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The state of Illinois follows the modified comparative negligence theory when it comes to fault. This means that you can be assigned fault in personal injury cases depending on your situation and the circumstances of the accident.

In such situations, if you are partially at fault for the circumstances of your accident, you may not receive full compensation for your losses, or you will receive a lesser sum. Read more on Let’s see exactly what comparative negligence means, how it is applied to personal injury cases, and what does it mean for your case!

Comparative Negligence in Law

Suppose you were involved in a car accident in the state of Illinois. In that case, an investigation will occur, and everything will play a role in it, from the moment police authorities arrive at the scene and make their reports to the medics that check up on the injured parties and record their injuries.

The insurance companies will then send an insurance adjuster to check the damage that both vehicles suffered, analyze the accident scene, the weather conditions at the time of the accident, the police reports, and everything related to the accident.

The insurance adjuster will then give an opinion about who is most likely at fault for the accident, but only a judge or jury in a trial can legally assign fault. If you are found more than 50% responsible for the accident, you won’t be entitled to compensation. This is known as percentage liability in Illinois, as the state follows the modified comparative negligence system.

However, suppose you are less than 50% at fault for the accident. In that case, the compensation that you are entitled to is still affected, and the percentage of fault that you are assigned will be deducted in proportion to the amount of negligence from your compensation sum.

Therefore, if it can be proved that you were, for example, 20% responsible for the car accident, then you will only receive 80% of your compensation claim. What is important to understand about the comparative negligence system in Illinois is that you can only receive compensation as long as you aren’t more at fault than the other party.

In other states, you can receive compensation even if you are 50% at fault. Yet, Illinois follows the 51% rule, and this is why it’s crucial to work with a personal injury lawyer so that fault is properly established for your case and you can receive the compensation that you are entitled to.

What Happens When There Are More Than Two Responsible Parties?

In many personal injury cases, especially in car accidents, there might be more than two responsible parties. In this situation, the comparative negligence system works a bit differently.  The jury will apportion the fault of everyone responsible for the accident.

So, for example, one party might be 30% responsible, another 20%, and the third 50%. Everyone will have their compensation claims reduced or denied based on the amount of negligence assigned to them.

It is essential for car accident victims, slip-and-fall victims, or anyone that has suffered due to another person’s negligence and recklessness to prove fault in their case so that they can receive the compensation that they are entitled to.

How Fault Is Established

Everyone has a duty of care in society. When it comes to accidents, the fault is established based on negligence and how much someone breached their duty of care. To prove negligence, you have to prove that someone had a duty of care to you, breached that duty, and you suffered damages because of that breach.

In car accidents, you need to prove that the other driver didn’t respect traffic laws, and because of that, the accident occurred. In some instances, you can prove that they were driving recklessly or under a DUI. It all depends on the circumstances of your case.

You may share the blame if it is discovered that you intentionally disregarded rules, operated a faulty vehicle, speeding, or did anything else that might have prevented the accident or resulted in less serious injuries.

However, with a skilled personal injury lawyer by your side, you can use legal strategies to diminish fault. For example, an insurance adjuster might try to intimidate you into accepting a lower compensation claim because you didn’t wear a seatbelt during the accident.

Yet, in Illinois, if you were to reach a trial for your accident claim, the other party cannot use the seat belt as a defence to try and lower your compensation or raise your percentage fault.

Working With a Personal Injury Lawyer

Since Illinois is a comparative negligence state following the modified comparative negligence laws, you need a personal injury lawyer more than ever to establish fault and not lose your right to receive compensation.

When an accident occurs, it’s important to remember that no one can establish fault immediately. An investigation is needed, and evidence or eyewitnesses play a crucial role in it. You shouldn’t be scared of pursuing a personal injury claim if you are unsure of how much you are at fault for the accident.

The best thing you can do is act responsibly. Call authorities to the accident scene, let the medics check you up, and contact a personal injury attorney. Most lawyers offer free consultations, and you don’t have to pay them anything unless they win your case.

You can use this to your advantage and find out how your case stands or what legal options you have to prove fault.