No, Indiana is not a “no-fault” state. In other words, police will name which party was responsible for the accident once they arrive on the scene and take statements from the drivers involved. Does this mean that insurance companies will uphold the police’s decision? That depends.
This is a particularly important question for those seeking damages in a personal injury claim. Whoever was faulted for the accident is likely going to be named responsible in a personal injury lawsuit. However, there could be other factors at play, such as the principle of comparative fault.
Here is a quick guide to understanding what it means that Indiana is not a “no-fault” state and how that could affect your ability to file a personal injury claim. Please, note that every case is unique. As such, you should discuss your case with an experienced personal injury attorney before taking action.
What Does It Mean that Indiana Is an “At-Fault” State?
As stated above, law enforcement will name one or more parties at fault for the vehicle accident. For individuals who were not at fault, it is important to ask the police for a copy of their police report. There are several good reasons to do this, and one of them is for insurance purposes.
In an “at-fault” state like Indiana, the “at-fault” driver’s insurance is responsible for the accident and must pay property damage and medical expenses for the other driver up to the insurance limits.
Because Indiana is an “at-fault” state, all registered drivers are required to carry minimum insurance coverage of $10,000 in property damage and $25,000/$50,000 in bodily injury ($25,000 per individual up to $50,000 total).
How Do Insurance Companies Determine Fault After a Car Accident?
While insurance companies usually agree with Indiana law enforcement’s decision on who was at fault, they often launch their own investigation. As such, there are certain times when insurance companies disagree with the decision of law enforcement.
Once the “at-fault” driver’s insurance accepts liability, they will issue payments up to coverage limits for vehicle repairs and medical expenses resulting from the other driver’s injuries. If you or someone you love is involved in an accident where the other driver is at fault, you should seek medical attention right away, even if you think you feel okay. If injuries caused by the accident are treated at a later date, the insurance company may try to claim that you injured yourself after the accident.
You may also be eligible to seek compensation for other damages in a personal injury claim. You should discuss your case with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible.
What Is Comparative Fault?
Comparative fault applies if both drivers contributed to the accident. Each driver is assigned a percentage of fault for the accident. Those assigned a portion of fault for the accident may still recover for personal injuries as long as they contributed less than 51% to the accident. Indiana’s comparative fault system prohibits personal injury claimants from recovering any compensation if they bear 51% or more of the responsibility for their injury.
In a comparative fault personal injury lawsuit, the court will award damages minus the percentage that the injured driver was at fault. For example, if the injured driver was 30% at fault for the accident and seeks damages totaling $100,000, then the court will award damages of $70,000 (that is, 70% of total damages, the percentage for which the other driver was at fault).
For more information about how an Indiana attorney can help you with your car accident case, contact Stewart & Stewart at 800-333-3529 or visit our website.