- posted: Sep. 03, 2023
- Personal Injury
Determining fault is perhaps the most important part of an Indiana auto accident case. Fault matters because Indiana, like the majority of states, follows the rule that the person responsible for an accident is required to pay for other people’s resulting injuries. What’s more, Indiana’s modified comparative fault doctrine means that in order to recover damages, you must be found to have been less than 51 percent to blame. Proving that one or more other parties’ fault was above that threshold can be critical to winning your monetary compensation.
In proving fault, evidence of the location and extent of the damage on a vehicle can be pivotal. Here are three examples:
- One car T-bones another at an intersection governed by traffic lights. The side of the second car is smashed in. Assuming the traffic lights were working, there is a strong possibility that the second car had a green light to move through the intersection and the first car had a red light but failed to stop.
- One car is rear-ended by another and both vehicles suffer damage. The extent of the damage can indicate the force of the impact. In general, the greater the damage, the more likely it is that the car behind was following too closely or was speeding.
- One car is going straight at an intersection when an oncoming driver turns left and the vehicles collide. If the car going straight is damaged on the front left corner or left side, it could indicate an attempt to swerve right to avoid the collision, so the turning driver might have been at fault. But if the turning car is damaged on its right rear corner or right side, the first car’s driver may have been partially negligent.
In the aftermath of an auto accident, the damage to the vehicles will be fairly obvious, but it takes an experienced eye to analyze what the damage indicates about how the accident occurred. Insurance company investigators and claims adjusters can draw conclusions that may not be completely fair to you. Your own auto accident attorney can make an independent investigation, sometimes with the aid of an accident reconstruction expert, to better demonstrate the comparative fault of the parties involved.
While damage to the vehicles is an essential part of proving fault, other relevant evidence includes skid marks on the road and the relative positions of the vehicles after the accident. Photos or videos taken immediately after the crash can be of high importance, as can the statements of any witnesses.
At the Cooke Law Firm in Lafayette, Indiana, we know what it takes to prove fault in an auto accident case based on vehicle damage and other evidence. If you’ve been hurt in a car or truck wreck, please call 765-423-5628 or contact us online today for a free consultation.