Whether it is a defective product that caused an accident or a vehicle crash, every personal injury case must address the issue of negligence. The act of negligence is defined as the failure to take reasonable care, resulting in injury or damage of another person.
What Constitutes Negligence
In order to have a successful case, the plaintiff must prove that the negligence of the defendant was present, that said negligence was the cause of the accident, and this negligence led to the injuries sustained by the claimant.
Specifically negligence in a personal injury claim must show that there was:
- A Breach in Duty – There must be evidence that the defendant breached their duty to the plaintiff. In a product liability case, it would be the manufacturer’s legal duty to provide the consumer with a safe product. Not doing so would be a breach of the duty.
- Causation – Evidence must also be presented proving that as a result of the defendant’s breach of duty, whether through an action or inaction, the plaintiff was injured or harmed.
While negligence may be fairly straightforward in certain circumstances, other cases may be more debatable. If there are questions about negligence in your case, consulting with an attorney can be helpful.
Illinois Negligence Laws
In Illinois, the laws dealing specifically with negligence can be found in statute 735 ILCS 5/2-1116. The model followed in personal injury cases is the modified comparative fault system. Under this system an injured person can claim damages for the percent of the accident for which they are not responsible, with those over 50 percent negligent barred.
What this means in practice is that someone who is found to be 51 percent or more at fault is unable to recover any damages. Anyone who is 50 percent or less responsible can seek compensation for their losses. However, what they are able to recover is reduced in proportion to the percentage for which they are at fault. For example, a person who is in a car accident and is found to be 25 percent at fault for the accident can receive compensation for 75 percent of their losses.