Even relatively mild car accidents can come with a considerable amount of economic costs. Hospital bills, missed days of work, and the price of repairing the damage to your vehicle can all add up to a significant drain on your finances. As such, you may depend upon a lawsuit in order to recover what you need to cover your new expenses after your accident. But if the accident was partially your fault, can you still bring a lawsuit against the other driver or drivers?
Modified comparative negligence
Every state has a different system in place for dealing with injuries that result from multiple parties’ fault. Indiana’s system is called modified comparative negligence. This system has two important elements that you should keep in mind.
First, under modified comparative negligence, you can only recover compensation for your injury if you were 50% or less at fault for the accident. This means that the court will take into account all available evidence and determine the percentage of fault that each party has. You cannot be more at fault than the combined percentage of fault of all parties that you are suing in order to recover.
Second, if you are able to recover compensation, then the court will reduce the amount that you recover in proportion to your percentage of fault. For example, if the court determines that you are 20% at fault and the other driver is 80% at fault, and you win your lawsuit, you will only be able to recover 80% of the total amount of damages that you otherwise would be entitled to.
If you are unsure of your chances of winning a lawsuit, consult an attorney to get an estimate of your odds. Even if you played a role in your own accident, justice demands that you be able to recover compensation from the driver that was principally at fault.