Published in Personal Injury by Raeanna Spahn on December 1, 2023.
When a negligent driver causes an accident, victims may be entitled to compensation for their accident-related expenses. In many cases, this includes pain and suffering damages.
The amount you could get for pain and suffering from a car accident in Indiana depends on several factors. However, in general, Indiana auto accident victims can experience myriad medical, financial, and personal consequences following an accident. The primary purpose of a personal injury case is to make the victim “whole again.”
Pain and suffering damages are challenging to quantify because they are subjective and can evolve. It’s important that motor vehicle accident victims consult with an experienced lawyer to discuss their rights and remedies.
Damages Available in an Indiana Personal Injury Lawsuit
In theory, the goal of a personal injury lawsuit is two-fold:
- To put the victim in the same financial position they would have been in had they not suffered injuries, and
- To award the victim monetary compensation for their past and future physical and mental pain and suffering.
Indiana courts permit auto accident victims to pursue the following damages:
- Economic damages
- Noneconomic damages, and
- Punitive damages.
Economic damages refer to the out-of-pocket expenses victims incur as a result of the accident, whereas noneconomic damages compensate victims for the emotional and psychological impact that the accident had on their lives. While economic and noneconomic damages address the goals of a personal injury lawsuit, punitive damages seek to punish the at-fault party for their gross negligence or malice.
Pain and Suffering Damages After an Indiana Accident
Pain and suffering damages fall into the category of noneconomic damages and can make up the bulk of an injury settlement.
According to a 2016 study on ‘Chronic Widespread Pain After a Motor Vehicle Collision’, approximately 11% to 13% of accident victims experience it, resulting in disability and reduced quality of life. It’s essential that accident victims receive compensation for these types of damages, which may fall into the following categories.
Physical injuries after an auto accident can include broken bones, traumatic brain injury, internal organ damage, and spinal cord damage, among others. Some victims may recover from their physical injuries in a matter of weeks; however, many accident victims suffer long-term injuries that require ongoing doctor’s appointments, follow-up surgeries, and lengthy courses of physical therapy.
Accident victims often experience severe emotional trauma in the wake of an accident, which can cause or exacerbate other mental health issues such as depression or anxiety. While it is easy to initially overlook the impact that emotional damages have on your life, these injuries tend to affect victims’ lives just as much as—if not more than—physical injuries.
Accident victims who suffered burn injuries or required major surgeries may be left with scarring and other disfigurement, which can significantly impact their quality of life. Unlike many physical injuries and even some emotional injuries, scarring and disfigurement may last a lifetime.
For many accident victims, the physical injuries are not as concerning as the effect these injuries have on a victim’s ability to engage in the activities they used to enjoy, whether caring for family members, competing in sports and other pastimes, or playing with children or grandchildren. Victims who face significant physical limitations often have an incredibly difficult time adjusting to their new way of life.
Calculating Pain and Suffering Damages in Indiana
While there is a general consensus that pain and suffering damages for personal injuries should be based on the severity and duration of the injuries, the amount one can expect to secure can vary greatly. Calculating pain and suffering damages is challenging because there is no yardstick by which a person’s pain and suffering can translate into dollars and cents. However, courts generally look to the following:
- The type of injury,
- The extent of the victim’s injuries,
- The disfigurement caused by the accident,
- Length of recovery,
- Whether and how the injuries interfere with the person’s life, and
An experienced personal injury attorney can present damages in a way to maximize compensation. Therefore, victims should work with an Indiana car accident attorney to determine how to most effectively secure compensation for their emotional distress and physical suffering.
Unlike some other states, Indiana does not limit the amount of economic or noneconomic damages a victim can recover in a car accident claim. The only exception to this is if the lawsuit is filed against the State, in which case a victim can recover up to $700,000 in damages.
Injured in a Car Accident in Indiana? Contact Eskew Law Today
If your life was immediately changed as a result of another driver’s negligence, you may be entitled to pain and suffering damages. However, given the subjectivity involved in valuing anyone’s pain and suffering, it’s important to work with an experienced attorney who can present your claim in a compelling manner.
At Eskew Law, we have decades of combined experience aggressively pursuing full and fair damages awards on behalf of Indiana auto accident victims. We take the time to learn how the accident impacted your life, what limitations you face, and what you went through so we can ensure you are fairly compensated. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation today, call Eskew Law at 317-210-4256. You can also reach us through our secure online contact form.