Our office recently received a call from the victim of an automobile-on-pedestrian accident. The victim of the accident walked out from behind a bus and entered the cross walk without looking for cars. He was subsequently struck by a passing car and suffered a broken leg. He inquired of our office whether he could still recover for his injuries even though he may have been partially at fault for the accident. This fact scenario raises a good question. Can someone recover for injuries suffered in an accident where they were at least partially at fault? The answer is — it depends — but it is possible.
Illinois is like many states in that it weighs the “comparative fault” of the parties to a Chicago car accident in order to determine whether the victim of an accident can recover for his or her injuries. But it’s not easy. In this economic climate, insurance companies are not in a settling-mood. More and more insurance companies are fighting traditional liability claims where they might have otherwise assumed liability quickly. This prolongs litigation and increases your attorney’s expenses. This is particularly true for cases where liability is disputed and/or shared.
So what does “comparative fault” mean and at what point are you NOT entitled to recover for your injuries? In short, a plaintiff (the party bringing the lawsuit) is at fault for his own injuries if he was negligent and his negligence contributed to his injuries. Pursuant to Illinois statute 735 Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. § 5/2-1116, the plaintiff will thus be barred from recovering damages if he is more than 50% at fault for his injuries.
What does this mean to the victim? Let me explain by an example: Suppose you bring a lawsuit against the driver of another car who hit you. The jury finds that the other driver is 75% responsible for the accident, that you are 25% responsible, and then awards you $1,000.00. Since you are 25% responsible for the action, your award is reduced by 25% or $250.00. Your total recovery would therefore be $750.00. If the jury found that the plaintiff was more than 50% responsible for his injuries, he would not be entitled to any recovery at all.
The Chicago Legal Group refers our personal injury cases to Chicago automobile accident lawyer Paul Wolf. Mr. Wolf has extensive experience dealing with the comparative negligence maze. If you or a loved one has been involved in an injury where you may be partially at fault, you should contact our office immediately to protect your rights.
Mr. Wolf recently litigated a case involving comparative negligence. Mr. Wolf’s client’s car broke down in the middle of the road during rush hour. The defendant driver was not paying attention and negligently rear-ended the plaintiff’s stalled car killing her. Sounds like an open and shut case doesn’t it? However, the plaintiff was also potentially negligent. The plaintiff failed to adequately care for her car resulting in the malfunction that caused the car to become stranded in the road way. In addition, the plaintiff was under the influence of an illegal substance when the accident occurred. As such, she was comparatively responsible for part of her own injuries. Despite these challenges, Mr. Wolf was able to settle the claim for $1.3 million dollars.
For immediate assistance from a car accident lawyer or for any other accident where you may need a personal injury lawyer, contact Paul Wolf through the Chicago Legal Group by clicking here or telephone us at 312-848-9783.