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  • Writer's pictureRobert Schuerger II

Who Is at Fault in a Passenger-Side Car Accident in Indiana? | Understanding the Legal Side!

When a car crash occurs, a vehicle's trunk, bumpers, and hood provide some level of protection to the occupants. However, that is not the case in side-impact collisions. The impact from a passenger-side auto accident could be catastrophic, leading to traumatic brain injuries, internal damage, and other severe injuries.

A passenger-side car accident can have a devastating impact. It is unfair for the injured victim to bear the physical, mental, and financial burden, especially when the collision resulted from someone else's negligence. Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys have decades of combined experience helping affected parties get the justice and compensation they deserve.

Those injured in a passenger-side car accident in Indianapolis, Indiana, should contact Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys, as they can protect their rights, file a claim, and hold the at-fault driver responsible for the losses. They can also advise on who is at fault in a driver side car accident in Indiana.

What Is a Passenger-Side Car Accident?

What Is a Passenger-Side Car Accident?

A passenger-side car accident, also commonly referred to as a side impact collision, involves a driver of one vehicle hitting the front of their car with the side of another automobile.

Are Passenger-Side Car Accidents Dangerous?

Passenger-side car accidents can be extremely dangerous. Depending on the force of the impact, these types of motor vehicle crashes can leave the victims with serious injuries.

Unlike other types of car accidents where there is a lot of distance between the other vehicle and the victim, there is only a thin door and window that separates the passenger or driver from the colliding car.

The thin sheet of door can easily crumple up like paper, and the window can break into tiny shards, which can cause facial injuries in addition to other damages.

Who Is at Fault in a Passenger-Side Car Accident in Indiana?

When passenger-side car accidents occur, most people are quick to blame the driver in the colliding motor vehicle. In most instances, that may be the case, as these types of crashes often happen when the at-fault driver fails to yield the right of way.

However, in some cases, it may be the other motorist or a third party responsible for the damages caused. It's also possible that both drivers could be liable for the passenger-side accident.

Since it can be challenging for injured victims to wrap their heads around how liability works, below are different scenarios to help them understand which party could be potentially responsible for the incident.

Scenario #1: A Simple Passenger-Side Accident at an Intersection

Suppose Jack is driving through an intersection with a green traffic signal. Midway through, Frank smashes into the side of Jack's car. Upon investigation, it's found that Frank ran a red light.

In such a situation, Frank is liable for the damages caused to Jack in the passenger-side accident, as he failed to adhere to the traffic rules by running a red light. Jack had the right of way since the traffic signal on his side was green.

This is a very simple example of a passenger-side car accident. In real life, it could be more complicated. There may be multiple at-fault parties, or neither of the drivers could be responsible for the incident.

Scenario #2: A Passenger-Side Accident Involving Multiple At-fault Parties

Suppose Jennah is driving in her newly purchased sports car, and she sees the green traffic light from far away and decides to step on the accelerator to make it. As she's going through, Paul runs a red light and crashes into the side of Jennah's vehicle, resulting in a catastrophic passenger-side accident.

In the above-mentioned situation, most people would blame Paul without considering the actions of the other driver. Although that may be true, he may not be the only one liable for the incident. It's crucial to conduct an investigation after a car accident to explore the crash from different perspectives and how the law may have an impact on the case.

If the investigations reveal that Jennah was going over the speed limit, she might be partially liable for the damages caused. Under the rules of the traffic, drivers must adhere to the relevant laws, stay cautious, and drive within the speed limit.

The insurance company or the court may argue that although Paul failed to stop at the red light, Jennah didn't follow the traffic rules and was way over the speed limit at the time of the passenger-side accident. Had she stayed within the speed limit, she would've avoided a collision with the other car.

In this example, both parties may be liable for the damages caused, and determining the degree of fault is essential for Jennah if she wishes to recover compensation.

Scenario #3: A Passenger-Side Accident Involving a Faulty Traffic-controlling Device

Scenario #1 and #2 are examples where the drivers may be the at-fault parties in a passenger-side accident. Sometimes, it may be a government entity that could be liable for the collision.

