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How Does Fault Affect Compensation for Car Accident Injuries?

 Posted on May 16, 2019 in Car Accidents

Waukegan Car Accident Attorney

When someone is seriously injured in a car accident in Illinois, one of the first questions they will be asked is, “How did it happen?” The answer matters for several reasons:

  • To help doctors provide appropriate medical care. For example, if a person lost consciousness while driving, they may have a medical condition that needs to be treated, apart from any injuries caused by the accident.

  • To enable police to determine if anyone should be ticketed or charged with a crime in conjunction with the accident, such as speeding or drunk driving.

  • To allow auto insurance companies and lawyers to determine who was at fault. The allocation of fault is critical because Illinois follows the rule of “modified comparative negligence” and is not a no-fault state.

What Does Modified Comparative Negligence Mean?

Modified comparative negligence means that experts must analyze the circumstances of an accident and assign a percentage of fault to each involved driver. In the case of an auto-pedestrian collision or auto-bicycle crash, the pedestrian or cyclist can also be assigned part of the fault.

Following a fatal car accident or an accident involving serious injuries, there will be an investigation by police, insurance adjusters, and/or private investigators to determine the allocation of fault for the accident. If the lawyers and insurance companies cannot reach an agreement on the who was at fault, your case may have to go to trial to have a judge or jury determine the allocation of fault.

The assignment of the fault will determine who is eligible to receive compensation for their injuries and who has to pay.

Note that, in order to assign fault to someone, you have to prove that the person acted negligently in some way. For example, if a drunk driver hits you, they broke the law that forbids driving under the influence and that qualifies as negligence, although it does not necessarily mean that the drunk driver will be found 100 percent at fault.

How Does Fault Affect Compensation for Car Accident Injuries?

Under Illinois’ modified comparative negligence law (735 ILCS 5/2-1116), injury compensation is handled as follows:

If you are assigned more than 50 percent of the fault, you are not eligible to receive compensation from the other involved parties and their insurance companies. However, your own insurance company may cover some of your documented financial losses, depending on the terms of your policy, but you will not receive compensation for non-economic damages, i.e., pain and suffering.

If you are assigned zero of the fault and the other party is deemed 100 percent at fault, you are eligible to receive full compensation from the at-fault party for both economic and non-economic damages.

If you are assigned 1 to 49 percent of the fault, your compensation will be reduced by that percentage.

For example, suppose your damages are estimated at $1,000,000, including medical expenses not covered by your health insurance, past and future lost wages not covered by any disability insurance, and non-economic pain and suffering. If you are assigned 25 percent of the fault for the accident, your damages will be reduced by 25 percent and you will be awarded $750,000.

Consult a Lake County Car Accident Attorney

The allocation of fault is one of several critical factors that will determine the amount of compensation you receive for serious injuries suffered in a car wreck. Other factors include the actual amount of your economic losses, such as medical expenses and lost wages, and the extent of non-economic damages such as disfigurement or loss of enjoyment of life. Each case is unique and requires careful analysis by an experienced Waukegan car accident lawyer to ensure that you receive all due compensation. Call Salvi & Maher, L.L.C. at 847-662-3303 for a free consultation.





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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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