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Determining Fault in a Car Accident

According to Indiana Criminal Justice Institute data, there were 949 fatalities and 3,304 serious injuries resulting from car accidents in the Hoosier State in 2022. Determining fault in car accidents is necessary for several reasons. It helps assign responsibility, prompting the party at fault to take appropriate action.

This process is essential for insurance claims, determining liability and ensuring fair compensation for those who suffered injuries or property damage.

Investigations assign fault

Police and investigators examine various factors to assign fault. They rely on evidence like skid marks, vehicle damage and witness statements to reconstruct the sequence of events. Traffic laws guide their assessments, looking for violations such as speeding or running red lights. Statements from involved parties and witnesses help paint a clearer picture of who caused the accident.

Police reports provide an official record of documented findings, which you will need for insurance claims or legal proceedings. While these investigations aim for objectivity, challenges may arise.

Challenges in determining fault

Various challenges often appear during car accident investigations. These complications may affect your claim for compensation.

Conflicting statements. Gathering accurate information is challenging, as involved parties may provide differing accounts about the events leading to the accident

Lack of witnesses. Without independent witnesses, establishing fault becomes more challenging. Witness accounts can provide unbiased perspectives to determine who is at fault.

Insurance company involvement. Insurance companies usually conduct independent investigations. Their assessments do not always align with the parties involved, leading to disputes over fault.

Severity of injuries. The extent of injuries may influence the perception of fault. Serious injuries may sway opinions of who is to blame for the accident.

Poor road conditions or faulty traffic signals can complicate fault determination, as these factors may contribute to accidents independent of driver actions.

Indiana’s negligence rule

In Indiana, determining fault in a car accident involves assessing negligence. Negligence refers to the failure to exercise reasonable care, leading to harm.

Indiana uses a modified comparative fault system with a 51% bar rule. You may not be eligible for compensation if you are 51% or more at fault for the accident. You can seek damages if your fault is less than 51%, although your degree of fault reduces payout amounts proportionally.

The fault determination in your accident can help others

There are approximately six million car crashes in the U.S. every year, injuring around three million people. Establishing fault aids in preventing future accidents by identifying patterns or issues, prompting necessary changes in road safety measures.

If you’ve been injured in a car accident but think you may have been partially at fault, still give our office a call at  219-733-8633. You may be entitled to compensation anyway.