Understanding Comparative Negligence in a Car Accident

David Monteleone
Illinois Accident and Wrongful Death Lawyer

  Posted  |  Category : Car Accident

When a driver is involved in an accident in the state of Illinois, he or she can recover compensation to pay for damages in one of three ways: by filing a claim with his/her own insurance company, by filing a claim with the other driver’s insurance company, or by filing a lawsuit directly against the at-fault party.
While a driver who does not believe him/herself to be at fault for the accident may believe that s/he is entitled to full benefits, in the event that the driver did anything to contribute to the accident, recoverable benefits will be reduced. A car accident attorney can aid you in further understanding the law of comparative negligence in Belvidere, Loves Park, and other cities throughout Illinois.
Illinois’ Comparative Negligence Law
Comparative negligence is often referred to as contributory negligence, and refers to instances in which parties involved in an accident share fault. Under Illinois Compiled Statutes Section 2-1116(c), a plaintiff who is seeking damages cannot recover damages if his or her percentage of fault is more than 50 percent. In the event that it is less than 50 percent, but greater than one percent, the plaintiff will not be barred from recovering damages, “but any economic or noneconomic damages allowed shall be diminished in the proportion to the amount of fault attributable to the plaintiff.” For example: you suffered $1,500 worth of damages, but were also found to be 15 percent at fault. As such, your recoverable damages amount is only $1,275, or 85 percent of $1,500.
The Importance of Proving Fault
Because of the law above, if you believe that your injuries and damages would not have been incurred but for the fault of the other driver, it is important that you take action to prove the other driver’s negligence. Furthermore, you may need to refute claims made against you against your own negligence. For example, the other driver may claim that you contributed to your accident by speeding, performing an illegal traffic maneuver, driving aggressively, etc.
Types of evidence that can be relied upon to help prove the fault of the other driver include police reports, eyewitness accounts, your own testimony, physical damage from the accident, medical reports about your injuries (and how they may have been incurred), video footage, and police reports. This same type of evidence can also be used to help prove the fact that you did not act negligently, and therefore did not contribute to the occurrence of the accident.
Take Action to File Your Car Accident Claim Today
The sooner that you inform your car insurance company of your accident or make the decision to file a personal injury claim against the at-fault party, the better. To aid you throughout the process of proving fault and recovering your full damages amount, be sure to consult with an experienced Illinois car accident attorney. The skilled team at Fisk & Monteleone LTD. is ready to meet with you. For answers to all of your toughest legal questions and guidance regarding how to move forward, call us today or schedule a consultation online. You can reach us at 815-209-9030.

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