Most people understand that you can sue for damages for medical expenses and damaged property. However, most states allow filing claims for other noneconomic losses that include pain and suffering, emotional distress, losses of companionship and society, inconveniences, loss of enjoyment of life, and loss of consortium. Some states limit or cap the non-economic awards to reduce over-the-top jury awards in emotional cases.
Pain and Suffering Awards in Indiana
Indiana is a state that allows pain and suffering awards, according to experts in the field. However, noneconomic damages pose challenges to estimating a fair value, so most attorneys and plaintiffs rely on formulas that estimate pain and suffering losses as a percentage of total economic damages. Unfortunately, these formulas often specify figures several times the total of those damages.
Noneconomic damages in Indiana lend themselves to a case-by-case determination. But, according to legal resources, there is one overwhelming complication – you can’t receive any compensation if you’re held at more than 50% of the liability for your accident or injury. Typically, you only receive the percentage of liability assigned to the defendant in the case.
Economic damages quantify easily as the direct costs of property damages, lost wages while recuperating and medical bills associated with an injury. However, estimating noneconomic losses like pain and suffering and emotional distress generates calculations harder to make. That’s why most insurance adjusters use standardized formulas, but you and your attorney don’t have to accept any formula that you feel doesn’t consider everything.
Alternative Considerations in Pain and Suffering Awards
Recent tort experiences convinced many legislators to limit award amounts, which had frequently been diverted into lawyer fees, questionable expenses, and outrageously high noneconomic awards. Reasonable lawyers disagree with this interpretation because it can make injury victims suffer needlessly. For example, pain and suffering awards are taxable under federal law while other compensation types are not.
That’s why many lawyers take extra action to define the circumstances of pain and suffering in emotional detail designed to sway jury opinions. Some of the details used to raise award amounts include:
- Pushing for defendants to be held at a higher percentage of fault
- Knowing a victim’s medical history might complicate any pain and suffering
- Explanations of the unique circumstances of the case
- Impact on a family’s quality of life
- Source of income
Finding out whether your personal injury lawyers Indianapolis provide a detailed look at your circumstances makes an important issue to consider when hiring legal representation for your compensation lawsuit.
Filing Personal Injury Claims Against a Government Agency in Indiana
If you plan to file a personal injury against a government – federal, state, or local – you must inform the relevant agency by filing a Notice of Tort Claim for Property Damage or Personal Injury with the local agency and the Indiana Attorney General’s office. The form has a filing date limit of 270 days from the date of the incident.
If you plan to file against a local or municipal government, compensation for injuries or wrongful death is capped at $700,000. Additionally, you can’t seek punitive damages in any claim against the government. Finally, the time limit for filing a claim against a local government is limited to 180 days after the incident.
Consequential Damages, a.k.a Special Damages
According to the legal experts at Cornell University, certain damages might occur after an accident or injury resulting from the injury and not a direct result. These damages include possible contract breaches made necessary by your injuries or debilitation. For example, if you can no longer provide contracted services as a consequence of your injury, you can sue for special damages.
Hiring an Attorney
The first step of getting compensation for injuries and property damage in an auto accident or other type of accident is hiring an experienced Indiana lawyer. The lawyer can negotiate a better settlement, advise you on any Indiana filing limits, and shepherd you through the complex process of personal injury claims and lawsuits.