What If I Share Blame for an Accident? Can I Collect?
Comparative Fault in Indiana
Indiana is a comparative fault state. You are not prevented from collecting an insurance settlement or suing another party even if your own negligence contributed to your accident or injury. However, your compensation may be reduced.
Randy Sevenish is an Indianapolis, Indiana lawyer handling all personal injury and wrongful death claims, with an emphasis on victims of motorcycle accidents and other catastrophic accidents. Contact him at 800.278.9200 for a full explanation of your rights and free evaluation of your case.
Comparative Fault vs. Contributory Negligence
Some states have contributory negligence laws that bar accident victims from recovery if they were at fault in any way for the accident.
Other states have comparative fault (also called comparative negligence) statutes that enable victims to recover partial damages.
- Pure comparative fault (Kentucky, for example) allows a plaintiff to recover some damages even if they were found to be 95 percent at fault.
- Indiana is a modified comparative fault state. You can collect compensation as long as you are 50% or less at fault than the other party or parties. If you are more than 50% at fault, you cannot bring a claim in Indiana.
How It Works
First, a determination must be made of each party's liability, or fault. This is derived through negotiations with the defendant's insurance company, or by a judge or jury at trial. Fault is assigned as a percentage.
Once the percentage of fault is determined, it is applied to the possible damages (the jury's verdict or the insurance policy limits). Your degree of fault is subtracted from the potential award.
An example: You were speeding and crashed at an intersection with a driver who failed to stop at a traffic light. The defense successfully argues that if you had been driving at the speed limit, your cars would not have collided, or the injuries and damage would have been less severe. However, the stoplight violation is considered a greater degree of negligence. You are assigned 20 percent fault and the other driver 80 percent. Your unpaid medical bills and costs of recuperation are $40,000, so 20 percent is deducted and the insurance company settles with you for $32,000.
Auto accidents and personal injury claims involve many complex insurance issues and legal matters. Hire an experienced Indiana auto accident attorney who knows comparative fault in Indiana and all applicable laws. Sevenish Law Firm is on your side, for as long as it takes. You pay no attorney's fees unless we succeed on your behalf.