When you file an Illinois car accident claim, the main issue at hand is which party is at fault for the accident. If one driver can be found to be completely at fault for the accident, you should be able to settle rather quickly and without hassle, because there is very little to question. However, if the Illinois car accident was partially your fault, your Chicago car accident lawyer will be able to help you with the more involved process of proving the degree of fault.
Illinois Negligence Laws
The state of Illinois follows a modified comparative fault 51% rule. This means that both parties involved in an Illinois car accident can be found to have been negligent and caused part of the accident to occur. As the plaintiff, you cannot be found to be more than 51% at fault for the cause of the accident, or the defense will be found not guilty and your claim will be denied.
Determining the Degree of Fault
Your Chicago car accident lawyer will be able to help you gather and evaluate the necessary evidence to support your Illinois car accident claim. You must present adequate evidence to show the judge or jury that you were less than 51% at fault for the accident or you risk losing your chance to recover damages for your injuries and losses.
Evidence you should be gathering from the moment the accident occurs includes:
- Photographs of the accident scene, vehicles involved, and your injuries;
- Police reports;
- Witness statements, names, and contact information;
- Medical reports and bills associated with the accident; and
- Correspondence with the insurance companies.
The more evidence you have to support that you were less negligent in causing the accident than the other driver, the lower your degree of fault will be. Continue reading to learn how the degree of fault impacts your settlement amount and your options with your insurance coverage regardless of fault.
How Degree of Fault Effects Your Settlement
The degree of fault you are assigned by the judge or jury in your Illinois car accident claim is a numerical percent used to determine the amount your settlement is reduced by. For example, if you are found to be 20% at fault for your accident, and the final settlement is $100,000 you are entitled to $80,000 of that amount.
Other Compensation Types
Aside from obtaining compensation from the other driver’s insurance company following an Illinois car accident, your own insurance coverage may offer you some payment for your damages. Personal Injury Protection (PIP) also known as no-fault coverage will pay for your injuries should you be found to be over the 51% fault limit without further question.
If your Illinois car accident was with an uninsured or underinsured motorist, or the other driver fled the scene before you were able to identify them, you may still be protected if you elected to carry uninsured motorist coverage. This optional coverage provides for damages if the other driver’s insurance is inadequate to cover the state minimums of $20,000/$40,000/$20,000 or if the other driver cannot be identified.
Hiring a Chicago Car Accident Lawyer
Having an experienced Chicago car accident lawyer on your side when having to prove your degree of fault is your best chance at receiving a settlement that fairly and adequately addresses your short-term and long-term medical needs. Lawyers who have tried Illinois car accident cases similar to yours know the right evidence to present to help give your case the best chance it has.
A Chicago car accident lawyer from the Law Offices of Barry G. Doyle, P.C. can help you gather and present your evidence to help get you the lowest degree of fault decision possible. Contact us today for a free case evaluation – 312-263-1080.