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Who is at fault for a car accident in Illinois?

On Behalf of | May 30, 2024 | Car Accidents, Personal Injury

After a collision, determining fault has the potential to impact what support financial you receive and your legal options. What should Illinois drivers know about the role of fault in Illinois car accident claims?

Is Illinois a no-fault state for car accidents?

In no-fault states, drivers turn to their own car insurance coverage to pay for minor injuries or damages after an accident. This is true regardless of who was actually at fault.

However, Illinois is not a no-fault state. Illinois operates under a fault-based system. This means that the person who caused the accident is responsible for paying the damages resulting from the accident. The at-fault driver’s insurance typically covers these costs, up to the policy’s limits. Victims have the right to pursue additional compensation through personal injury lawsuits if their damages exceed these limits.

How is fault determined in a car accident in Illinois?

In Illinois, the at-fault person is the driver whose negligent actions led to the car accident. For the court to find someone negligent, a victim must prove several things:

  • The driver had a duty of care – Accident victims must demonstrate that the driver at fault had a responsibility known as a duty of care. In car accident claims, drivers must engage in safe driving practices and act in ways that ensure the safety of other drivers, passengers and pedestrians.
  • The driver violated this duty of care – Victims must also prove that the driver at fault failed to care for others on the road. Usually this involves proving that their actions were reckless or irresponsible.
  • The driver’s actions caused harm – Furthermore, victims need to prove that the negligence of the other driver resulted in damages like injuries, property damage or other harm.

Even if both drivers contributed to a crash, the court would consider the driver who was more than 50 percent the cause of the accident to be at fault.

What kind of evidence might show who was at fault in a car accident?

After a car accident, determining who is at fault is a critical step in resolving insurance claims and any legal issues. Various types of evidence are gathered to paint a clear picture of the events leading up to and during the accident, including:

  • Admissions of fault – Sometimes, a driver might admit fault at the scene by apologizing or making statements that they caused the accident.
  • Driver statements – Statements from the drivers involved provide insight into their perspective of how the accident occurred.
  • Eyewitness accounts – Statements from people who witnessed the accident can be crucial in determining fault. They provide an unbiased third-party perspective on the events.
  • Police reports – Law enforcement officers who respond to the accident compile a report that often includes a diagram of the accident, the officer’s observations from the scene, and sometimes an initial assessment of fault based on the evidence and statements from drivers and witnesses.
  • Photographs and videosPhotos and videos from the scene can be crucial. They provide detailed visual evidence of the accident’s impact, vehicle positions, road conditions, traffic signs and any obstructions or hazards.
  • Traffic camera footage – Footage from traffic cameras capturing the accident as it happened can be an unbiased and powerful piece of evidence in determining fault.
  • Vehicle damage – The extent and location of damage on the vehicles involved can indicate how the accident happened. This type of evidence can help reconstruct the accident to understand the dynamics and impact points.
  • Medical records – Injuries sustained by the drivers and passengers can sometimes tell a story about how the crash happened. For example, certain types of injuries might align with a specific point of impact.
  • Expert testimony – Accident reconstruction experts can analyze the evidence and determine the mechanics of the accident, which can help in fault determination.

Collecting and analyzing this evidence requires careful attention to detail. An experienced car accident attorney can help injured people preserve evidence and use that evidence to support their claim.

The aftermath of a car accident in Illinois can be complex. Whether you are a driver, a passenger or a concerned family member, understanding fault’s role in an Illinois car accident can help you handle the situation more effectively.