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Car Accident Laws in Indiana: What Drivers Need to Know

Indiana drivers are no strangers to car accidents. While most are minor and of the fender bender variety, those resulting in vehicle damage and physical injury do occur. Not all of us fully understand car accident laws in Indiana, and if you’ve been involved in one, there are certain things you should be aware of. Ignorance of the law could put you in hot water, whether you are at fault or the victim.

The laws surrounding car accidents in Indiana can sometimes be complex, and if you’ve been involved in a car crash, you may not know when you need to consult with a car accident lawyer. In this blog, we’ll review everything you need to know if you’ve been involved in a car accident in Indiana.

Car Accident Laws in Indiana

What to Do at the Scene of the Accident

In any car accident, drivers are legally obligated to stop, no matter how minor the incident. For accidents that result in minimal property damage and without physical injury, the crash can be more of a nuisance than anything, but they still need to stop. Drivers should exchange information such as their names, addresses, and car insurance information.

For accidents that have caused significant car damage or physical injuries, both parties should wait at the scene until the police arrive. Injured parties should receive medical care if required. The police will speak to both drivers and write up an accident report. Both drivers can request copies of the accident report, usually available within a few days after the accident. This document is important to insurance companies and is essential if one of the drivers decides to pursue a personal injury lawsuit.

If you’ve been involved in a crash, here’s what you should do:

  • Stay at the scene of the accident and assess damages or injuries
  • Seek medical attention if necessary
  • Exchange information with the other driver(s)
  • File an accident report with the responding police department
  • Take photos or video of your vehicle and injuries

Determining Fault in Indiana Car Accidents

While some states have “no-fault” laws, meaning that any driver involved in a car crash will file claims through their vehicle’s insurance company regardless of who was negligent and caused the accident, Indiana isn’t one of them. Indiana is an “at-fault” state, so to be compensated for financial damages resulting from the accident, the fault must be determined.

Unfortunately, sometimes, determining who is at fault can be a complex issue. This is especially true when multiple vehicles are involved in the crash. Determining who is at fault may require hiring a personal injury attorney to help assess the incident and gather evidence. Insurance companies may deny liability. The best way to fight this battle is to hire an experienced car accident lawyer. They can help to prove liability with:

  • Accident reports
  • Photos or video of the accident scene
  • Eyewitness statements
  • Accident reconstruction experts

Modified Comparative Fault Law

Modified Comparative Fault Law

Not all car accidents result from the carelessness of one driver. While accidents that happen due to one driver’s negligence, such as speeding or running a red light, make the legal process much easier, they aren’t always the case.

Indiana follows modified comparative fault, which means that a person can only seek compensation for injury and property damage if they are less than 51% responsible for the accident. This rule is known in Indiana as the 51% Bar Rule, which states that a party can only seek the recovery of damages if they are 50% or less responsible for the crash.

For example, if it’s been determined that Driver A was responsible for 25% of the accident and Driver B was 75% responsible, Drive A is only entitled to receive 75% of their damages.

When seeking compensation for a car accident, insurance companies are sure to claim limited liability if the circumstances even remotely allow them to. This highlights the importance of having a savvy car accident attorney during the negotiation phase to ensure you receive the best settlement offer possible.

If your case goes to trial, the judge or jury will determine who was at fault for the accident and to what degree. Just as with insurance company negotiations, it’s crucial to have a personal injury car accident lawyer fighting for your right to fair compensation.

Indiana Car Accidents Involving a Government Entity

While some car accident claims could prove difficult when all parties involved are private citizens, the process to seek compensation becomes a bit more complicated if the defendant is a government employee and the accident occurred while they were performing the duties of their job. Since the defendant is considered a government entity, different laws apply.

Indiana’s Tort Claims Act (ITCA) states that to file a claim against a government entity, the plaintiff must inform the appropriate government agency within 180 days of the incident by filing a Notice of Tort claim.

Personal injury lawsuits of this type typically require the legal expertise of a car accident lawyer and it’s advised to consult with a legal professional before moving forward. Modified comparative fault plays no role in a claim against a government entity, so you would have the burden of proving that the other driver was 100% negligent.

Indiana Statute of Limitations for Car Accident Lawsuits

Indiana Statute of Limitations for Car Accident Lawsuits

Indiana law allows a two-year window for a personal injury car accident lawsuit to be filed. The clock starts ticking on the date of the accident. However, Indiana’s statute of limitations does include a few exceptions:

  • Delayed discovery of injuries: Not all car accident injuries are immediately noticeable. The shock of the collision could flood the injured party’s body with adrenaline, which can mask pain. Some soft tissue injuries, like whiplash, may not make themselves apparent for several days after the accident.
  • Minors: If a minor child was a passenger when the accident occurred, and they were injured, the statute of limitations doesn’t begin until they are 18 years old.

While two years may seem like a long time to file a car accident claim, plaintiffs shouldn’t hesitate. Gathering evidence to prove both negligence and damages can be a time-consuming task. Don’t risk the clock running out on your ability to recover damages. Contact a car accident attorney sooner rather than later.

Indiana Car Accident Laws: Let a Legal Expert Help You Receive Compensation

A car accident, especially a severe one, can turn your world upside down. Doctor’s appointments, surgeries, and rehabilitative care can keep you out of work for a while. Unfortunately, your medical bills can pile up while all of your everyday living expenses don’t automatically go on pause simply because you’ve been injured.

While you’re on the mend, let an Indiana car accident attorney handle the legal stuff. Yosha Law is dedicated to ensuring you receive compensation for all your economic and non-economic damages. Don’t leave money on the table. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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