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What is Comparative Negligence?

When an accident occurs and insurance money or restitution is owed for injury and damages, different states have different laws dictating how fault is assigned. Some states have what is known as contributory negligence, which states that if any party is found to be at least 1% at fault for an accident, they cannot be awarded money. However, most states, Illinois included, employs what is known as comparative negligence, which is much more forgiving when calculating fault and allowing proceeds to be paid to parties involved.

Comparative negligence works by determining each involved party's "percent" of negligence in the incident in question. Then, when a sum of money is awarded, those parties can receive the same, relative percentage of that sum. So, for instance:

  • A jury awards $10,000 in a minor accident suit
  • They have found party A to be 70% at fault
  • They have found party B to be only 30% at fault
  • Thus, party B can collect $70,000 ($70 of the awarded money)

As you might imagine, finding different degrees of fault like this can be particularly useful in car accidents, especially multi-car accidents, when numerous parties could be seeking restitution.

Illinois "Modified" Comparative Negligence

In the example above, you'll notice that party A does not receive 30% of the awarded money. That is because, under Illinois "modified" comparative negligence law, any party found to be more than 50% at fault cannot receive proceeds. This is to prevent any remarkably negligent parties from benefiting, even if others have contributed to the circumstances that led to the accident.

While comparative negligence allows for more flexible system in awarding money, it also requires aggressive argument and staunch representation. If any fault can be placed with an injured party, that gives a defendant the opportunity to assert that that percentage is higher than it actually is. That is why that knowledgeable and skilled counsel from a Chicago personal injury lawyer is needed in these cases. At Duncan Law group, our founding, award-winning attorney has recovered tens of millions of dollars on behalf of his clients and is ready to bring same, unparalleled service to you and your personal injury case.

If you've been hurt in a car accident, fight for the compensation you deserve. Call us today to schedule a free case evaluation.