March 16, 2020
In most cases, you are liable for accidents that you cause; however, since Indiana is a comparative negligence state, you may be able to sue the other driver even though you caused the accident.
How Comparative Negligence Works in Indiana
In Indiana, more than one driver can be held responsible for an accident. If you or someone you love was injured in an accident for which you’ve been faulted, you may be able to prove that the other driver was also negligent and contributed to any damage or injuries.
This is known as comparative negligence. Each negligent driver is assigned a percentage according to their degree of fault. This can be proven and assigned by insurance companies as well as in a personal injury claim. If your comparative negligence is less than 50%, you are eligible to seek compensation for damage and injuries.
Make sure to discuss the details of your case with an experienced car accident attorney. The more evidence you have, the better chance you have to prove that the other driver was the greater contributor. And while your evidence may release you from fault altogether, those cases are rare. Most likely, your only option for suing the other driver is in a case of comparative negligence.
Were You Injured?
If you or someone you love was injured in a car accident that you caused, the severity of the injuries might have been caused by the other driver’s actions. Because insurance limits can force you to have to pay some of your medical bills out of pocket, it may be in your best interest to file a personal injury claim for damages to the degree that the other driver was negligent.
In a personal injury lawsuit where there is comparative negligence, you receive damages in the amount you claimed up to the percentage that the other driver was named at fault. This means that if your total damages were set at $50,000, you receive $30,000 if the other driver’s comparative negligence was 60% (60% of $50,000). Remember, if your comparative negligence exceeds 50%, you may not sue the other driver.
What to Do After an Accident That You Caused
Regardless of who was at fault, you should immediately stop and find out if anyone was hurt in the accident. All involved drivers should try to move their vehicles out of the way of traffic and attend to anyone who has been injured.
Once all parties are safe from harm, you need to report the accident to the police. Do not admit fault, and certainly refrain from discussing your narrative with the other drivers. Take whatever pictures you can of the scene, including damage to property, injuries, and the spot where the accident occurred. If any witnesses are willing to assist you, make sure to collect their names and contact information.
If you feel that someone else was responsible for the accident even though you were faulted, you should speak with a personal injury attorney right away. In many cases, there is evidence of comparative fault that will hold the other driver(s) accountable for some of the damage and injuries.
As noted above, there are some cases where a careful review of the evidence shows that another driver is more at fault than the initially-faulted driver. That is why it’s always important that you gather as much evidence as possible to support your case.
For more information about how an Indiana attorney can help you after an accident for which you’ve been faulted, contact Stewart & Stewart Attorneys at 800-333-3529 or visit our website.