When you’re hurt in a pedestrian accident, it can be a scary and stressful experience. It will be even worse if the defendant claims that you were partially at fault. Indiana law allows you to recover compensation as long as you are less than 51% at fault.
We’ll explain how fault is determined and how an Indianapolis pedestrian accident lawyer can help you fight your case.
How Can Your Indianapolis Pedestrian Accident Lawyer Prove the Defendant Was at Fault?
As with any other personal injury lawsuit, your Indianapolis pedestrian accident lawyer will have to prove negligence. This essentially means they’ll have to demonstrate that the other driver didn’t behave the way a reasonable person should have given the circumstances.
There are a variety of ways that your lawyer can prove fault. It will all come down to the facts of your case. Some of the things the court will look for include:
- Whether the driver who hit you was speeding at the time of impact
- Whether the defendant was under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Whether the driver ran a red light, stop sign, or other instruction
- Whether the driver was distracted (e.g., texting while driving)
- Whether the pedestrian was crossing at a crosswalk or jaywalking
- Where the accident victim was standing or walking when struck
The judge or jury will look at whatever evidence your Indianapolis accident attorney submits to answer these questions. This includes both your own testimony and the testimony of the person who hit you. It also includes other types of evidence such as expert witness testimony, the police report, and statements provided by any eyewitnesses.
What Happens if the Defendant Can Prove That You Were Partially at Fault?
When it comes to collecting damages after a pedestrian accident, it’s all about who was at fault. If the defendant can demonstrate that you had something to do with the accident, you may not be able to collect damages.
The good news, however, is that Indiana follows something called the modified comparative negligence rule. This rule states that plaintiffs can still collect damages, even if they were partially at fault. The caveat is that your damages will be reduced by your percentage of fault.
How Does Indiana’s Modified Comparative Negligence Rule Work?
According to Indiana Statute Title 34 §51-2-5-6, plaintiffs can collect damages as long as they are less than 51% at fault. This is actually referred to as the “51% Rule” and is followed in 32 other states.
The way the rule works is quite simple. First, the judge or jury must determine if you were in any way at fault. They must then determine what percentage of liability can be attributed to you.
As long as the percentage rate is less than 51%, you can technically still collect damages. However, your damages will be reduced by your contribution.
For example, imagine you’re jogging, and someone runs you over with their SUV. You suffer serious injuries and your Indianapolis pedestrian accident lawyer demands $500,000 in damages.
The court finds that since you were jogging in dark clothes at night that you were 20% at fault. You’ll still be entitled to damages since you were less than 51% at fault. However, your damages will be reduced by 20%, or $100,000. The most you would receive is $400,000.
How Can a Pedestrian Be Deemed Partially at Fault for Their Injuries?
Many clients ask us how it could be possible that a pedestrian be found partially liable. Clearly, the person who hit you is the one responsible for the accident, right? Surprisingly, there are situations in which the factfinder could find that you contributed to your accident.
Some of the more common scenarios that our Indianapolis pedestrian accident lawyers have seen include:
- Pedestrian is intoxicated and walking in the flow of traffic
- The victim was lying down or sitting in the middle of the road
- The pedestrian darted out into traffic and was hit by a car
- The victim was crossing where there was no crosswalk
- The pedestrian crossed a busy street while “no walk” was lit
Your Indianapolis pedestrian accident lawyer will have to look at the facts of your case to determine if you may be found partly at fault.
What Evidence Can You Use to Prove the Defendant Was Primarily at Fault?
You must remember that, even if the defendant claims you were partly at fault, they still have to prove it. What your Indianapolis pedestrian accident lawyer will do is submit evidence showing that the other party was primarily responsible for your injuries.
This evidence may include:
- Witness statements
- Photos of the accident scene
- Video footage from security cameras or traffic cameras
- Police report
- Accident reconstructionist’s report
It’s important that you try to remember every detail about the accident. This way, you can help your attorney demonstrate that you are entitled to compensation.
Contact One of Our Skilled Indianapolis Pedestrian Accident Lawyers Today
If the driver who hit you claims that you were at fault, that isn’t a guarantee that you won’t receive damages. The good news is that Indiana is a comparative fault state. You can still collect damages, even if you’re partially at fault. Your Indianapolis accident attorney will fight to get you the compensation you deserve.
If you’ve been involved in a pedestrian accident, contact Rowe & Hamilton today. We can help you understand your rights and options and fight for the compensation you deserve.
All you have to do is call our office at (317) 482-7888 and schedule your free, initial consultation.