Indianapolis, IN – If someone needs legal help after a motor vehicle accident, there are a number of different things that their attorney will do on their behalf. The most important goal is to file a civil case and win the lawsuit, even if an insurance claim has been filed. Almost all accident lawsuits are filed under the state’s negligence laws. Indiana has its own negligence laws like every other state, and they are all different. While people who need legal help do not need to understand everything in the state’s negligence statute to bring a case, it helps to obtain a basic understanding of how civil accident cases work in Indiana.
The structure of a negligence case
The four basic elements of a negligence action include a relevant duty of care, a breach of that duty, proximate and actual causation of the injury, and damages or losses. This general structure of a negligence case remains the same in all states.
One of the most important aspects of a negligence lawsuit is related to how damages will be portioned depending on who is at fault, and their level of fault for the accident. In many cases, the plaintiff will be at least partially at fault for their own injuries, but this does not necessarily stop them from bringing the case. Indiana uses a system of dividing damages known as the modified comparative negligence rule.
Modified comparative negligence rule
Under pure comparative negligence, the plaintiff’s level of fault will be factored into the accident, and their damages will be reduced according to their level of fault. In a modified comparative negligence situation, this still happens, but in cases where the plaintiff is 51% at fault or more for the accident, they cannot collect any damages at all. A meeting with a lawyer is crucial to determine the possible range of fault and whether it is realistic for any plaintiff to have any chance to collect based on the specifics of their accident. This is a fact intensive inquiry, but the attorney should be able to estimate potential damages after seeing some of the evidence and hearing the facts related to the accident.
Shorter time limits than most states
Indiana law also has a shorter statute of limitations on these kinds of claims than many other states. A victim only has two years from the date of the incident to bring civil actions related to property damage and personal injuries. This means that it is crucial for victims to start the process of a negligence case as soon as realistically possible.
Finding legal assistance after a collision
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