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Indiana Auto Law Is Complex. how Does It Impact an Injury Claim?

Guy DiMartino Oct. 19, 2021

People injured in car accidents have questions regarding the law and their personal injury claim. The most commons questions are:

Who Will Pay for My Medical Expenses?

Ultimately, the at-fault driver is responsible for reasonable and necessary medical expenses. However, the injured person is responsible for his/her medical treatment during the case. This is why we strongly recommend that you purchase Medical Payments Coverage. If you do not have medical payment coverage through your auto policy, you can utilize your health insurance or a government health benefit to receive medical care. If you do not have any medical insurance, we may be able to assist you in finding a physician that will wait for the case to resolve before requiring payment.

The Doctor Wants Me to Take Some Time Off of Work, how Will I Get Paid?

Lost income is an element of compensation that an injured party is entitled to receive from an at-fault driver at the time of settlement or jury verdict. If you have sick days at work, short term disability or long term disability; you may need to apply for these benefits.

How Do I Get Compensated for My Personal Injuries?

Your attorney will seek compensation for your injuries from the other driver's insurance company. If the other driver is uninsured or underinsured, your attorney will be able to seek compensation from your insurance company if you purchased uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage. See Chapter 15 for a more complete description of uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. The compensation you receive will depend on the facts of the accident, the nature and extent of your injuries and whether your injuries are permanent.

For What Sort of Losses Can I Receive Money?

Legally speaking, you can receive money for your damages.

You will have the burden of proving your damages by a preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not). The following will be considered by an insurance adjuster or jury when considering the value of the case or a damage award:

  1. Past Healthcare Expenses

  2. Future Healthcare Expenses

  3. Past Lost Wages

  4. Future Loss of Earning Capacity

  5. Pain & Suffering Damages which are intangible and consist of physical and mental pain and suffering, humiliation, disfigurement, and loss of enjoyment of life

What Are the Damages if Somebody Died in The Accident?

In a non-medical malpractice case (i.e. Automobile or premises liability) the estate's damages are governed by the Indiana Wrongful Death Act. The Act is governed by Indiana Code 34-23. The damages available are slightly different depending on whether the decedent is married or unmarried and has children. Generally, damages include reasonable medical, hospital, funeral, burial expenses and lost wages necessitated by the wrongful act or omission that caused the adult person's death. A surviving spouse may receive damages for loss of love, care and affection, and a surviving child may recover for loss of guidance and parental care. The damages that may be awarded to the parents of a child or single adult who has passed away are different. There are damage caps for wrongful death in Indiana.

Will I Be Able to Recover Money for My Injuries if I Was Partially at Fault for The Accident?

Maybe! Indiana is a modified comparative fault jurisdiction. The brief answer is that any monetary damage award will be reduced by the percentage of the injured person's fault up to 50%. If a jury determines the injured party is more than 50% at fault, he/she is entitled to NOTHING, ZIP, ZERO. This is why it is important to seek the advice and/or hire a lawyer early in your case so facts can be developed to support your claim.

Additionally, Indiana is a contributory negligence jurisdiction in two scenarios. Under contributory negligence – the injured person has to be faultless to receive compensation for their injuries. That is right, if the injured party is determined to be 1% at fault, he/she is entitled to NOTHING, ZIP, ZERO. Contributory negligence comes into play in cases where the state, municipality, governmental agency is being sued and in medical malpractice cases.

Finally, an injured person has to know of a doctrine called Mitigation of Damages. Under this doctrine, if an injured person fails to follow their doctor's advice the jury can reduce the verdict. The argument from the defendant will be that the client would have recovered or improved if he/she would have followed their doctor's advice. A client who fails to follow their doctor's advice severely jeopardizes their chance of recovery – even if they were not at fault for the accident.