Can I Still Get Financial Recovery Even If I Was Partially Responsible for an Auto Accident?

Auto accidents are among the most common types of personal injury accidents, and even relatively minor car crashes can involve legal complexities, especially when more than one party is responsible for the accident. Auto accidents – particularly multi-vehicle accidents – often involve several layers of liability, with multiple motorists responsible for the accident.

But partial responsibility for an auto accident does not necessarily mean that you are not entitled to financial recovery.

When more than one party is responsible for an auto accident, principles of comparative negligence or contributory negligence generally apply. Although most states follow the comparative negligence system, or a modified comparative negligence regime, a few states continue to follow a contributory negligence system of liability.

Under a comparative negligence system, fault is allocated between the parties involved in the car accident. Some states apply a “pure” comparative negligence standard, in which auto accident victims can recover some compensation for their injuries even if they were negligent in causing the accident.

Other states, including Illinois, operate under the “modified” comparative negligence system, whereby a plaintiff’s recovery can still obtain financial recovery as long as his or her fault level remains below a certain level. In Illinois, an auto accident victim can recover damages as long as he or she is less than 50% at fault for the accident, with the amount of damages reduced in proportion to the degree to which the plaintiff was at fault. In other words, if you were 20% at fault for an auto accident, you can still collect money damages, but your financial recovery will be reduced by 20%.

Only a few states continue to follow contributory negligence standards, which eliminates a plaintiff’s ability to obtain financial recovery if he or she contributed to the accident in any way, regardless of how small.

Issues of comparative negligence can be incredibly complex and multi-vehicle auto accidents are often very adversarial, with multiple insurance companies all pointing the finger at each other. Do not be intimidated or assume that you are without recourse, however, even if you were partially responsible for an auto accident. The skilled Chicago car accident lawyers at Cogan & Power, P.C. are well-equipped to handle the legal complexities of car crash lawsuits involving comparative negligence and we will fight to get you the maximum recovery possible.

If you were involved in a car accident, are may be entitled to financial compensation for your injuries and damages – even if you were partially at fault. Contact our office at (312) 477-2500 to schedule a free consultation with one of our Chicago auto accident attorneys. If you cannot come to our offices in downtown Chicago, we will come to you. And because we take cases on a contingency basis, you will not pay any fee unless we get you compensation.