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How Fault is Determined in Multiple-Car Accidents in Indiana

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How Fault is Determined i…

Most car accidents are caused by some form of driver error. This is also true of multiple-car accidents, i.e., collisions involving three or more vehicles. It can be more difficult than usual to determine who is to blame in these cases. However, this does not mean that you should be put off from pursuing the recovery that you are rightfully owed.

Fault in any car accident case can be determined by assessing each driver’s behavior in comparison to various traffic regulations and reasonable driving practices. This applies even when other factors play a role, including inclement weather or the injury victim’s own negligence.

Determining who is responsible for compensating you for your car accident injuries can be difficult to do alone and often requires the analysis and testimony by qualified experts. Dedicated Indiana car accident attorneys at Wruck Paupore can help you with the process of obtaining compensation today, starting with a free case assessment when you call our offices at (219) 322-1166.

What is Fault in an Indiana Car Accident?

Indiana is an at-fault auto insurance state. When an accident occurs, the party responsible for causing the accident determines who is responsible for paying for the consequences. Therefore, it is important that injury victims determine who was to blame for causing the accident that injured them.

In a car accident caused by negligence, fault is determined by comparing what the driver did to what a reasonable, law-abiding driver would have done in the same situation. For instance, if a driver collided with one or more other vehicles in an intersection after driving through a red light, they would likely be at fault for causing the accident because a reasonable driver would not run the light.

Generally, violations of traffic codes and regulations are always good indicators of who is to blame for an accident. Like driving through a red light, some violations are plain and obvious, but others may not be so clear. Therefore, you should discuss your accident with a seasoned Indianapolis car accident attorney to determine who to name in your lawsuit.

Causes of Multiple-Car Accidents in Indiana

In any car accident, there is always the possibility that other vehicles can get caught up in the collision, particularly in high-traffic areas and on highways. These types of accidents also make the chances of severe injury more likely. Below are some of the situations that often result in multiple-car accidents in Indiana.

Tailgating

In almost any accident involving a rear-end collision, the driver of the vehicle in the rear is at fault for causing the accident. This is because rear-ended collisions almost always happen as a result of the rear vehicle’s driver failing to leave a reasonable amount of room to allow them to stop if the traffic pattern changes ahead of them. In many instances of rear-end collision, the force of the impact of the first collision can cause the impacted car forward into a secondary collision with the car in front of them, resulting in a multiple-car collision. While the driver of the car in the rear is usually primarily at fault, it is not unusual for them to argue that the car in the middle stopped too suddenly and may also have some legal responsibility.

Texting

Seemingly everyone now has access to a computer in their pocket. It can be tempting to read or send texts or emails while behind the wheel, particularly when stuck in traffic. However, when a driver takes their attention off the road and other vehicles around them, it opens the door to a serious accident. Drivers who use their smartphones are more likely to drift into adjacent lanes, forcing adjacent drivers to veer or slow down to avoid them. This is one of the leading causes of multiple-car accidents.

Weather

A single accident involving two cars can become a deadly pileup when severe weather conditions cause low visibility or slippery road surfaces. However, just because weather played a part in your multiple-car accident does not mean that there wasn’t also some human error involved. Drivers are responsible for altering their driving practices to account for the hazards that inclement weather may create. Responsible practices may include slowing down well below the applicable speed limit and using high beams or fog lights as the situation requires them. It also requires keeping a vigilant lookout for other cars which may cross lanes on slippery pavement or spin out.

Drunk Driving

The act of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol continues to be one of the most frequent causes of fatal car accidents throughout the country. Drunk driving incidents are often more injurious, especially when more vehicles are involved. Because driving under the influence is so highly irresponsible, an Indiana court may award additional punitive damages meant to punish the reckless behavior. Discuss the potential for punitive damages in your lawsuit with a dedicated South Bend car accident attorney.

How Do Indiana Courts Award Damages when Multiple Parties Were at Fault?

Some multiple-car accident injury victims will avoid filing a claim to pursue damages if they believe they may have also contributed to causing the accident and their own injuries. However, before giving up on your claim, you should be aware that Indiana law allows car accident injury victims to recover most of their compensation for their injuries even if they were partially at fault.

Indiana uses a “modified comparative negligence” rule, which distinguishes the amount of fault for an accident by percentage. If the court determines that the plaintiff bore 50% or less of the responsibility for causing the accident, they can order the defendants to pay the portion of the damages that reflects their own percentage.

For example, suppose a plaintiff sues a defendant for $50,000 in damages associated with their accident, and the court determines that the plaintiff was 20% responsible for their injuries because they were speeding at the time of the accident. In that case, the plaintiff can still recover $40,000, or the remaining 80%, in damages.

This division of fault also applies when there are multiple defendants in a multiple car crash. Let’s say a jury determines the victim’s damages were $100,000. The jury further determines the victim was 20% at fault, defendant driver 1 was 30% at fault, and defendant driver 2 was 50% at fault. The victim would recover $30,000 from driver 1 and 50% from driver 2.

However, a driver which causes an accident can try to blame a different driver for being partially at fault, even if you don’t name them as a party to your lawsuit. In this case, a percentage of fault can be attributed to that person and you won’t collect that portion of damages. Take the same example above, with Driver 1 being 30% at fault and Drive 2 being 50% at fault. In this example, let’s say you did not sue Driver 1 because you believed Driver 2 was the responsible party. You will recover $50,000 against Driver 2, but nothing against Driver 1 because you did not name that person in your lawsuit.

Because of the way this law works, it is very important that you and your lawyers identify all persons with any possible responsibility for your injuries to make sure you receive a complete recovery. Discuss your case with an experienced Milwaukee car accident attorney so that you understand your rights and who you can seek recovery from when multiple cars are involved in a car accident.

Our Indiana Car Accident Attorneys Can Help You After a Multiple-Car Accident

To get a free initial case assessment on your potential lawsuit, call the seasoned Hammond, IN car accident attorneys at Wruck Paupore now at (219) 322-1166.

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***Every case is unique and your results will differ. Contact us for a free case review of your circumstance.

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In nearly all cases, our clients seek compensation from the wrongdoer’s insurance company. Before forming Wruck Paupore, Jason worked for a prominent law firm representing some of the world’s largest insurers. This experience gives Jason a deep understanding of the insurance industry and the strategies it uses to pay injury victims as little as possible.

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For more than four decades, Keith has been fighting for injury victims. During that time, he’s watched the insurance industry change, with insurers now more interested in protecting their stock price than treating injury victims fairly.

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