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Common Defenses in Car Accident Cases

Posted by David Nemeroff | Dec 16, 2013 | 0 Comments

If you were injured in a car accident, the other parties involved will work to minimize the amount they pay you in damages, or work to discredit your claim so that they don't need to pay you at all. Below are two scenarios that defendants use to reduce your damage award.

Comparative Negligence

If you have filed a personal injury claim, but you are partially responsible for your accident, it will likely affect your damages award. The State of Illinois practices a modified comparative negligence system when determining how to adjust damage awards based on liability. You can recover damages from any party that is more responsible for your accident than you are, but your recovery amount will be reduced by a percentage that is equal to your share of the liability.

For example, imagine that you were driving over the speed limit when another car pulled out in front of you. You were unable to avoid hitting the other car. Because the other driver acted unsafely when he or she pulled out in front of you, that driver is found to be 80 percent responsible for the collision. However, since you were speeding, you are found to be 20 percent liable for the accident. Your damages are estimated at $10,000, but your award was reduces to $8,000 due to your contribution to the accident.

In a modified comparative negligence system, if it is determined that you are more than 50 percent liable for an accident, you will not be able to recover damages.  However, it is not always possible to divide liability in an accident empirically. Therefore, your damages award will be largely based on how well you're able to convince the insurance adjuster, a judge or a jury that any and all other parties were at fault. After an accident, it is important to work with an experienced personal injury lawyer to get the compensation you are entitled to.

Failure to Mitigate Damages

Another argument that a defendant can use is that you failed to mitigate damages following your accident. This means that, even if the other party was 100% responsible for the accident, any failure on your part to minimize damage done may result in a reduction of compensation. For example, say you refused medical attention after a car accident. You later find out that injuries you sustained in that accident are significantly exacerbated now and require more medical attention than you would have needed if you went to the emergency room right away. This can lead to a reduction of your damage award due to damages that could have reasonably been avoided.

The best way to get the compensation you deserve for your injuries following a car accident is to work with an experienced Chicago car accident lawyer from Nemeroff Law Offices. Contact us at 312.629.8800 for more information.

About the Author

David Nemeroff

In January 2012, David Nemeroff was voted one of the Top 100 Lawyers in the entire state of Illinois (out of 83,000 lawyers) by Super Lawyers Magazine...

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