Continue reading to learn more about Indiana’s tort system in regards to auto accidents and insurance policies.
Indiana’s Tort System
In Indiana, they use a tort system that determines who is at fault for a motor vehicle accident. And when a person is assigned fault for an auto accident, it is their insurance company that pays for their damages and the damages of the injured parties, up to their particular policy limits. There are state limits to the amount of insurance a driver must obtain to legally operate a vehicle. In Indiana, the state minimum for auto insurance is 25/50/10. Below is a chart to understand what this numeric value means.
$25,000 Limit for Bodily Injury Liability (per injured person)
$50,000 Limit for Bodily Injury Liability (per accident)
$10,000 Limit for Property Damage Coverage
These values are the state minimum for legal driving in Indiana. If a driver does not have this coverage they are operating their vehicle illegally, and if caught, can face state fines, property revocations, and possible misdemeanor charges.
Comparative FaultIndiana handles automobile accident cases in agreement with the Comparative Fault Act. This means fault is allocated among all involved parties. Parties include the plaintiff (injured driver), the defendant (the accused at-fault driver), and possible “non-party” entities. A non-party entity is a person or company that could be assigned a portion of fault for the accident, but for strategic reasons, was not sued by the plaintiff.
In the case of a motor vehicle accident lawsuit, all parties are identified and then assigned fault. So long as the plaintiff is assigned 50% or less of the fault, they can collect remuneration for their damages. If they are found to be more than 50% at fault, they get nothing. For example: A person is assigned 25% fault, while the defendant is found to be at 75% fault. If the courts award the plaintiff $100,000 for their damages, the plaintiff will only take 75% of that amount since they were apportioned 25% of the fault for the accident. Had the plaintiff been apportioned 51% or more of the fault, they would be compensated nothing.
Additional Insurance Coverage
In the no-fault states, drivers are required to have PIP coverage or MedPay coverage; insurance policies that cover the medical expenses of a driver and their passengers injured in an auto accident. Since Indiana is a tort state, so drivers are not required to purchase this type of additional insurance coverage. However, they do have the option and they come highly recommended. Indiana drivers can purchase PIP (personal injury protection) coverage or medical payments coverage (MedPay) if they choose. Hoosiers can also purchase a personal umbrella policy (PUP) that pays for any damages outside of their auto or homeowners’ policies. Be sure to check back next week for an in-depth discussion about PIP and PUP insurance.