Do your driving mistakes affect your compensation rights?

When car crashes occur in Indiana, who is at fault is often obvious. You have the right of way because the light was green, and someone else ran a red light and T-boned you. They are obviously at fault for that crash. Scenarios involving drunk drivers, distraction at the wheel and traffic violations will all make it easy for you to hold another driver responsible for the consequences of a wreck.

You can file an insurance claim and potentially bring a personal injury lawsuit against the other driver if your losses are significant. If you try to go to court, however, the other driver will have the option of defending against your request for compensation.

Sometimes, defendants will use a claim of comparative fault to avoid financial responsibility for a car crash. Could your mistakes on the road prevent you from a successful civil lawsuit?

Indiana employs a modified comparative fault rule

In some states, a defendant in a personal injury claim only needs to show that the other party was negligent or somehow contributed to the crash. Any finding of fault on the part of the plaintiff would lead to the courts dismissing the lawsuit or refusing to grant them compensation.

In Indiana, however, the law is a bit more protective of those not primarily to blame for a wreck. The courts will consider a claim of comparative fault and determine the percentage of responsibility that each driver had for the wreck. A plaintiff can move forward with their claim as long as the courts decide that they are less than 50% responsible for the wreck.

However, the courts will reduce the compensation awarded at the end of the lawsuit by the percentage of fault the plaintiff had for the collision. A small mistake that only slightly contributed to the crash, like failing to use a turn signal, would not prevent you from getting compensation in civil court.

Partial fault shouldn’t affect insurance

The good news is that insurance is usually more black and white. If the other driver is to blame according to the police report, then their policy typically pays for property damage and injury losses. Of course, insurance adjusters may still attempt to diminish how much they pay, possibly by tricking someone into making a recorded statement.

Those seeking compensation filing a complicated crash situation may need help understanding their rights or negotiating for the best support possible. Learning more about Indiana’s rules for car crash claims will help those hurt in a recent wreck.