Contributory Negligence: Can I Be Found Partially at Fault?
Typically, a plaintiff can file a personal injury claim to seek compensation for damages caused by another person’s negligence, recklessness, or intentional behavior. A plaintiff is not, however, entitled to full compensation for all damages if he or she were partially responsible for the accident.
The Rules of Claims
The facts and circumstances of your case can significantly influence your right to compensation. If you were partially at fault for your accident, whether or not you could file a claim depends, in part, on to what extent you were negligent. Illinois law prevents plaintiffs from receiving full compensation if they had any contributory negligence.
When You’re Both to Blame
Under Illinois’ modified comparative negligence law, the plaintiff’s recovery (the money the plaintiff can get) is reduced by the plaintiff’s contributory negligence (the percent he or she was at fault). For example, if the plaintiff stood to recover $10,000 in damages but were %50 at fault, he or she could only recover $5,000.
The plaintiff is barred from all compensation if a judge or jury decides he or she were more than 50% at fault. So, if you were found 51% at fault, you would not be entitled to any compensation for your losses. The same rule applies to the other party to the case.
However, if the plaintiff were 50% at fault, he or she would still have some right to compensation. One percent of fault can make a huge difference. For this reason, it’s important to handle cases involving partial fault very carefully as the facts and circumstances of the case can mean the difference between fair compensation and walking away with nothing.
Never Face Your Claim Alone
With this in mind, it’s important to consult with a knowledgeable Arlington Heights personal injury or accident attorney in your area. If you are partially at fault for your accident, you need experienced legal representation. Indeed, these types of cases can be difficult to handle. The insurance company may argue you were more than 50% at fault, in which case they would owe you nothing. An attorney can make sure you present solid evidence and a compelling argument in your favor.