Indiana law establishes criteria a Jury can Look at when Deciding Damages


Your ability to recover any amount is not hindered if you settle your case -- as long as the parties agree (and the victim is not a minor) -- the settlement will stand. 

But, jury trials are different.

Indiana law provides a jury with instructions about how to calculate any jury verdict award.  A jury can take into consideration many factors.

In Indiana, if you have a jury trial the Judge will instruct the jury by reading Instruction 703

"General Elements of Damages

If you decide from the greater weight of the evidence that [defendant] is liable to [plaintiff], then you must decide the amount of money that will fairly compensate [plaintiff].

In deciding the amount of money you award, you may consider:

(1) the nature and extent of the [injury][injuries], and the effect of the [injury][injuries] on the [plaintiff]'s ability to function as a whole person;
(2) whether the [injury][injuries] [is][are] temporary or permanent;
(3) the value of [lost time][lost earnings][and][loss or impairment of earning capacity];
(4) the physical pain and mental suffering [plaintiff] has experienced [and will experience in the future] as a result of the [injury][injuries];
(5) the reasonable value of necessary medical care, treatment, and services plaintiff incurred [and will incur in the future] as a result of the [injury][injuries];
(6) the aggravation of a pre-existing [injury][disease][or][condition]; (7) the [disfigurement][and][or][deformity] resulting from the [injury][injuries]; and  (8) the life expectancy of [plaintiff].

704 Pain and Suffering

[___________Plaintiff] does not have to present evidence of the dollar value of [his][her] pain, suffering, mental anguish, or [___________insert other damage element for which evidence of monetary value is not required, such as disfigurement or deformity]. These types of damages need not be proven to a mathematical certainty.

[___________Plaintiff] must prove the nature and extent of these types of damages, however. The dollar value, if any, of these damages is left to your good judgment."

Those are examples of the instructions a jury will receive from a Judge in any particular negligence case when deciding damages.

The good news is that a jury is not required to have the Plaintiff prove damages to any proven mathematical certainty.

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