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How Does Indiana’s Negligence Law Work After an Accident?

Feb 23, 2021 | Auto Accident


You’re taking the family across town for a fun getaway. The ride is full of music and entertainment until you are jolted back to reality. Another vehicle pulls out in front of you, causing an accident and leaving you in a state of shock.

What do you do in the event of an accident? How do you prove fault and negligence in automobile collisions?

When it comes to personal injury cases, Indiana utilizes an approach to liability known as modified comparative fault. It means that each party may share responsibility in a car accident, yet through the 51% system, you could be entitled to damages.

Learn more about Indiana’s modified comparative fault system and how the 51% rule applies to your automobile accident. Then, contact Stewart & Stewart at 1-866-926-2414 for a free consultation.

What Is Negligence?

Negligence is an important term in many types of lawsuits. It refers to the “failure to exercise appropriate and/or ethical ruled care expected in the given circumstances.”

The courts rely heavily on legal negligence to determine fault in a variety of incidents, including car accidents. Therefore, when the courts examine a case, they will begin by determining who is primarily at fault for the accident and if the at-fault individual acted  negligently.

If so, the victim of the incident is entitled to compensation that may cover auto repairs, property damage, medical bills, lost time from work, and physical and emotional pain.

Drivers that act negligently are liable for any resulting injuries or property damage. The courts determine negligence through multiple elements:

  • The defendant owed a duty to the plaintiff.
  • The defendant breached this duty.
  • The plaintiff wouldn’t have suffered the injury without the action of the defendant.
  • The action (or failure to act) from the defendant is the proximate cause of the injury.
  • The plaintiff suffered damages.

Do you have more questions about legal negligence? Contact Stewart & Stewart for a free consultation. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to discuss the details of your case.

Indiana Negligence Law

Indiana uses what is considered a “modified comparative fault” system for determining responsibility and negligence in auto accidents. The term is sometimes shortened and called contributory negligence.

Regardless, modified comparative fault means that in Indiana, both drivers may share fault in an accident. However, if the driver is less than 51% at fault for the accident, he or she may pursue damages through traditional legal means.

The 51% modified comparative fault system in Indiana is a little confusing, yet a highly trained and knowledgeable attorney can help you navigate the legal framework. The modified comparative fault system does determine the amount in damage recovery (if any) you may receive, so understanding the Indiana negligence law is extremely important.

Lawyers that deal with personal injury claims, especially car accidents, are the most prepared for Indiana’s negligence law. The guidelines on car accident claims and fault differ between states, which is why hiring a lawyer from within the state is your best option for these types of personal injury claims.

Examples of Indiana Comparative Fault

The Indiana Comparative Fault Act is not extraordinarily easy to understand. Here are some examples of personal claims to get a better idea of the 51% rule:

Example: Driver A is speeding in the left lane. Driver A is about to pass Driver B in the right lane when Driver B switches lanes unexpectedly (and without using a turn signal). It is determined that Driver B shares 25% of the responsibility in the accident. Consequently, Driver B may still file a personal injury claim in Indiana but of the $100,000 in damages, is only entitled to $75,000.

Example: In the same scenario, Driver B switches into the left lane, yet Driver A was not recklessly speeding. Driver A is still at fault for the accident but only at 52%. Consequently, Driver B may receive 48% of the damages (approximately $50,000 from the initial $100,000). On the other hand, if Driver B was found to be more than 51% at fault for the accident, Driver B is no longer eligible to submit a personal injury claim.

While Indiana’s modified comparative fault system may look like it’s designed to confuse you, there are skilled lawyers at Stewart & Stewart ready to examine your case for free and help advise you on pursuing a lawsuit. Contact us today for more information!

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If you have been involved in an Indiana personal injury accident, contact us at Stewart & Stewart Attorneys. Our Indiana personal injury lawyers represent victims throughout the state, including Carmel and Anderson. We have also successfully advocated for clients throughout the area, including Fort Wayne, Gary, Indianapolis, South Bend. Complete a free online consultation form or call us at (800) 33-33-LAW!

Stewart & Stewart Attorneys have the knowledge and experience to defend your rights in the following areas of Indiana injury law: auto accident, brain injury, drug injury, defective product, fire and burn injury, insurance dispute, medical malpractice, motorcycle accident, nursing home abuse, slip and fall,  truck accident, workers’ compensation and wrongful death.