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Are Fault and Liability the Same Thing in Illinois?

 Posted on June 20, 2024 in Accident Liability

Waukegan, IL personal injury lawyerSome people who sustain injuries in an accident also suffer damages as a result of those injuries. These damages can be economic, like medical bills, or they can be non-economic, like emotional distress. If a personal injury victim wants to be compensated for those damages, he or she must find out who is liable.

Personal injury victims usually look for who is at fault for their injuries. However, as your Illinois personal injury lawyer will tell you, fault is not the same thing as liability. Liability refers to legal responsibility. If you want to claim damages from a person, company, or government, you need to prove that he, she, or it is liable for your injury.

Fault and Liability Are Not Always the Same Thing

It is important not to confuse fault and liability in personal injury law. They are two separate legal concepts. If a person is at fault for your injury, it means that he or she caused it. If a person is liable for your injury, it means he or she is legally responsible for the damages, regardless of who caused it.

For example:

  • If you are shopping in a store and you suffer an injury because of an employee’s negligence, the employee is technically at fault. However, the company will likely be liable to pay for damages resulting from your injury. This is the legal concept of “respondeat superior,” which is Latin for “let the superior answer.” It means that a company is legally responsible for its employees.

  • If you are injured in a car accident caused by a teenager who was texting while driving, the teen can be said to be at fault for your injury. However, it is often the parents who are actually liable for the damages, with some exceptions.

  • If you are injured in a car accident caused by a drunk driver, he or she is at fault. And while you can probably sue that driver for damages, you may also be able to sue the bar or person who provided alcohol to the driver. Even though the barman did not cause the injury, the bar can be held liable under Illinois’ dram shop laws.

How Do I Know Who Is Liable?

Knowing who is liable is the first step to recovering compensation for damages resulting from your injury. While there are more examples like the ones above, the person who is at fault for an injury is often the one who is liable. This is true of most car accidents, with certain exceptions. The best way to know who is liable is to speak to a qualified attorney.

Contact a Waukegan, IL Liability Lawyer

Going after an at-fault party for damages if he or she is not liable can be a wild, costly, and fruitless endeavor. Hire a Lake County, IL liability attorney to find out who is liable for your injury. At Salvi & Maher, LLP, we have recovered over $300 million in settlements and verdicts for our clients from liable parties. Our skilled attorneys are ready to investigate your case and bring a claim against whoever is liable for damages. Call 847-662-3303 to get started with a free consultation today.

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Contact a Lake County Vehicle Accident Attorney Who is Ready to Help You

If you or a member of your family has been injured in a motor vehicle accident, contact our office. Call 847-662-3303 to set up a free initial consultation at one of our four convenient locations. There is no risk because we only collect fees if you collect compensation. With offices in Libertyville, Waukegan, Richmond, and Chicago, we represent clients in Lake County, Cook County, DuPage County, and McHenry County.

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