Illinois Comparative Fault — Why is the Insurance Company Blaming Me for Causing the Accident?
Suddenly another driver slams into your vehicle causing a traffic accident. You expected the insurance company for the other driver to compensate you for your injuries and losses. Now the insurance adjuster is blaming you for causing the car accident. Why? The answer may be found in the Illinois comparative fault law.
What is Comparative Fault?
Under comparative fault, each person involved in a car accident is assigned a percentage of fault for the cause of the collision. In some car accidents, one driver may have 100 percent fault for causing the crash. For instance, a driver fails to yield the right of way and turns left in front of another vehicle, thereby causing a crash. The driver who turned left without the right of way is usually 100 percent at fault for the cause of the car accident.
However, if the other driver was speeding through a yellow light at the time of the collision, a jury might find that the speeding driver contributed to the cause of the accident. If the case goes to trial, a jury assigns each driver a percentage of fault after comparing how each driver’s actions contributed to the cause of the crash. The percentage assigned to each driver should be based on the evidence presented at trial, but it is up to the jury to determine whether one or both drivers were at fault for causing the crash.
Why Does the Insurance Company Want to Blame Me for Causing the Crash?
Illinois is an at-fault insurance state. You must prove that the other party was “at fault” or caused the car accident before you can recover compensation from that party. Therefore, the insurance company may want to blame you for causing the crash so it can avoid paying your injury claim.
In some cases, an insurance company may try to claim that an accident victim shares responsibility for the cause of the crash. This tactic can save the insurance company money if it is successful in arguing that an accident victim played a role in causing the crash because of Illinois’ comparative fault law.
Under comparative fault, the money you receive for your accident claim is reduced by the percentage of fault assigned to you for causing a motor vehicle accident. For instance, if a jury assigned you 40 percent fault for the crash, your compensation is reduced by 40 percent. The insurance company for the other driver would only be required to pay you 60 percent of the total value of your accident claim.
If the insurance company can prove that you were 51 percent or more at fault for the cause of the crash, you are barred from recovering any money for your claim. Therefore, insurance companies search for ways they can blame accident victims for contributing to the cause of the crash because they can save money or possibly pay nothing for a claim.
Be Careful What You Say After a Car Accident
One way insurance adjusters gather information the company can use against an accident victim is through statements made by accident victims. The adjuster may request that you provide a written or recorded statement to process your claim.
WARNING! Anything you say to the adjuster could be used later in your case to hurt your claim, especially if the statement is recorded or signed by you. Even a simple statement such as you overslept that morning or you worked late the night before could give the insurance company grounds to argue that you were rushing or distracted at the time of the crash.
It is typically best to limit what you say to the insurance company, adjusters, and investigators about your car accident until you have a chance to discuss your case with a Chicago personal injury attorney.
Contact a Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer for a Free Case Review
One of the best ways you can protect your legal rights is to learn more about your options for recovering compensation after a car accident from an experienced car accident attorney in Chicago. Get the facts from a legal advocate who has your best interests as the top priority.
Costa Ivone, LLC
311 N Aberdeen St #100B, Chicago, IL 60607