YOUR GUIDE TO NEGLIGENCE AND CAR ACCIDENT CLAIMS IN INDIANA
Negligence is one of the most important concepts in personal injury law — it is the legal foundation of most auto accident injury claims in Indiana. Indeed, much of the work that a Fort Wayne car accident attorney does on a case goes towards proving negligence. At the Delventhal Law Office, we are committed advocates for injured victims and their loved ones. We want every person to have the information that they need to protect their rights. Here, our team answers some frequently asked questions (FAQs) about negligence and car accident claims.
WHAT IS NEGLIGENCE?
Negligence is the failure to exercise reasonable care. An individual or entity is negligent when their actions or inactions create an unreasonable danger. When that danger then causes injuries to another party, the defendant can be held legally liable. Negligence has four required elements:
- The defendant owed the victim a duty of care;
- The defendant breached that legal duty;
- There is a causal link between the breach of duty and the plaintiff’s injuries; and
- The victim suffered actual harm in the accident.
WHY DOES NEGLIGENCE MATTER?
Indiana is a fault-based auto accident jurisdiction. If another party was at fault for your accident, you have the right to hold them liable for your damages. As a general matter, liability is based on the legal theory of negligence. In other words, a plaintiff can hold a defendant liable for their damages if they can prove that the defendant’s failure to exercise reasonable care (negligence) caused the accident.
HOW DO YOU PROVE NEGLIGENCE AFTER A CRASH?
Indiana is a ‘fault’ auto insurance state. To establish that a defendant is legally responsible for your Fort Wayne motor vehicle accident, you will be required to prove that their negligence contributed to your crash. What constitutes negligence can vary widely based on the specific circumstances in question. In most auto accident cases, the negligent party is one of the drivers. Indeed, according to a meta-analysis from the Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School, driver error is a factor in more than 90 percent of traffic accidents. There are many different examples of driver negligence, including:
- Your statement;
- The other driver’s statement;
- The police report;
- Eyewitness testimony;
- Photographs of the vehicle damages;
- Photographs of your injuries;
- Medical records; and
- Expert testimony.
Major car accidents should be investigated by an experienced professional. If you were involved in a serious crash and you believe that the collision occurred because of another party’s negligence, it is imperative that you reach out to an Indiana auto accident attorney immediately. Your attorney will conduct a review of the crash and secure all relevant evidence.
WHAT ARE SOME COMMON EXAMPLES OF NEGLIGENCE?
Negligence comes in a wide variety of different forms. In most cases, auto accidents are caused by negligent drivers. In fact, some studies have found that driver error is the primary cause of approximately 95 percent of traffic collisions in the United States. Examples of driver error that could constitute negligence include:
To be clear, car accident claims can also be brought against other defendants who are not drivers. For example, an auto manufacturer can be held liable if a plaintiff suffered injuries as a result of its negligence.
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WHAT IS COMPARATIVE NEGLIGENCE?
Under Indiana law (I.C. § 34-51-2-6), car accident claims are subject to the state’s modified comparative negligence standard. With comparative negligence, each party will be held liable in proportion to their “share of the blame” for an accident. For instance, if a drunk driver is deemed responsible for 100 percent of the crash, they can be held liable for 100 percent of the resulting damages.
Of course, not all cases are so straightforward. With comparative negligence, liability may be split amongst multiple parties. For example, if a driver is found to be liable for 30 percent of a crash, then they will be responsible for 30 percent of the damages. Notably, Indiana has a strict 51 percent bar on recovery. If a plaintiff is deemed to be at fault for 51 percent of an accident, or more, they are legally prohibited from recovering damages.
SPEAK TO OUR FORT WAYNE CAR ACCIDENT LAWYER TODAY
At the Delventhal Law Office, our car accident attorneys in Fort Wayne have the skills and legal experience needed to help you establish negligence after a collision. If you were involved in a crash that was caused by a careless or reckless driver, we are here to help. For a free, completely confidential case evaluation, please contact us right away. From our office in Fort Wayne, we serve communities in Allen County and throughout northeastern Indiana.
AREAS WE PRACTICE
At the Delventhal Law office, our Fort Wayne personal injury attorneys are committed to fighting for the rights and interests of accident victims. If you or a family member was injured because of the carelessness or recklessness of another party, we can help. Our Indiana personal injury lawyers handle a wide array of legal cases, including:
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