Negligence law can be a tricky area when considering whether damages can be obtained from multiple drivers in a car accident. An attorney can provide an educated guess of what an insurance company might claim or a jury might decide on determining fault. Some accidents it is clear who caused the accident, but what about when there are multiple cars or you yourself may share some responsibility for the accident. You need an car accident attorney that has been on both sides of the case and can anticipate what the insurance company will say.
Indiana negligence law is modified comparative fault. What this means is that as a claimant, you must prove you are less than 50% responsible for the accident. The fault of the other drivers does not matter so long as the claimant is less than 50% at fault. If this is the case, then the claimant, called the plaintiff in the lawsuit, will recover a percentage of the damages that can be proved at a trial.
For example, lets look at three scenarios:
- Claimant 0%, Defendant 1 30% and Defendant 2 is 70%. If a jury were to determine this to be the allocation of fault – the percentage each party in a lawsuit is responsible for the accident – then if the claimant’s damages were $100,000 then the claimant will recover $30,000 from Defendant 1 and %70,000 from Defendant 2.
- Claimant 51%, Defendant 1 49% and Defendant 2 0%. If a jury were to determine this allocation of responsibility, the claimants damages would not matter as the claimant would receive no recovery because he/she was greater than 50% responsible for the accident.
- Claimant 30%, Defendant 1 40% and Defendant 2 30%. If a jury were to determine this allocation of responsibility and, again, assuming $100,000 in damages were assessed then the claimant would recover $40,000 from Defendant 1 and $30,000 from Defendant 2 for a total recovery of $70,000. The other $30,000 would not be awarded because that was the claimant’s own fault in the accident.
Establishing percentage of liability can present challenges for many lawsuits. A damages analysis can be equally challenging. Most cases do not reach a jury to decide fault or damages and it is the insurance company and your attorney’s experience, expertise, trustworthiness and advocacy that will greatly decide the outcome of your case. One of the best ways to take appropriate action is to seek advice from an experienced Indianapolis auto accident attorney such as Jason Wischmeyer that has represented injury victims and defendant insurance company defendants. This experience and expertise allows Jason to evaluate and properly advise you of the strengths and weaknesses of your case. Call to get an evaluation of your case through a free initial consultation today.