Liability is easy to determine in many car accident situations. For instance, if you are driving in your lane according to the posted speed limit and another driver runs a stop sign and slams into the side of your car, that driver is highly likely to bear the responsibility for the accident and any injuries you sustained. However, some car accident cases are not so clear in terms of how much responsibility each participant to the accident should carry.
Shared liability for damages
If the driver running the stop sign mentioned above slammed into the side of your vehicle but you were also breaking the speed limit and/or texting while driving and failed to avoid the accident, you may bear partial liability for your own injuries.
Consider this scenario: a pedestrian jaywalks across the street and in the process is hit by a driver. After the accident is investigated, it is determined that the driver was not speeding, intoxicated, texting, or acting negligently in any other way. In this instance, the pedestrian would have no legal right to recover compensation for his or her injuries.
However, if the driver was distracted or driving even a few miles per hour over the speed limit, and it was demonstrated that he or she was more than 50 percent responsible for the crash, the pedestrian would have just cause to file a suit for damages. However, the compensation awarded to the pedestrian would be decreased according to the percentage he or she was determined at fault for the illegal act of jaywalking.
Another example for shared liability can occur when one driver was speeding but the other driver was also driving erratically or changing lanes suddenly. The degree of liability assigned to each party must be determined by the insurance adjusters or in a court of law.
Determining liability percentage
When more than one party bears responsibility for a car accident that results in bodily injury, the parties themselves – or the court (judge or jury) if the case reaches trial – determines what percentage of the responsibility rests with each party. Naturally, a party whose actions are determined to have contributed more to the crash will be considered more liable.
Adding to the above example, it may not be unreasonable to expect the driver who ran the stop sign to be assigned 70 percent liability for the accident, with the other party assigned 30 percent for his or her action of texting while driving, which is unlawful in the state of Illinois. Of course, these percentages are only speculative – the actual liability percentages would be determined based on all of the facts of the case.
Our Chicago car accident attorneys at Gainsberg Law are committed to helping injured car crash victims and their families secure the full compensation they deserve for their losses. We can also fight for you if you have suffered injuries due to the negligence of another driver. You may be able to obtain a financial settlement that includes damages for lost wages, medical bills, property damage, and pain and suffering. To arrange a free consultation, call our law office today at 312.313.1621 or fill out our contact form.