Illinois, being an at-fault state, means that when a driver gets into an accident, the party responsible for the accident must also be responsible for compensating others for their losses and damages. In Illinois, whoever is more than 50% at fault owes other parties damages.

This is in contrast to the much less common no-fault systems of no-fault states, where each party involved in an accident must turn to their own insurance policy for compensation.

Specifically, Illinois follows a modified comparative fault system, which is a means of assigning fault to all liable parties. This system reduces the amount a party can claim based on their own degree of fault.

Say, for example, that John and Debbie get in an accident, and John is held 75% at fault. Let’s also assume he has to pay Debbie racked up $20,000 in medical expenses and other damages because it was a pretty serious car accident.

In this scenario, Debbie would only be entitled to $15,000 in damages because of her own 25% fault contributing to the accident.

Modified comparative negligence means that if both parties were equally responsible for an accident occurring, neither party can make a claim against the other. So if John and Debbie are both 50% at fault, they will have to pursue compensation through other means.

Besides fault dictating the limits to a personal injury claim, Illinois also has a statute of limitations that prevents claims from being made once a certain amount of time has elapsed since the accident. This is set at two years for personal injury and five for property damage.

Insurance claims that remain pending on the day the statute of limitations expires can still be pursued. However, the pending status of such claims does not allow you to extend the statute for the purpose of filing a lawsuit.

This is why having a lawyer to bring cases to a prompt conclusion matters for car accident cases.

There also used to be a cap on the amount of money that can be recovered from a claim. This was changed in 2010 after Lebron v. Gottlieb Memorial Hospital, which found caps to damage claims to be a violation of the state’s constitution.

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