First of all, remember that a police report is not always the final word. There are instances where officers make honest mistakes or new evidence and witnesses are located after the initial report is completed. Even if the police report places you entirely at fault, it is a good idea to contact an attorney to have them examine the facts and circumstances of your case.
If the report places you partially at fault, you may still be entitled to a settlement. Every state has different laws regarding theories of negligence. Indiana is a comparative negligence state, which means that you may have the right to a paid settlement in the event it’s proven that you are not more than 50% at fault for the accident. This said, the value of your claim is reduced by the degree at which you are found to be at fault.
Example: If you were involved in a car accident that resulted in serious injury and received a settlement in the amount of $50,000 but were 10% at fault, your compensation would decrease by $5,000, leaving you with a total settlement of $45,000.
Your Ability to Recover Compensation Will Depend on Specific State Laws
Every state has different laws. Some states, like Indiana, have adopted a comparative negligence approach. Other states use a contributory negligence approach, meaning that the plaintiff is barred from recovering if he or she acted negligently and contributed to the accident in any way. It is important to ask your lawyer what law applies in your state so that you know your rights.
Remember: The sooner an attorney can get involved, the more likely it is that they will be able to appropriately assess your liability, if any, in the accident. And the earlier you contact an attorney, the more quickly they can gather evidence before it is altered, destroyed, or misremembered. At Keller & Keller, our on staff investigator will immediately go to the scene to gather information, interview key witnesses, and will thoroughly examine the crash details.