By Michael Hawkins
In Indiana, you can pursue compensation for your injuries if you are an accident victim. Compensation for personal injury victims can include lost wages, healthcare costs, pain and suffering, and other awards. In addition to seeking compensation for your injuries, personal injury attorneys will help you take as much advantage of the justice system as possible. Find out more about personal injury cases in Indiana and what to expect from a settlement or a jury award.
What You Need to Know about Contributory Negligence
In Indiana, personal injury claims involving injuries caused by another party are subject to a legal concept known as contributory negligence. This legal principle applies in several cases, including car accidents and slip and fall accidents. Essentially, the modified comparative fault doctrine divides the blame between the parties involved.
The concept of contributory negligence in Indiana personal injury cases involves the application of the common law theory of fault. Generally, the percentage of fault assigned to each party represents the percentage of negligence each person displayed during the accident. The plaintiff may still recover damages if they are partially or entirely at fault, but under some conditions:
- The plaintiff cannot recover damages if they are 51% at fault or more for the accident in question.
- In case the plaintiff is less than 51% at fault, they will get reduced damages according to the percentage of their fault.
There are many things to know about damages in personal injury cases in Indiana, including the statute of limitations and damage caps. In general, the amount of damages you can recover will depend on what caused the injuries. In most cases, if you were to sue someone else for personal injuries, you may be eligible to recover pain and suffering damages as well.
As mentioned, in Indiana, you cannot recover any amount of damages if you are more than 50% at fault for the accident. However, if you are less than 51% at fault or not at fault at all, your personal injury lawyers in Indianapolis, IN, will be able to get you compensatory damages. In Indiana, just like in most states, compensatory damages are economic and non-economic. The economic ones include medical bills, lost wages, and damaged property. The non-economic ones include pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of consortium, and more.
Indiana does not cap economic damages per se, but you must know that the medical malpractice damage cap is $1.8 million. Moreover, claims against the state are capped at $700,000. In contrast, punitive damages are capped at $50,000 or three times the amount of the compensatory (economic and noneconomic) damage award, whichever is higher.
A Few Words on Wrongful Death
In Indiana, wrongful death lawsuits allow families to seek compensation for the death of a loved one. Survivors’ rights in these cases include compensation for funeral expenses, health care costs, lost wages, and legal fees. In addition, the parents of a deceased child may also seek compensation. Although there are limits on how much compensation can be received, the survivors of a deceased wrongful death victim may have a good chance of winning their case.
Statute of Limitations
There are several situations in which a person is allowed to bring a lawsuit against another. First, the person responsible for the injuries may be out-of-state or have no physical presence in the state, which may toll the statute of limitations. In other cases, the person may have an Indiana agent receive lawsuit papers on their behalf. In these circumstances, the statute of limitations for Indiana’s personal injury cases starts from when the injuries occurred.
Second, you can still bring a claim if you are at fault for an accident. Under the modified comparative fault rule, the court will reduce your damages by the percentage of fault you share. You can move forward with your case if you are at fault for less than 50 percent. In either case, your potential damages will be reduced accordingly.
Depending on the circumstances, Indiana personal injury victims have two years to file lawsuits. Those with a case should file their suit promptly, as the statute of limitations expires quicker than one realizes. Failure to do so will result in the dismissal of the case. Therefore, filing your claim as soon as possible is essential to maximizing your chance of recovering compensation. But before you file a case, make sure you find proper legal representation.
About the Author
Michael Hawkins – When it comes to educating the public on legal matters, few people are as determined as Michael Hawkins. From discovering issues of interest that concern all of us to offering actionable articles and guides to those in need, Michael is relentless in his journey of helping people make sense of the legal system. With dozens of pieces published in magazines, news outlets, and online journals, Michael is here to translate legalese into plain English so you can understand your rights and make the system work in your benefit.