Sometimes car collisions are completely one driver’s fault. An obvious example would be a driver who speeds through a red light, high on drugs and smashes into a vehicle in the intersection.
Most collisions, however, don’t involve such a clear-cut case of fault. Often, both drivers have some responsibility, even if one of them is primarily to blame.
What is the 51% rule?
State laws deal with negligence in vehicle crashes and other personal injury cases differently. They have different “rules” for how compensation is determined for those who suffer harm. Some states allow a crash victim to obtain compensation from the at-fault driver, but the amount may be reduced by whatever percentage of fault they have.
Indiana is among the states that use the “51% rule.” It’s a form of what’s known as the “modified comparative negligence” rule. Under Indiana law, if an at-fault driver is at least 51% responsible for a crash, the other driver can collect 100% of the compensation they’re due.
How is fault determined?
Percentage of fault matters, but how is it determined? Police reports, witness accounts, photos and surveillance video may all play a role. A multi-car and/or very serious crash may require an investigation team. The insurance companies may end up fighting it out. If one or both parties aren’t satisfied with the determination, it could go to court.
It’s important to protect your rights and make sure that your side of the case is presented accurately. Most people can’t worry about all of that while they’re also healing from injuries. Having experienced legal guidance from the beginning can help you get the compensation you deserve.