What you’ll learn reading this article:
- Indiana provides jurists with a list of damages that can be claimed in personal injury suits.
- While not all personal injury cases result in a jury trial, this list provides victims with a blueprint for determining possible compensation.
- Your personal injury case may involve both economic and non-economic damages, both of which can be claimed in Indiana.
In Indiana, when your personal injury case goes to trial, the jury is instructed on the type of damages you can claim. While your case may not go to trial at all, this informative list is still a great way of evaluating the type of damages you may be owed. Here we break down the different categories in which you might deserve compensation.
The Nature and Extent of the Injury
First of all, the type of injury you sustained is important. Depending on whether it was a head injury, a soft tissue injury, a spinal cord injury or multiple injuries, it will affect you differently.
It’s important to look at how the injury has affected your normal day-to-day activities and your ability to function as a whole person. In what ways has your life changed because of the injury? How have your abilities been impaired?
Permanence of the Injury
Once establishing the extent of the injury and its effect on your daily life, the next step is to identify the permanence of your injured condition. Will you be affected temporarily? Chronically? Are your injuries permanent?
All of this determines your pain horizon, or how long you’re expected to suffer.
Lost Time and Earnings
Depending on the extent of your injury, you may have lost or will lose time at work, which translates into lost earnings. Additionally, how much time off work did you have to take to receive medical treatment?
Oftentimes, an economic expert can examine your work history to determine the value of the wages you’ve lost and future losses if you’re facing permanent impairment or disability.
Pain and Suffering
Pain and suffering are hard to quantify, and often it involves emotional evidence. How has the accident affected you beyond the injury? Your friends, family and coworkers can become valuable witnesses to the ways the accident has altered your life, demeanor, attitude and more.
Have you lost enjoyment out of life due to being unable to perform daily tasks and activities? Have you and your spouse or partner had to contend with loss of consortium? Has your family dynamic changed because of your injury?
Have you developed anxiety, depression or PTSD as a result of the accident and the injury?
Determining the value of your medical treatment can be an extensive task, but gathering the entirety of medical records, bills and prescriptions is an important step in ascertaining just how much your medical treatment has cost.
For a serious accident, you could be responsible for ambulance services, emergency room bills, surgeries, diagnostic tests, a hospital stay, physical therapy, counseling and more. Even more minor accidents can result in huge medical bills.
If you have pre-existing conditions, finding evidence to argue aggravation damages is key.
Additionally, if you’ve suffered physical deformation or disfigurement due to the accident, you might be able to discuss scar remediation with a plastic surgeon to discover its costs.
In the end, determining your life expectancy can also be an important factor in calculating your possible damages. If your injury is permanent, using your life expectancy can provide an estimate of the number of years you will have to endure pain and suffering and contend with additional medical treatments and costs.
When you are injured in an accident, there are a number of ways your life is affected beyond the injury itself. When that accident is due to someone else’s negligence, you deserve compensation for the economic and non-economic damages you’ve suffered.
The best way to receive that compensation is with a qualified personal injury attorney.
Poynter & Bucheri Accident Recovery—Indianapolis Personal Injury Attorneys
If you or a loved one has been injured physically or mentally by a person, product or company, you need to know your legal rights. Our personal injury attorneys are experienced with cases like yours and can evaluate what your case may be worth. We will ensure that you are protected and compensated for your injuries and losses.
Why pay up to 40% in attorney fees? Our fee is only 25%*, and we fight to win your case or you pay no attorney fees at all. Don’t hesitate—one of our experienced attorneys can assist you right away.
Call (800) 265-9881 for a free case review.
I’m Rich Bucheri from Poynter & Bucheri injury attorneys. Today I want to talk about what type of damages are you entitled to in your injury case? So when we’re talking about elements of damages in Indiana, there’s a jury instruction that actually lists all of the damages that you can claim in your personal injury case. And so, even though your case may not go to jury, this list can be basically the black letter law of all the damages that you can claim.
So what it starts out with is the nature and extent of your injury and your ability to function as a whole person. So when we’re talking about this damage, we’re talking about what type of injury did you sustain? Was it soft tissue injury? Was it a spinal cord injury? Was it an orthopedic injury, broken bones?
Then how did that affect your ability to function as a whole person? Were you able to perform your activities of daily living, or were you impaired in some way?
Secondly, we’re going to talk about whether your injuries are temporary or are they permanent? Here we’re talking about your pain horizon. Were you suffering from your injuries for a period of months and then everything resolved and it was fine, or are these injuries permanent?
After you went and got treatment, then did your doctor tell you that, “Hey, you’re still going to be suffering from some of this stuff for the next few years or for the rest of your life”? Then we’re going to calculate the value of your lost time and your earnings.
So what time did you spend, for instance, going to the doctor to get medical treatment, and then also, what work did you miss? If it’s significant, then we may call an economic expert to go through your work history and determine what the value of your lost wages are going to be for the rest of your life if you’re permanently impaired.
Then we’re going to take a look at pain and suffering. Pain and suffering often involve emotional evidence. We’ll have members of your family or your friends or people that observed you before the accident and then now after the accident and talk about how this has affected you, not just physically but also mentally.
Then we’re going to talk about the value of your medical treatment. So whenever we gather all your medical records, we’re also gathering your medical bills, and we’re going to have to put a value on your medical treatment. Aggravation of pre-existing conditions is something that sometimes the insurance companies will actually argue does not go in your favor.
So if you have a pre-existing condition, what they’re going to often argue is that you’re actually suffering from the pre-existing condition and not from the accident itself. But if you can show that if you had, for instance, previous back issues or you had headaches before but they got worse because of the accident, then you can make a claim of aggravation as damages. Then if there is disfigurement or deformity, and what we’re talking about here is scarring—if you have scarring, then sometimes we’ll consult with a plastic surgeon to talk about scar remediation, whether that’s a possibility and how much that would cost.
Then, finally, life expectancy. So we talked earlier about whether your injuries were permanent or not. If they are permanent, then we can use your life expectancy as a multiplying factor in determining how much pain and suffering that you’re entitled to or how much lost wages you’re entitled to.
So if you have 50 years left in your life or you’re expected to have 50 years left in your life according to the mortality table, then we can say 50 times this is what your level of compensation should be.
So these are the eight elements of damages that can be argued in the state of Indiana for you to recover for your personal injury case.