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Who Is At-fault in a Car Accident in Indiana?

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Determining fault in a car accident in Indiana is crucial for the involved parties, as it affects liability and compensation. Indiana follows a modified comparative negligence rule, which means that how fault is assessed can significantly impact the outcome of an insurance claim or lawsuit. Read on as we explore how fault is determined in Indiana car accidents, the implications of shared fault, and the steps you should take if you are involved in a car accident. If you or a loved one were hurt in a crash in Indiana, contact Lee Cossell & Feagley for help from a skilled and experienced Indianapolis personal injury attorney.

Understanding Fault in Indiana Car Accidents

In Indiana, fault in a car accident is determined by assessing the actions of each driver involved in the incident. The primary goal is to identify which party violated traffic laws, acted negligently, or otherwise contributed to the accident. Evidence such as police reports, witness statements, traffic camera footage, and accident scene photographs are crucial in this analysis.

Key factors that may determine fault include:

  • Violation of Traffic Laws: If a driver has violated traffic laws—for instance, running a red light, speeding, or illegal lane changes—this is often a significant indicator of fault.

  • Driver Negligence: This can include distracted driving (such as using a mobile phone while driving), driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and failing to adapt to weather or traffic conditions.

  • Vehicle Condition: Fault can also be influenced by the mechanical condition of a vehicle. For instance, if a car’s failed brakes lead to an accident, the vehicle’s owner might be held liable if it can be proven that they neglected proper maintenance.

Indiana’s Comparative Negligence Rule

Indiana applies the modified comparative negligence rule, which means that an injured party can recover damages only if their fault is less than 51%. If you are found to be 51% or more at fault, you are barred from recovering any damages from the other involved parties. Additionally, if you are found to be partially at fault but less than 51%, your compensation will be reduced by your percentage of fault.

For example, if it is determined that you are 30% at fault in a car accident and the total damages amount to $10,000, you would be eligible to receive $7,000 after the 30% reduction due to your shared fault.

Seeing as how comparative negligence can reduce your recovery or even bar it altogether, a crucial aspect of your injury claim can involve beating back allegations of negligence on your part while you are busy building a case against the other driver. Having a skilled and experienced car accident lawyer on your side is essential not just for proving the other driver’s fault but also for standing up to the insurance company when they claim your own negligence was at least partially to blame.

Steps to Take Following an Accident

  1. Seek Medical Attention: Health should be your first priority. Even if you do not believe you were seriously hurt, some injuries, like whiplash or internal trauma, can take hours or days to manifest. Getting a thorough examination soon after the crash can help ensure that any hidden injuries are discovered and treated appropriately. Additionally, the sooner you start to receive medical care, the more likely you are to achieve a swift and full recovery.

  2. Report the Accident: Contact the police to report the accident. A police report is sometimes vital for documenting the event and can be crucial in the fault determination process.

  3. Document Everything: Take photographs of the accident scene, including all vehicles involved, any visible damages, road conditions, and any relevant street signs or signals. Also, collect the names and contact information of witnesses.

  4. Notify Your Insurance: Inform your insurance company about the accident. Be factual about the details but avoid admitting fault or making statements that could be interpreted as such.

  5. Consult a Personal Injury Attorney: Contacting a personal injury attorney can be crucial. An experienced lawyer can help navigate the complexities of your claim, advocate on your behalf, and ensure your rights are protected throughout the legal process. By contacting a lawyer right away, you’ll get the guidance and support you need to avoid making critical mistakes that could impact your ability to recover compensation from the other party.

Contact Lee Cossell & Feagley for Help After a Car Accident Injury in Indiana

Determining who is at fault in a car accident in Indiana involves a detailed examination of the circumstances surrounding the accident and a thorough understanding of Indiana’s comparative negligence rule. If you find yourself in such an unfortunate situation, taking the right steps immediately following the accident can be pivotal in securing the compensation you deserve.

At Lee Cossell & Feagley, LLP, our experienced personal injury attorneys understand the intricacies of Indiana accident law and are committed to helping you achieve the best possible outcome in your case. Call us today at 317-631-5151 for a free consultation to discuss your rights and options following a car accident in Indianapolis or beyond.

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