It is not unheard of for multiple parties to be liable for a motor vehicle accident, particularly in multi-vehicle crashes. If you are not an at-fault party (or you only hold a minor share of the fault) and suffered injuries, you may have the right to recover compensation from multiple parties for your damages.
In Illinois, the law follows a policy of “comparative fault,” which mandates that accident victims are entitled to compensation as long as they are not more than 50% at fault for the accident. Your compensation will be reduced per your percentage of liability but, fortunately, not eliminated completely.
Determining Shares of Liability
Proving that you are not liable for an accident can be tricky. Even if two parties ran a stop sign and collided with your vehicle as you were lawfully passing through an intersection, you will have to assert this fact to your insurance agent and, if worst comes to worst, in civil court.
Holding negligent parties accountable does not have to be difficult, however. An attorney can help you determine and establish that liability is shared between multiple parties, helping you obtain the compensation to which you are entitled. Often, this will include talking to witnesses, consulting industry experts, and accident reconstruction and investigation.
Several examples of negligent actions that would render a party liable for an accident include:
- Driving under the influence
- Driving while distracted
- Running traffic lights
- Ignoring stop signs
- Disregarding the rules of the road
The precise shares of liability will be determined by the court, although your and your lawyer’s assertions may greatly influence its final decision. The stronger the case you bring forth, the better your chances are of recovering your full and fair compensation.
What Your Compensation May Look Like
Take, for example, a case in which three cars collide on a city street. One driver was texting, one driver was talking on the phone, and you stopped a little short at a red light. Say, in your case, the court determines that the other parties could have had enough time to stop safely had they not been using their cell phones. The court may rule that you are 20% at fault, the texting driver is 50% at fault, and the driver using their cell phone is 30% at fault.
If the court determines that you incurred $10,000 in damages because of this multi-vehicle crash, your compensation will be paid out as follows:
- The texting driver will pay 50% ($5,000) of the damages because they share 50% of the fault;
- The driver who was on the phone will pay 30% ($3,000) of the damages because they share 30% of the fault; and
- You will not be entitled to 20% ($2,000) of the damages because you share 20% of the fault.
The same concept can be applied to crashes involving more drivers, motorcyclists, pedestrians, etc.
Contact a Skilled Lawyer Today
If you have been involved in a multi-vehicle accident, The Tapella & Eberspacher Law Firm will assist you in proving liability. We have helped countless clients recover compensation after accidents cause them to suffer life-changing injuries. Backed by over a century of collective experience, our attorneys accept cases throughout the state of Illinois, as well as in St. Louis, Missouri.
Contact our Charleston-based firm today at (217) 394-5885 or online.