According to Mike Agruss Law firm, determining fault in an Illinois car accident case involves evaluating the concept of negligence. Negligence is the failure to exercise reasonable care while driving, resulting in harm or injury to other motorists or pedestrians. In Illinois, several key factors are considered when determining fault in car accident cases. Here is what you should know.
Duty of Care and Breach of Duty
Illinois is an at-fault state regarding car accidents, which means that the party responsible for the accident may be required to compensate the injured party for their damages, including medical expenses, property damage, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
When it comes to determining fault in car accidents, one of the most important elements is the duty of care and if it was breached. We all have a duty of care to one another, including drivers. Therefore, the duty of care refers to drivers’ duty to safely operate their vehicles, obey traffic laws, and avoid actions that could harm others.
In car accidents, it must be determined if one or more parties breached their duty of care, such as engaging in reckless driving, speeding, running a red light, distracted driving, drunk driving, improper lane changes, or failure to yield.
After the breach of duty is established, the next step in determining fault is proving that the breach of duty is the cause of the accident and the resulting injuries. Therefore, negligent actions must be proved to have caused the accident and the harm suffered by the victims.
In many instances, a driver isn’t completely responsible for the accident, which is where Illinois’s modified comparative fault system comes in. In situations where both parties in a car accident are at fault, they will be assigned a percentage of fault based on the available evidence.
If a party is found to be more than 51% or more at fault for the accident, they will be barred from recovering damages. If the percentage is lower, the compensation will be reduced proportionally based on their percentage of fault.
Gathering Evidence and Expert Testimony
The most crucial aspect in determining fault is gathering evidence, and since the percentage of fault plays a major role in your compensation, working with a car accident lawyer is crucial.
A car accident lawyer will help you prove fault by gathering key pieces of evidence such as police reports, eyewitness statements, photographs or videos of the accident scene, traffic camera footage, vehicle damage assessments, and medical records.
The reason why medical records are needed is to quantify the damages you are entitled to. In complex car accident cases where a lawsuit is initiated and the determination of fault is disputed, your lawyer might also use expert witnesses to provide testimonies.
These professionals can be reconstruction experts, medical professionals, or other specialists who can provide their professional unbiased opinions to establish fault.