Understanding Comparative Fault

 Posted on September 13,2017 in Personal Injury

Kane County personal injury attorneysWhen an auto accident occurs, it is important to determine who was at fault. The determination of fault is typically relied upon to establish which party is responsible for covering the resulting damages. In some cases, fault is fairly clear. For example, a driver who crashes into another vehicle that is stopped a red light is probably at fault. In other cases, fault is more difficult to determine, as both drivers may have played a role in causing the accident. If more than one party is at least partly to blame for an accident in Illinois, liability for any damages or injuries sustained may also be shared.

Pure Contributory Negligence

There are three basic types of comparative fault models in use throughout the United States. Each addresses how damages may be affected when a personal injury plaintiff shares in the responsibility for causing the incident in which he or she was injured. The first is called “pure contributory negligence” and is only used by four states and the District of Columbia. The pure contributory negligence rule provides that an injured party may not receive any compensation whatsoever if he or she shares any responsibility for the accident. The defendant could be 99 percent at fault, but if the injured party is held responsible for the remaining portion, no damages can be awarded.

Pure Comparative Fault

The second type of system is called “pure comparative fault,” and it allows an injured victim to collect compensation from a defendant even if the victim was 99 percent at fault. The damages he or she will receive must be reduced by his or her percentage of fault, but recovery is still possible. This rule is used in 13 states, including California, Florida, and Missouri.

Modified Comparative Fault

The last model is the one used in Illinois and 32 other states, and it is known as “modified comparative fault.” There are two versions of this system: the 50 percent rule and the 51 percent rule, and Illinois uses the 51 percent rule. Under this system, an injured victim may collect compensation as long the victim is found to be less than 51 percent at fault. (In states that use the 50 percent rule, an equal share of fault bars the victim from recovery.) The collectable damages must be reduced by the victim’s portion of fault. For example, if you are found to be 30 percent at fault for an accident that caused injuries and other damages valued at $200,000, you could only collect $140,000.

Call an Attorney for Help

If you have been injured in an accident and responsibility for the crash is unclear, contact an experienced Kane County personal injury lawyer to get the guidance you need. Call 630-907-0909 for a free, no-obligation consultation at Kinnally Flaherty Krentz Loran Hodge & Masur, P.C. today.



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