Whether you choose to retain an attorney or file a personal injury claim on your own, it’s vital that you understand Indiana personal injury laws if you hope to make any headway.
After you’ve suffered injury and endured trauma from an Indiana accident, you may experience the added burden of financial stress. Medical and auto repair bills may pile up. If you find yourself out of work or the quality of your life adversely impacted, a personal injury legal claim could help alleviate your suffering.
Of course, in the aftermath of your accident, you’re trying to forge a path to healing and recovery. You may want to reach out to a seasoned personal injury lawyer to help you navigate through the legal process.
Can personal injury laws impact your claim?
Although there are federal laws pertaining to personal injury, each U.S. state has varied legislation to protect accident victims. These laws also protect insurers from fraudulent claims. By familiarizing yourself with both federal and State of Indiana personal injury laws, you can have a better grasp on what to expect as you pursue compensation.
Federal Personal Injury Laws
Federal provisions for personal injury lawsuits have existed since the 1940s. The Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) was passed by the U.S. Congress in 1946. The FTCA gives legal provision to those who have endured personal injury by negligence or maliciously wrongful acts perpetrated by an agent of the government.
If you suffer injury as a result of a negligent act by any acting agent of the U.S. Government, the FTCA enables you to file a federal personal injury lawsuit.
Indiana personal injury laws
In Indiana, most personal injury lawsuits are settled before they can go to court. Settlement negotiations typically occur in mediation meetings or via written letter. If an insurance company refuses to budge, the claim may then go to court.
Indiana is considered an “at fault” or “tort” state, which means the party at fault in an accident can be held legally liable for any resulting costs incurred by any injured parties. You have the right to file a lawsuit if you’ve been injured in an accident.
Even if you’re injured in an accident in Indiana, you could hold partial legal fault for your injuries. Comparative fault means the courts could determine that an insurer isn’t responsible for all of your medical or auto bills, etc. The police report from your accident could state that both involved parties held responsibility for your accident. Split fault may also be attributed by a judge.
If you’re found to have a significant percentage of fault, your personal injury damages will be reduced. For example, if you failed to yield while turning and another driver ran a red light and hit you, a judge may deem your fault to be 30 percent. Thus, your claim would see a reduction of 30 percent.
If your fault in your personal injury case is determined to land higher than 50 percent, you can no longer receive compensation. However, even if you’re 45 percent at-fault, you still may have a legal avenue to a settlement.
In Indiana, there are laws on the financial rulings of compensatory claims. These regulations are known as “damage caps.” Damage caps dictate a cap of compensation provided by an insurer at $250,000 per each insurer and cannot exceed $1.25 million. If your personal injury case involves the Indiana state government, your damage cap is set at $700,000 (per IC 34-13-3-4).
However, a judge or jury may also find an insurance company liable for punitive damages. Punitive damages are punishment for a liable party and are meant to act as a deterrent for future gross negligence.
Indiana personal injury laws dictate a cap for punitive damages at three times the amount of compensation. For example, if you receive $75,000 in a compensatory settlement, the punitive damages determined by the courts cannot exceed $225,000. You would receive 25 percent of the punitive settlement, and in Indiana, the remaining 75 percent is deposited into the Violent Crime Victims Compensation Fund.
Statute of Limitations
In Indiana, you have a set limit of time to file a personal injury lawsuit. Typically, the clock starts running on the day of your accident. Indiana then allows you to take up to two years to file a personal injury claim. After two years have elapsed, if you haven’t filed a claim, you no longer have a valid legal case.
The Indiana statute of limitations covers injury and property damage, and actually protects you as well. The two-year period also means you won’t have to deal with decades of fraudulent countersuits meant to hold up your settlement.
If your claim is against a city, county, or state government, the statute of limitations shortens considerably. City or county claims must be filed within 180 days. Personal injury claims against the state should be issued in 270 days.
How an Indiana personal injury lawyer can help
In the aftermath of your Indiana accident, you may deserve compensation. An expert personal injury lawyer may hold comprehensive knowledge of personal injury laws in Indiana. The right attorney can help you explore the merits of your case and won’t settle until you see justice.
At Yosha Law, we are passionate about our clients and consider them part of our family. We will help with your personal injury claim so you can concentrate on your recovery. We’ll fight for what you’re owed.
We also offer an initial free case evaluation where we can help you explore the merits of your case and guide you through the legal process.