires.

The appellate found some of the Eberts’ claims rely on Spence’s impairment which are independent of whether the bar served him alcohol. For example, liability could attach under the failure to intervene theories if Spence had arrived already intoxicated and had not been served.

“Without commenting on the validity of the claims, or their likelihood of success on their merits, we find that the negligence theory based on allowing Spence to leave the premises despite knowledge of his intoxication, for example, does not require proof that the bars ‘caused and contributed’ to said intoxication,” Tavitas wrote. “As such, this is not a claim for which the business owner’s policy excludes coverage, and thus, the duty to defend attaches.”

See the full article from The Indiana Lawyer here:


Leading Causes Of Preventable Injury-Related Deaths






A State Overview Of The Leading Causes Of Preventable Injury-Related Deaths By State 2019

Karpe Litigation Group
According to the NSC (National Safety Council) the top 3 causes of injury related deaths in 2019 by rank are as follows:
  1. Poisoning
  2. Falls
  3. Motor-Vehicle Crashes

In 2019 the U.S. experienced 173,040 preventable deaths and 48.3 million injuries resulting in $1,097.9 billion in costs. The preventable injury-related deaths have increased 99% over the last 27 years.

In the year 2019 about 1 in 7 people that were injured in an accident sought medical attention. The state of Indiana Crash Facts In 2019 reports that vehicle collision rates were nearly 3 times higher among young drivers than any other age group. You can source the Indiana Traffic Safety Facts publication to learn more about various aspects of traffic collisions, causes, events, conditions, demographics etc. that result in personal injuries and death.

Karpe Litigation Group handles many types of personal injury and accident cases throughout the state of Indiana. If you have been in an accident causing serious personal injury give us a call for a free consultation. Our firm never charges a fee until you get paid!


Give us a call to schedule a free consultation 1-888-228-7800.

2 Killed in Crash on I-69 in Fishers

As a semi-truck accident attorney, we handle a number of truck accidents that happen on the highways of Central Indiana, particularly crashes that happen on I-69 in Fishers.

Indiana State Police say two people were killed in a crash on I-69 near the 106th Street exit in Fishers. The crash involved a semi and a passenger vehicle and happened just after 5:30 p.m.State police  identified the two people killed in the crash as 19-year-old Marcus Padgett and 17-year-old Elizabeth Robertson. According to state police Marcus Padgett was the driver with Elizabeth Robertson the passenger.

Unfortunately. the circumstances surrounding the fatal crash remain under investigation.

Indiana State Police believes that the driver of the passenger vehicle, Padgett,  swerved to avoid shredded tire debris and lost control. After losing control, the car then spun into the path of the semi-truck and was struck. The result was that both of the vehicles occupants were pronounced dead at the scene.

The driver of the semi was transported to an area hospital to be treated for minor injuries. That driver has been identified as Anthony Manuel, 52, of Georgia.

We Handle Car Crashes Involving Trucks

As a top-rated Indiana car crash attorney, we help represent our clients that have been in many types of car accidents or truck accidents that result in death or severe injury. Call our office at 888-228-7800 to speak with an expert personal injury attorney today.

Deadly Crash Near 36th and Emerson – 5/25/20

One person is dead after a crash involving three vehicles late Monday, May 25th  2020 on the city’s east side.

It happened just before midnight near 36th Street and Emerson Avenue.

Metro police offered few details shortly after the crash but confirmed that one person was killed and “several” others were transported to area hospitals.

The nature and extent of the injuries were not available.


If you are in a car accident and need a car accident attorney, call the team at Karpe Litigation Group at 317-251-1840.

Buckle up, Indiana! Click It or Ticket Raises Seat Belt Awareness

Wearing a seat belt not only protects drivers and passengers, this Indiana law saves Hoosier lives.

click it or ticket

Police are out in increased numbers to enforce Indiana’s mandatory seat belt laws. Participating in the national Click It or Ticket campaign, Indiana law enforcement is working overtime, giving citations to drivers who fail to wear seat belts while driving or riding in vehicles.

The overtime pay for officers is covered by a grant from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Over 230 law enforcement agencies in Indiana participate in the annual campaign, patrolling day and night to bring awareness of seat belt safety to drivers and passengers, both in front seats and in the back.

Seat Belts Save Hoosiers

Seat belts protect drivers and passengers, even in non-serious crashes. “These are crashes that, when you look at the vehicle, you think someone maybe got a little banged up, and then you find out they were killed because they got ejected,” Indiana State Police Captain Dave Bursten tells local Indianapolis radio station WIBC. “No one plans on being in a crash. But crashes happen. And once the crash happens, you can’t freeze-frame and put your seat belt on to protect yourself. You do that by putting it on as soon as you get in the car before you pull out to drive.”

