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Pain and Suffering Damages in Indiana

Whether you're a Hoosiers fan, one of the Fighting Irish, or you prefer the thrill of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, you know accidents don't just happen to athletes and racecar drivers. If you've been injured and you're pursuing a claim against someone in Indiana, you may be able to recover damages for pain and suffering, a legal term for the physical and emotional distress caused by a physical injury. Read on to learn about the law regarding pain and suffering damages in Indiana.

The table below outlines key aspects of Indiana law regarding pain and suffering damages, including damage caps and the statute of limitations.

Statute of Limitations

2 years for personal injury, medical malpractice, and product liability (Sec's. 34-11-2-4(1), 34-11-2-3, & 34-20-3-1); 270 days to give notice of a claim against state (Sec. 34-13-3-6); 180 days to give notice to a city or county (Sec. 34-13-3-8)

Limits on Damages $1,250,000 cap on medical malpractice claims (Sec. 34-18-14-3) ($1.65 million after June 30, 2017; $1.8 after June 30, 2019); $700,000 cap on most claims against the state (Sec. 34-13-3-4)
Other Limits Comparative negligence rule may prohibit or reduce recovery of any damages (Sec. 34-51-2-5, et seq.)

Types of Damages: Economic vs. Non-economic

Most personal injury claims involve two kinds of damages: economic (or "special") and non-economic (or "general"). Economic damages are the objective, out-of-pocket expenses of an accident, like medical bills and lost wages. Non-economic damages are harder to calculate and refer to the more subjective costs of an injury, including physical and emotional pain and suffering (for example: depression, insomnia, and physical pain).

How Pain and Suffering Damages Are Calculated

Since each person experiences pain and suffering differently, the damages for pain and suffering are inherently difficult to measure and vary widely. Furthermore, courts often give juries very little instruction for deciding how much to award the injured. However, attorneys and juries sometimes use relevant factors to assign value to these kinds of damages, including:

  • The extent of the injuries
  • Disfigurement caused by the injuries
  • Impairment of ability to perform usual activities
  • Aggravation to any preexisting conditions

In calculating these damages, some attorneys also use a "multiplier method" where the attorney multiplies the economic damages by a certain number, usually between one and five. For example, if the plaintiff was severely injured and suffered $200,000 in lost wages, an attorney might argue that the plaintiff should be awarded five times that amount ($1,000,000) for pain and suffering alone.

Limits on Damages

Some states impose limits on these types of awards. While Indiana doesn't cap damages for pain and suffering specifically, it does cap claims against the state at $700,000, and medical malpractice claims at $1.25 million. Additionally, the state's "modified comparative negligence" rule bars any recovery if the plaintiff was more than 50% responsible for causing the injury. In all other scenarios, this rule reduces damages in proportion to the amount of fault attributable to the plaintiff.

Connect with an Indiana Attorney about Pain and Suffering Damages

Indiana has some very short time limits for filing certain claims, and the state's comparative negligence rules could prohibit or reduce an otherwise fair award for damages. Learn how deadlines and damages caps might affect your claim by connecting with an attorney familiar with pain and suffering damages in Indiana.

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