Visitor Question

Drunk driver hit me in a roundabout…

Submitted By: Anonymous (South Bend, Indiana)

I was involved in an incident in a roundabout. I looked, yielded, and entered the roundabout. There was a collision with another driver who was going very fast based on impact and damage. Police took the other driver away cuffed for blowing a .11 BAC at the scene.

When I asked about the report, the officer told me that the other driver was drunk and not to worry. The report shows my car as the primary contributing factor of failure to yield with the other driver contributing due to alcohol in system.

I fully believe that if he had not been traveling too fast for the roundabout and drunk, he would have been able to avoid hitting me. I was not cited with a ticket or warning. The officer only kept saying that the other driver was drunk. He was cuffed and taken away.

Do I have a case to get his insurance to cover my damages? Or at the very minimum share in the damages? My car is quite possibly totaled. I work 45 minutes from home and do not have renters insurance. I have had to get rides while trying to take this up with his company.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.

Answer

Dear Anonymous,

All is not lost. The State of Indiana follows the Modified Comparative Fault Doctrine. Under this doctrine, a victim in a car accident can still recover compensation even if the victim was partially at fault for the accident. The amount of compensation owed to the victim will decrease proportionate to the victim’s contribution to the accident.

However, if it can be shown the victim’s contribution to the accident was 51% or higher, the victim will be wholly barred form recovering compensation from the at-fault driver.

You can read Indiana’s Negligence Statute here (IC 34-51-2-6).

When you contact the intoxicated driver’s insurance company they will very likely ignore their insured’s intoxicated status, while referring you to the police report which states you were primarily at-fault. However, the police report doesn’t say you were exclusively at-fault. Instead that you were merely the primary cause of the accident. You might refer them to Indiana Code Section 34-51-2-6 (b) set out above.

If they continue not to accept partial liability for the damages to your car, you have the option of informing them you plan to file a small claims lawsuit against their insured. As the basis of your lawsuit, you will rely on Indiana’s Contributory Negligence Statute.

In the State of Indiana, Small Claims Courts have jurisdiction to hear cases up to $6,000. However, if the claim originates out of Marion County, jurisdiction rises to $8,000. As long as the damage to your car was within these ranges, you may have an excellent chance of prevailing.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Published: October 19, 2017

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