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Comparative Negligence in Illinois Car Crashes

Posted on in Car Accidents

Illinios auto accident lawyer, Illinois car crash attorney, Illnois personal injury attorney,When a car accident occurs in Illinois, it can be a frustrating and difficult time for all parties involved. In particular, when it seems clear that one driver’s negligence has caused the accident, the injured victims tend to feel angry that the at-fault driver could have been so careless on the road as to cause a dangerous accident. As such, many car accident victims in Lake County consider filing a car accident lawsuit. While it can be hard to focus on filing a claim when you are recovering from injuries and dealing with the aftermath of a serious traffic collision, a car accident lawsuit can allow you to recover damages for your losses. But what happens when you may be partially at fault for a crash in Lake County, IL, or at least partially to blame for your injuries?

Many car accident victims erroneously believe that they should not file a lawsuit if they bear any responsibility for the injuries they sustained in a car accident. However, this is a misconception that we want to clear up. To be sure, anyone in Lake County who is injured in a car accident caused by a negligent driver may be able to obtain financial compensation by filing a claim, even if she or he is partially to blame for the accident.

Illinois Law on Comparative Negligence

Different states have distinct ways of approaching a plaintiff’s own negligence in a car accident lawsuit. When does a plaintiff’s role in crash come up in court? Generally speaking, the defendant (the party that has been sued by the plaintiff, who argues that the defendant is at fault for the crash and thus liable for damages) typically will raise the issue of the plaintiff’s own negligence as an affirmative defense. An affirmative defense is one “in which the defendant introduces evidence, which, if found to be credible, will negate criminal or civil liability, even if it is proven that the defendant committed the alleged acts.”

If the plaintiff is negligent in some capacity, does this mean that the plaintiff cannot recover damages from the defendant? In short, the answer is now. Under Illinois law (735 ILCS 5/2-1116), our state operates under a modified comparative negligence theory. What that means is this: Illinois recognizes that a plaintiff can be comparatively negligent, but the plaintiff is not barred from recovery as long as she or he is not 50 percent or more responsible for the accident or injuries that have occurred.

Car Accidents and Comparative Negligence in Lake County

How might the rule on modified comparative negligence impact a car accident claim in Lake County, IL? To explain how this might work, let us present you with a hypothetical scenario. Imagine there are two drivers on the road—Driver A and Driver B. Driver B is texting while driving, which is illegal under Illinois law (625 ILCS 5/12-610.2). Because Driver B is not paying attention and is engaged in distracted driving, Driver B strikes Driver A’s car.

As a result of the collision, Driver A sustains severe injuries. It turns out, however, that some of those injuries could have been prevented if Driver A had worn a seatbelt. As long as a court does not determine that Driver A was 50 percent (or more) responsible for her injuries, she will be able to recover damages by filing a claim against Driver B. Any damage award will be reduced by the percent by which she is determined to be responsible.

Contact a Lake County Auto Accident Lawyer

If you have questions about filing a lawsuit after sustaining injuries in a traffic collision, an experienced Lake County car accident lawyer can speak with you today. Contact Salvi & Maher, L.L.C. for more information.

Sources:

http://ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=062500050K12-610.2

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?DocName=073500050HArt%2E+II+Pt%2E+11&ActID=2017&ChapAct=735%26nbsp%3BILCS%26nbsp%3B5%2F&ChapterID=56&ChapterName=CIVIL+PROCEDURE&SectionID=61924&SeqStart=12400000&SeqEnd=14900000&ActName=Code+of+Civil+Procedure%2E
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