In theory, in Indiana, when a car accident occurs, the party at fault or their insurer covers all the losses. In practice, things are never “black” or “white”. Most of the time, they get a shade of grey, as both or all of the parties involved in the accident have somehow contributed to it. No one knows that better than an Indiana car wreck lawyer.
Most of the times, they take on a car accident case that involves seeking compensation for the victim. However, they end up defending the victim against accusations of contributory negligence? Does this mean that the compensation is off the table? Certainly not! It only means that the case is a little more complicated and winning it will be more difficult.
The best way to understand what happens when both or all the parties involved in an accident share fault for it is to review the Indiana law. We will do that and support theory with concrete examples in the following lines.
Indiana Modified Comparative Negligence Law through the Eyes of an Indiana Car Wreck Lawyer
According to Indiana Code Section § 34-51-2-5, claimants who share fault for their accident can still seek compensation for their injuries. However, the compensation amount will be reduced proportionally to their share of fault.
Indiana Code Section § 34-51-2-6 bars recovery for claimants whose contributory fault exceeds the fault of all the other parties involved. This provision is also known as the “51%” rule. How do these provisions influence a case?
Let’s say someone rear-ended you. They were speeding and neglected to maintain a safe distance. However, your stoplights were not working. Had it not been for your defective stoplights, things would be simple – you recover all your losses from the driver who rear-ended you or their insurer.
However, in the given circumstances, the driver or their insurer may claim that, had it not been for your defective stoplights, the accident would not have occurred. If you know they were speeding and tailgating you and the accident would have occurred anyway, you can still seek compensation. But you will need to support your claim with evidence.
The insurance company or the court will review your claim and the evidence provided by the defendant. Based on the data available, they will determine the fault percentage of each of you. Let us assume they determine that you were 30% at fault for your accident and the other party was 70% at fault.
This means that you will only recover 70% of your losses. You will also be responsible for 30% of the other party’s losses. Whether or not it is worth claiming compensation in this case is for you to determine. The best way to do that is with the help of an Indianapolis auto accident lawyer.
How Can an Indiana Car Accident Attorney Help in a Shared Fault Case?
A lawyer can review your case and the available evidence and determine:
- The total value of the losses involved
- The fault percentage of each party
- The compensation amount that can be recovered
- The best strategy to ensure recovery
It is important to note that, in Indiana, claimants have the obligation to prove their case. Thus, the outcome of your case will depend not on how the accident occurred but on what you can prove. If you did not gather sufficient and solid evidence, a car accident lawyer can help. They can obtain:
- The police accident report
- The other driver’s blood alcohol and drug test results
- Access to their phone records and social media accounts
- Their driving records
- The vehicles’ technical expertise
- Expert testimonies
- Examples of similar cases whose verdict support your claim
Needless to say, they will also take over all the paperwork and the negotiations with the defendant. The best part is that, depending on whom you work with, you only pay them if they win, when they do. This eliminates all risks and saves you valuable time and effort. It also provides the peace of mind that comes with knowing that your interests are well-protected.
Get Help with Your Case Now!
At Stewart|Phelps|Wood, we have extensive experience handling shared fault cases. Our car accident attorneys can help you prove your minimum involvement in the accident and obtain the compensation you deserve.
To prove our commitment and dedication, we will review your case for free. Call our office and schedule a free consultation with an Indiana car wreck lawyer! In the worst-case scenario, you will walk out knowing how much your claim is worth and how to pursue it.