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How Is Fault Determined in an Illinois Car Accident?

Posted on in Motor Vehicle Collisions

Chicago personal injury lawyerEstablishing fault in a car accident is not always straightforward. Often, when motorists are involved in a car crash, there are a number of factors at play. For example, outside distractions, such as pedestrians, construction work, closed lanes, or heavy traffic, can make an accident more likely to occur. Car accidents often involve several vehicles, and it can be extremely difficult to determine which car actually caused the accident.

Proving who was at fault for a crash is crucial for several reasons. First, the at-fault party's car insurance company is usually responsible for paying repair costs for other vehicles involved in the accident. Secondly, if another person was injured in the accident, the at-fault party may be responsible for that person’s medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

No-Doubt Liability

Generally, it is up to the car insurance companies of the individuals involved in an accident to determine financial liability for a car accident. The insurance companies use the help of claims adjusters and police reports to determine which of the drivers involved in an accident was at fault.

No-doubt liability accidents are cases in which fault is clear and obvious. For example, accidents where one driver was turning left against traffic and the other person was driving safely straight forward are usually the fault of the person turning left. Another example of a no-doubt liability accident is during a rear-end collision. Unless the vehicle which was rear-ended has broken tail lights or another defect which could have caused the accident, the fault usually lies with the driver who rear-ended the other car. Drivers who were found to have a blood alcohol content above the legal limit at the time of the accident are also usually found to be at fault for car accidents they are involved in.

Comparative Negligence Law

When the fault is not as cut and dry, car accident attorneys and claims adjusters look at physical and circumstantial evidence to determine who was to blame for an accident. Examples of evidence used for this purpose include police reports, eyewitness accounts, photographs of the scene and vehicle damage, repair estimates, and medical bills. Illinois’ modified comparative negligence law allocates compensation for injuries in proportion to fault. So, if you are involved in a car accident, you do not need to prove that the accident was completely the other driver’s fault in order to receive compensation. For example, if you are in an accident and a jury finds that you are only 30 percent at fault while the other driver is 70 percent at fault, you would be entitled to recover 70 percent of the total amount that the jury awards as compensation for your injuries.

Keep in mind, however, that you are only entitled to compensation if you are found to be 50 percent at fault or less. If you are more than 50 percent at fault, Illinois prohibits you from recovering any damages.

A Cook County Injury Lawyer Can Help

If you or a loved one has been involved in an auto accident because of another driver’s negligence, you may be entitled to financial compensation. For help determining fault and holding the responsible party accountable, contact an experienced Chicago personal injury attorney. We will work with you to obtain the maximum compensation possible for your injuries. Call 312-804-6102 for a free consultation at Livas Law Group, A Division of Kralovec, Jambois & Schwartz, today.

 

Sources:

https://www.dmv.org/accident-guide/proving-fault.php

https://courts.illinois.gov/CircuitCourt/CivilJuryInstructions/10.00.pdf

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