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Understanding Comparative Fault in Carmel, IN, Accident Cases

Apr 2, 2024 | Auto Accident

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accident due to negligenceOften, accident victims expect a big settlement if they’re hurt in a car crash or slip-and-fall accident. However, depending on their degree of fault, a court may reduce their settlement amount (or offer no money at all).

Below, a Carmel personal injury lawyer explains what victims must know about comparative fault in accident cases.

Types of Comparative Negligence

There are three types of comparative negligence: pure, modified, and slight/gross. Under pure comparative negligence rules, victims can recover damages even if they are 99% at fault.

Modified comparative negligence states allow victims to recover if they are less than 50% or 51% at fault (this varies by state).

South Dakota is the only state that follows the slight/gross negligence rule. Under this rule, the settlement amount increases if the victim’s negligence is “slight” and the defendant’s negligence “gross.”

Indiana is a comparative negligence state that follows modified rules. Here, victims may only recover damages if they’re less than 51% at fault. A court would reduce their compensation by the amount of fault the victim contributed to the accident. For instance, if a victim was 40% at fault, they could recover 60% of their damages.

How Can a Carmel, IN, Attorney Prove Negligence?

To prove comparative fault in accident cases, a Carmel, IN, lawyer must establish four elements, as follows:

  1. The defendant owed the victim a duty of care.
  2. The defendant breached their duty.
  3. The breach of duty led to an accident.
  4. The accident caused damages for the victim.

The concept of “duty of care” may be confusing for victims. Examples include:

  • A driver has a duty to follow traffic rules.
  • A store owner has a duty to keep the aisles clean of spills so guests don’t slip.
  • A dog owner has a duty to keep their dog away from guests if they know it’s aggressive.

Evidence That Can Help Prove Negligence

Attorneys will need solid evidence to prove who is at fault in an accident case. Good evidence may include:

  • Statements from those who witnessed the accident
  • Pictures and video footage of the accident scene
  • Police and accident reports
  • Alcohol and drug tests
  • Statements from doctors
  • Accident reconstruction analysis
  • Black box data (for a truck accident)

Carmel, IN, Law Firm Helps Victims Prove Negligence

Proving negligence and comparative fault in accident cases can be challenging, but victims do not need to collect evidence on their own. Stewart & Stewart Attorneys is an experienced Carmel, IN, law firm that charges no fees unless its lawyers win cases for victims.

For a free consultation, readers can call (317) 934-2237.

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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.