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Comparative Fault

There are several Indiana state laws in the books that are extremely important for victims to understand after they've suffered in a slip and fall accident. Comparative fault is one such term that can be confusing or overwhelming for a person hurt in a trip and fall or slip and fall incident. This legal concept is often referenced in car accident and personal injury claims.

Just going to your doctor’s appointments and taking your pain medication can feel like enough of a burden, but what happens if the other side accuses you of causing the accident?

How to Respond if You’re Accused of Causing or Contributing to the Accident

If the other side claims that you don't deserve compensation for your medical bills because you hurt yourself, this can add insult to an already serious injury and could eliminate or reduce your damages, depending on the manner in which you respond. A full understanding of comparative fault and how to effectively present your case in the strongest way can assist you with earning more in a slip and fall settlement or jury award.

There are two different sides in an Indiana premises liability case. The first is the property owner, who is looking to minimize or eliminate the cost of the claim entirely, and the injured victim who wants full and fair compensation for their pain and suffering and medical costs.

Insurance adjusters, or a jury in the event that the case goes to trial, will be responsible for evaluating both of these claims and will assign comparative fault to both parties. So long as a victim is identified during this process to be less than 50% responsible for the accident, they are still eligible for compensation. In the event that you as the victim are determined to be at fault, your damages will be reduced. If you were determined to be 10% at fault for the accident, the compensation recovered will be reduced by 20% as well.

Indiana's comparative fault laws do allow you to have some flexibility with regard to earning compensation in a premises liability claim. Most slip and fall cases in Indiana are judged by comparative fault, rather than contributory negligence. Contributory negligence, which makes it much more difficult for victims to sue property owners if the victim was even 1% responsible for the accident, is usually only applied in cases in which the defendant is a government entity.

Comparative fault will usually only come into consideration after insurance adjusters or a jury and judge determine that the property owner exhibited some form of negligence in generating the condition that caused the accident. If the evidence shows that the property owner did plenty of due diligence in warning people about the hazard and in making an effort remove it in a timely fashion, the claim could be dropped and you might not receive damages.

If your case is serious enough to warrant consideration from a premises liability attorney, make sure you hire someone like Jeff Shaw at Shaw Law to protect your interests to the fullest.

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