Under Illinois negligence law, parties are held responsible for negligent behavior that caused someone injury. The state follows comparative negligence law and the 51 percent rule, meaning parties must be 50 percent at fault or less to collect damages for medical bills and more. The statutes regarding these laws are outlined in § 735 ILCS 5/2-1116 and discussed below – a personal injury attorney in McHenry County can help explain how the laws apply to a particular case.
Comparative Negligence Laws in Illinois
Negligence is basically defined as behavior in which a party fails to uphold his or her legal duty of care. If someone acts irresponsibly and doesn’t meet a reasonable standard of care, he or she poses a danger to others.
Illinois follows what’s known as modified comparative negligence law, which assesses the degree of fault each party had for the accident and adjusts their settlements accordingly.
Under Illinois negligence laws, an injured party can be up to 50 percent responsible for an accident and still receive compensation for injuries. This may require providing to the insurance companies or the courts that the other party (or parties) was 50 percent or more responsible for the accident.
Proving Negligence on an Injury Claim
Essentially, Illinois negligence law is a compromise system. Each party will have an opportunity to demonstrate fault, and legal (and financial) responsibility for the accident will be in direct proportion to the degree of fault they are assigned.
In order to prove negligence on a personal injury case, the plaintiff will have to show that:
- the defendant owed a legal duty of care;
- the defendant failed to uphold that duty;
- the defendant’s actions or inaction caused the plaintiff harm; and
- the plaintiff suffered an actual injury.
There are numerous factors the courts will look at to determine whether or not there was negligent behavior, and it can be difficult to demonstrate liability without proper preparation, evidence, and delivery. For this reason, many injured parties pursue their negligence claims with a personal injury attorney in McHenry County who handles their particular kind of case.
Examples of How Illinois Negligence Law Can Be Applied
One instance of how comparative negligence might play out is in the case of a pedestrian that jaywalks and is struck by a car. The pedestrian may be assigned a certain degree of fault for the accident.
If the damages were calculated at $100,000 for the pedestrian’s losses, for example, and the pedestrian was found to be 30 percent at fault for the accident, then the pedestrian’s settlement award would be reduced to $70,000.
Another example might be a medical malpractice case in which a patient suffers injury because of a misdiagnosis, but the doctor also alleges that the patient failed to provide all the details about symptoms and medical background. Both parties might be found to be partly responsible: the patient for failing to provide certain details of a medical condition or history, and the physician if he or she did not run standard tests.
The Importance of Proving Fault
Because Illinois negligence law is the premise of tort cases, it’s necessary to successfully prove fault, as well as damages to the court. If a plaintiff is unable to prove that the defendant acted in a careless manner, he or she may not be successful and no settlement will be awarded.
There are a number of facts that can be brought to light in a case to prove liability, such as:
- police reports;
- witness testimonies;
- photos or videos of accident scene; and
- medical reports.
An attorney may be able to help collect evidence, accurately demonstrate fault, determine and calculate damages, and pursue a fair settlement award.
Obtaining Legal Help from a Personal Injury Attorney in McHenry County
Attorneys at Franks & Rechenberg, P.C. focus on injury claims and routinely help clients obtain equitable settlements. We are available at (847) 854-7700 for free consultations regarding injury cases and how Illinois negligence law may apply.