In Illinois personal injury cases, comparative negligence would be what your own negligence is in relation to the defendant or whoever you claim is the main responsible party. For example, if you and the other driver are both found to be responsible for the accident, comparative negligence would come into play to determine what percentage you were at fault, and what percentage the other driver was a fault.
If it goes to trial and a verdict is reached, the jury may determine if there is any type of fault on the part of the plaintiff. Illinois is a state where if there’s a certain percentage fault attributed to the plaintiff, the verdict would be reduced by whatever that percentage fault is attributed to the plaintiff. For example, if you are found to be 10% responsible for the accident, the amount of the verdict would be reduced by 10%. However, if the plaintiff is determined to be 50% or more at fault, there would be no recovery at all.
Q: In comparative negligence, how does the judge describe to the jury what they can and cannot consider?
The damages to the plaintiff would be one calculation, and then a separate calculation would be the percentage of their own fault for those damages. Assuming that the jury finds a favorable verdict on behalf of the Plaintiff, they would first determine the total damages to the plaintiff. For example, if the verdict is for $1,000,000, the jury would then determine the percentage of fault that was the defendant’s and what percentage was fault of the plaintiff. Then the verdict would be adjusted based upon that percentage.
If you’re a passenger, in all likelihood, you’re going to have zero comparative negligence. You potentially could have a case against both the driver of the vehicle that you were a passenger in as well as against another vehicle that allegedly caused the accident.
In the era of ridesharing the potential claims of passengers are on the rise. Contact our office in the event you are the victim of a car accident while riding in an Uber, Lfyt or any other form of ridesharing.
When an accident involves multiple defendants there are numerous issues that need to be dealt with by a skilled attorney. If an injury results from the negligence of two or more separate defendants, the jury will apportion the fault amongst the defendants with the combined percentage being 100%.
In Illinois, if a Defendant’s fault exceeds 25% of the overall fault (26% for example), then that Defendant is considered both joint and severally liable for the Plaintiff’s damages, This means that a Plaintiff can collect the full verdict from that Defendant even though their fault is only apportioned at 26%. If the defendant who is 26% at fault ends up having to pay all of the judgment, then that Defendant can seek the excess amounts from their co-defendant(s).
Q: If I’m a passenger and both drivers were underinsured, can I pursue my own underinsured motorist coverage even though I wasn’t driving?
In all likelihood, yes, but it would depend upon what your insurance policy dictates. I would advise any clients to get a certified copy of their policy to make sure that there’s no type of exclusion.