How Comparative Negligence Works in an Injury Claim

Published on: 04/02/24 — In 

Are you an accident victim and believe you may be entitled to financial compensation for damages and bodily injuries? If you're looking to file a personal injury claim with your insurance company or against the fault party, but don't know where to start, call our experienced attorneys at Ktenas Injury Attorneys in Illinois.

We understand the complex and time-consuming process of filing an injury claim under the comparative negligence law and how this doctrine affects the injured party. We believe accident victims should receive fair compensation for their injuries.

Our skilled Chicago injury attorneys will create a strong comparative negligence defense strategy for your specific case and advocate for you to receive what you deserve. To schedule a free consultation call us at (312) 300-2515.

What is Comparative Negligence?

Comparative fault is a legal doctrine used in personal injury court cases that compares and determines the degrees of fault that each party bears in the accident. For instance, it recognizes that most accidents are caused by two or more individuals and many factors go into the reason for the accident. This legal principle recognizes that if both involved parties share some responsibility for the accident, they will both be held accountable for the economic damages.

Pure Comparative Negligence

Pure comparative negligence is a legal rule that allows the prosecutor to claim damages even if they are mostly at fault for the accident. Under this rule, the court assigns a percentage of responsibility to each party involved, including the plaintiff.

legal documents discussing comparative negligence

Even if the plaintiff is found to be 99% at fault, they can still recover monetary damages for the remaining 1% for which they are not responsible. This means that the amount of compensation for negligence received by the plaintiff is directly proportionate to their assigned level of fault.

The pure comparative negligence rule acknowledges that incidents of injury are rarely clear-cut cases of one party being entirely to blame. It recognizes that both parties involved in a dispute may have contributed to some extent to the occurrence of an event.

Modified Comparative Negligence

The majority of the states in the US, including Illinois, follow the modified comparative negligence principle when it comes to negligence injury claims. In the modified comparative negligence system, the court presumes that both parties shared some degree of fault in the accident, but it seeks to determine who had the most fault.

When working under this injury claim model, if a person is 50% or more at fault for the accident, they cannot obtain financial compensation for damages and injuries. However, if the person is less than 50% at fault, they will be entitled to compensation for their injuries but the amount will be comparable to their degree of fault.

This means that even if someone shares responsibility for causing an accident, they cannot seek compensation if their assigned fault crosses this threshold. If a driver is found to be 60% at fault in a car accident, they will not be eligible to receive compensation from other responsible parties under this regulation.

The Difference Between Comparative and Contributory Negligence

The Comparative Negligence Rule and Contributory Negligence Rule are two different legal approaches to determine fault and liability in personal injury cases and there is a considerable difference between the two legal approaches.

In comparative negligence, the court assumes that both parties share some degree of negligence for the accident. The court considers the level of fault for each party involved in an accident or incident. This means that damages are apportioned based on each party's level of responsibility.

If one party is determined to be 70% at fault and the other party is found to be 30% at fault, the damages awarded will be proportionally reduced by the percentages.

On the other hand, the contributory negligence law states that if both parties had some degree of responsibility then there can be no compensation given. If a person is partially responsible for an accident, they may not be eligible for financial compensation for their injuries. This rule is inflexible and can result in unfair outcomes.

What Happens When Multiple Parties Share Responsibility for an Accident?

In cases where multiple parties share responsibility for an accident, the courts play a crucial role in determining each party's degree of liability. This often involves a comprehensible investigation of the accident, which may include collecting evidence through witness statements and witness testimony. Once all relevant information is examined, the courts will determine a percentage of fault to each party involved in the case.

The assigned percentages of fault are then used as a basis to determine how much compensation each party will be responsible for covering. The more negligent or responsible party will typically be required to bear a larger portion of the financial burden.

scales, law books, and a gavel on a wooden desk

For instance, if one party is found to be 40% responsible while another is found to be 60% responsible, the latter will have to contribute 60% towards compensating for the total damages caused by the accident.

How Comparative Negligence Affects Your Compensation

In Illinois, the comparative negligence doctrine can have a significant impact on the amount of compensation you receive in a personal injury case. Under the system of comparative negligence, your level of fault is assigned a percentage, which is then used to calculate the overall compensation awarded to you.

The purpose of the comparative negligence standards is to ensure that individuals are not compensated for the portion of the accident for which they are at fault. The comparative negligence model recognizes that accidents are often caused by several people and a variety of factors; however, it's important to realize that due to this law, you may not be getting the most adequate amount of compensation that you deserve.

Questions About Comparative Negligence? Ask a Personal Injury Lawyer

We understand the complexities of filing a personal injury lawsuit or an insurance claim; furthermore, Illinois' modified comparative negligence laws can be confusing and overwhelming to understand and navigate.

Understandably, you may have questions about Illinois comparative negligence claims or concerns about class action lawsuits and complex trial proceedings.

If you or a loved one is battling an injury claim, our personal injury attorneys at Ktenas Injury Attorneys can help you understand the legal process.

Our experienced negligence lawyers in Chicago will help you file a claim to receive the maximum compensation for your losses including reimbursement for expensive costs for medical expenses. Call our law office for a free legal consultation with one of our accident attorneys today.