Tag Archives: Comparative Negligence

Hinsdale personal injury attorneysIn many car accident situations, it is very clear which driver was as at fault. For example, you may be driving along just under the posted speed limit when, seemingly out of nowhere, another driver on a cross street runs a red light and slams into your car. That driver would almost certainly be at fault for the accident and potentially liable for any injuries you sustained. What if, however, the driver ran the red light and hit you, but you were texting while driving and, therefore, did not react in time to avoid the accident? If you have been injured in accident such as this, you may share in the liability for your own injuries

Determining a Percentage of Liability

When multiple parties are each partially to blame for car accident that resulted in bodily injury, it is us to the parties involved—or the court if the case goes to trial—to determine which portion of responsibility should fall on which party. As you might expect, those whose actions or negligence which are considered to have contributed more to the accident will be assigned a higher percentage of liability, while actions found to be less significant will have a lower percentage assigned.

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car accidents, fault, DuPage County car accident lawyersWhen you are injured in any type of motor vehicle accident, every detail of the events leading up to the accident can be extremely important in recovering compensation for your injuries. Most people understand the necessity determining fault, at least as far as insurance companies and claims are concerned, but when injuries are part of the equation, the process can become even more complicated.

What Is Fault?

In Illinois, as in just about everywhere else, a determination of fault assigns responsibility for causing an accident. Fault may lie solely with one party, or it may be shared among multiple parties, including other drivers, pedestrians, and even automakers and parts manufacturers. When one driver clearly makes a mistake which leads to a crash, assigning fault is fairly easy. In other cases, multiple mistakes by several drivers, combined with road and weather conditions and other variables beyond anyone’s control can create difficulty in determining who should be paying for what.

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DuPage County premises liability attorneysEvery year thousands of people are injured when they slip and fall. Many of these slip and fall cases happen on someone else’s property and subsequently become premises liability cases. Slip and fall accidents can happen anywhere from a hotel to a grocery store to the front sidewalk at a person's home. Getting the compensation you deserve from a slip and fall case can be difficult.

Comparative Negligence

You are not permitted to recover damages for an accident you caused yourself. But, often the cause of a slip and fall accident is not clear. Illinois courts use a modified comparative negligence approach for cases when both you and a third party share responsibility for an accident that injured you.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_car-accident_20150728-140959_1.jpgIn many personal injury cases, one party is very clearly responsible for the actions or negligence that caused the claimant’s injuries. For example, a claimant may have been driving his car under the speed limit in the right lane of a highway when a speeding truck, driven by operator in violation of mandatory rest protocols, swerves into the car’s lane and forces it off the road. The truck driver, and possibly the carrier company, would likely be held fully liable for any injuries caused as a result of the accident. What if, however, the car driver was also speeding and was texting in the moments before the crash? Could the driver of the car still be compensated for his injuries? According to the Illinois laws regarding contributory fault, the answer may still be yes.

What is Contributory Fault?

While there are, of course, many situations like the first example above, in which liability is very black and white, an even greater number lie somewhere in the gray area in between. Often, both the defendant and the claimant, or plaintiff, have, in some way, contributed to the occurrence of the accident. When injuries result from such an accident, it is generally left to the court to decide the level of liability assigned to each party.

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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).

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