This is the second post in my series on handling pedestrian accident cases in Peoria, Illinois. My last article discussed an overview of the topics that will be addressed in this series. I am following with this article as it is important to understand that a victim’s damages incurred in such a matter may be reduced if the victim is found to be partially responsible. An experienced attorney will guide their client through the concept of comparative fault, and will be sure that the victim’s damages are reasonably determinable before a settlement is made. In this article I will discuss how comparative fault affects pedestrian accident cases in Illinois. If your or someone you love has been the victim of an accident, contact us today to speak with a lawyer.
Peoria pedestrian accident victims can still recover damages even if they were partially responsible for the incident
Illinois has adopted the model of comparative fault regarding the recovery of damages by an injured party in an accident case. The principle of comparative fault provides that a plaintiff’s recovery will be reduced in proportion to the extent the plaintiff is found responsible for the accident. This means that an injured party can still recover damages even if they are partially at fault for the accident. If the case proceeds to trial, the jury will assign a percentage of fault to each party. For example, if the jury determines the plaintiff was 30% responsible for the accident, the plaintiff can only recover 70% of the damages from the defendant.
Comparative fault in a pedestrian accident case is best described by way of an example. Suppose an elderly person is walking across a street in the pedestrian crosswalk. The elderly person entered the right-of-way while the traffic light was still yellow. The defendant was driving and entered the traffic light while distracted on his phone. It was determined that the defendant did not yield or slow down when entering the yellow light and ran the light when they hit the elderly plaintiff. The plaintiff’s damages were $1,000,000 dollars due to a traumatic brain injury and other permanent injuries. Under this scenario, the jury may find that the plaintiff was negligent and partially responsible for the accident since she entered the walkway on a yellow light. At trial, the jury finds that the defendant was 80% responsible since they were driving while texting on their phone although the plaintiff was also partially responsible. The victim could be awarded $800,000 under these circumstances since they were allocated 20% of the fault of the accident. In Illinois, the plaintiff would have received nothing if the jury had found the plaintiff was over 50% at fault for the accident. It is important to understand that a jury’s determination in a given case is always dependent on the specific facts of the matter.
Illinois pedestrian accident victims should hire an experienced trial attorney to receive the best outcome before a jury
The issue of comparative fault is complex and very fact specific. If you have been injured as a pedestrian, you should retain an attorney experienced in presenting these types of cases before a jury. If you are found to be more than 50% at fault, it is possible you may not recover any monetary compensation for your injuries. It is important to remember that your day in court before a jury is your only chance to present the facts of your case. An experienced personal injury lawyer will have the requisite knowledge of the law to successfully present your case to the jury to obtain the best possible result.
If you or a family member are in need of assistance then contact my office today to speak with a Peoria pedestrian accident lawyer. My office will be responsive throughout the process and be in regular communication with you about your case. Contact us online or by telephone today. Our firm also serves clients in the Illinois cities of Bloomington, Eureka, Galesburg, Morton, Normal, Pekin, Springfield, and Washington.