Illinois Comparative Negligence – When Should You Accept Some Fault for an Accident?

In Illinois, comparative negligence is a phrase often used by insurance companies to dispute or diminish the amount of an auto accident victim’s Illinois comparative negligence | When should you accept some fault for an accident?damages. My name is Barry Zlotowicz, my Glenview law firm deals with allegations of comparative fault regularly. If an insurance company accuses you of being partially at fault for an accident, contact us at 847-305-4105.

What is comparative negligence?

In Illinois comparative negligence basically means that the victim of an accident can recover if they are not more than 50% at fault for the accident.

Many states follow the concept of comparative negligence or comparative fault. Not all states do however. California for example follows the concept of “pure comparative negligence.” This means that even if you are 90% at fault for the accident, you can still recover 10% of your damages from the defendant.

This is huge in that if you suffer catastrophic damages in an accident, that 10% recovery could be a large amount. Large enough at least that a personal injury lawyer would agree to represent you.

Other states such as North Carolina, follow the concept of “contributory negligence.” This is a draconian law that states that if the victim in an auto or other accident is 1% or more at fault for the accident, that they are barred from recovery.

A couple of tips

  • Never admit fault for an accident at the scene of the accident.
  • If the other party admits fault for an accident, document it immediately. Just don’t secretly record them making the admission or you will have committed a crime.
  • Do not give a recorded statement to the other party’s insurance adjuster before you consult with an attorney. Statements made in those conversations can be used against you.

How does comparative negligence work?

Generally speaking, you do not want to accept any comparative negligence on your part. If you do, this will diminish the value of your claim. It can thus affect how much you will recover for your property damage, your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering.

How does it work?

If you get in an auto accident and you accept 20% of being at fault for the accident, you will be entitled to 80% of your damages from the other party. So, if your car costs $10,000 to repair, you will receive $8,000 from the other side and you will have to come up with the extra $2,000.

Same for your medical bills, pain and suffering. If your case is worth $100,000 and you are 20% at fault for the accident, your maximum recovery will be $80,000.

When should you accept some fault for an accident?

In very few circumstances. However, there is one situation where you can accept some limited fault for an accident.

I have had more than a couple auto or motorcycle accident cases where the defendant’s insurance adjuster alleged that my clients were comparatively negligent and would not budge from their stance. So what do you do?

In a few of those cases we accepted limited negligence on the part of our client. Note: the client him or her self did not admit to fault on the record. We simply accepted part of the fault on their behalf.

Why did we do this? If we didn’t accept partial responsibility for the accident, we would have had to immediately file a lawsuit against the defendants. That would begin an 18 to 24 month process of costly litigation.

Conversely, by accepting fault, we were able to resolve our clients’ property damage claims immediately and move forward toward resolution. Even though their claims had been minimally diminished.

Most importantly however, we accepted being at fault only in cases where our client’s injuries were so significant that despite some comparative negligence, we knew well in advance that we would recover the entire insurance policy from the defendant.

What do I mean?

Take for example one motorcycle accident case I worked on a while back. The victim was T-boned while riding his motorcycle through an intersection. The car turned left in front of him and thus the majority at fault. But the motorcyclist had slightly caught speed at the time of the accident.

The insurance adjuster alleged comparative negligence. The defendant had a $100,000 auto insurance policy. However, our client’s injuries were worth much more than that. As such, we accepted partial comparative negligence to move on with his case while knowing that we were going to recover the entire $100,000 regardless how much fault we accepted.

If you were involved in an auto accident and an insurance adjuster is alleging Illinois comparative negligence, reach out to our Glenview law firm for a free consultation at 847-305-4105.

Why You Should Always Report a Slip and Fall Accident?

In this blog article we will explain why you should always report a slip and fall accident attorneys. If you were injured after a slip or trip and fall accident, contact Slip and Fall Injury Attorneysour Glenview law office for a free consultation at 847-305-4105. We have handled many of these cases and are happy to speak with you to assist you in any way we can.

Why You Should Always Report a Slip and Fall Accident?

If you are injured in a slip and fall accident, it’s critical that you report the accident as soon as possible after it happens. Reporting the accident is the strongest evidence you have that the accident took place (as well as independent witness testimony).

According to the CDC, one out of five slip and falls result in a serious injury such as a concussion or fractured bone. CDC

I’ve had calls with many victims of slip and fall accidents who did not report the accident after it occurred. They fell in a parking lot or on a sidewalk, didn’t think they were that injured so they went home and took no action.

A day or two later when their arm continued hurting, they finally go to the doctor and find out they had a fractured arm or torn cartilage in their shoulder. They call and want to file a claim or lawsuit against the owner of the property.

The first question I ask callers is whether they filed a report after the accident happened. Most of the time they did not. Not filing a report is a huge obstacle to prevailing in this type of case. You should always report a slip and fall accident.

If you don’t, the owner of the property will likely argue that your accident could have occurred anywhere and at any time. The burden is on the victim to prove that the accident occurred where he/she says it did.

However, you may be able to overcome this objection through eyewitness testimony or perhaps the paramedics who picked you up from the scene documented where the accident took place.

Who do you report the accident to?

If you are able, call 911/contact the local police department to report the accident. If you don’t think that you are hurt, it is likely they will not send a unit to investigate the incident. However, at least you have reported the accident and it will be recorded in the 911 call log. You can also go to the local police station and file a report. But don’t delay.

