How Can Indiana’s Comparative Fault Law Affect My Personal Injury Claim?
Posted On behalf of Pfeifer Morgan & Stesiak on Jan 14, 2019 in Personal Injury
In some cases, each party involved in an accident may share fault in causing the event. When this occurs, Indiana uses the rule of comparative fault to determine the maximum amount of compensation the victim is entitled to receive. Depending on your actions during the accident, comparative fault can have a significant impact on your personal injury claim.
To learn more about comparative fault and whether your actions during the accident may affect your claim, you should consider working with a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer in South Bend. Pfeifer, Morgan and Stesiak’s attorneys are well-versed in Indiana’s negligence laws. We will provide you a free, no obligation consultation to help you understand if your claim may be affected by Indiana’s comparative fault law.
What is Comparative Fault?
Under comparative fault, each party involved in an accident is assigned a percentage that represents their degree of fault in causing the victim’s injuries. The percentage you are assigned represents your degree of negligence during the accident. Although you may be assigned a percentage of fault, Indiana will still allow you to recover for your damages. However, your percentage must be less than the other party’s.
The value of your claim will be reduced by the percentage of fault you are assigned. If multiple parties are at fault in an accident, each party is held liable for their share of the damages, proportionate to the percentage of fault they are given.
For example, if damages total $100,000 in your accident but you are found to be 20 percent at fault, your compensation award will be reduced by $20,000. Instead of receiving the full $100,000, you would only receive a maximum of $80,000 in compensation.
Contributory Negligence in Indiana
In Indiana, claims against state government or political subdivisions as well as medical malpractice claims against qualified health care providers are not evaluated by using comparative negligence. Instead, the principle of contributory negligence will be applied to these cases. Under contributory negligence, you cannot receive compensation if you are found to be even one percent at fault for causing your own injuries.
How Can Comparative Fault Be Used Against Me?
Comparative fault can be used against you to reduce the amount of damages the other party is liable for. Often, insurers use comparative negligence to assign victims an unfair amount of blame for the accident.
The greater your percentage of fault in the accident that caused your injury, the less the other party is held responsible for. Likewise, you cannot recover compensation from the other party if you are found to be more than 50 percent at fault for causing the accident. An insurer or attorney representing the other party may exaggerate your degree of fault to make it seem like you were the primary cause of the accident.
You may also be held liable for the other party’s damages. It does not matter how serious your injuries are – if your degree of fault is higher than the other party’s, you will not be able to recover compensation.
How Can a Lawyer Help My Claim?
If you may be partially at fault for causing your accident, you should strongly consider working with an experienced attorney. Your attorney will act as your advocate throughout the legal process. He or she will work to ensure that your claim is fairly represented and that you are not assigned a higher degree of fault than you deserve.
An attorney will also investigate your accident to build a case that supports your claim. He or she will work to show the defendant held the majority of fault in the matter while working to prove your percentage of fault was minor or that you were in no way responsible for causing the accident.
Schedule a Free Legal Consultation Today
If you were injured in an accident caused by another person’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Our South Bend personal injury attorneys will review your claim and discuss the legal options that may be available in your situation.
Request a free, no obligation consultation today and learn your legal rights. There are no upfront fees and payment is only due if we recover compensation for you.