Proving Liability in Illinois Personal Injury Cases
Each year, a significant number of people in the United States sustain serious injuries due to the negligence of others. There is no negligence without a “duty.” People or companies must owe you a duty in order for them to negligent and therefore liable. The law in Illinois determines who owes a duty to another, and in general – the duty owed is a duty of reasonable or ordinary care. In other words, the duty owed is not to be careless.
Victims of events like car crashes, falls and construction site accidents often have to struggle to pay expensive medical bills while losing additional income during their recovery due to time off work.
It may be tempting to believe that because you have sustained injuries in an accident that was not your fault, you are entitled to compensation, but the process is often complicated.
To simplify this understanding take for example the operator of an automobile and yourself as a pedestrian. If the operator of the automobile goes through a red light while you are walking through the crosswalk with a walk sign and they hit you, they are careless. They are negligent and liable for your injuries. The law in Illinois is that the driver of the automobile owes the general public a duty of reasonable care.
Other people owe the general public a duty of reasonable care as well. Automobile operators, general contractors, manufactures of products, physicians, homeowners, business owners, landlords, airlines, certain government agencies, and even lawyers owe the general public a duty of reasonable care – among others.
This is what you need to consider when proving liability in Illinois:
Proving the Plaintiff’s Liability
There are four elements to this process:
- Prove the Defendant owed you a duty of reasonable care
- Prove the Defendant broke this duty during the course of the accident
- Prove that you suffered injuries as a result of the defendant’s action
- Prove that the Defendants breach of duty caused these injures
What happens after this claim?
Once you have made your claim regarding the Defendant’s liability in the accident, the legal process allows the Defendant the opportunity to refute it. There are several avenues that the Defendant may use in order to do so, including comparative or contributory negligence, assumption of risk and product misuse.
It is common for Defendants to claim the Plaintiff was equally or at least somewhat negligent. This approach may lead the Jury to limit the liability for the accident by the degree of your negligence. Even if the court finds the Defendant guilty, there is a possibility that they will reduce any potential compensation by the percentage of your own responsibility in the matter.
In Illinois, if the Jury finds the Plaintiff (injured party) more than 50% at fault, then the Plaintiff loses the case. If the Plaintiff is found to be 25% at fault, the Plaintiff’s jury verdict will be reduced by 25%.
At Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates, we help people who have suffered injuries due to another company or person’s negligence, and we can work with you to protect both your rights and your livelihood.
Personal injury cases are often not as simple and straightforward as they appear, and it can be useful to consult with a Chicago accident attorney who has knowledge of state and local laws, as well as experience in proving liability.
If you would like to speak with one of the negligence attorneys at Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates about a potential personal injury or work injury that occurred in Cook County or other surrounding counties, please call our offices today at (800)-985-1819 for a free consultation.