Unfortunately, car accidents are a very common occurrence. However, most car accidents do not involve personal injury, meaning that no one was hurt during the accident -- instead, these types of accidents usually result in property damage only. Victims of car accidents may be compensated for property damage and for their personal injury, if applicable. Each state has different car accident compensation laws.
This article provides a brief overview of car accident compensation laws in the state of Indiana.
Indiana Car Accident Compensation Laws: At a Glance
Below is a table outlining important aspects of Indiana's car accident compensation laws, including limits on damages and the statute of limitations.
Statute of Limitations
Limits on Damages
- For causes of action that accrued before January 1, 2006, damages are limited to $300,000
- For causes of action that accrued on or after January 1, 2006, and before January 1, 2008, damages are limited to $500,000
- For causes of action that accrued on or after January 1, 2008, damages are limited to $700,000, and for injury to or death of persons in that occurrence, $5,000,000
- Punitive damages are limited to the greater of 3 times compensatory damages or $500,000 (however, punitive damages are not allowed in cases involving government employees acting within the scope of their employment)
Modified Comparative Negligence (Indiana Code § 34-51-2-5 et seq.)
Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
'Fault' and 'Modified Comparative Negligence' Rules Apply
If you want an Indiana court to order another driver to compensate you for injuries suffered in a car accident, be prepared to prove that the other driver was at fault for the accident. Indiana's negligence laws use the modified comparative fault rule and will allow you to recover as long as you were less at fault for the accident than the defendant.
The court will simply reduce any recovery according to your level of fault in the accident. This means that if you suffered $10,000 in damages, but the court found that you were 10% at fault, you could still recover $9,000.
Damage Types Allowed in Indiana
Indiana allows you to recover for both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages include out-of-pocket expenses such as medical bills, wages lost from time away from work, and car repair bills. Non-economic damages, on the other hand, are the losses you suffer that are harder to calculate, such as disfigurement, mental distress, and loss of consortium (available to family members of an injured party).
Some typical accident damages include:
- Vehicle repairs
- Hospital bills
- Medication co-pays
- Physical therapy costs
- Lost income
- Pain and suffering
Damage Limitations in Indiana
The state imposes a time limit, known as a statute of limitations, on how long you can wait before filing a lawsuit to recover damages. The time limit is two years for both injuries to the person and to the property.
Fortunately for injured parties, there are only two limits on the amount of damages you can recover in Indiana. One is that punitive damages are limited to the greater of $50,000 or three times the amount of compensatory damages.
The other is that when the government party is at fault, Indiana limits the compensation available to $700,000 per person, up to a total of $5,000,000 per accident, depending on when the loss occurred. However, when a case involves government employees who acted within the scope of their employment, Indiana courts prohibit punitive damages.
Additionally, Indiana rapidly accelerates the time limit, leaving injured parties only 270 days to file a case against the state or 180 days against a city or county.
Need Help With Indiana Car Accident Compensation? Contact an Attorney
Indiana's lightning-fast deadlines for filing a claim against the government could leave you without compensation for your injuries. Even if the party at fault for your damages was not a government representative, modified comparative negligence laws can make it tough to estimate how much you will be able to recover for your injuries.
If you need help navigating Indiana car accident compensation laws, get in touch with an Indiana attorney.