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What Is Illinois’ Comparative Fault Law and How May it Affect My Personal Injury Case?

March 16, 2017
Greg Tuite

When you are injured by the fault of another, you deserve to be compensated for your injuries. In order to recover compensation, you must file a personal injury claim against the at-fault party or their insurance company. In some cases, you may need to file a lawsuit, and go to court, in order to obtain the compensation that you need.

What many people fail to think about when pursuing a personal injury case is how Illinois’ comparative fault laws could affect:

  • Their case
  • Their recovery amount
  • Why this law makes hiring an attorney even more essential

If you are injured in Illinois, consider the following information about comparative fault.

What Is Comparative Fault?

In Illinois, negligence (or fault) determines who pays for damages after an accident, whether this be a car accident, pedestrian accident, slip and fall, or another accident type. Comparative negligence/fault, then, determine how fault will be divided in an accident resulting in bodily injury or property damage and how a person’s recovery will be affected if they contributed to their accident.

In some states, plaintiffs in a civil action are barred from recovering compensation if they contributed to their accident at all, even if they are found to be only one percent at fault. In other states, plaintiffs can still seek recovery even if they are up to 99 percent at fault.

In Illinois, the state uses a modified comparative negligence system.

Modified Comparative Negligence – What’s That?

Modified comparative negligence is a theory of comparative fault that holds that a plaintiff may still seek damages from a defendant so long as the plaintiff’s degree of fault does not exceed 49 percent. If the plaintiff is 50 percent or more at fault for their injuries, then they cannot pursue a personal injury case against the other party.

Modified comparative negligence laws also hold that a plaintiff’s damages will be reduced in proportion to their degree of fault. Consider an accident in which Driver A is speeding, and Driver B is texting, at the time that the two vehicles collide. Driver B is found to be 40 percent at fault for the accident and suffers $10,000 worth of damages. Because of their percentage of fault, Driver B’s damages will be reduced by 40 percent, and driver A will only be liable for $6,000.

Why You Need to Work with an Experienced Illinois Personal Injury Lawyer

Illinois comparative fault laws allow insurance companies to reduce the amount of money they offer to a plaintiff based on the plaintiff’s degree of fault. As such, an insurance adjuster will likely explore all avenues possible for placing blame for injuries on your shoulders if you are pursuing a personal injury claim.

When you hire an attorney, your attorney will disprove allegations of fault against you, and gather all evidence necessary to prove the negligence of the responsible party. An attorney will also negotiate for your maximum settlement amount, and be prepared to take your case to court if a settlement cannot be reached.

To schedule a free consultation with our experienced Rockford personal injury lawyers today, call our offices now at 877-965-5777. You can also write us a message using our online form, and we will be in touch shortly. 

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