If recently injured and considering a claim against a negligent party, it is wise to familiarize yourself with these personal injury law basics so that you are better prepared to discuss your case with a trusted accident lawyer. Continue reading to review some basic principles surrounding personal injury law, as well as, some fundamental laws and ordinances specific to Indiana jurisdiction.
Statute of Limitations
When a person is wrongfully injured and wishes to pursue a claim against the at-fault party, they cannot wait too long. All states have a set time limit to file a civil lawsuit, all of which vary depending on the type of case. As for Indiana personal injury lawsuits, a person has two years from the date of the accident to legally file a suit. Once two years has come and gone, a personal injury victim loses all opportunity to pursue compensation for their damages. This time limit decreases for other types of claims. For claims against a city or county, a personal injury victim only has 180 days to file a lawsuit. And for claims against an Indiana state government agency, victims have 270 days from the time of the accident.
Indiana uses “comparative fault” for some personal injury claims. This means a victim can be found partially at-fault for their accident and subsequent damages, thus reducing the opposing party’s liability. It also reduces the total amount of compensation awarded. For example, if a person is hit by a car while crossing the street, but they were not using a designated crosswalk, a court might find them 20% at-fault and the driver 80% at-fault. And the math for compensation would continue from there.
Car Accident Claims
In Indiana, a car accident victim has several options in terms of collecting compensation for their damages. They can choose to file with their own car insurance carrier, the other driver’s car insurance carrier (third party claim), or take the case to court to prove fault and collect compensation for damages.
Dog Bite Claims
Many states follow a “one bite rule” regarding dog bites and injuries. This means a dog owner, to some degree, is protected from liability the first time their dog injuries another person, if their history does not show aggression or past attacks. But Indiana does not use this rule; instead, they use “strict liability” meaning a dog owner is strictly liable no matter what their dog’s behavioral history looks like.
In Indiana, there are certain limits to how much compensation can be collected on specific types of cases. For example, medical malpractice lawsuits had a cap of $500,000 for non-economic damages, while government payouts capped out at five million. These compensation caps have been updated since 2012, and may currently abolished. Talk to your personal injury lawyer for current state cap limitations.