During the summer months, many drivers bring their bicycles with them on vacation. However, if drivers fail to properly secure their bikes, they place other motorists at risk of serious injury. If a bicycle detaches from a vehicle, other drivers or motorcyclists could crash into the bicycle at high speeds. A recent Indiana accident illustrates the complex web of injuries that can result from failing to properly secure a bicycle.
According to a recent news report, a fallen bike led to multiple vehicle crashes in Bartholomew County, Indiana. The accident occurred on I-65 when two vehicles struck a bicycle that fell from another vehicle driving south. A pack of motorcyclists then approached the bike, one person crashing into it. The driver of one of the two vehicles left his car to assist the motorcyclist. Sadly, another motorcyclist in the group struck the driver as he attempted to provide aid. The driver suffered serious injuries and was transported to the hospital by helicopter.
How Does Indiana Allocate Fault Among Multiple Parties?
Multi-vehicle accidents may involve more than one defendant, or the plaintiff may share some degree of fault. States follow three main approaches to allocate fault among multiple defendants. Indiana follows a system of pure several liability. Under this theory, a defendant can only be liable for damages proportionate to their degree of fault for the accident. For example, if the jury determines one defendant is 20% at fault, the defendant will not owe the plaintiff more than 20% of the total damages award. Pure several liability differs from joint-and-several liability, which places full responsibility on each defendant no matter their degree of fault.
For example, even if a defendant is only 20% at fault, they may pay 100% of the damages award if another defendant cannot pay. The key difference between these approaches is the party that must identify sources of payment. Under pure several liability, the plaintiff carries the risk that one defendant cannot pay their share of the damages. Under joint and several liability, each defendant carries that risk. Finally, under modified joint and several liability, one defendant would only pay for the full damages award if they shared a set minimum level of fault for the accident, such as 40%. Indiana law also allows at-fault plaintiffs to recover damages so long as they share less than 51% of the responsibility for the accident.
Have You Suffered Injuries in an Indiana Fallen Bike Accident?
If you or someone close to you has been injured in an Indiana bike accident, contact the Indiana personal injury firm of Padove Law to discuss your case. When these complex, multi-vehicle accidents occur, it is likely that more than one person is at fault. Experienced personal injury attorney Burton A. Padove understands the complicated Indiana laws that govern fault in negligence lawsuits. Attorney Padove’s skilled representation has secured his clients significant compensation for their injuries. To learn more, and to schedule a free initial consultation, call our office at 877-446-5294.