Sustaining an injury in any type of accident can be a painful and frightening experience. However, accidents caused by someone else’s negligent or reckless conduct tend to be especially frustrating for victims who may be forced to foot the bill for expensive medical treatments, while also having to take time off from work while they recuperate. Fortunately, Illinois law accounts for these situations by allowing injured parties to file civil claims against those who caused or contributed to their injuries. To learn more about filing your own claim for accident-related damages, please call a member of our Palatine personal injury team for advice.
In most accident cases, whether a person is able to collect compensation for an injury depends on his or her ability to prove that a defendant’s negligence caused the accident. For instance, like many other states, Illinois uses a fault system to handle car accident cases, which means that injured parties have a number of different options following an accident, including:
Although this is the general rule, there are some exceptions, in which accident victims are not required to prove negligence in order to recover damages. In dog bite cases, for example, a dog’s owner is held strictly liable for any injuries caused by his or her animal. This means that regardless of an animal’s past behavior, if it bites or somehow injures another person, the owner must compensate the victim for medical expenses, lost wages, and property damage. This type of claim can only be defeated if the injured party was trespassing or provoked the animal prior to the attack.
Whether a person is filing a strict liability claim or a claim based on negligence, he or she must begin the claim filing process within a certain amount of time, known as a statute of limitations. In Illinois, injured parties have two years from the date of their accident to file a suit against the at-fault party for damages. The rules are slightly different when the defendant is a city or county. In these cases, plaintiffs have only one year to file suit and may also need to comply with other procedural requirements.
Although accidents that are purely the fault of one party do occur, it is much more common for multiple individuals or entities to bear some of the responsibility for an accident. Fortunately, Illinois is a comparative fault state, which means that even plaintiffs who contribute to their own accidents are not automatically barred from recovering damages. Instead, the court will apportion responsibility and reduce the plaintiff’s recovery amount by his or her degree of fault. Only when an injured party is found to be 50 percent or more at fault for an accident will he or she be barred from collecting damages.
Please contact the SAM LAW OFFICE LLC at 847-255-9925 to speak with an experienced injury lawyer who can evaluate your case.