If you have suffered an injury due to another person’s actions or failure to act, you have a right to pursue compensation for your losses. This type of legal claim is known as a personal injury lawsuit.
Seeking compensation in Indiana personal injury claims
In a perfect world, anyone who hurt another human through their wrongful conduct would feel obligated to make amends. Unfortunately, in the real world, it often requires the help of a lawyer to force the wrongdoer to provide proper compensation for the harm that has been caused.
To recover compensation, the party’s fault must be established. Generally, there are four types of fault that arise in personal injury cases:
- Intentional – When actions are taken for the purpose of harming another. Examples are physical assaults and road rage incidents.
- Recklessness – Actions that show a complete disregard for the safety and lives of others. An example would be driving while impaired by alcohol or street racing.
- Negligence – Failing to consider the consequences of one’s actions or failing a duty to protect others – in other words, acting in a way that no reasonable person would in that position. For example, a driver who goes through a stop sign because he or she was looking at a text message or a doctor who fails to order tests that would detect cancer. Note that “Recklessness” and “Negligence” are quite similar for legal purposes.
- Strict liability – Where fault is presumed based on the violation of a clearly established duty of safety. For instance, a manufacturer who allows a defective product to get into consumers’ hands could be held strictly liable.
We may then pursue a resolution to your case through either a:
- Settlement – When a demand for compensation is made by your lawyer (typically through a demand letter), and the at-fault party’s insurance company responds with a full and fair settlement offer. The settlement usually results from negotiations, which may be facilitated by a neutral third party, or mediator. Upon accepting a settlement, you must sign a release and waive any future legal action. (This is why it is important to make sure settlement justly compensates you.)
- Verdict – If negotiations fail to produce a settlement, a case may proceed to trial before a judge and jury. In some cases, a party may admit fault, and a jury trial is held to determine only the amount of damages that should be awarded. Please note and understand: Even if negotiations with an insurance company reach an impasse, the vast majority of cases (98 percent or higher) ultimately result in an amicable settlement without the need to go to Court. However, there are just some cases that need to be tried before a judge and jury – although this is extremely rare. Even if a case goes to trial, a case may still result in a settlement before or after a verdict is rendered.
Types of Indiana personal injury damages
Many factors will determine the amount awarded in a personal injury claim in Indiana. The two main factors are the extent of harm suffered and the amount of available insurance coverage.
Typically, a claim would seek the following damages:
- Medical expenses (past and future)
- Lost wages (past and future as well as impaired earning capacity)
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Loss of consortium
- Pain and suffering (physical and emotional)
- Mental anguish
- Punitive damages (if the at-fault party’s conduct was malicious).