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Indiana Personal Injury Law

A personal injury may already be costing you money and other things of personal value but there may be future losses as well. If you believe a third party was responsible for your injury and your losses, you may qualify for a personal injury lawsuit. However, personal injury litigation isn't as straightforward as saying “you injured me and I want compensation.”

If you've been injured in Indianapolis, Fort Wayne or Evansville, use LawInfo's Indiana personal injury articles to learn about the laws surrounding your case and to find a qualified attorney.

Indiana Statute of Limitations

A statute of limitations limits how much time after an injury occurs that a plaintiff has to pursue legal action against a defendant. Once the statute “runs out,” a lawsuit cannot be pursued. Indiana's civil statute of limitations includes:

  • Two years for personal injury.
  • Two years for wrongful death.
  • Two years for medical malpractice.
  • Two years for injury (or damage) to property.
  • Six years for fraud.
  • 10 years for written contracts.
  • Six years for oral contracts.

Indiana Proving Negligence

Indiana courts need to ensure that both the plaintiff and the defendant's rights are protected in personal injury litigation. The compensation that the plaintiff is awarded must be relative to the defendant's liability if they're at all liable.

For most personal injury lawsuits, a defendant's liability is based on negligence. A defendant's negligence is typically determined by four elements:

  1. Duty—Was the defendant responsible for the plaintiff's safety from reasonably foreseeable injuries?
  2. Breach of Duty—Did the defendant do something that breached that duty?
  3. Causation—Were the defendant's actions responsible for the plaintiff's injury? (Also, was the plaintiff's injury reasonably foreseeable and preventable by the defendant's duty?)
  4. Damages—Can the plaintiff recover financial compensation that would amend the losses their injury caused?

An Indiana court could also use the standard of care commonly referred to as the “reasonably prudent person.” Courts use this to judge the defendant's actions surrounding the injuring accident with those of a theoretical, responsible person in a similar situation. Any deviation from the actions of a reasonably prudent person could be judged as negligent.

Medical Malpractice in Indiana

A personal injury involving a healthcare provider and a physical injury is called medical malpractice. Medical malpractice lawsuits are governed by Indiana's Medical Malpractice Act and require special rules compared to other personal injury lawsuits.

Medical malpractice lawsuits are very serious because the healthcare provider's public credibility is at risk and the damages awarded can reach into the millions of dollars. However, there are limitations to the amount of damages a plaintiff can recover from these cases. Total damages cannot exceed:

  • $1.25 million prior to July 1, 2017.
  • $1.65 million after July 1, 2017.
  • $1.8 million after June 30, 2019.

Additionally, a healthcare provider that qualifies under the act's insurance program cannot be held liable for total damages exceeding:

  • $250,000 prior to July 1, 2017.
  • $400,000 after July 1, 2017.
  • $500,000 after June 30, 2019.

Speak with a Personal Injury Attorney

Injuries cost money, including time away from work, medical bills and other complications. You should have an attorney help you with your claim. Not sure if you have a good injury case? Speak to a local personal injury attorney about the merits of your case. This one step can help you protect your rights and take the proper next steps.

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