Indiana drivers operate their vehicles in an at-fault insurance state. This means that determining fault after a collision has important implications for who pays for such things as property damage and personal injury expenses.
The drivers and witnesses at the accident, the police report, the insurance adjuster, arbitrators and the courts could all play a role in determining fault.
Common methods for determining fault
An article in Forbes cautions against one common method for ascribing fault after a collision: letting the drivers decide. A driver who feels guilty could admit fault in the heat of the moment. This action could cost the driver a lot of money, and it could lead to an erroneous decision based on an incomplete understanding of the accident.
In the aftermath of an accident, a driver should document the facts as much as possible. This includes taking photos, exchanging information with the other driver and waiting for the police, if necessary.
A second method relies on information from the police report. This public document depends in part on the fallible actions of an official but it will carry weight with the insurance company and the courts.
Potential responses from the insurance company
In some situations, the insurance company has the power to determine fault. This process involves the insurance companies comparing notes and apportioning blame. Since Indiana uses a process known as modified comparative negligence, drivers who account for more than 50% of blame will not receive payment from the other driver’s insurance.
Another possibility for determining blame includes arbitration, used in some cases where a dispute arises. The final method involves taking a case to trial, where each side presents evidence to a jury.