To recover compensation in a personal injury lawsuit, you must prove that the at-fault party’s negligence caused your accident and resulting injuries. However, determining liability is not always straightforward. There are multiple types of negligence that arise in civil courts across the United States, including comparative negligence, contributory negligence, and gross negligence.
In some personal injury claims, the plaintiff and the defendant are partially responsible for the accident. Under states that follow a pure comparative negligence system, the plaintiff’s portion of liability will be deducted from his or her personal injury settlement.
For example, if a plaintiff requests $50,000 in compensation after an accident but is responsible for 40% of the accident, he or she will receive $30,000. In a pure comparative negligence state, plaintiffs can recover compensation even if they are 99% responsible for the accident.
Under contributory negligence systems, a plaintiff cannot recover compensation after an accident if he or she is partially responsible. If a plaintiff contributed to the accident in any way, he or she would not recover a settlement at all.
For example, if a plaintiff is 40% liable for an accident in a contributory negligence state, he or she would not recover any compensation. Many states are repealing contributory negligence rules in favor of a fairer system.
Modified comparative negligence rules are a combination of contributory and pure comparative negligence systems. In a modified comparative negligence state, a plaintiff’s percentage of fault will be deducted from his or her overall award. If the plaintiff’s liability exceeds a certain threshold, he or she would not be eligible for a settlement.
Illinois is a modified comparative negligence state where injured plaintiffs can recover damages only if he or she holds less than 50% of the liability. If the plaintiff holds 50% or more of the fault, he or she would not recover any compensation.
Gross negligence concerns the actions of a defendant rather than a plaintiff’s potential liability. If a defendant’s actions show a complete disregard for others’ safety and wellbeing, he or she could be guilty of gross negligence. If the case involves an intentional act, such as physical assault, a defendant may also be liable for gross negligence.
Gross negligence differs greatly from ordinary negligence, in which a person does not mean to cause harm. If you can prove that a defendant committed gross negligence, you may be eligible for additional compensation in the form of punitive damages.
Negligence in personal injury lawsuits can be highly complex, but it is important to fully understand these concepts. In order to secure compensation in your claim, you must prove that the at-fault party’s actions are responsible for your losses. You must also protect yourself against allegations of shared fault.
If you plan on filing a personal injury claim in Illinois, speak to a lawyer as soon as possible. With the guidance of a Chicago personal injury attorney, you can navigate the legal process, gather the evidence you need to prove your claim, and protect your best interests from consultation to settlement.
After you receive medical attention for your injuries, contact a lawyer. Your attorney will evaluate your case, discuss your legal options, and strategize your optimal path to maximum recovery.