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How Is Fault Determined in an Illinois Car Accident?

Posted on in Car Accidents

Winnebago County personal injury attorneysEstablishing fault for a car accident is not always straightforward. Often, when motorists are involved in a car crash, there are a number of factors are at play. For example, outside distractions such as pedestrians, construction work, closed lanes, or heavy traffic can make an accident more likely to occur. Car accidents often involve several vehicles, and it can be extremely difficult to determine which car actually started an accident.

Proving who was at fault for a crash is crucial for several reasons. First, the at-fault party's car insurance company is usually responsible for paying repair costs for other vehicles involved in the accident. Secondly, if another person was injured in the accident, the at-fault party may be responsible for that person’s medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

No-Doubt Liability

Generally, auto insurance companies of the individuals involved in an accident will take a lead role in determining financial liability for a car accident. The insurance companies use the help of claims adjusters to determine which of the drivers involved in an accident was at fault.

No-doubt liability accidents are cases in which fault is clear and obvious. For example, accidents where one driver was turning left against traffic and the other person was driving safely straight forward are usually the fault of the person turning left. Another example of a no-doubt liability accident is a rear-end collision involving a stationary vehicle—such as a car stopped at red light. Unless the vehicle that was rear-ended has broken taillights or another defect which caused confusion, the fault usually lies with the diver who rear-ended the other. Drivers who are found to have a blood alcohol content above the legal limit at the time of the accident are also usually found to be at fault for car accidents in which they are involved.

Comparative Negligence Law

When fault is not as cut and dry, car accident attorneys and claims adjusters look at physical and circumstantial evidence to determine who was to blame for an accident. Examples of evidence used for this purpose include police reports, eye witness accounts, photographs of the scene and the vehicle damage, repair estimates, and medical bills.

Illinois’ comparative negligence law allocates compensation for injuries in proportion to fault. So, if you are involved in a car accident, you do not need to prove that the accident was completely the other driver’s fault in order to receive compensation. You just need to prove that the other driver was more at fault than you were. If you are found to be 51 percent or more at fault, you cannot recover anything. However, if you are less than 51 percent at fault, your recovery will be reduced by your percentage of fault. For example, if you are in an accident and a jury finds that you are only 30 percent at fault while the other driver is 70 percent at fault, you would be entitled to recover 70 percent of the total amount that the jury awards as compensation for your injuries.

A Rockford Injury Lawyer Can Help

If you or a loved one has been involved in an auto accident because of another driver’s negligence, you may be entitled to financial compensation. For help determining fault and holding the responsible party accountable, contact an experienced Winnebago County car accident attorney. We will work with you to obtain the maximum compensation possible for your injuries. Call 815-215-7561 for a free consultation at Mannarino & Brasfield, A Division of KJS, today.

 

Sources:

https://www.dmv.org/accident-guide/proving-fault.php

https://courts.illinois.gov/CircuitCourt/CivilJuryInstructions/10.00.pdf

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