people in courtroomThis is the next post in a series of articles discussing trucking accident cases in Peoria, Illinois. My previous post explained the importance of identifying all potential defendants in such cases. When an accident involves a commercial truck, it is not uncommon for multiple parties to bear responsibility for the crash. In addition to the driver of the vehicle, the driver’s employer, the owner of the truck, or other third parties may be potentially liable. Identifying all necessary parties can help ensure that victims and their families receive compensation for their damages. In this article, I will discuss how Illinois’ comparative fault laws apply in the context of trucking accident cases. If you or a loved one have been injured then contact my office today to speak with an attorney.

Accident victims often hesitate to pursue their rights if they believe they were, in some way, partially responsible for the incident. In Illinois, like many states, however, a victim who was less than fifty percent responsible for a crash may still recover a portion of their damages from the party or parties involved. When a victim is found to have been partially liable for the crash, their damage award will be reduced by their proportion of responsibility. This concept, known as comparative fault, can become extremely complicated and contentious in truck accident litigation. This is because the jury is tasked with determining the victim’s and the defendant’s respective percentages of liability, which directly impacts the amount of compensation the defendant will be ordered to pay to the victim. Damage awards are often significant in truck accident cases and multiple defendants may be involved, further complicating the comparative fault analysis.

Consider the following example. Sue is driving her car on the highway and exceeding the speed limit by 10 miles per hour. Her car is struck by a semi that changes lanes abruptly without signaling, causing a major accident involving serious injuries for Sue. The driver claims that Sue sped into his blindspot, which caused the crash. After filing her lawsuit, Sue’s lawyer obtains phone records that prove the driver was texting at the time of the accident. Although Sue was traveling above the speed limit, the jury determines that the primary cause of the crash was the driver’s negligence. They decide that Sue was twenty percent responsible and the driver was eighty percent responsible. Sue’s damages are calculated at $1,000,000 given her serious injuries. Because she was twenty percent liable, her damages are reduced by $200,000 and the defendant is ordered to pay her $800,000. It is important to remember that how a jury will rule, in any given situation, will always depend on the specific facts of the case.

Comparative fault is a highly fact-specific analysis and will differ from case to case depending on the circumstances surrounding each accident. It is crucial, therefore, to select a lawyer with experience in trucking accident cases and who understands how comparative fault may impact your rights. If you need assistance, contact my Peoria office today. Our firm also serves clients in the Illinois cities of Bloomington, Eureka, Galesburg, Morton, Normal, Pekin, Springfield, and Washington.