How Indiana law determines fault in a car accident

On Behalf of | Dec 4, 2020 | Car Accidents

A serious car crash can last just a few seconds but have an impact that lasts for years. If you are hurt, your injuries could affect you for the rest of your life. Sometimes, people are killed in Bloomington-area auto wrecks.

After such a serious accident, the challenge often becomes figuring out who was at fault. Things that happen in the real world are rarely black and white. It is not always simple to tell which driver caused the crash. That matters, because under Indiana’s personal injury laws, the at-fault party is liable to compensate anyone who was injured as a result of their negligence.

After a car accident, there are five stages at which a driver might admit fault or be found to be to blame.

At the accident scene

After a scary accident in which you or someone you love was hurt, it’s natural to want to confront the other driver. In the heat of the moment, the other person might admit they caused the crash to you or the police. If they do, their admission would certainly help you make your case with their insurance company, or before a jury if necessary.

In the police report

After a serious crash, someone will call the police. An officer will arrive, take statements from everyone involved, and write a report. If the officer can conclude which party was at fault, their report can carry a great deal of weight. Make sure you read the report to find out the officer’s conclusions. They may have information you did not get at the time, like if the other driver was using their cellphone shortly before the accident.

The insurance companies decide

Once you and the other driver have filed your auto insurance claims, the insurance companies will investigate the crash. If both companies conclude that the other driver caused it, your insurance company will pay your claim and seek restitution from the other insurer.

Arbitration or court

But if the insurance companies disagree or the at-fault driver’s insurer refuses to pay, you may have to let a neutral third party decide. Arbitration is similar to a trial, but less expensive, and the arbitrator is not a judge. Most larger insurance companies try to use arbitration whenever possible. In some cases, an auto accident case ends up at trial, where the judge or jury will determine who was at fault in the crash.

No matter the circumstances of your case, experienced legal help from a personal injury lawyer can greatly improve your odds of a positive outcome.

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