A large part of any personal injury case is determining fault, and not only will this have a bearing on the outcome, but it will even depend on what state you live in. Heller, Trakhtman & Associates will explore the different ways that fault is handled in the United States and explain the bearing it will have on your case in Illinois.
What is a Modified Comparative Negligence State?
Most states use what’s called modified comparative negligence, Illinois included. In total, 34 states use this modified comparative negligence to determine damages including neighboring states like Wisconsin, Iowa, and Indiana.
Here’s how it works. In these states, your damages are reduced by your percentage of fault. However, if you are determined to be more than 50% at fault, then you receive no damages at all. In these states, it is important that you are able to establish fault at or below that 50% threshold.
What is a Pure Comparative Negligence State?
It is worth taking a look at how some other states handle it. In all, 13 states use pure comparative negligence. It works just like modified comparative negligence. However, there is no 50% threshold. In other words. Even if you are 99% at fault, you can still receive damages. Illinois neighbors Missouri and Kentucky use this in their personal injury law.
What is a Contributory Negligence State?
This is the extreme other side of personal injury fault. In these states, you can not win any damages if you have any fault, even if it’s a 1% fault. It’s a good thing only four states and the District of Columbia use this in their personal injury law.
Finding a Personal Injury Lawyer in Illinois
Luckily, the personal injury laws in Illinois are favorable. Though it isn’t as favorable as some of our neighboring states that use pure comparative negligence in determining damages, with modified comparative negligence you can still get a favorable outcome even if you are partially at fault. Ensuring that you have a good lawyer handling your case will give you the best chance of having a favorable outcome.
You can count on Heller, Trakhtman & Associates in the Chicago area. We have over 75 years of combined experience right here in Chicago. We serve Cook County, Lake County, and even Southeastern Wisconsin and you can reach out to us today for a free consultation.
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