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Understanding Comparative Negligence Laws in Illinois

Posted on in Personal Injury

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.

You May Not Be More Than 50 Percent Responsible

In order for an individual who was partially responsible for his or her injury to sue, he or she must be 50 percent or less at fault. A defendant in a personal injury suit will not be forced to compensate the plaintiff if the contributory fault of the plaintiff is more than 50 percent of the cause of the damage.

If the plaintiff is found to be partially responsible, the collectable damages will be reduced by the percentage of blame assigned to him or her. This means that if the plaintiff suffered $100,000 in losses due to an accident for which he or she was 20 percent responsible, the plaintiff will only be entitled collect $80,000—a reduction of 20 percent.

Contact a Rockford Personal Injury Attorney

If you or a loved one have been seriously injured or killed in an accident they were partially responsible for, you need help from an experienced Winnebago County comparative negligence attorney. Call the office of Mannarino & Brasfield, A Division of KJS, at 815-215-7561 to schedule a free consultation.




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