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The circumstances that lead to major motor vehicle collisions in significant personal injuries aren't always straightforward when it comes to the assignment of fault or responsibility. It is possible for two or more parties to contribute directly to the circumstances that result in a significant crash.

Sometimes, everyone involved shares an equal amount of blame. Other times, although it's obvious one person is primarily responsible, other people involved in the crash may be partially responsible for the outcome.

For example, if one driver is under the influence of alcohol or looking down at their cellphone, they likely carry the primary burden of responsibility for the crash. However, if the other driver failed to use a turn signal, the driver who didn't use their blinker may have some degree of blame for the crash that resulted.

How does Illinois handle shared liability in a personal injury claim?

If the accident was serious enough to necessitate a personal injury claim in order for someone to cover the cost of medical care or property damage, shared responsibility can impact the outcome of the claim. The burden of proof that a plaintiff played a role in a situation that led to injuries or property damage typically falls on the defendant.

In Illinois, the courts refer to someone's contributions to the circumstances that caused the crash as contributory negligence or comparative fault. The state of Illinois uses pure comparative negligence when it comes to contributions made by a plaintiff toward the negative outcome in a situation.

When the courts determine that the plaintiff in a personal injury case carries some contributory negligence or fault, they typically determine what percentage of responsibilities the plaintiff carries. That percentage will impact both the right to bring a claim and the amount of compensation you can see.

Contributory fault doesn't matter in cases of intentional misbehavior

In a case where one person didn't use their blinker and another didn't monitor the nearby road properly, both parties made a mistake and contributed to the crash, but neither did so in a reckless manner. However, when one driver gets behind the wheel while under the influence, texts and drives, or even decides to race on public roads, they behave with disregard for public safety.

In cases of reckless driving and behavior, comparative liability will play less of a role in the case and may not reduce the compensation ordered, depending on circumstances.

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Bonifield & Rosenstengel
16 East Main Street
Belleville, IL 62220

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