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What Happens When You are at Fault in a Car Accident

Car accidents occur countless times per day. In some accidents,  it is clear which driver involved in the accident is responsible. For example, in rear-end collisions the second driver the struck the first driver is almost always the one who caused the accident. In many cases, however, liability for an accident is disputed. Additionally, it is not uncommon for the party that is injured in a car accident to be partially responsible for causing the accident.  If you suffered injuries in a car accident and you believe you may be partially at fault for causing the accident you should speak with a trusted car accident attorney as soon as possible to discuss the circumstances surrounding your collision and whether you may be able to recover compensation.

A party seeking to recover compensation for injuries sustained in a car accident must prove another party is liable for his or her harm. The majority of car accident cases pursue damages via a negligence claim.  Negligence is comprised of four elements: a duty, breach, causation, and damages. In car accident cases, the duty owed is typically the duty to drive in a safe and reasonable manner under the circumstances that were present at the time of the accident, and the breach is the failure to do so. To prove causation you must show that the breach of the duty caused the accident. It is not necessary to show that the breach was the only cause of the accident, but you must show that the accident would not have occurred if the defendant did not breach his or her duty. Lastly, you must show that you suffered damages that can be quantified.

In many car accident cases, the defendant will attempt to refute liability by arguing that the injured driver caused the accident, and therefore, he or she should not be able to recover financially for the injuries sustained in the accident. If you were injured in a car accident, in most states if you are found to be partially liable for causing your car accident it does not automatically mean you cannot recover any damages. For example, Illinois law provides for modified comparative negligence.  Here a plaintiff in any lawsuit seeking compensation for personal injury is not barred from recovering compensation if he or she is not more than fifty percent responsible for causing the injuries for which he or she seeks to recover. Thus, as long as your fault in causing your accident is not greater than fifty percent, you may be awarded damages. Any damages you are awarded, however, will be reduced in proportion to the amount of fault allocated to you.  Twenty-three states use modified comparative negligence.

There are some states that use pure comparative negligence.  Using this law your award is decreased by your percentage of fault, even if you are more than fifty percent at fault.  For example, if a jury awards one hundred thousand dollars and finds the plaintiff sixty percent at fault, the award would be reduced to forty thousand dollars.  Recover is not barred if the plaintiff was found to be more than fifty percent at fault.

Further, there are a few states that use contributory negligence.  Here if the plaintiff is partially at fault, even just one percent, he or she will be barred from recovery.  This law is very unpopular, as it is seen to be unfair to the plaintiff.

Speak with a Capable Car Accident Attorney About Your Case

Car accidents are often caused by a variety of factors, and in many cases,  liability does not rest with one party. If you were injured in a car accident you should speak with a capable car accident attorney regarding your options for seeking damages and the potential hurdles to your recovery. The skilled car accident attorneys of Abels & Annes, P.C. will work tirelessly to help you prove another party should be held liable for any harm you suffered. We can be reached at (312) 924-7575 or through our online form to set up a confidential and free meeting to discuss your case.

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