Right-of-way determines fault in many car accidents. Insurance companies, lawyers, and juries will consider which motorist had the legal right-of-way when determining the cause of a crash.
However, right-of-way isn’t the only factor that establishes fault. Speeding, intoxication, and distracted driving may also determine who’s at fault for an accident. If you or a loved one suffered harm in a collision, our law firm can determine fault and liability for your losses.
Who Determines Fault in a Car Accident?
The other driver might get out of their car and immediately blame you for the collision. But guess what? It doesn’t matter what they think. The other driver doesn’t determine fault for the accident. Neither do you. Instead, the following parties will consider your case’s facts to establish liability:
The Insurance Company
The insurance company will conduct its own investigation into your collision. Yet, these organizations are biased; their goal is to save money. So, when investigating your case, they may use evidence to reduce their liability rather than fairly pay you.
Your lawyer doesn’t just represent you in court; they will also investigate your accident’s details. We will interview witnesses, review the physical evidence at the accident scene, and consult with experts regarding your collision’s cause.
The Judge and Jury
If your case goes to court, it’s up to the judge and jury to decide who caused the accident. Lawyers on both sides will present evidence defending their clients. The following outcomes may take place:
- If the jury decides the other party caused the accident, you could recover compensation via a court award.
- If the jury decides that you caused the accident, you might have to pay for your losses out of pocket. However, you wouldn’t have to pay our attorney’s fees since we didn’t win your case.
As you can see, multiple parties can weigh in on who (or what) caused an accident.
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What Determines Fault in a Car Accident?
First things first: Indiana operates on a modified comparative fault system. So, you can seek damages even if you were 50 percent responsible for what happened, per IC § 34-51-2-6. Your percentage of fault, however, will affect the value of your settlement or court award.
Your lawyer will use the following information to determine what caused your accident:
- Traffic camera footage
- Police reports
- Eyewitness statements
- The other driver’s cellphone records
- Pictures of the accident scene, your injuries, and your vehicle’s damage
They may also consult with an accident reconstruction specialist about your collision. These experts use a combination of 3D software, physics, and computer simulations to determine the cause of collisions.
Other Forms of Negligence May Have Contributed to Your Collision
If we can’t prove that a right-of-way error caused your accident, no problem; we can prove other forms of negligence, including:
- Distracted driving, like texting or talking on the phone
- Following too closely (otherwise known as “tailgating”)
- Intoxicated driving
- Drowsy driving
- Aggressive driving
- Road rage
- Weaving in and out of lanes
- Failing to obey posted traffic signals
- Driving without a valid driver’s license
What Constitutes Negligence?
Once we identify the cause of your accident, we must prove the four elements of negligence. They include:
- Duty of care. The other motorist had an obligation to operate their vehicle with care. All motorists have a duty of care toward other road users.
- Breach of duty. The other motorist failed to drive with reasonable prudence, putting others at risk of harm.
- Causation. The other party caused the collision.
- Damages. You suffered economic and non-economic damages (such as medical bills and pain and suffering) as a result of the collision.
Our lawyer can evaluate your case to determine what course of action suits your legal goals.
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File Your Lawsuit Before Indiana’s Statutory Deadline
Indiana limits how long you have to file a lawsuit after a car accident. These laws may apply to you:
- IC § 34-11-2-4 sets the statute of limitations for injury lawsuits at two years
- IC § 34-23-2-1 sets the statute of limitations for wrongful death lawsuits at two years
Calculating your losses, negotiating a settlement, and determining fault do not grant you more time to act. This makes prompt legal action crucial. By failing to file your lawsuit on time, you risk giving up your right to compensation.
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Call Sevenish Law Firm, P.C. for Help with Your Injury Case
Right-of-way alone doesn’t determine fault. Your case’s evidence, the strength of your argument, and other factors do.
If you were injured or lost a loved one in a car accident caused by another party, you can seek damages. Our lawyer can determine who had the right-of-way and who was at fault. He can also help you secure compensation for your medical bills, pain and suffering, and lost income.
Call Sevenish Law Firm, P.C. at (317) 636-7777 for a free case review.