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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.

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Rockford personal injury attorneyThe moments after a motor vehicle crash can be extremely overwhelming, especially if you have been injured. It may be very difficult to keep the events straight in your mind and, then, to relay that information to the responding police officer. There may be a myriad of factors of which you were unaware that still played a significant role in causing the accident and your resulting injuries. In many cases, accident reconstruction is necessary in helping establish the true nature of the accident and exactly which parties may be held liable.

Get Started Immediately

For accident reconstruction to be most effective, it needs to begin as soon as possible following the crash. Any delay can result in the loss of evidence and telltale signs of what may have happened, such as skid-marks on the pavement, leaking fluids, and more. It is important to get an accident reconstructionist on site quickly, even if for just a short time, so he or she can take photos, make measurements, and observe any and all indications of what took place. He or she can also extract information from electronic data recorders, or so-called “black-boxes,” installed as a standard feature on many of today’s cars and trucks.

Applied Science

To complete the investigation, the accident reconstructionist will also analyze the damage caused both to public and private property and each vehicle. Combining this information with the available police reports and vehicle specifics, the reconstructionist will utilize his or her scientific training to apply mathematical formulas and equations to recreate the accident as it most likely occurred. An accurate accident reconstruction is much more in-depth than a simple police report and can be used to identify contributing factors such as malfunctioning traffic signals, faulty vehicle equipment, poor roadway maintenance, and many more.

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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.

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WInnebago County personal injury attorneysSlipping and falling can cause devastating injuries in mere seconds. A person who falls and hits their head on concrete, for example, may suffer a traumatic brain injury which leaves them with agonizing pain and other adverse symptoms for months. Slip and fall injuries can also incur tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of medical bills. A serious fall can take away a person’s independence, their ability to work, and significantly decrease their quality of life. If you or someone you know was injured in a slip and fall accident, you may wish to pursue compensation through a premises liability lawsuit. In order to be awarded financial damages for injuries related to a slip and fall, you and your legal team must prove liability, or responsibility, for the accident.

Legal Responsibility for Your Injuries May Lie with the Property Owner or Manager

Property owners have a legal responsibility to keep their property safe for individuals who legally visit the property. For example, a store owner must endure that spilled liquid is marked as hazardous and cleaned up as soon as possible.  If the owner knows that a slippery substance is on the floor and does nothing to address the situation or warn customers of this danger, he or she may be liable for an injury caused by the environmental hazard. Similarly, a residential property owner who has a broken staircase can be held liable if a visitor to their property falls from the staircase and is injured. In some premises liability cases, the person or entity that manages or oversees the property is the responsible party instead of the property owner.

Proving Negligence is Required for a Successful Premises Liability Lawsuit

Not every slip and fall accident is the fault of the property owner or manager. Sometimes, a person is injured in a freak accident which is not caused by negligence on the part of the property owner. Negligence occurs when a party owes a duty to another and fails to uphold that duty. With slip and fall accidents, a property owner has a duty to ensure that his or her property is reasonably safe and free of danger before allowing visitors or patrons onto that property. A property owner who does not regularly maintain the property or who ignores potentially dangerous conditions will likely be considered negligent.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_comparative-fault-balance-negligence.jpgImagine this scenario: You are cruising down the highway at about 10 miles over the speed limit when you are hit by a drunk driver. You suffer significant injuries to your back and neck that leave you unable to work and drowning in medical bills. The drunk driver’s insurance company offers you a settlement which does not even come close to compensating you for your damages. Is there a way that you can sue to recover compensation? The answer in Illinois is “yes.”

Illinois’ comparative fault law allows those injured by another’s negligence to sue even if they were partially responsible for the injury or accident. In this example, the original driver may have contributed to the accident by speeding, but if the other driver was more to blame, a personal injury suit is still possible.

Defining Negligence Under Illinois Law

The word “negligence” is used to describe a situation when a person or entity owes a duty of care, or responsibility, to another person and fails to uphold that duty. For example, doctors have a duty to their patients to maintain the prevailing standard of care within their area of practice. A doctor who significantly deviates from this standard of care and causes injury to his or her patient may be considered negligent. Similarly, drivers using public roadways have a duty to the other motorists on the road to drive with care and attention. Driving drunk is certainly not upholding this duty. Therefore, many drunk drivers are held liable when an accident they cause results in injuries.

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Winnebago County motorcycle accident lawyerSummer is just around the corner and throughout the greater Chicago area, motorcycle enthusiasts are excited to get on the road. Riding a motorcycle can be an efficient and enjoyable means of transportation, but it is not without its risks. Motorcyclist deaths happen 28 times more often than fatal traffic accidents involving other vehicles. As with many personal injury claims, some motorcycle accidents are completely the fault of another driver, and other times, the blame must be shared. Fortunately, Illinois liability laws allow an individual to seek compensation for damages caused by an accident even if he or she was partially responsible.

Contributory Negligence Laws

The term “contributory negligence” refers to a situation in which a claimant (person bringing the negligence or personal injury claim) in some way contributes to the injury-causing accident. The exact definition of contributory negligence depends on state law.

In Illinois, a claimant can still pursue compensation for damages if he or she was less than 50% percent responsible for the incident. If the claimant’s contributory negligence is 51% or more, he or she is not entitled to compensation. When the blame assigned to a claimant is decided to be more than zero but less than 50%, the compensation he or she is eligible for will be reduced in proportion to the blame assigned to them.

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