As I was doing research to come up with a topic for my blog this week, I came across a case in Indiana where a thirty-two-year-old man won a $35 million settlement after being paralyzed in a drunk driving accident. This is one of the biggest settlements ever won in the state of Indiana, which got me wondering about personal injury laws in the state.
If I got injured in an accident and filed a personal injury lawsuit in Indiana, I’d want to prepare so I could win the maximum settlement in my case. While I’m sure the exact amount of a settlement depends a lot on circumstances, having a strong legal team and preparing for trial are also essential components.
The Statute of Limitations
The most important law to know regarding your personal injury claim in Indiana is that the state has a statute of limitations in place of two years. You must file your claim within two years of when your accident occurred or else the court won’t hear your claim and you won’t be able to receive any compensation for your injuries.
While two years seems like an ample amount of time, you’ll need time to seek medical help, gather evidence, hire a legal team, and prove negligence, so it’s better to file your claim sooner rather than later.
Indiana has a comparative fault law that states that you can recover damages even if you are partially at fault for causing the accident. As long as you are less than 50 percent at fault for the accident, you can sue and obtain compensation from the other liable parties in the accident. Once the judge has calculated your percentage of fault, that percentage will be deducted from your overall claim value.
For example, if your settlement is $100,000 and you’re found to be 20 percent at fault, you’ll ultimately receive $80,000.
You’ll be able to recover both economic and non-economic damages in your personal injury case, depending on the severity of the accident and the injuries you’ve suffered. Economic damages will comprise any financial losses you’ve suffered including medical expenses, lost wages, and property damages. Non-economic damages will comprise ways in which the accident has affected your lifestyle including pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, emotional distress, and loss of consortium.
Indiana’s personal injury laws seem similar to personal injury laws in other states I’ve learned about. While some states have varying statutes of limitations and comparative fault can vary as well, knowing these basic laws can be helpful when going to court. I don’t plan on ever living in Indiana, but as an up-and-coming lawyer, I’m glad to have even more information under my belt. Hopefully, this information will be helpful for others out there, too.