Important Indiana Personal Injury Laws
Ever wonder why you see so many personal injury advertisements on television or on billboards along the highway? Well, it’s because injuries happen. In fact, they happen all the time. In 2020, medically-consulted injuries in motor-vehicle incidents totaled 4.8 million, while medically-consulted injuries that occurred in the home or community totaled over 46 million. While some of these injuries occurred without fault, many of them occurred because a driver, property owner, nursing home, or other person did not use care to avoid causing injury to others. When a personal injury occurs due to someone else’s negligence, victims may seek compensation. However, to do so, they’ll need to understand the specifics of Indiana’s personal injury laws and the process of recovering damages.
The following sections will outline some of the most important statutes that govern Indiana personal injury laws, as well as other information about personal injuries that may be helpful. If you need assistance understanding personal injury laws or would simply like to speak with an Indiana injury attorney, call Keffer Hirschauer LLP today at 317-455-4043 or schedule a free consultation online.
Indiana Personal Injury Laws
Whether you’ve sustained injury from a car accident in Indiana, a motorcycle accident, or something relatively common like a slip and fall accident, it’s important for you to know the laws surrounding personal injury. The following statutes are all contained in Indiana Code 34, which outlines civil law and procedure, but relates specifically to various different Indiana personal injury laws. Civil law and procedure aren’t always easy to understand, so if you need assistance, don’t hesitate to consult an experienced Indiana personal injury lawyer.
Indiana Personal Injury Laws: Statute of Limitations
Per, Indiana Code 34-11-2-4, an action regarding the injury of a person or character, or injury to personal property must commence within two years after the cause of the action accrues. Generally, this means the date that the accident which caused your injury took place.
Compensatory Damages and Comparative Fault in Indiana
Indiana Code 34-51-2-5 states that “In an action based on fault, any contributory fault chargeable to the claimant diminishes proportionately the amount awarded as compensatory damages for an injury attributable to the claimant’s contributory fault but does not bar recovery except as provided in section 6 of this chapter.” Basically, this means that if you are injured and file a personal injury claim against another party (or parties), the compensatory damages that you recover will be proportional to the amount of fault placed upon the respondent(s). Furthermore, section 6 outlines modified comparative fault, which means that in Indiana you cannot collect damages if you are found to be 51% or more at fault.
Punitive Damages in Indiana Personal Injury Law
Punitive damages are awarded, albeit very rarely, by a court to a plaintiff as punishment for the defendant’s behavior. This type of compensation typically only happens when it has been proven that the defendant engaged in intentionally unlawful action, knowing full well that it was likely to cause injury. Indiana Code 34-51-3 covers punitive damages in Indiana. It explains that before recovering punitive damages, a party must clearly and convincingly establish all facts that support the recovery of punitive damages. In addition, it caps a punitive damage award at either three times the award of compensatory damages or $50,000, whichever is less.
Settlement of Claims in Indiana
Indiana Code 34-50 outlines the laws governing the settlement of civil claims. Chapter one of this article states that qualified settlement offers can be made any time after a complaint has been filed in a civil action unless it is within thirty days before a trial of the action. It also states that a qualified settlement offer must resolve all claims and defenses at issue in the civil action, prior to being accepted. Most specifically, Indiana Code 34-50-1-4 that a qualified settlement offer must:
(1) be in writing;
(2) be signed by the offeror or the offeror’s attorney of record;
(3) be designated on its face as a qualified settlement offer;
(4) be delivered to each recipient or recipient’s attorney of record:
(A) by registered or certified mail; or
(B) by any method that verifies the date of receipt;
(5) set forth the complete terms of the settlement proposed by the offeror to the recipient in sufficient detail to allow the recipient to decide whether to accept or reject it;
(6) include the name and address of the offeror and the offeror’s attorney of record, if any; and
(7) expressly revoke all prior qualified settlement offers made by the offeror to the recipient.
Recovery of Costs in Indiana
Indiana Code 34-52-1-1 details the general rules for recovering costs in civil actions. Generally, it states that in any civil action the losing party can be required to cover attorney’s fees if it has been found that:
- The party brought an action, or defense on a claim or defense that was frivolous, unreasonable, or groundless
- The party continued to litigate the action or defense after it was clear that the party’s claim or defense was frivolous, unreasonable, groundless; or
- The party litigated the action in bad faith.
Arbitration Laws in Indiana
Indiana Code 34-57-1 outlines general arbitration as it pertains to Indiana personal injury laws, including that all persons (except minors and mentally incompetent persons) can submit controversy for arbitration via instrument in writing; that the arbitrator must be mutually chosen by the parties; and that the parties may both agree submission be made by a rule of any court of record designated in the instrument. Upon agreement, the bodies shall both execute bonds that contain:
- a condition to abide and faithfully perform the award or umpirage
- the name of the arbitrator or arbitrators
- the matters submitted to arbitration for determination and
- an agreement to make the submission a rule of the court designated in the agreement of submission.
After the bonds are delivered, either party can choose a time and place for the arbitrator to meet but must give the other party and the arbitrator no less than 10 days’ notice.
