Comparative Fault in an Illinois Personal Injury Case
How comparative negligence works in Illinois.
IntroductionThe State of Illinois has adopted modified comparative negligence as the standard for recovery of damages in a personal injury case. Specifically, the Illinois statute provides:
In all actions on account of bodily injury or death or physical damage to property, based on negligence, or product liability based on strict tort liability, the plaintiff shall be barred from recovering damages if the trier of fact finds that the contributory fault on the part of the plaintiff is more than 50% of the proximate cause of the injury or damage for which recovery is sought. The plaintiff shall not be barred from recovering damages if the trier of fact finds that the contributory fault on the part of the plaintiff is not more than 50% of the proximate cause of the injury or damage for which recovery is sought, but any damages allowed shall be diminished in the proportion to the amount of fault attributable to the plaintiff.
Comparative fault under Illinois StatuteSimply put, if you are injured and file suit against another party, that party can make a claim in response that you were more than 50% at fault for your own injuries. If a jury believes that you were more than 50% at fault, you are prohibited under the statute from recovering any damages for your injuries. On the other hand, if a jury finds that you were 50% or less responsible for your injuries, any recovery awarded to you will be reduced by the amount of your own negligence.
ExampleFor example, if a jury were to find you 30% responsible for the auto accident resulting in your injuries, and the jury determined that you suffered $100,000.00 total in injuries, that jury is required by the statute to award you only $70,000.00, based upon your comparative fault in the accident ($100,000.00, less 30% = $70,000.00).
ConclusionThe concept of comparative fault requires an additional level of analysis and consideration of the personal injury claim. As a result, it is important for anyone injured due to someone else's negligence to review their claim with an attorney as soon as possible.