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Personal injury, pain and suffering damages

On Behalf of | Mar 30, 2024 | Motor Vehicle Accidents

If you’re driving along an Indiana roadway, and another vehicle hits you, the impact of the collision may cause severe injuries. Physical injuries often include brain or spinal cord trauma, broken bones, whiplash, lacerations or severe burns. If the other driver’s negligence was a causal factor, you’re entitled to seek compensation for damages. However, what about pain and suffering? How does a jury determine a monetary value for human suffering?

Many recovering victims file claims against distracted, intoxicated or reckless drivers. As a plaintiff in such a case, you must present evidence to convince the jury that the defendant failed to fulfill a duty of care. You must also prove that this failure (negligence) caused the collision, and that you suffered economic or non-economic damages because of it. Jury members must determine how much restitution the defendant should pay, which can be difficult when it comes to emotional trauma and other types of suffering.

Juries for personal injury claims often consider these factors

It is not uncommon for juries in Indiana or elsewhere to receive minimal instruction from judges regarding how to assign a monetary value to human suffering. Most juries take the factors shown in the following list into consideration:

  • Severity of injury
  • Whether injuries caused permanent disfigurement or disability
  • Reduced quality of life
  • Pre-existing conditions made worse

A reduced quality of life might include issues like Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome or an inability to function daily without assistance. A jury would also consider whether your condition will keep you from enjoying companionship with a spouse, whether you can return to work and numerous other factors. Remember that economic damage refers to financial loss caused by medical bills, car repairs or loss of income. Non-economic damage refers to emotional distress, physical pain and quality of life.

Be aware of comparative negligence rules

Indiana operates under comparative negligence rules for personal injury claims. This basically means that, if you were 50% or more responsible for the collision that resulted in your injuries, you will receive a reduced amount of compensation, or, perhaps, none, depending on the details of your case.

It’s important to have a clear understanding of Indiana personal injury laws before filing a claim. For example, in Indiana, if you are suing state or local governments, there will be a cap set on the amount of compensation you may receive. There is also a cap on punitive damages in this state. To ensure that you understand the laws and know the maximum to which you have a right, it is helpful to seek experienced legal guidance before heading to court.