Fault plays a big role in Illinois car crashes. One of the drivers involved may have to pay a ticket if a police officer decides that they caused the wreck. That determination of fault will also influence which insurance policy pays for costs directly tied to the crash.
Many times, the fault for a collision is clear. One driver didn’t use a turn signal, didn’t stop at an intersection or engaged in an unsafe maneuver, like a U-turn in heavy traffic. Other times, an objective review of circumstances will show that both drivers played a partial role in the collision.
If you made a small mistake that contributed to your recent crash, what impact will that have on your compensation?
Partial fault can affect personal injury claims
When you played a small role in a crash but the other driver is the one that police cited for the collision, you can typically expect their insurance policy to reimburse you for your expenses. What you receive will be subject to limitations based on how much coverage the other driver carried and possibly your negotiations with an insurance adjuster.
When insurance coverage isn’t high enough or a driver doesn’t have coverage at all, the people hurt in a crash could possibly take the driver at fault to civil court. During civil proceedings, your personal responsibility for the wreck could affect your claim.
The other driver can use your contributory negligence as a defense to your claim. If they convince the courts that you are partially responsible for the wreck, the Illinois civil courts will then review the circumstances and assign you a percentage of fault.
If the courts decide that you are more than half responsible for the crash, that will prevent you from bringing a civil claim under Illinois state law. If you are less than half at fault for the wreck, then you can still move forward with your lawsuit, although the courts will reduce how much they award you by the percentage of fault they assign to you.
How do you fight claims of contributory negligence?
Sometimes, drivers with grounds for a personal injury claim will acknowledge that they were at least partially responsible for the crash. Other times, the claims of the other driver may be a blatant attempt to deny you compensation through any possible means necessary. Statements by witnesses, traffic and security camera footage or even crash reconstruction can help you convince the court that you actually did not contribute to the cause of the crash or at least that your role was minimal.
Learning more about personal injury laws in Illinois can help you get the compensation you need after a major collision.