Seat Belts Decrease the Likelihood of Death

Drivers of cars and SUVs who are unrestrained by seat belts are 10 times more likely to die in a crash than those wearing a seat belt. The number rises to 14 times more likely for drivers of pick-up trucks and 15 times more likely for drivers of vans.

Lt. Jefferey Paine of the Indiana State Police tells local Indianapolis news station WTHR, “It is absolutely heartbreaking to see the aftermath of a crash where a fatality could have been prevented by wearing a seat belt. Click It or Ticket is more than an enforcement campaign, it is an educational effort to increase seat belt use and decrease fatal crashes.”

Younger Male Drivers More At Risk

Male drivers aged 15 to 44, especially those under 25, are most likely to not be wearing a seatbelt at the time of a crash, according to State Police. Injury rates for unrestrained drivers and passengers are also higher:

  • in rural counties
  • when a driver is speeding or impaired
  • on weekend nights between the hours of 11:00 pm and 4:00 am

In fact, Indiana motorists are more likely to suffer property damage, injuries or death from a traffic accident than to experience a burglary, to be the victim of a violent crime or to be murdered.

seatbelt statistics

Click It or Ticket Through the Years

Prior to 1980, seat belt usage in the United States averages about 11%. In 1980, small campaigns to increase seat belt usage begin to pop up. Individual organizations, public education programs, incentives and policy changes work to change perceptions. However, without any actual laws on the books, these efforts only make a slight difference. By 1984, seat belt usage only climbs four percentage points.

New York becomes the first state to enact mandatory seat belt laws in 1984 and by 1990 an additional 37 states have seat belt laws on the books. At the time, most of these states have “secondary seat belt laws,” meaning an officer would first have to have pulled over a vehicle for another violation before citing the lack of seat belt use. Even so, the national rate of seat belt usage climbs from 15% to 50%.

The Click It or Ticket campaign begins as a statewide effort in 1993 when North Carolina Governor Jim Hunt launches it in conjunction with a “primary enforcement safety belt law,” which allows officers to issue seat belt citations without first observing another offense. Other states follow and in 2002 the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration starts the first national campaign.

Enforcing for Safety

The campaign has been deemed a success by its backers. The U.S. Department of Transportation releases a statement in May 2003, “National belt use among young men and women ages 16-24 moved from 65% to 72%, and 73% to 80% respectively, while belt use in the overall population increased from 75% to 79%.”

In 2018, the 230 agencies involved with enforcing the Click It or Ticket campaign in Indiana put in nearly 29,000 hours of overtime to crack down on seat belt violations and write 32,000 citations and warnings.

Make Sure You are Properly Buckled

Indiana State Police provides reminders on how to properly “buckle up”:

  • Secure the lap belt across your hips and pelvis, below your stomach.
  • Place the shoulder belt across the middle of your chest and rib cage, away from your neck.
  • Never put the shoulder belt behind your back or under an arm.
  • If your seat belt doesn’t fit you, or you have an older car with lap belts only, ask your dealer or vehicle manufacturer about seat-belt adjusters, extenders or retrofits.

Senior Trooper Nick Klinghammer of the Indiana State Police tells local Indianapolis station RTV6, “Most times you’re involved in a crash, it’s within five to10 miles of your house, so hopefully we prevented something here. If you don’t click it, you’ll get a ticket.”

Personal Attention from Professional Attorneys

If you have been involved with a seat belt violation, talk to the professional attorneys at Karpe Litigation Group today. We are experts in auto accident law, winning the most challenging cases and helping those in need for 20 years and counting. There is no fee until we win for you. Committed to making things easy for you, we are happy to meet by appointment on evenings and weekends, and travel to you when needed. Give us a call today at 1-888-228-7800 or fill out our contact form to schedule your free initial consultation.

More Indianapolis Drivers Leaving the Scene of Auto Accidents

Karpe Litigation Group

In 2007, four hit and run auto accidents claim a person’s life in Marion County. By 2016, that number jumps to 20 – and continues to rise.

personal injury attorney

On a Friday night in May 2019, a man is killed on the near west side of Indianapolis. According to Indianapolis Metro Police, a dark-colored passenger car slams into his Ford F-150 while he is likely lying underneath, working on the pickup outside of his home on West Michigan Avenue.

The driver of the car takes off on foot and the man, unidentified and transported to Eskenazi Hospital in critical condition, is pronounced dead on arrival. Neighbors express surprise that someone would be working underneath a vehicle on this very busy road, particularly after dark.

Hit and run auto accidents such as this are not only tragic, they are all too common – especially here in Indianapolis where reports of drivers leaving the scene of auto accidents continue to rise.