If the accident occurred on private property, at an apartment complex or shopping mall, or at a public store, call building or store management immediately. Make sure they document the existence of the fall in a written report. Get the name of the security officer or store manager filling out the report and try to get a copy of the report as well.

If there are witnesses to the accident, obtain their name and number. They could have witnessed the accident or perhaps they saw you for the first time laying on the ground. Regardless, call for help.

Finally, when you obtain medical treatment, report the slip and fall accident to the nurse or physician who interviews you. They will put in the records the location and nature of the accident.

As an aside, if you fell on city property like a public street or city sidewalk, you may have a governmental claim which is governed by different rules. The most important being that you have a shorter timeline in which to file a claim and then a subsequent lawsuit.

Elements of a slip and fall accident

I have documented in prior blog articles the elements of a slip and fall action. However, one critical element is that there be a “dangerous condition.” If you just slipped and fell as a result of losing your balance, there is no cause of action.

Rather, you have to demonstrate that the owner of the property allowed there to be a dangerous condition (like water, a banana, a hole in the concrete etc.) that they knew or should have known about. Without a dangerous condition, there is no case. That is why it is critical to document what you fell on at the time of the accident.

If you are able, take photos of the dangerous condition immediately. I have worked on a few cases where there were no photos of what the victim fell on.

Example cases with different results

I had a client who fell on a slippery patch of ice and fractured her arm. Ice related slip and falls are a different type of case. But in short, in most of these cases you have to demonstrate that there is an unnatural accumulation of water/ice that formed and caused the accident.

My client didn’t contact me until months after the incident. The weather had warmed and the ice had melted. She did not take photos of what she fell on. After a rainstorm, I drove to the location of the incident and took photographs of puddles of water that had formed and told the insurance adjuster that this was evidence of the unnatural condition. He disagreed and due to the fact that we didn’t have photographs of the condition (and there was no report of the incident) we were forced to drop the case.

In a different case we had the opposite result. In that case, an elderly client fell on the walkway in front of a chain restaurant. The pads of concrete were not level – one pad rose up two inches above the other. He didn’t see the rise, tripped and fell and suffered an injury to his arm.

Immediately after the incident, the client took photos and went into the restaurant and reported it to the store manager. The manager filled out a report on the scene and gave a copy to our client. She documented the varying levels of the concrete in the report. To our amazement, the manager even admitted that others had fallen before and that she had previously notified her superiors of the condition. The case was over at that point and we were able to recover significantly for his injuries.

So, make sure you always report a slip and fall accident to the police or building or store management after it occurs. If you were involved in a slip and fall, feel free to contact our office for a free consultation at 847-305-4105.

Glenview Attorney – highlights of Glenview Summerfest

My name is Barry Zlotowicz and I am a Glenview attorney. On June 30, 2018, I participated as a “vendor” at the Glenview Summerfest which took place Glenview Lawyerin downtown Glenview, Illinois. I wanted to reflect on the experience and say thank you to a few people.

Briefly, I have lived in Glenview since 2001 just before my first daughter was born. My other 2 daughters were born and raised here as well. We have loved our schools, the Park District, the Glenview Dance and Music Academy and a wide variety of other Glenview institutions for the past 17 years. My office is in Glenview and I’m a member of the Glenview Chamber of Commerce.

Glenview is a sleepy kind of community with just over 40,000 residents. We Glenview Lawyerhave some nice restaurants but night life is not booming so to speak.  But we have a good mix of old and young, enough Starbucks for me never to go without and a growing and vibrant business community.

My favorite places to go in Glenview include The Glen (where former President George H.W. Bush trained), Abt Electronics and the Grove. We also have Kohl’s Children’s museum which my kids loved when they were young and we’ve been to countless times.

Glenview has 2 Metra train stations with easy access to downtown Chicago in 35 minutes. It also has good bus service. My administrative assistant takes a bus from Evanston and gets dropped off right in front of my office.

Glenview Attorney

My goal as a Glenview attorney is to serve the village of Glenview andGlenview Attorney surrounding areas. If you look at my website, you’ll find articles and references to several cities including Northbrook, Niles and Mount Prospect among others.

There are not a lot of lawyers in the village of Glenview. On the Glenview Chamber website, there are only 8 firms/members who are lawyers actually based in Glenview. As such, I’m interested in being a resource for Glenview residents on a variety of legal topics.

My primary practice is in personal injury but as a Glenview attorney I have found that the vast majority of calls to my office are for other practice areas including estate planning, criminal law/traffic tickets and employment law. Fortunately, I have a network of attorneys I work with daily who practice in a wide variety of practice areas and as such, I am a good referral source for Glenview residents who need a referral to another attorney.

Glenview Summerfest

Last weekend with the Glenview Summerfest which was organized by the Glenview Chamber. I purchased a booth at the event and set up shop. You can see from the photos that it was a great event despite the heat which was almost unbearable. I heard it got to 103 on the heat index and it felt like it.

As part of my efforts to encourage pride in our village, I gave

Glenview Summerfestout stickers that say “GLV” on them – for Glenview of course. There’s not much else a Glenview attorney can hand out that wouldn’t bore people.

A special thank you to our Glenview Police Department and Glenview Fire and EMS as well. When I say I overheated I’m not kidding. I needed some help and the GPD and GFD provided great assistance.

I enjoy being a Glenview attorney and want to offer the best service I can to our residents. If you have any legal issues, please feel free to use me as a resource. Call me today at 847-305-4105.