State law permits Illinois residents and even visitors to bring a personal injury claim against a person or a business that causes them financial losses through misconduct or negligent behavior. Sometimes, the responsible party has insurance, like premises liability coverage or a car insurance policy, that will reimburse those affected by their mistake. Other times, the person harmed in a crash will have no choice but to take the responsible party to civil court.
In a personal injury lawsuit, someone who suffered provable losses caused by someone else can ask the courts for compensation. There are limits on certain kinds of non-economic losses, like pain and suffering, but you can typically seek the full value of your losses.
If you are partially to blame for your injury, possibly because of a minor mistake on your part, what impact will that have on your compensation rights?
Illinois has a comparative fault rule that applies
Although fault is often very clear and obvious, sometimes the people involved in an incident share responsibility. Little mistakes on your part may have contributed to the outcome of the incident and may eventually diminish how much you receive from a personal injury claim.
When you file a civil lawsuit against another person or business, they can defend against your claim by proving comparative fault on your part. The Illinois civil courts can determine what percentage of responsibility you have for the situation. They will then reduce the compensation that they award you at the end of the lawsuit by that percentage. The burden of proof in such claims falls to the person trying to avoid responsibility for your injury or property damage losses.
Don’t let little issues keep you from getting compensation
Some people worry that their contributory mistakes will prevent them from filing an insurance claim, let alone from successfully taking action in civil court. Contributions usually only reduce what you can receive, rather than preventing your claim.
Certain mistakes, like failing to file a lawsuit in time, could have a much more serious impact. You typically only have two years from the date of the incident in question to file a lawsuit, or you risk losing your risk to compensation because the case’s timeline has exceeded the statute of limitations. Learning the rules that apply personal injury claims in Illinois will help you feel empowered about seeking compensation.