What is Comparative Fault in Indiana?

by | Aug 16, 2016

If you feel you may have a viable personal injury claim, here is something you should know: “Contributory fault” used to be the standard in Indiana until the “Comparative fault” standard replaced it back in 1985. Contributory fault meant that if the plaintiff in any action for personal injury was even the slightest bit at fault for causing the accident, then the Plaintiff was barred from all recovery. This standard over the years proved to be unfair and practically unenforceable because jurors would ignore trivial faults by plaintiffs and find for the plaintiff anyway. “Comparative fault” has become the modern standard that allows juries to assess fault between the parties and then reduce the plaintiff’s damages by his/her percentage of fault. For instance, if the juror found the plaintiff to be 25% at fault and his damages to be $10,000, then the recovery would be reduced by 25% to $7,500. If the plaintiff’s fault were 50%, then damages would be reduced to $5,000.

Except for actions against the State of Indiana or any of its political subdivisions, in which case contributory fault still applies, Indiana adopted a “modified” version of comparative fault that limits the plaintiff to recover only if his percentage of fault does not exceed the percentage of fault of the defendant. In other words, if the plaintiff is over 50% at fault, then he recovers nothing. This standard has proven to be much fairer and has changed the litigation landscape in these matters.

Whether it’s an intersection accident, a slip and fall, an animal attack, or a defective product, this weighing of both parties ‘fault levels plays an enormous role in determining damages. That is why injured people need legal representation, and the GLF TEAM at Garrison Law Firm, LLC is just the team to help you.