If you were hurt in an accident in Indiana, you may qualify for compensation for your medical care and other damages. However, to secure an insurance settlement or court verdict, you will have to prove another party caused your injuries with their negligent actions.
Under the state’s contributory negligence statute, any responsibility you have for your accident will diminish your financial awards. A lawyer with our firm can help you prove another party is liable for your losses and fight against allegations that your actions led to your injuries.
What Is Contributory Negligence?
Contributory negligence refers to the amount of fault you contribute to your accident. According to IC § 34-51-2-5, for any legal action based on fault, the court will consider your degree of responsibility and award compensation proportionally. For example, this means that if you win $100,000 in a car accident case, but the court assigns you 30 percent fault, you will receive $70,000.
Furthermore, under IC § 34-51-2-6, the court will bar you from seeking compensation if your degree of responsibility is more than that of the defendant’s. This means that if the court assigns you 51 percent or more of the fault, you cannot collect damages from the other party.
Indiana contributory negligence laws do not strictly apply to insurance claims. However, if the insurance company believes these rules would affect a court’s verdict, it will use them to reduce your settlement or deny your claim.
What Types of Cases Does Contributory Negligence Affect?
Contributory negligence comes into play in personal injury cases. Personal injury is a branch of the law that helps accident victims seek compensation for injuries and losses caused by another party’s negligent or reckless actions. Examples of personal injury cases include:
- Car, truck, and bus accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Slip and falls
- Premises liability accidents
- Defective and dangerous product injuries
- Dog bite injuries
- Construction site injuries
- Wrongful death actions
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To win compensation, you will need to prove another party caused your accident, and their degree of responsibility is greater than yours. Additionally, to maximize your awards, you will need to refute any claims of negligence made against you. We can:
- File your claims or lawsuit
- Locate and interview witnesses who saw your accident
- Obtain medical bills and records related to your injury
- Consult with medical experts about the cause of your injury
- Locate available surveillance, cell phone, or dashcam video
- Work with accident reconstruction experts
- Obtain police and accident reports
- Negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf
- Represent you in court if needed
What Damages Can You Seek for a Personal Injury in Indiana?
In general, personal injury compensation falls into two categories:
Economic damages compensate you for your concrete, out-of-pocket losses. These are calculable damages based on bills, receipts, and your wage records, including:
- Emergency department care
- Hospital bills
- Doctor fees
- Physical and occupational therapy
- Long-term nursing services
- Medical devices and mobility aids
- Medically necessary home modifications
- Medical travel expenses
- Lost wages, earnings, and benefits
- Loss of your earning potential if you cannot return to work due to your injuries
- Personal property damages
- Help with household services
Non-economic damages compensate you for intangible losses related to your physical, emotional, and mental well-being. You may qualify for pain and suffering if your accident and injuries resulted in:
- Chronic pain
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Loss of a bodily function
- Paralysis or loss of mobility
- Reduced cognitive functioning
- Loss of enjoyment of life
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Wrongful Death Cases
If your loved one suffered a fatal injury, you may qualify for wrongful death compensation. In Indiana, family members cannot file a wrongful death case. Instead, your loved one’s personal representative (executor) can take action on behalf of the estate and surviving family members.
The estate may recover awards for the deceased’s medical care, funeral and burial expenses, and lost wages. Contributory negligence may affect these awards if the deceased shared fault for their accident. The deceased’s surviving spouse and dependents may also win awards for the loss of their loved one’s care, support, and companionship.
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Make Sure You Pursue Your Case Within the Statute of Limitations
We will work tirelessly to secure a settlement that satisfies your losses. However, if we cannot reach an agreement with the insurance company, we can help you take action in civil court.
You must file your lawsuit within the time limit established by Indiana’s statute of limitations, or the court likely will not take your case. According to IC § 34-11-2-4, you have two years to take action for personal injury. Under IC § 34-23-2-1, you have two years to sue for wrongful death. You may have a shorter period of time if your case is against a city, state, or county.
The statute of limitations does not apply to filing an insurance claim, but you should get started as soon as possible following your accident. Even if you believe your case will settle, you want to leave yourself time to take legal action if necessary. Additionally, an expired statute can work against you during insurance negotiations.
Let Sevenish Law Firm, P.C. Handle Your Personal Injury Case
Sevenish Law Firm, P.C. assists clients from across Indiana with all types of personal injuries. In fact, unlike other firms, helping personal injury victims is all we do. Thousands of accident victims have entrusted our team with seeking justice, and we take that trust seriously. We aim to serve you with dignity, compassion, and respect.
If you choose our firm, we will fight for the fairest settlement or verdict available to you. We can take your case on contingency, meaning you do not owe us a fee unless we win compensation for you and your family. To learn more about how our legal team can help, call our offices at (317) 636-7777 for a risk-free, no-cost consultation.