A Welcoming And Compassionate Approach To The Practice Of Law

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When can you sue after a car accident?

On Behalf of | Apr 1, 2021 | Personal Injury

Every serious injury is different, so your lawsuit would be different than anyone else’s. This article will not tell you whether you can or cannot sue, but it should tell you a little bit about the legal framework.

One more thing — every state has different laws. These rules apply to the Terre Haute area and across Indiana.

Negligence: the basis of your case

Your personal injury case starts with the negligence of someone else. As explained on FindLaw, the definition of negligence is that someone has to owe you a duty of care and also fail in that duty.

For example, other drivers owe a duty to keep you safe by following the rules of the road. If someone blew through a stop sign and hit you, that would be a failure that duty.

There are a few more requirements, but it boils down to a negligent action that causes your injury. Proving that negligence through logic and evidence is the basic process of your personal injury claim.

Comparing fault: the Indiana system

Up to this point, these rules have been similar to what you would find in almost any legal system. What comes next would vary depending on the jurisdiction.

In Indiana, you have a 51-percent fault system. If you sue someone, you would only be successful in getting compensation if you were less than 51 percent to blame for the accident.

Going back to the car-accident example, what would happen if you also failed to stop at the intersection? You might have some amount of blame for your own injuries in that case. To decide who was more negligent, the court might consider other evidence. Was the other driver speeding or drunk? Did a visual obstruction prevent you from seeing the stop sign? It all depends on your unique situation.

If you are less than 51 percent to blame for your injuries, you might be able to sue successfully. However, you should also know that comparative negligence has another function: The court would reduce your award based on how much responsibility you have for your accident.