The type of negligence system your state follows for determining fault in a personal injury claim will have a large impact on your case. There are two basic types of negligence; comparative and contributory. Illinois follows the comparative system. A Chicago personal injury lawyer will know the differences and be able to work within Illinois’ modified comparative negligence laws to help you file an Illinois personal injury claim.
Comparative vs. Contributory
Negligence is a major factor in determining liability in an Illinois personal injury claim as it determines who is at fault for your injuries and how to fairly apply compensation. The two major types of negligence, comparative and contributory, have distinct differences in how a party is found to be at fault.
Contributory negligence states that any degree of fault from the injured party negates them from being able to claim damages. Comparative negligence, which is practiced in Illinois, allows for the injured party to have some degree of fault in their accident and still recover reduced damages, usually in respect to their own percentage of fault.
The 3 Types of Comparative Negligence
There are 3 levels of comparative negligence law being used in various states:
- pure comparative negligence;
- modified comparative negligence (50% bar rule); and
- modified comparative negligence (51% bar rule).
Pure comparative negligence involves the judge or jury assigning each party a degree of fault in the accident that caused your personal injury. Depending on your percentage of fault, your compensation will be reduced in comparison. So if your case settles for a $100,000 award and you were found to be 20% at fault, you will be awarded $80,000.
The modified comparative negligence system, as used in Illinois, also looks at the degree of fault as a percentage. However, there is a threshold of fault, that when surpassed, automatically renders a not-guilty verdict for the defense. In Illinois, if you are found to be more than 51% responsible for your accident during the course of your Illinois personal injury claim, your case is settled in favor of the defense.
Continue reading to find out how fault is commonly determined and how a Chicago personal injury lawyer can help you prove you were under the Illinois modified comparative negligence threshold.
Proving Your Degree of Fault
The degree of fault in an Illinois personal injury claim is the amount each party’s negligence played in the accident that caused your injury. When determining the percentage of fault each party contributed, the judge or jury takes into consideration several factors along with the evidence, such as:
- Were you somewhere you shouldn’t be, such as private property?
- Did your carelessness or neglect for your own personal safety contribute to your injury?
- Were there any third parties involved that may have contributed to the accident?
For example, let’s say you were injured in a car accident involving a drunk driver where you were making a right turn at an intersection, but you did not use your turn signals. Even though the other driver was impaired and clearly liable for a larger degree of fault in your accident, a judge may also take into consideration your decision not to indicate a turn. In Illinois, as long as your degree of fault is found to be no more than 51%, you may still receive some compensation for your injuries.
When to Hire a Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer
If there is even the slightest question that your negligence may have played a part in your injury, you will need to prove otherwise if you want to receive the maximum settlement in your case. Your best chance at proving your degree of fault was low enough to recover damages is to have an experienced Chicago personal injury lawyer on your side.
The Law Offices of Barry G. Doyle, P.C. have tried many cases like yours and know the best ways to express your degree of fault to the court. For a free case evaluation and help preparing your evidence contact us today – (312) 263-1080