Comparative Negligence in Illinois: What Happens If We Are Both At Fault?

The causes of car accidents are often complicated. With so many travelers on the roadways at any given time, the opportunity for mistakes to lead to an accident are high. When a collision occurs, it is not uncommon for both drivers to each have made a few driving errors which led to the incident. In the aftermath, it is natural for those hurt to ask whether they can still recover under the civil law if they contributed in part to the damage.

Illinois Liability Rules

Each state has somewhat different rules in this situation. Illinois is known as a “modified comparative negligence” state. Under state law, a party can recover for their losses in a civil lawsuit so long as they were less than 50 percent responsible for the accident.  Put another way, you can recover for your losses so long as you were not as culpable as the other party (or parties).

This can play out in many scenarios. For example, a driver may be speeding down the road, well above the speed limit, when a second car makes a left turn in front of them. The speeding driver may not be able to stop in time and subsequently slam into the turning car. Investigations into the incident may reveal that the first driver was negligent for speeding while the second was negligent for misjudging the turn.

In that case, a jury will apportion liability based on a percentage. Perhaps the turning driver is found 75 percent responsible while the speeding driver is 25 percent responsible. The speeding driver would therefore be able to file a lawsuit and recover for his or her losses.

However, the recovery would take into account the driver’s negligence. Specifically, the total award would decrease based on the percentage of fault. For example, the driver may be awarded $100,000 for medical bills, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering. That award would be reduced by $25,000 to a total of $75,000 in order to account for the percentage of fault which led to the accident.

Legal Help

These comparative negligence issues can be confusing; it is imperative to obtain the services of an experienced DuPage County, Illinois car accident attorney to help. In Hinsdale, Darien, and other nearby communities, the firm of Martoccio & Martoccio helps residents on just these matters. Feel free to contact the firm for a free case consultation today.

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