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What is Comparative Fault and How Does It Apply to a Personal Injury Claim?

 Posted on December 04, 2020 in Personal Injury

Rockland personal injury attorneysWhile the basic concepts of personal injury law are generally the same, the details vary from state to state. However, these variances can make a significant impact on an injured person’s potential recovery. The amount of compensation you may receive through a personal injury lawsuit can be affected by many different factors, including the injured person’s own negligence at the time of their injury. If a plaintiff is partially at fault for the accident that caused their injuries in Illinois, the legal doctrine of comparative fault will apply.

Comparative Negligence for Accidents Caused by Shared Fault

Blame for any type of accident is rarely black and white. A car accident may occur because of a combination of factors. Weather conditions, road conditions, the speed at which the vehicles were traveling, distracted driving, and many other issues may affect the severity of an accident victim’s injuries. Illinois follows a legal doctrine called modified comparative negligence in personal injury claims involving shared fault. An injured person who is partially at fault for his or her own injuries may still be entitled to damages as long as he or she is not more at fault than the defendant. If an injured plaintiff is 50 percent or less at fault, he or she may still be able to recover damages. However, the amount of compensation he or she may recover is reduced by his or her percentage of fault. For example, a plaintiff who is found to be 10 percent at fault for an accident which causes $100,000 in damages may be able to recover $90,000.

Comparative negligence or comparative fault does not only apply to car accident cases. It may also influence other types of personal injury cases. For example, in a slip and fall accident claim, an injured person may act in a way that increased the chances of being hurt in a slip and fall accident. For example, if the injured person was looking down at their cell phone at the time of the slip and fall accident, the defense may argue that the plaintiff’s injuries would not have been as severe if he or she was paying closer attention.

The Burden of Proof Regarding the Plaintiff’s Negligence

The issue of comparative negligence only comes into play in a personal injury claim if the defendant raises the issue. If the defendant or the defendant’s legal team believes that the plaintiff’s negligence may have led to the accident, they will need to show evidence to establish this fact. Put another way, the burden of proof lies on the defense. The plaintiff’s legal team will have the option of providing counter evidence to negate the defense’s allegations.  

Contact a Winnebago County Personal Injury Lawyer

If you were injured in an accident caused by a negligent driver, negligent property owner, or another negligent party, contact a Rockford personal injury attorney from Mannarino & Brasfield, A Division of KJS. Call 815-215-7561 and schedule your free consultation today.




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