If you’ve been injured in an auto accident, then you might be entitled to compensation under Illinois law. Auto accident litigation is not always as straightforward and uncomplicated as it might appear upon initial impression. As you begin to investigate the accident, there’s a good chance that you’ll discover facts and legal issues that throw a “wrench” into your understanding of the case.
Here at Parker & Parker, we understand just how complex personal injury litigation can be for the first-time plaintiffs. If you’d like to learn more about your auto accident claims and how we can help, contact us today to schedule a consultation.
Now, let’s take a closer look at some of the complications that you’re likely to encounter as you progress through auto accident litigation.
Identifying Liable Third-Parties
In auto accident litigation, there may be several third-parties — not just the driver — who can be held liable for your injuries. Potential third-party defendants include, but are not limited to:
- Property owners
- Public entities (i.e., the city, School District, etc.)
- Product manufacturers (i.e., an airbag manufacturer)
- Distracting pedestrians and/or passengers
- And more
For example, if you get into a car accident due to a defective traffic light, then you might have a right of action against both the defendant-driver and the city for failing to inspect and repair those traffic lights.
Common Plaintiff Concerns in the Auto Accident Context
Availability of Punitive Damages
Punitive damages are intended to discourage others from engaging in similar conduct to that of the defendant.
Punitive damages are only infrequently awarded, though when they are, the total damages in the case can skyrocket (as the amount of punitive damages is calculated by multiplying the compensatory damages by three to seven times). To qualify for punitive damages, you must be able to show that the defendant engaged in willful, malicious and/or egregious conduct.
If you are partially at-fault for your own injuries, then you can still recover damages — this is known as “pure comparative negligence.” You cannot be prevented from suing and recovering damages even if you are 99 percent at-fault. It’s important to note, however, that your maximum recoverable damages will be reduced in accordance with your contribution of fault.
Suppose, for example, that you are injured in an auto accident and suffer total losses of $100,000. If the court finds that you are 60 percent at-fault, then you may still proceed with the lawsuit and recover damages, but you will be limited to a maximum $40,000 compensatory damages award.
If you’ve been harmed by multiple defendants, then you may be able to secure your damages in full from one or more of the defendants.
Illinois applies a modified form of “several liability,” which allows you to sue and recover your damages in full from a single defendant, even if they are only partially at-fault. The Illinois modified rule does establish a minimum fault amount; however, it is capped at 25 percent, so each defendant’s contribution of fault must be carefully considered when strategizing for litigation.
Contact Parker & Parker for Immediate Legal Assistance
Here at Parker & Parker, our team is standing by to provide assistance. We are committed to client-centered service, and as such, it’s important to us that we clarify complex legal issues and guide you through the litigation process in a way that allows you to make informed decisions about the case at hand, and how you’d like to approach it.
Ready to speak to one of our experienced Peoria auto accident attorneys about your case?