Suppose Oliver is driving a vehicle and sees a green light on his side of the traffic-controlling device. He proceeds to cross the intersection before getting hit by Mark, resulting in a T-bone collision. Both drivers refuse to admit fault and blame each other for the damage caused.

Upon investigation, Mark and Oliver find out that neither is responsible for the incident since the traffic-controlling devices at both ends showed a green light. 

When that happens, the government entity responsible for maintaining traffic signals may be liable for the passenger-side accident.

In most accidents, all of the parties involved often refuse to accept fault. However, in the above example, both drivers were actually telling the truth, as investigations revealed that the incident happened due to faulty traffic-controlling devices.

When a government entity is liable for a passenger-side accident, the injured victims may be able to bring a civil action to recover compensation.

However, the legal process of pursuing compensatory damages against a government entity is much different than filing a personal injury claim or lawsuit against a negligent driver's insurance company.

Injured victims need to reach out to an experienced car accident attorney to help them navigate the legal landscape, avoid the pitfalls associated with pursuing civil action, and get the compensation they deserve. They can help with other questions like Do I get full pay if injured at work in Indiana?

Scenario #4: A Passenger-Side Accident Involving a Third Party

Sometimes, the drivers involved in a passenger-side accident and the government entity may not be liable for the damages. Depending on the circumstances of the crash, a third party may be responsible.

Suppose Millie has the green light on her side of the traffic signal, and she decides to go through the intersection since it's her right of way. As she is halfway through, Bobbie smashes into the side of Millie's car, resulting in a side-impact collision.

At first glance, it seems that the other driver who runs a red light might be liable for causing Millie's injuries. However, an investigation reveals that Bobbie was driving a newly purchased vehicle but could not stop at the red light due to defective brakes.

When a motor vehicle manufacturer, dealership, or repair shop is negligent, the personal injury law in Indiana holds them accountable for the losses incurred. In the example mentioned above, Millie and the other driver could pursue a claim or lawsuit against the negligent car company.

Recovering Compensation After an Indiana Car Accident

Under the personal injury law in Indiana, an injured victim may be able to bring an accident claim against the negligent driver's insurance company to recover compensatory damages.

Since fault can lie on both sides after an accident, as demonstrated in the scenarios above, an affected party may be wondering what their rights are and whether they can still pursue a claim against the other driver.

Indiana is a modified comparative state, which means an injured victim can pursue an accident claim to recover compensation even if they're partially liable for their injuries. However, their degree of fault will determine how much they receive. If they're 51% or more responsible for the incident, the law bars them from making any recovery.

While injured victims may be able to pursue a claim even if they're partially responsible, the negligent party's insurance company will try its best to pass on the blame or pressure the affected party into accepting a lower settlement offer.

The frustration from dealing with the insurance company can take its toll, with many affected parties looking to settle the claims process as soon as possible. 

In most accident claims without legal representation, the victims often accept a lower settlement offer and leave monetary damages on the table.

It's crucial to seek the help of an experienced Indianapolis auto accident law firm, as they can handle the entire claims process while the injured victim takes time to rest and recover after their medical treatment.

How Can an Indiana Car Accident Attorney Help an Injured Victim After Their Passenger-side Accident?

How Can an Indiana Car Accident Attorney Help an Injured Victim After Their Passenger-side Accident?

A skilled car accident lawyer at Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys can prove to be a valuable resource for the injured victim for many reasons, including the following:

  • By conducting a proper investigation, the Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys will waste no time gathering evidence from different sources, including the accident scene, footage from CCTV cameras and dashcams, and witness statements.

  • The legal team at Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys can review the facts surrounding the case and the car insurance policy of all the parties involved in the accident to estimate the amount of recoverable damages accurately.

  • Build a strong personal injury claim, comply with all the relevant guidelines for pursuing claims, and file it against the other driver's insurance company.

  • Whether it is the victim's own insurance company or the other driver's insurer, Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys have the expertise and legal power to negotiate a fair settlement.

Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys Can Help File a Claim and Protect the Victim's Rights!

Those who have suffered injuries in a passenger-side car accident in Indianapolis, Indiana, should call to schedule a free consultation with Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys. They can investigate the accident scene to determine the at-fault party, file a claim, and aggressively pursue the compensation the victim deserves.


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