A situation where someone is partially at fault in a car accident is called “comparative fault.” An example of comparative fault would be this: One driver is at a red light and wants to turn right. There’s a car coming from the left, but the driver at the red light thinks they have time to make the turn. However, the oncoming driver is speeding. The driver at the red light turns, and the oncoming car hits them. The driver of the first car didn’t properly yield, and the second car was speeding, so both are at fault in the accident.
Indiana is what’s called a modified comparative negligence state. That means that if you were injured in the car accident, but were partly at fault, you can file a personal injury lawsuit. But the damages the court might award will be reduced by a percentage based on your share of the fault. If the court determines that your share of the fault is more than 50 percent, you won’t be eligible to receive any damages at all.
Is There a Statute of Limitations on Car Accident Lawsuits and Car Insurance Claims in Indiana?
Indiana has a statute of limitations for lawsuits regarding car accidents. A statute of limitations means that there is a limited amount of time for someone to file a lawsuit, and that time frame begins the day the car accident occurs.
In Indiana, the limit is two years. Once two years has passed, it’s unlikely that any court would be willing to hear such a suit. There are however some exceptions to this general rule.
Does the Car Accident Claim Have to Go to Court?
Not necessarily. It’s likely that the car insurance companies that represent the drivers involved will likely try to come to a settlement to avoid going to court. However, they’re going to use the same modified negligence terms to come to that settlement, as that’s the law in Indiana, and if the parties can’t agree, those are the terms they’ll face in court.
Whether the parties involved opt for negotiating a settlement or end up in court, it’s essential to understand that even though Indiana requires the apportionment of fault to ultimately determine the amount of damages, there isn’t a precise formula to figure out that fault. Each case is resolved individually. That’s why it’s important to bring in a knowledgeable personal injury as soon as possible, as they’ll be better able to determine how to proceed and keep their client informed of the potential damages and claims.
What’s the First Thing I Should Do if I’m in a Car Accident?
Indiana law requires the people involved in a car accident that results in personal injury, death, or damage to one or multiple vehicles must, as soon as possible, give notice of the accident. Giving notice is defined as contacting the local police department (if the accident happens in a municipality), the nearest county sheriff or state police department (if the accident occurs outside a municipality), or a 911 operator.
Once the authorities are notified, it’s strongly advised that you contact an attorney. The attorney will help you file claims with your own insurance company and, if applicable, with the insurance company representing the other driver(s). The attorney can start the negotiation process that could lead to a settlement. If a settlement isn’t reached, the attorney can start the personal injury lawsuit process for you.
What Are Car Insurance Requirements in Indiana?
Like most states, Indiana requires drivers and vehicle owners to carry specific amounts of insurance coverage that covers car accidents. By law, Indiana is a fault state, meaning that whoever is at fault for causing the harm is responsible for any damages. The insurance company will cover damages up to a point, depending on the insurance policy’s limits.
In Indiana, drivers and vehicle owners are required to have minimum insurance coverage for liability. Note: People can take out higher liability rates for higher premiums. No one expects to get into a car accident, and no one expects to be at fault for one.
But, it’s important to understand that if someone takes only the minimum amount of insurance and is at fault (even partially) for a car accident, the insurance company is only liable for the amount you’ve authorized them for. If a jury finds the negligent driver liable for more significant damages, the difference is the driver’s responsibility.
This insurance coverage pays, up to the maximum specified, for medical bills and property damage and other costs for drivers, passengers, and pedestrians involved in the accident. It also covers any family member who’s driving your vehicle or someone to whom you’ve given permission to drive. It may (but check the specific policy) cover you for accidents while driving a rental car.
These Indiana Personal Injury Attorneys Can Work on Your Car Accident Claims
Being partially responsible for a car accident in which you were injured can be a complicated process, whether it goes to court or involves negotiations with insurance companies. Working with a knowledgeable attorney is advised, as they have the experience and foresight to potentially negotiate a better settlement on your behalf. Contact us at 219-924-2427 to set up a free case evaluation based on our extensive experience working with personal injury claims.