Comparative Liability: What if I’m partially at fault for the accident – can I still recover under Illinois law?

Chicago, IL personal injury attorney Ronald Kalish talks about whether or not you can still recover damages if you were partially at fault in a car accident.

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Illinois has what’s called contributory negligence, or comparative negligence. What it means is that you may be partially at fault for a crash. That’s okay. Illinois is a state that allows for you to recover money even if you are partially at fault for your accident and for your injuries. So just because you may be involved in an accident and you may think well, boy, some of that fault might have been my own, don’t worry. As long as you are 50 percent or less at fault, then you can still make a recovery. It’s just that the amount of money that you’ll get is reduced by that percentage.

So for instance, if you are in a car crash and a jury decides that the other driver was 75 percent at fault and you were 25 percent at fault and your injuries were let’s say $100,000 worth of injuries, the jury would decide that you are entitled to $100,000. The jury would also decide that because you were 25 percent at fault, that the amount that you are ultimately going to recover would be $75,000.

Now, if your fault goes past 50 percent, if you’re 51 percent at fault then you cannot recover any amount of money. That’s an analysis that we’ll make for you when we learn the details of your case, and it’s part of what goes into our analysis in deciding whether we can help you with a case, is how much do we think you’re at fault, do we think that we can prove that you are no more than 50 percent at fault? And if we do, then it’s a case that can proceed.