Determining the settlement amount in Illinois is a two-part analysis. The analysis begins with a review of the accident and how it occurred to establish the relative fault of the drivers. Illinois law presumes that the driver who crashed into the rear of the vehicle in front bears the responsibility for the crash. The presumption is not mandatory and can be rebutted by showing that the driver of the car in front is the party responsible for causing the accident. There are some cases where both drivers share a portion of the blame for the rear-end collision. In that instance, the party who was less responsible than the other party can win some damages.
The second component of legal analysis concerns the number of damages connected to the accident that the victim suffered. Some losses are easy to determine. Lawyers refer to those damages as economic or special damages. Economic damages are medical bills, doctors’ costs, prescription costs, future medical costs, lost wages, and the like caused by the accident. An accident victim can also suffer non-economic damages. Non-economic damages can be compensated for pain and suffering, disfigurement, loss of quality of life, loss of enjoyment of life, amputation, and other injuries that are not easily given to calculating.
Contributory or comparative negligence is one common defense insurance companies use to limit the amount of money they pay out in insurance settlements. In Illinois, a comparative negligence state, the victim of the accident must be less than 50% at fault for the crash to have the legal capacity to bring a lawsuit. If you go to court and win, but the jury finds you at fault to some degree less than 50%, the law reduces your recovery by the percentage the jury assigned to your fault. For example, if you won a $50,000.00 judgment, but the jury found you 10% responsible, you would win $45,000.00.
This is why you need an experienced car accident attorney to fight for your maximum compensation and to protect your legal rights.
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Stein & Shulman, LLC has over 45 years of combined experienced in Illinois Personal Injury Law. You can receive a free and instant case review by calling our office at 312.422.0500.