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Should I File a Car Accident Claim If I Am Also At Fault?

 Posted on June 22, 2020 in Car Accidents

IL crash lawyerAfter a car crash in Rockland or elsewhere in Winnebago County, it can be difficult to think about filing a claim for compensation when you are contending with the physical and emotional consequences of your injuries. Yet you may also know how important it is to file a claim in order to obtain the compensation you need. When another party was at fault for the crash, you also may be considering whether to file a lawsuit against that at-fault driver. For most people injured in car accidents, the first step is to file an auto insurance claim. But when an auto insurance claim does not result in an adequate amount of compensation, it may be time to file a lawsuit.

Many people who have been injured in car accidents caused by another driver’s negligence want to know if they should file a claim even if they might bear some responsibility for the collision. In most cases, the answer is yes. We will explain more.

Illinois Uses a Modified Comparative Fault Law

Every state has its own laws pertaining to comparative fault or contributory negligence, which are the terms used to describe a scenario in which a plaintiff files an injury claim but the defendant says the plaintiff is also at fault. Some states use a “pure” comparative fault system that allows a plaintiff to recover damages regardless of his or her percentage of fault (presuming, of course, that the plaintiff is not 100 percent at fault). In pure comparative fault systems, a plaintiff’s damages award is reduced by his or her percentage of fault. Other states use a modified comparative fault system in which a plaintiff can recover as long as the plaintiff is not 50 percent or 51 percent or more at fault. Then, as with a pure comparative fault system, the plaintiff’s recovery is reduced by his or her portion of fault. In pure contributory negligence systems, a plaintiff will be barred from recovery if that plaintiff is even 1 percent at fault.

Illinois uses a modified comparative fault system. Under Illinois law, a plaintiff can recover damages as long as she or he is not 51 percent or more at fault.

Plaintiff’s Recovery Will Be Reduced If She or He Is Partially At Fault

In car accident cases, you can probably imagine a wide variety of scenarios in which a plaintiff was injured in a crash caused by another driver’s negligence, but that plaintiff was also partially at fault either for the collision or the severity of injuries. For example, even though the at-fault driver was drunk and ran a red light, the plaintiff may have been speeding at the time of the collision. Or, for instance, maybe the plaintiff waited a week after a crash before seeking medical attention, and the injuries worsened significantly as a result of that failure to see a doctor.

In these kinds of cases, as long as the plaintiff was not 51 percent or more to blame, that plaintiff can recover. To give you an example, if the court decides a plaintiff is 20 percent responsible for a car accident in Rockland and awards $100,000 in damages, the plaintiff’s award would be reduced by 20 percent ($20,000 in this hypothetical), and the plaintiff would take home $80,000.

Seek Help from a Winnebago County Car Accident Lawyer

If you were injured in a motor vehicle collision, our Rockford auto accident lawyers can help you seek the compensation you deserve. Contact Mannarino & Brasfield, A Division of Schwartz Injury Law today for more information.





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