When a person has been injured as a result of another party’s negligence, they are entitled to collect damages, usually monetary, from the party whose negligence caused the injury. Illinois negligence law, however, considers contributory negligence when determining the liability and responsibility of an accident.
Negligence is essentially the failure of a person to behave or act in a reasonable manner in order to prevent an incident. By extension, contributory negligence is the failure of the injured party to likewise behave or act in a reasonable manner to prevent an incident. This means that liability and responsibility for an incident does not necessarily fall to just one party. As a result, it is important to understand the difference between contributory and comparative negligence in Arlington Heights, and how it might impact your claim.
How Fault is Determined After a Car Crash
Consider this simple example of a car accident involving two cars: Driver A is driving with their cell phone in hand, but otherwise following the speed limit. Driver B is driving 50 miles per hour in a 35 mile per hour speed limit zone. Driver A turns onto the same road that Driver B is traveling, but Driver A does not see Driver B approaching because they are too busy sending a text. Because Driver B is speeding, they cannot stop in time and Driver B hits Driver A. Who is at fault? The answer is a bit complicated.
Illinois law usually allows a plaintiff to recover monetary damages. However, there are a few caveats. One is that the plaintiff must be less than 50% responsible for the incident in question. If the plaintiff is more than 50% at fault, however, they cannot recover damages.
What’s more, if the plaintiff is less than 50% responsible but still partially responsible, their available damages are reduced in proportion to their contribution to the negligence. The percentage of responsibility is typically determined by either a jury or a judge in a court proceeding.
How Does Comparative Negligence Impact Monetary Recovery?
Continuing with the same example of Driver A and Driver B discussed above, a jury determined that Driver A is 40% responsible for the accident, because they were not paying attention to the road while driving. The jury then determined that Driver B is 60% responsible because they were speeding excessively, which made it impossible for them to prevent the accident.
After the jury or judge has determine the full value of damages required to remedy the incident, Driver A may recover 60% of the monetary damages because their contributory negligence accounted for 40% responsibility for the incident.
Seek Help Determining Fault After a Car Crash in Arlington Heights
Navigating the laws of negligence and determining who is at fault after a car accident can be a difficult and confusing task to do without competent and experienced legal representation in Arlington HeightsHeights. With over 30 years of experience representing people injured auto accidents, the Law Offices of R.F. Wittmeyer, LTD. can help. Contact us today for a free consultation.