How is Personal Injury Fault Allocated in Illinois?

When you suffer injuries due to an accident that was not your fault, you have the option of filing a lawsuit against the at-fault party. However, you cannot just automatically get the amount of money you are asking for. If you were partially at fault in any way for what transpired, you could have your damages award reduced. To lower the risk of reduced damages, it is wise to work with a trustworthy personal injury attorney who knows how fault is allocated in Illinois.

Is Illinois a Contributory or Comparative Negligence Jurisdiction?

A car wreck or a slip and fall does not need to be 100 percent the fault of the person you are suing. Sometimes it is the result of a combination of negligence. If the other driver is a contributing factor, but the plaintiff is also partially responsible for causing the accident, this is called contributory negligence.

If an accident occurs and it is 75 percent the fault of the other driver and 25 percent the fault of the plaintiff, then the plaintiff’s ultimate recovery will be reduced by 25 percent, which is the amount of their contributory negligence. If the ultimate value of the case was $100,000, they would receive $75,000 in compensation. If the plaintiff is found to be over 50 percent at fault, it means they are not entitled to any recovery.

These calculations and apportionments for negligence can be complicated and it is always best to speak with an attorney when you are faced with the possibility of contributory negligence.

What Factors Can Move Liability or Fault One Way or Another?

There are many factors which go into determining liability for an incident. First, the statements of the individuals involved will be the most important factor. The police report after a serious vehicle collision can also be influential when determining liability. Physical evidence such as skid marks or broken taillight can be used to assist in determining a liability percentage. Finally, if there are any witnesses or surveillance video, these tend to be the most persuasive pieces of evidence and it is crucial for a lawyer to identify them as soon as possible.

Although you might think you have a clear case against a defendant, there might be details that will reduce your ultimate monetary award. Do not allow the defendant’s insurance company to take advantage of you. Talk with McCready Law today and learn what you could recover.