More Hit and Run Investigations

Three Injured on the Near East Side. Fox 59 reports in April 2019 on a hit and run accident that causes serious bodily injury to three unnamed adults. The incident involves three vehicles and occurs around 3:40 A.M. at E. 38th Street and Arquette Drive. Police are still searching for the suspect, who was driving a green 2001 Chevrolet Silverado, according to witnesses at the scene.

11-Year-Old Girl Injured. An accident on the eastside of Indianapolis leaves police searching for the driver, according to RTV6. Rickonna Dixson and her 11-year-old daughter are waiting on East Pleasant Run Parkway North Drive to turn into the Kroger at the Twin Aire Shopping Center. Rickonna recalls looking in her rearview mirror and seeing a truck she thinks is moving too fast. When that truck slams into her, the impact is so hard it pushes her into oncoming traffic where she is struck by a van.

“When we were hit, all I could think about was my daughter in the back seat,” Rickonna says. “It’s a miracle, really a miracle, that my daughter made it. She has half of her ear missing. My car is totaled.” Police are still looking for the driver of the 1997 black Dodge Ram that hits them.

Leaving the Scene of An Indianapolis Auto Accident Costs More

A Fox 59 investigation finds a sharp increase in the number of hit and run car accidents after analyzing crash reports obtained from the Indianapolis Metro Police Department (IMPD). “In 2016, there were 5,049 hit and runs reported to IMPD; 543 of them involved injuries. The next year, that number jumped to 5,539 hit and run reports. The number of injuries jumped as well, to 594. By October of 2018, IMPD had already written up 4,236 hit and run reports with 398 of those reports involving injuries.”

In the face of more hit and run accidents than ever, Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb recently signed a bill into law creating more serious penalties for drivers who leave the scene of a crash. Now, a hit and run that results in a fatality is considered to be a Level 5 felony. Before, drivers thought they would see more leniency in sentencing after leaving the scene. Today, the law clearly states that running will result in a more serious punishment.

14 Hit-and-Run Accidents a Day in Marion County? The Number Is Rising

Analyzing data records for Marion County, a noticeable spike in the total number of hit-and-run incidents is revealed. In 2007 there were a total of 5,315 hit and run accidents reported, and that number stays pretty consistent for the next seven years.

The total number jumped in 2015 to 6,016, then 7,603 in 2016 and 7,038 in 2017. That’s a 117% increase in the total number of accidents from 2014-2015 and a 126% increase from 2015-2016.

Even in the year with the lowest number of incidents (4,908 in 2011), there is still an average of 14 hit and run accidents per day. And that number appears to be on the rise.

indianapolis car accident

Reasons Drivers Leave the Scene of An Auto Accident

Why would someone leave the scene of an accident? After all, it’s unlawful and irresponsible, not to mention inhumane. The most common reasons include:

  • The driver has legal problems unrelated to the crash and does not want to have to deal with the police when they come to investigate
  • There is a warrant for the driver’s arrest
  • The driver is drunk or high
  • The driver does not have a driver’s license
  • The driver does not have current auto insurance
  • The driver is experiencing an emergency
  • Simple fear or panic

Hit-and-Runs Resulting in Injury

Fortunately, most hit and run accidents do not cause personal injury. There can still be great cost associated with a hit and run, including property damage and emotional distress. Even just focusing on the number of accidents with injury, the number is rising along with the number of total accidents.

For instance, in 2007 there were 624 hit and run accidents resulting in injury. The numbers hover around that until 2016, when they jump to 801. Then, in 2017, the number drops back slightly to 741. There was a 116% increase from 2014 to 2015 and a 129% increase from 2015 to 2016.

Hit-and-Runs Resulting in Death

The most shocking jump in numbers when analyzing the Marion County data is the number of hit and run accidents resulting in death. In 2007, only four hit-and-run auto accidents claimed a person’s life. By 2014 that number jumped to 14 and then jumped to 20 in both 2015 and 2016. In fact, of the 120 fatal hit and run accidents over the past 11 years, nearly half (45.83%) occurred in the last three years.

At Karpe Litigation, we’re all too familiar with the pain and suffering that can be caused by a hit and run auto accident. If you should ever find yourself in a situation where you have caused an accident, make sure to remain on the scene.

Personal Attention from Professional Attorneys

If you are a victim of a hit and run auto accident, talk to the professional attorneys at Karpe Litigation Group today. We are experts in auto accident law, winning the most challenging cases and helping those in need for 20 years and counting. There is no fee until we win for you. Committed to making things easy for you, we are happy to meet by appointment on evenings and weekends, and travel to you when needed. Give us a call today at 1-888-228-7800 or fill out our contact form to schedule your free initial consultation.