After suffering from a car accident in Winnebago County, you have to deal with multiple expenses for your vehicle’s damages and your injuries. Knowing that the accident was not your fault, you decide to take the other driver to court to receive coverage for the financial burdens that they caused.
However, you should not go in expecting that you will receive compensation for everything the other motorist inflicted. The defendant can claim that you were at fault in the accident as well. If the court believes them, you will be leaving with less coverage than you were aiming for. Before you head to court, you should know about Illinois’ comparative negligence law and how to prepare to prove the other driver’s liability in the courtroom.
What is comparative negligence?
Comparative negligence is when the court determines the amount of liability both the plaintiff and the defendant have and apply it to the compensation. After both parties present their case, the court states how much each side is at fault with percentages. For example, if you have $50,000 worth of damages and the court believes you were 20% at fault for the accident, then you will recover $40,000 back.
What makes Illinois different than some other states is that it uses a modified version of the system. With modified comparative fault, you can only receive coverage if the court finds that the defendant was over 50 percent liable for the accident. If the court finds you were more at fault, you receive no compensation for the accident.
What can I do to prove the other driver’s fault?
You now know that seeking compensation is not just about proving about the driver is at fault in Illinois. You have to show how much they are at fault. After the accident, there are a couple methods you can take to help convince the court of the other motorist’s liability:
- Take pictures: Show the type of damage they did to your motor vehicle and where it happened. If you were rear-ended, then there will be little doubt that you were the victim in the crash.
- Get the police report: If you and the other driver have a hard time determining who is at fault, you will contact the police to help you. After the officer finishes the report and determines who is at fault, ask for a copy to use in your case.
- Use witnesses: If you know of any credible witnesses who were near or at the scene, their second opinion can help reinforce your argument to the court.
- Know your laws: If the other driver crashed into you because they broke a law through failing to yield or speeding, you will have more credibility as your road behavior means you should not have been hit to begin with.
If you have any difficulties with proving this, an attorney can help you build your case and prepare for any counterarguments by the defense to help you get maximum coverage for your personal injuries.