When a traffic accident occurs, everyone involved usually has an interest in establishing which party caused the accident. This determination is generally used to establish who will be financially responsible for the damages caused by the collision. Sometimes, the fault is quite clear, such as in a case where a careless driver crashes into the rear of a vehicle that is sitting at a traffic light. In other cases, determining blame is more complicated, as any number of drivers could have played a part in causing the crash. If there is more than one party with at least some fault for a car accident, the liability for any resulting injuries or damages could be shared also.
Types of Shared Fault Models
Each state maintains its own laws regarding how liability may be shared when the plaintiff in a personal injury case is partially at fault for the incident in question and states generally use one of three basic models. The first model is called “pure contributory fault,” which is used in just four states, as well as Washington, D.C. Under this rule, the injured party can only collect compensation as long as the victim had no fault at all for the crash. Even if the defendant was 99 percent at fault and the plaintiff was 1 percent to blame, the plaintiff is barred from collecting damages.
The second model is called “pure comparative fault.” Under this rule, a victim can obtain compensation from the defendant as long as the defendant has at least some portion of the fault. The victim could even be 99 percent to blame, and he or she could still technically collect compensation. The payable compensation would be decreased by the percentage of blame assigned to the victim, but a payout is possible for the injured party. California, Florida, Missouri, and 10 other states utilize the pure comparative fault model.
Illinois Uses Modified Comparative Fault
Illinois, along with 32 other states, use the last model, and it is known as “modified comparative fault.” This system can be broken down into two versions: the 50 percent and 51 percent variations. Illinois uses the 51 percent variation, which means that an injured plaintiff can obtain compensation, but only if he or she is less than 51 percent to blame for the accident. (In 50-percent-rule states, an equal share of blame would make the victims ineligible for compensation.)
The payable damages would be decreased by the percentage of fault attributed to the victim. If, for example, you are found to be 25 percent at fault for an accident in which you suffered injuries and property damages valued at a total of $160,000, you would only be entitled to collect $120,000—a 25 percent reduction from the total.
Contact a Sangamon County Personal Injury Lawyer
If you or a loved one were hurt in a crash for which liability is uncertain, contact a knowledgable Springfield car accident attorney to get the guidance and representation you need. Call 888-826-8682 to schedule your free consultation with the team at Kanoski Bresney today. We will work hard to protect your rights and best interests, no matter how complicated your case may be.