Comparative Negligence in Fatal Indiana Car Accidents

Fatal car accidents can take a devastating toll on a victim’s family. When a person dies in a car accident, their surviving loved ones may bring a wrongful death lawsuit against the responsible driver. However, the defendant will likely argue that the victim contributed to their harm, which may preclude a damages award. An experienced Indiana personal injury attorney can help you make the strongest argument that the victim was not at fault.

For example, a news article reported that one woman died and two people suffered injuries in an Indiana car accident. The Bloomington, Indiana accident occurred in the early morning as a car traveled in the eastbound lane. The vehicle then veered off the side of the road and struck a utility pole. According to local police, the impact of the crash caused the vehicle to spin into the westbound lane, leading to substantial damage. Sadly, the driver died at the scene. Two passengers were transported to the hospital for their injuries.

What Damages Are Available After a Fatal Indiana Car Accident?

After a fatal Indiana car accident, the deceased victim’s loved ones may seek damages against the responsible driver in a wrongful death action. These damages may be economic or non-economic. Economic damages are quantifiable awards that compensate for monetary losses resulting from an accident. These can include medical and hospital bills, funeral and burial expenses, and property damage. If the deceased was a primary earner, their family can seek lost future earnings to compensate for the loss of the deceased’s income. By contrast, non-economic damages aim to compensate for losses that are harder to quantify. In a wrongful death action, non-economic damages may include pain and suffering, emotional distress, or mental anguish. Additionally, the deceased’s surviving spouse may be able to recover damages for loss of consortium. Traditionally, loss of consortium compensated for losses such as a spouse’s domestic services. Today, the term often refers to the intangible loss of the spouse’s companionship and affection.

Can You Recover Damages If You Were at Fault for an Accident?

Indiana law allows plaintiffs to recover damages even if they were partially at fault for the accident that caused their injuries. Indiana follows a system of modified comparative negligence, which allows plaintiffs to recover damages as long as they are less than 51% at fault for the accident. This rule means that plaintiffs can recover even if they are equally responsible for their injuries. However, the judge or jury will reduce the plaintiff’s total damages award based on their proportion of fault. For example, if the jury awards a plaintiff $100,000 in damages but finds they are 10% at fault, the plaintiff will ultimately receive $90,000 in damages.

The modified comparative negligence rule also applies in wrongful death actions. In Indiana, a deceased victim’s loved ones can bring a wrongful death action if the victim could bring a lawsuit had they survived. Therefore, plaintiffs in an Indiana wrongful death action can only recover damages if the deceased was less than 51% at fault for the accident.

Have You Lost a Loved One in a Fatal Indiana Car Accident?

If your loved one has died in a fatal Indiana car accident, contact Padove Law to discuss your options. Indiana personal injury attorney Burton A. Padove understands the emotional and financial toll of fatal accidents on the victim’s family. Through Attorney Padove’s compassionate and skilled representation, he will fight for the compensation your family needs and deserves. To schedule a free initial consultation, call our office at 877-446-5294.

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