How ‘Comparative Negligence’ can impact your car accident claim

When you are injured in a car accident, your claim to compensation may be limited by your own negligence. If the court determines that the accident was partially your fault, you could be rewarded only a fraction of the damages you need to fully recover from your injuries.

Every state has different rules regarding negligence in personal injury cases – but both Illinois and Missouri have laws that limit (or bar altogether) your ability to collect compensation based on your own negligence in the incident.

Comparative negligence in Illinois

Illinois applies a ‘comparative negligence’ rule to every personal injury claim, rewarding a fraction of your damages relative to the fault of each party. For example, if you get into a car accident and the judge determines that the other party is 80% responsible, you will receive 80% of the damages you are originally entitled to.

However, if the court determines that you are over 50% at fault for the accident, Illinois law states that you are not eligible to receive any compensation.

Comparative fault in Missouri

Missouri determines comparative fault in a similar way as Illinois – with one major difference: if you are over 50% at fault, you are still eligible to receive compensation.

While Illinois draws a line at 50%, and only allows you to secure payment when the other party is more at fault than you, Missouri does not make this distinction. You simply receive a fraction of your recovery based on your fault.

How the court determines your reward

Attorneys have multiple ways to fight for a larger recovery in court. Given comparative negligence, the two biggest strategies involve:

  1. Maximizing the total damages you are entitled to receive
  2. Minimizing your fault in the accident

By combining these strategies, you can maximize your settlement or judgment and ensure you have the funds you need to pay for your recovery.