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Emotional Distress Compensation in Indiana Car Crash Cases

Aug 21, 2023 | Auto Accident


Car accidents are traumatic events that can cause serious physical injuries and severe emotional distress. But if you experience emotional distress after a car accident, can you pursue monetary compensation from the other driver for injuries that aren’t physical? What is the process for suing for emotional distress, and what questions should you ask your Indiana car accident attorney?

Damages in a Car Accident Case

Damages are the monetary awards a plaintiff can sue for after a negligent driver causes them injury. In any injury case, the plaintiff must prove the defendant’s negligence, which consists of four legal elements. Your Indiana car accident attorney must present evidence to prove:

  • The defendant owed you a duty of care
  • The defendant breached their duty
  • You suffered injuries and losses as a result of the accident
  • The defendant’s actions directly led to your losses

In personal injury cases, the plaintiff has the burden of proving their case with “a preponderance of the evidence,” meaning the evidence shows that the plaintiff’s claim is more than 50% likely.

In a car accident case, the plaintiff can pursue economic damages, non-economic damages, and, in extreme circumstances, punitive damages. But what’s the difference between economic and non-economic damages?

Economic Damages

Economic damages cover physical injuries and associated costs. These may include:

  • Medical bills
  • Transportation costs for treatment
  • Rehabilitation and physical therapy
  • Property damage to the vehicle
  • Costs for hiring household services (lawn care, house cleaning, etc.)
  • Final expenses for wrongful death cases

Economic damages have a set value, including bills, invoices, and receipts demonstrating the true expense of the loss. Proper medical documentation of your injuries can help you pursue appropriate economic damages for an injury claim.

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages cover intangible losses for psychological injuries, including:

Non-economic damages for an emotional distress claim don’t have a specific value. Instead, you need an experienced Indiana car accident attorney to help calculate a fair value for non-economic compensation. Conditions like PTSD or pain and suffering from nerve damage can affect you for years or even the rest of your life.

Wrongful Death Non-Economic Damages

If your loved one died from their injuries in a car accident in Indiana, you could file a wrongful death claim against the negligent driver. Economic damages would include your loved one’s final expenses and any medical bills incurred if they received treatment in an attempt to save their life. Non-economic damages for survivors could include:

  • Mental anguish
  • Loss of consortium
  • Loss of love and companionship
  • Loss of guidance or advice

Does Indiana Have Damage Caps for Non-Economic Damages?

Some states place a cap on certain damages like non-economic or punitive damages. Indiana does not place a cap on non-economic damages, except in instances where the plaintiff makes a claim against the state. If the state of Indiana is found to be negligent in a personal injury claim, there is a $700,000 cap on non-economic damages.

You may also see a reduction in your award if you were partially at fault for the accident that caused your injuries. Indiana follows a 51% modified comparative fault rule where your percentage of fault may reduce your compensation award.

Car Accident in Indiana? Contact Stewart & Stewart Attorneys

When you need an experienced Indiana car accident attorney on your side, contact us at Stewart & Stewart Attorneys. Call today at 1-866-925-3011 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation at one of our offices in Anderson, Indianapolis, or Carmel, IN.

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