/ Blog/ Understanding Indiana Damage Caps for Personal Injury Cases
A personal injury case—also called a tort claim—is a fairly straightforward lawsuit: A plaintiff sues a defendant for damages that the defendant caused through their harmful actions. Usually, there is some payment to be made to the plaintiff for their suffering as a result of the case, and it is often a means of compensating the plaintiff rather than punishing the defendant. The goal of most personal injury cases is to get the plaintiff’s life back on track and return them to the status they maintained before the accident threw their life off course.
There are several things taken into account with regard to awarding money, or damages. If the person has many medical bills or will require future treatment for their injury, this will be considered during the decision-making process. If a plaintiff lost income or was unable to work, there could be damages there as well. Damages are also available for those suffering from emotional pain.
If the injury is permanent, results in someone’s death, or happens to a young person who will live with the repercussions of the accident for years to come, the amount of money paid out can be significant. However, that payment is not unlimited. Indiana has a damage cap on the amount that can be awarded to plaintiffs—meaning that, in some cases, there is a set amount of compensation that an injured person can receive. The following are a few of these cases:
When a doctor makes a mistake while you or a loved one is under their care, the results can be anything from costly to heartbreaking. If you have a medical malpractice case, however, you cannot collect more than $1,250,000 in damages—regardless of what a jury might otherwise reward you. This cap includes all economic and noneconomic damages; medical bills past and future, wage loss, impairment to earning capacity, and quality of life can all be made into quantifiable damages as long as they don’t exceed $1.25 million.The cap on medical malpractice damages will be raised to $1.65 million in 2017 and to $1.8 million in 2019.
Medical malpractice damages can come from more than one place. Doctors and hospitals in the state of Indiana can only be responsible for $250,000 of medical malpractice liability insurance. The Indiana Patient’s Compensation Fund, if there is a proven need, will cover anything above that amount.
Accidents can happen at any time. When an unmarried adult (23 years of age or older) with no dependents is killed, the most that their estate can recover is $300,000, attorney fees included. The limit exists even if a government unit is liable for the accident. There is no cap on damages for the accidental death of an adult or child younger than 20 years old or for the deaths of students between ages 20 and 23 that are enrolled in school.
If an accident happens at a building controlled by a state, city, or town, such as a school or corporation, there are some rules about damage caps. Any one person injured at these sites can obtain $700,000 regardless of the circumstances of their injury. Alternatively, the government unit can only be held responsible for $5 million for a single event that injured multiple people, so a singular person might not obtain the full $700,000 if several people were injured.
This is only a brief overview of the current laws and figures regarding personal injury damage caps in Indiana. If you’ve been injured and are considering pursuing a personal injury lawsuit, let the Indiana personal injury attorneys at Wilson Kehoe Winingham put their 30 years of personal injury practice to work. For a free consultation, call 317-920-6400 or 800.525.802 or fill out an online form.
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