How Does Indiana’s Modified Comparative Negligence Law Work?

by Staff | September 14th, 2020

Whenever a car accident occurs, there’s a good chance that one of the drivers was 100% at fault. For example, if a driver was distracted and crashed into the back of a stopped vehicle at an intersection, it’s hard for them to argue that the person they hit was at all to blame in that instance.

However, fault isn’t that obvious in all car accidents. In some cases, both drivers share responsibility. Maybe a driver failed to yield right of way and was struck by a speeding driver, or a driver was distracted and failed to react in time when another driver swerved in front of them. Those cases are more common than you think, and Indiana’s laws are designed to account for those types of crashes.

Less Than 51% at Fault After a Crash? You Can Still Pursue Compensation.

Some states require that injured victims be 100% absolved from liability for their own accidents and injuries in order to receive compensation. But that often opens victims up to extreme scrutiny from the other party, their insurance company, and their legal team, as those parties will have plenty of motivation to prove even a small amount of liability on the victim’s part to avoid having to pay a settlement.

Indiana’s modified comparative negligence law means that if you’re found to be less than 51% at fault for your injury, you can file a claim to get money for your accident-related expenses. That’s important because many accidents are judged to be 50/50 in terms of fault, but one victim may incur significantly greater expenses than the other.

For example, if you’re hurt in a semi-truck accident, you may suffer serious injuries and your vehicle may be totaled, but the truck driver and their truck may be unscathed. As long as you’re only 50% at fault or less, you’re free to try and recoup costs for your medical bills, lost wages, and property damage.

Your Compensation Is Limited by Your Percentage of Fault

It’s important to note that while you’re still allowed to seek compensation if you played a role in your accident, the amount of fault assigned to you by either the insurance adjuster or a jury affects how much money you can receive. Simply put, your percentage of fault is subtracted from your total compensation award.

That means if you get a settlement of $50,000 for a truck accident but were found to be 25% at fault for the crash, 25% of your settlement would be subtracted, leaving you with $37,500. In addition, if you were hurt in a multi-vehicle accident or your injury was caused by multiple parties, your compensation is paid based on each party’s percentage of liability. That means a party found to be 15% liable would be required to pay 15% of your compensation total.

Determining Fault Percentage Isn’t Always Fair and Accurate, But We Can Help

Just because you can still pursue compensation even if you’re found to be partially at fault doesn’t mean that the other side will ease up on you. Increasing your level of fault from 10% to 50% in their internal reviews or in the eyes of a jury can save them tens of thousands of dollars or more in settlement money. That’s why it’s essential to have an experienced Indiana auto accident lawyer on your side.

At Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin, our attorneys know what’s fair when it comes to determining fault and liability. When we review your claim, we’ll first work to find out if you were at fault, period. And if you were, we’ll find out whether the initial percentage of blame assigned to you is correct. An initial 50/50 liability split may actually be more like 90/10 in your favor.

Don’t accept a settlement without speaking to a lawyer first, especially if you feel like you’re being unfairly blamed for causing or contributing to the crash. Our legal team will review the facts and work hard to maximize your payment. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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