Indiana Code 34-57-1-10 through 34-57-1-26 proceed to outline the arbitration process from the hearing to the award and any subsequent court rulings that address refusals to comply with the award.
Lesser-Known Types of Personal Injury in Indiana
When people think about personal injury in Indiana, they often think of car or motorcycle accidents, or slip-and-fall accidents. However, there are a variety of injuries that may qualify for the filing of a personal injury claim. This includes, but is not limited to, bicycle accidents, nursing home injuries or abuse, pedestrian injuries, and dog bite injuries. There’s also something called premises liability in Indiana, which allows for individuals to get compensation for personal injuries from a property owner.
Regardless of how or where you were injured, if you feel that your injury was caused by someone else’s or some entity’s negligence, the personal injury attorneys at Keffer Hirschauer LLP can help you understand the context of your situation and whether you are able to recover damages. Call us today at 317-455-4043 or schedule a free consultation online.
Bicycle Injuries in Indiana
Indiana personal injury laws allow for people injured in a bicycle accident as a result of another person or entity’s negligence or fault, to recover damages. When pursuing compensation for an injury like this, you will need an experienced bicycle accident lawyer to successfully demonstrate the driver’s negligence. Examples of driver negligence include failure to obey traffic signals; failure to yield properly; failure to check blind spots when changing lanes; failure to give cyclists enough space when passing; speeding; or reckless driving.
Bicycle accident injuries could also be caused by poor road conditions. In these cases, a personal injury claim may be valid if property owners fail to fulfill their duty to maintain their premises in a safe manner. Similarly, the city, county, and/or state has a duty to maintain safe roadway systems.
Nursing Home Injuries in Indiana
Nursing home injuries in Indiana are any type of physical trauma suffered by a resident of a long-term care facility, due to the facility’s negligence or an employee’s negligent actions. Some of the more common nursing home injuries in Indiana include abuse, bedsores, fractures, infections, slips and falls, concussions, spinal injuries, and bedrail injuries. If you or a loved one suffered an injury or abuse in a nursing home, you can file a personal injury claim against that party. This avenue would allow you or your loved one to recover damages in the form of financial compensation for the injuries sustained at an Indiana nursing home.
Pedestrian Injuries in Indiana
When a pedestrian is injured by a collision with a vehicle, their personal injuries can be severe, even catastrophic. The person may require painful treatment and rehabilitation and suffer chronic pain and/or disability for many years. Fortunately, Indiana personal injury laws allow pedestrians to recover compensation for related medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. To recover compensation for pedestrian injury in Indiana, you must be able to prove that the motorist was negligent. Typically, this can be done by proving that the driver was distracted, drunk/impaired, aggressive, or confused. It can also be demonstrated by showing that the driver was not following traffic laws.
Dog-Bite Injuries in Indiana
If a dog owner ignores leash laws or simply fails to maintain control of their dog, and that action results in the dog attacking you and causing injury, you may seek compensation by filing a personal injury claim. For dog-bite injuries in Indiana, negligence can be established by using the “one-bite” rule. This rule provides that the owner of a dog can be held liable if the owner knew or should have known that the dog had a propensity for violence or showed any past vicious behavior.
Premises Liability in Indiana
Premises liability cases are a type of Indiana personal injury law that protects people who sustain an injury on someone else’s property. Like every area of the law, there are certain requirements and exceptions for premises liability cases. In general, property owners have a duty to maintain their property in a reasonably safe condition to prevent others from suffering injuries on the premise that was otherwise avoidable. Furthermore, owners who know about the potential hazards on their property have a duty to remedy the hazard or place clear warnings about the hazards to warn people. However, premises liability in Indiana cases can become complicated depending on the nature of the control of the property, the entry on the property, and the cause of the injury.
Further Reading on Personal Injury Law in Indiana
The personal injury team at Keffer Hirschauer LLP handles a wide range of personal injury cases throughout Indiana. We have encountered nearly every type of case and situation that may arise while recovering damages for victims. Therefore, we understand the Indiana personal injury laws inside and out and have written extensively on the topic. Below are some articles that may be helpful if you are considering filing a personal injury claim in Indiana or are simply doing research for a loved one.
Helpful Articles Regarding Various Indiana Personal Injury Laws
- How to Find The Right Personal Injury Attorney
- Guide to Filing a Personal Injury Claim in Indiana
- How to Settle a Personal Injury Claim in Indiana
- Five Tips for Maximizing Your Personal Injury Settlement
- What Is Wrongful Death? Indianapolis Wrongful Death Lawyers Explain
- How is Pain and Suffering Calculated?
Need an Advocate in Indiana? Call Keffer Hirschauer LLP Today
If you have been injured in an accident and want to seek compensation, you do not have to go through this alone. You can entrust your case to a firm that has successfully covered all types of personal injuries. Keffer Hirschauer LLP has taken on some of the most serious, complex injury cases and proven them against the responsible party. Our Indiana injury team is highly trained and experienced, and they’re ready to begin working with you. For a free consultation, contact one of our Indianapolis attorneys by calling (317) 455-4043 or complete our online contact form.