Indiana’s Modified Comparative Fault Standard

If you’ve been injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, you may be wondering if you can claim damages for your injuries. Whether you’ve paid out-of-pocket for medical treatment, lost wages because of missed work, or suffered other financial harm, the answer is probably yes. Things can get tricky, though, depending on who is found to be at fault.

Indiana combines two different theories—comparative fault and contributory negligence—into a hybrid approach called modified comparative fault. Here’s how it works: If you’re injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, you’re entitled to recover to damages. The amount you recover, however, can be reduced based on your own culpability. If you’re found to be more than 50% at fault for the incident that caused your injuries, you get nothing.

For example, let’s say you’re driving down the road in excess of the posted speed limit, and as your vehicle passes through an intersection, another car disregards a stoplight and crashes into you. The other driver is clearly at fault for improperly entering the intersection, but the collision may have been less severe—or may not have occurred at all—if you hadn’t been speeding. If you’re found to be partially liable for the accident, your damages will be reduced accordingly.

The issue of fault becomes even more complicated when a government agency is involved. The only way to go after the State is to file under the Tort Claims Act, which changes the rules considerably. Claims against government agencies are assessed according to the contributory negligence test, which means if you bear any responsibility for the incident in question—even one percent of it—you get nothing. Standards don’t get any harsher than this.

When it comes to determining liability in a negligence case, it’s critical to have an experienced personal injury lawyer on your side. The attorneys at the Marc Lopez Law Firm have spent years helping clients on their respective quests for recovery. Call 317-632-3642 for your free consultation.