Injured man filling in insurance documents

Personal Injury FAQs 

Jay Lauer Attorney at Law  June 10, 2024

Hello, I'm Jay Lauer, Attorney at Law. I have over 40 years of experience delivering personalized and responsive service to my clients.  

If you or a loved one has questions about personal injury cases, I’ll answer some of them here. My goal is to help you understand your rights and guide you in making informed decisions. 

What Constitutes a Personal Injury Case?

A personal injury occurs when someone is harmed by another person's negligence or intentional actions. Examples include car accidents, slips and falls, medical malpractice, and more. The injured party can seek compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and other related expenses. 

What Should I Do After an Injury?

The first step after sustaining an injury is to seek medical attention. Your health and safety are the top priority. Once you're stable, document everything related to the incident: 

  • Take photographs of the scene and your injuries. 

  • Collect contact information from witnesses. 

  • Keep records of all medical treatments and expenses. 

  • Consult with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible.  

How Much Time Do I Have to File a Personal Injury Claim in Indiana?

In Indiana, the statute of limitations for personal injury cases is generally two years from the date of the injury. This means you have two years to file a lawsuit or lose your right to compensation. There are exceptions to this rule, so it's essential to consult with an attorney to understand the specifics of your situation. 

What Types of Compensation Can I Recover?

In a personal injury case, you may be entitled to several types of compensation, including: 

  • Medical expenses: Costs for hospital stays, surgeries, medications, physical therapy, and any future medical needs. 

  • Lost wages: Compensation for income lost due to the inability to work. 

  • Pain and suffering: Monetary compensation for physical pain and emotional distress. 

  • Property damage: Costs to repair or replace damaged property, like a car in a motor vehicle accident. 

  • Loss of earning capacity: If your injury results in a long-term or permanent disability that affects your ability to earn a living, you may be compensated for the future income you would have earned. 

  • Loss of consortium: This covers the impact of the injury on your relationship with your spouse, including loss of companionship, emotional support, and intimacy. 

  • Emotional distress: Compensation for psychological impacts such as anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) that result from the incident. 

  • Punitive damages: In cases of particularly egregious or reckless behavior by the responsible party, the court may award punitive damages to punish the wrongdoer and deter similar conduct in the future. 

  • Out-of-pocket expenses: Any additional costs directly related to the injury, such as transportation to medical appointments, home modifications, or hiring help for daily activities, can also be included. 

How Is Fault Determined in Indiana?

Indiana follows a "comparative fault" system. This means that if you are partly at fault for the accident, your compensation can be reduced by your percentage of fault.  

For instance, if you are found to be 20% at fault, your compensation will be reduced by that amount. However, if you are more than 50% at fault, you cannot recover any damages. 

Fault is determined based on evidence such as witness statements, police reports, and expert testimony. A skilled attorney will build a strong case to minimize your fault percentage and maximize your potential compensation. 

Do I Need a Lawyer for My Personal Injury Case?

While you are not legally required to have a lawyer, having one can significantly increase your chances of a successful outcome.  

A skilled lawyer will have in-depth knowledge of Indiana's laws and regulations related to personal injury. They will gather evidence, speak with witnesses, and review medical records to build a strong case. 

They can negotiate with insurance companies to get you a fair settlement. Your attorney will represent you in court if your case goes to trial. 

How Does Indiana Look at Personal Injury Cases?

In Indiana, several laws can impact your personal injury case: 

Modified Comparative Fault Rule 

As mentioned earlier, if you are more than 50% at fault, you cannot recover damages. 

Cap on Damages 

Indiana caps certain types of damages. For example, punitive damages are capped at three times the amount of compensatory damages or $50,000, whichever is greater. 

Medical Malpractice 

Indiana has specific laws governing medical malpractice claims, including a cap on damages and a requirement to submit your case to a medical review panel before filing a lawsuit. 

Statute of Limitations 

In addition to the general two-year limit for personal injury claims, Indiana has varying statutes of limitations for different types of cases. For example, injured parties have one year to file a claim against a governmental entity. 

Contributory Negligence 

In some specific cases, Indiana follows contributory negligence laws. This means that if you are found to have contributed to your injury in any way, it might affect your ability to recover damages. 

Strict Liability for Dog Bites 

Indiana has a strict liability statute for dog bites. If you are bitten by a dog when you are legally on someone’s property or in a public place, the dog owner is liable for your injuries, regardless of whether the dog has a history of aggression. 

How Can Attorney Jay Lauer Help You?

Dealing with the legal aspects of personal injury can be overwhelming. My job is to make the process as smooth and stress-free as possible. Here’s what you get when you work with me: 

  • Undivided attention: Your case is unique, and I provide a friendly ear and one-on-one attention. 

  • Accessibility: As a solo practitioner, I make sure my caseload allows me to be readily available for you, answering your questions and providing updates. 

  • Experience: With over four decades of experience, I am very familiar with personal injury law and have a successful track record. 

Speak With a Personal Injury Lawyer in South Bend, Indiana

Call Jay Lauer Attorney at Law for a free initial consultation if you need assistance with a personal injury case. Your well-being and peace of mind are important to me.

Located in South Bend, Indiana, I help clients throughout Granger, Mishawaka, and Northern Indiana get justice and compensation.