It’s one thing for legal articles and texts to talk about negligence, fault, and damages after a car crash. Many of these articles and texts assume that one party was negligent and that the other party was not negligent. However, things are seldom that clear-cut in the real world.
Sometimes, both drivers are negligent.
What Happens Then?
Illinois law is known as a modified comparative negligence law. Pursuant to this law:
- People who are hurt in an accident may recover damages if they are not more than 50% responsible for the crash. If you are found to be at least 50% responsible for causing the crash, however, then you cannot recover any damages.
- People who are hurt in an accident and are less than 50% responsible for the crash may recover damages, but their damages may be reduced by the amount of fault attributable to them. For example, if you are found to be 30% responsible for the accident, then you may still recover damages for the crash. However, your damages will be reduced by the percentage of the accident caused by you. In our example, your damage award would be reduced by 30% because it would be unfair to have the other driver pay the portion of damages that was caused by your own negligence.
For these reasons, fault and percentage of fault are often hotly contested topics in Illinois car accident lawsuits.
How to Prove Who Was Responsible for What After Your Crash
The percentage of fault that is attributable to each party may be decided through settlement negotiations. Typically, the other driver’s insurance company is going to argue that you are responsible for a greater percentage of the accident then you believe you caused. Your attorney and the insurance company will continue negotiating until a settlement is reached. If a settlement cannot be reached then the matter will be decided in court. Either way, it is important to have a lawyer representing your interests and helping you get the fair and just recovery that you deserve.