Comparative fault, sometimes called comparative negligence or comparative responsibility, is a legal principle for personal injury claims that governs when a plaintiff is entitled to financial compensation despite sharing in the fault of an accident. Comparative fault rules are used in the vast majority of states, but there are different ways jurisdictions approach this principle.
If you were injured in a car, truck, motorcycle, or other type of accident, and share some of the blame, comparative fault rules in your state could allow you to recover a portion of your damages. The damages available to you will depend on the extent of your fault and the doctrine followed by your state.
In this Article
Is Illinois a No Fault State for Car Accidents?
No. Illinois is NOT a no fault state for car accidents. Instead, it follows the legal doctrine of modified comparative negligence. This means that each driver is assigned a percentage of blame in the accident. If you are found to be less than 50% at fault, you are allowed to seek compensation for your injuries from the other driver’s negligence under Illinois law.
What is an example of modified comparative negligence?
For example, let’s say you are seeking $100,000 in compensation for your losses including medical bills, medical expenses, and pain and suffering after a motorcycle wreck in Chicago. You have been found to be 40% at fault for the accident. This means that the total amount of compensation you will be eligible for will be reduced by 40%. So, the maximum compensation you can get is $60,000.
Is Illinois a Fault State for Accidents?
Yes, Illinois is a fault state for accidents. The doctrine of modified comparative fault applies to all personal injury cases in the state, including car, truck, and motorcycle crashes, slip and fall incidents, and more.
Illinois Is One of the Modified Comparative Negligence States
Under this rule in Illinois, you must prove that you were less than 50% at fault for the accident in order to be eligible for damages. If you are found to be more than 50% responsible, you will not be able to recover any damages. This means that in order to receive compensation, a plaintiff must show that the other party was primarily at fault for the accident.
Modified Comparative Negligence Impact on Award Amounts
Additionally, comparative negligence will affect how much compensation you can receive for your losses. If you are found partially responsible, the amount of damages awarded by the court or jury may be reduced by your percentage of fault.
What Different Types of Comparative Fault Rules Mean for Your Accident Case
There are three types of comparative fault rules: pure comparative negligence, modified comparative negligence, and contributory negligence. If you have been injured in an accident and found to be partially at fault, it is important to understand which type of rule applies in your state.
Pure Comparative Negligence Rule
The pure comparative negligence or pure comparative fault rule means that a plaintiff can recover damages even if the plaintiff is more than 50% at fault. Under pure comparative negligence laws, you could recover compensation no matter how at fault you are. In this system, the amount of damages is reduced by the plaintiff’s percentage of fault.
It is important to keep in mind that there will be circumstances where a person who is found to have a high percentage of fault may not want to seek compensation under pure comparative negligence as the costs of pursuing a legal case may be more than what the plaintiff’s recovery might be.
Modified Comparative Fault Rules
Modified comparative negligence means that a plaintiff can only recover damages if they are found to have less than a certain percentage of responsibility for the accident. There are two types of comparative negligence rules: 50% bar rule and 51% bar rule:
50% Bar Rule
If a plaintiff is found to be more than 50% at fault, they will not be eligible for any compensation in personal injury lawsuits because of their own negligence.
This is the doctrine followed in Illinois. Injured drivers in Illinois can seek compensation for their injuries as long as they are found to be less than 50% at fault. If a plaintiff is found to have more than 50% responsibility, they will not be eligible for any damages or compensation because of the degree to which their negligence contributed to the accident.
So for example, an Illinois driver who is found to be 49% responsible for a car accident in which they suffered severe injuries is allowed to seek compensation under Illinois law. Their final award will be reduced by the percentage they have been found responsible for the accident. So, if they were seeking $100,000 in damages, the final compensation will be no more than $51,000.
51% Bar Rule
If a plaintiff is found to be more than 51% at fault, they will not be eligible to seek compensation in a personal injury claim. So, for example , if you were found to be 52% responsible for an accident in which you were injured in a state that follows this comparative negligence rule, you would not be eligible to seek compensation.
The third type of comparative fault rule is contributory negligence. This means that if the plaintiff contributed in any way to the accident, they will not be entitled to seek any compensation. Contributory negligence is a very strict rule and a plaintiff’s negligence makes it hard to recover damages under this system.
Each State is Different
It is important to remember that each state has its own laws regarding comparative fault rules, so make sure you understand your state’s law before pursuing a claim after an accident. An experienced personal injury lawyer can help you determine which type of comparative fault rule applies in your case and explain the implications for your claim.
Does Illinois have Contributory Negligence?
No. Illinois does NOT have contributory negligence. Instead, it follows the legal doctrine of modified comparative fault which allows individuals to file a claim for damages if they are less than 50% at fault in an accident. This means that even if you were partially responsible for causing the accident, you can still pursue a claim against the other party and recover some amount of compensation for your injuries and other losses.
What Is Contributory Fault vs. Comparative Fault?
Comparative negligence and contributory negligence, also known as comparative fault and contributory fault, are two separate legal principles. Although both concepts focus on the plaintiff’s responsibility for an accident, they have different implications for a personal injury claim.
Comparative fault allows plaintiffs who are partially responsible for an accident to still recover a portion of their damages whereas contributory negligence does not allow any compensation at all. Understanding the differences between these two doctrines is critical for understanding your rights and pursuing a successful claim.
Other Laws May Bar Recovery
It’s also important to note that comparative fault rules are not the only consideration when filing an injury claim. Your state may also have laws that limit or prohibit certain types of damages, such as pain and suffering or emotional distress. There may also be a statute of limitations which places a deadline for recovering damages by an injured victim, so be sure to consult with an experienced lawyer to learn about all relevant laws.
What Are the Comparative Fault Rules in Illinois?
Illinois adopted a form of the modified comparative negligence standard under 735 ILCS 5/2-1116. Under this law, a plaintiff is only barred from recovery if their degree of fault is greater than 50 percent. They are entitled to partial recovery if their share of the blame is 50 percent or less.
What Is an Example of Comparative Fault in Illinois?
The amount of compensation that an injured party can recover under Illinois law will be reduced by the percentage of fault. So for example, if a driver was in a crash with another vehicle and is found to be 30% at fault and the total damages were $100,000, then the driver would only be able to recover a maximum of $70,000.
How to Find Out If You Are Eligible for Compensation
It is important to contact an experienced personal injury lawyer at The Kryder Law Group, LLC Accident and Injury Lawyers if you or a loved one has been injured in an accident. An attorney from our law firm can help evaluate your case and determine if you may be eligible to seek compensation for your injuries.
Hurt in Illinois and Need Help? Call Today
The Kryder Law Group, LLC Accident and Injury Lawyers represent seriously injured accident victims in Chicago and throughout Illinois. If you have been injured in an accident and are concerned about how the comparative fault rules in Illinois may affect your claim, contact us today for a free consultation. We are here to help you understand your rights and get compensation for your losses.
When you call for a free consultation, we can answer your questions about how modified comparative negligence may impact your ability to seek compensation from the other driver’s insurance company. We pride ourselves on explaining complex legal matters in terms you can understand, so you can be sure you are making the best decisions for your future.