Personal injury suits take many forms, such as slip-and-fall accidents, product liability cases and car accidents. Such lawsuits all involve questions about negligence, and the party liable for someone else’s injuries may have to pay damages. Indiana follows a “comparative negligence” statute that affects how injured parties may sue another person or business.
Comparative negligence and the 51% clause
Under comparative negligence rules, an injured party may only seek damages when they are less than 51% responsible for their injuries. For example, if someone stopped at a red light and a distracted driver crashed into the vehicle, the victim likely did not contribute more than 51% of the fault.
Consider a trucking accident where the truck operator drove over the speed limit but crashed into the vehicle of a drunk driver, who also drove over the speed limit and cut in front of the truck from the right. Assessments would likely find the car accident victim far more negligent. That said, an accident victim may be limited to the percentage of fault when recovering damages. Someone who contributes 30% of the negligence might only pay 30% of the losses.
Disputes about being 51% at fault
Arguments about who was at fault and to what degree may take prominence in a personal injury lawsuit. Attorneys would need to provide the necessary evidence to establish comparative and contributory evidence. Witness statements, video footage and other forms of evidence could paint the proverbial picture for the jury.
The lawsuit might not necessarily go to a jury trial as cases may end in settlements. An insurance settlement could handle the matter as well. Of course, compelling evidence becomes necessary for a plaintiff’s cause in these situations too.
A personal injury attorney may discuss the evidence and specifics associated with the case with a client. The attorney may then make suggestions regarding the appropriate way to seek damages.