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Overview of the Indiana Negligence Law


Indiana negligence laws require establishing fault for an accident that’s the subject of a personal injury case. This will dictate how much compensation a claimant or plaintiff may recover for their damages, as well as whether the individual can recover compensation at all.

Indiana’s Modified Comparative Fault Laws

Indiana uses a negligence system called modified comparative fault. This means each party’s contribution to an accident will factor into the amount of damages a claimant can recover, but if an individual’s percentage of fault passes a certain threshold, he or she is barred from recovery.

One of the main purposes of this type of fault system is to prevent people who hold a small amount of fault from being barred from recovery of any kind, as is the case in contributory negligence states.

In Indiana, if an injured party exceeds the fault threshold of 51 percent, he or she cannot recover damages no matter how serious the injuries.

Restricting recovery of damages can be quite harsh when someone who was essentially only half responsible is faced with costs such as:

  • lost wages;
  • medical treatments; and
  • property damages.

Reduction of Damages Based on Percentage of Fault

Another important aspect of Indiana’s negligence law is that any percentage of fault an individual contributed to the accident will reduce recovery of damages proportionately.

So if a claimant was 30 percent at fault for an accident for something like a broken taillight in a rear-end accident, then the damages the claimant recovers are reduced by 30 percent. If the claimant suffered $50,000 in damages, for example, then he or she would only recover $35,000 instead of the full amount.

Personal Injury Case Exceptions to Modified Comparative Fault

Modified comparative fault applies to most personal injury cases in Indiana, though there are certain exceptions. Make sure you discuss which standard will apply to your case.

Cases involving claims against the Indiana government or political subdivisions, or cases involving medical malpractice against qualified providers, are not determined by the modified comparative fault system. They are covered by the Indiana Tort Claims Act and under the Indiana Medical Malpractice Act. Instead, contributory negligence will apply, meaning if a claimant is only one percent at fault for an accident, he or she is barred from recovering damages.

Get Help from Hensley Legal Group

An attorney at Hensley Legal Group can examine and explain to you how Indiana’s comparative fault system plays into your claim and how to help prove that you do not hold a majority of fault. This is particularly important when negotiating with an insurance company to pay your claim, as they are quick to deny their insured’s fault.

Call the Indianapolis office of Hensley Legal Group or contact us online to schedule your free consultation about your personal injury claims and how Indiana negligence laws may apply to your claim.