Who Was at Fault For My Car Accident?
So you were recently in an accident. You are not alone, as car accidents are common and something that happens every hour in this country. What may make your situation different from others is establishing fault.
As Indiana is an at-fault state, it is crucial to determine who is mostly at fault for the accident before deciding which parties are entitled to compensation for damages incurred.
In car accidents, it is common for more than one party to contribute to the accident. What this leads to typically is modified comparative negligence. This rule allows you to obtain compensation even if you were partially at fault for an accident.
What is Comparative Negligence?
According to Cornell Law, comparative negligence is “a tort principle used by the court to reduce the amount of damages that a plaintiff can recover in a negligence-based claim according to the degree of negligence each party contributed to the incident.”
Indiana law follows the modified comparative negligence rule rather than contributory negligence. A handful of states still follow the contributory negligence rule, which states that if you are found to be even 1% at fault for the accident, you are not eligible for compensation.
How Much Can I Expect to Recover in Damages?
Based on the modified comparative negligence rule that Indiana follows, if you are found to be 50% or less at fault for the accident occurring, you can be eligible for a portion of the damages.
If you are found to be more than 50%, even 50.1% at fault for the accident, you are not eligible for damages. Due to this rule, your experienced attorney must provide sufficient evidence that you are less than 50% at fault for the accident for you to obtain compensation.
A percentage of fault is assigned to each party within the accident, and that amount reduces their damages proportionately. For example, if you are found to be 25% at fault for an accident occurring, you would be eligible for 75% of the total damages awarded rather than the full amount based on your contribution to the accident.
How Fault is Established
Several options exist for establishing fault after a car accident. Your account of the events that led to the accident, eyewitness accounts, and the police record (as their account) are considered. Traffic citations, pictures or videos of the damages, and relevant medical records are also considered.
Additionally, traffic flow, weather, and road conditions during the accident will be considered. If there are cameras on the scene that may contain footage, you must retrieve and utilize this information, and your attorney can help you gain access to it.
Other factors that help establish fault are the vehicle damage and injuries sustained. Experts can deduce what may have happened leading up to the accident through evidence of the vehicles and injuries all parties have sustained. Accident recreation can also be utilized to determine the facts such as rate of speed, placement of vehicles, and more.
What Should I Do After an Accident?
As you can probably determine by the information already discussed, it is crucial to your future not to inadvertently admit to fault for an accident and settle for less than you deserve. For example, suppose you were in an accident; you assumed that you were at fault for the accident due to your speeding or not appropriately checking your blind spot on the highway.
There may be other factors you are unaware of, such as other vehicles speeding more than you, not using their turn signals, texting while driving or driving while intoxicated, and more. They could be found to be 60% at fault based on several factors, and you won’t know that until the entire investigation is complete.
Discuss the basic facts with your insurance company and the other parties involved in the accident. Work with a lawyer you trust and allow them to handle further communications or negotiations on your behalf.
Why An Experienced Attorney is Your Best Asset After an Accident
Suppose you spoke with insurance companies after your accident and decided to settle with them so you could wrap things up and return to life as you know it. Insurance companies depend on this, and they utilize your sense of urgency to finalize the file and, in many cases, for an amount far less than you deserve.
Even if you feel you were 50.1% or more than 50% at fault for the accident, it can still mean that the settlement offered is lower than it should be. Without involving yourself in skilled negotiations regularly as an attorney does, it is hard to protect yourself and ensure you are compensated accordingly and effectively.
An experienced attorney can handle communication with your insurance companies and other parties involved and manage negotiations. This help is especially crucial if you are healing from injuries and aren’t able to manage the process promptly following the accident. You are on a timeline to report the accident and pursue damages, and your attorney can navigate this process for you while you take the time to address your injuries.
Call our office today at (812) 247-8416 to learn more about how we can assist you. From gathering more information to establish fault, handling your negotiations, and fiercely defending you as you pursue the compensation you deserve, we are ready to serve you.