As a personal injury victim who has a claim, you shouldn’t have to decipher through complex legalese just to be sure your rights are being protected. Although the best course of action is to consult with an attorney who specializes in accident and personal injury law in order to fully understand your claim, it also helps to review some important principles of negligence law yourself.
Continue reading for a basic overview of Indiana’s negligence laws.
Negligence Law in Indiana
“Legal negligence” occurs when a person or corporation owes a duty of care to another person, and fails to uphold that duty, therefore becoming responsible for any subsequent injuries, damages, or losses. For instance, a drunk driver who fails to stop at a red light will be held liable under negligence law for the injured victim’s damages and losses. See Indiana Code Title 34, Section 51-2-5, et seq. for details regarding state negligence ordinances. The insurance company for the drunk driver would pay for any damages assessed against the drunk driver.
Here in Indiana, the plaintiff in a personal injury lawsuit (the victim), holds the burden of proving negligence. There are some central elements to a negligence case, and a personal injury victim must be able to prove that these elements exist:
✦ The defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care.
✦ The defendant breached their duty of care.
✦ If it weren’t for the defendant’s breach, the plaintiff would not have suffered harm.
✦ The defendant’s breached duty of care was a responsible cause of the plaintiff’s injuries.
✦ Any reasonable person would have been able to foresee the accident could have occurred.
✦ As a result of the incident, the plaintiff suffered damages and losses.
Personal Injury Damages
Damages and losses include both economic and non-economic damages. Losses that can be defined by an actual dollar amount and redeemed through financial compensation are considered economic damages, such as hospital, medical expenses, lost wages, and anything else that was a direct financial loss to the victim or their family. Non-economic damages are awarded for emotional or mental losses and tribulations, such as pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of consortium, permanent disabilities and more.
For cases in which a plaintiff is partially responsible for their injuries, Indiana uses the contributory negligence legal principle. Contributory negligence, also known as “comparative fault”, is the legal concept that refers to the situation in which an injured person is a contributing factor to their injuries. This is common in motor vehicle accidents and slip and fall accidents. In contrast, comparative negligence divides the amount of fault among each person involved in an accident. This concept is used in a situation where multiple parties were negligent.
Statutes of Limitations
Here in Indiana, the law gives personal injury claimants 2 years from the date of the incident to make a claim against the at-fault party in most situations. See our blog, “Is it Too Late For Me to Make a Personal Injury Claim?” to learn more about our state’s statute of limitations. Applicable time limits are substantially less, depending upon who the at-fault party is, so it is very important to call an injury attorney as soon as you have been able to obtain your initial treatment for your injuries.
Indianapolis Personal Injury Attorneys Who Will Fight For Your Rights
Call Craven, Hoover, and Blazek P.C. at 317-881-2700 to schedule a free consultation with an experienced Indianapolis personal injury attorney who can determine the best strategies for your case. Not only does our law firm offer free consultations, we never collect lawyer fees unless we prevail for you! Call 317-881-2700 to get started on your financial recovery, today. We represent injured persons throughout Indiana.