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How do you prove the other driver was negligent in a crash?

Getting into a car accident can be incredibly scary for a lot of people. Not only are you worried in the moment about whether or not you're going to survive the collision, there is also the worry that follows as well. How will you pay for the damage to your vehicle or the medical expenses you incur? Will the other driver's insurance be enough to cover these damages? Does the other driver even have insurance?

But as if these questions weren't enough, there is another question that sometimes arises after accidents that do not seem to have been caused by natural causes. These accidents tend to raise questions about fault as well as the question we're asking in today's post title:

How do you prove the other driver was negligent in a crash?

If you live here in Lawrenceburg and are a frequent reader of our blog, then you know that motor vehicle accidents don't always happen by chance. Sometimes they are the direct result of someone else's carelessness. When someone's careless actions result in damage to property, injury or death, we generally consider that person to have been negligent. But how do you prove negligence?

Generally speaking, to prove negligence, a case needs to exhibit four elements:

  • That the at-fault driver had a legal duty to the plaintiff
  • The at-fault driver breached this duty by acting recklessly or without care
  • The at-fault driver's actions directly caused damage to the claimant's property or person
  • The claimant directly suffered harm or injury because of the at-fault driver's actions

It's worth pointing out though that being able to prove negligence is not enough in Indiana personal injury claims. That's because our state uses a modified comparative fault rule, which allows an injured party to seek compensation from an at-fault driver only if the claimant's fault in the accident was 50 percent or less. This means that a plaintiff needs to not only show that the other driver was negligent but that the plaintiff was less at fault than the other driver.

Making this point to the court can be challenging, especially if you don't have a full understanding of the law. This is why it's wise to consider getting help from an attorney after a crash.

Sources: The Claims Journal, "Understanding Comparative Fault, Contributory Negligence and Joint & Several Liability," Gary Wickert, Sept. 5, 2013

FindLaw, "Proving Fault: What is Negligence?" Accessed May 6, 2015

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