It is possible to recover damages in Illinois even if you were not wearing a seat belt during a car accident. However, it could possibly affect the amount of compensation you receive in a lawsuit.
Although you can still file a claim, your compensation might be significantly reduced if the insurance company or their lawyers can prove that your injuries would have been prevented or reduced had you worn a seatbelt. This is because Illinois follows a contributory negligence rule. As a result, the amount of compensation you eventually receive can be reduced by the percentage that not wearing a seatbelt contributed to your injuries. However, it is important to note that the absence of a seatbelt alone does not prevent you from exercising your right to claim compensation.
Our Illinois personal injury lawyers at Rhatigan Law Offices can offer you a free case review when you call us today at (312) 578-8502.
Can I Be Compensated if I Was Not Wearing a Seatbelt in an Illinois Car Accident?
If you were involved in a car accident caused by someone else and you were not wearing a seat belt, it might become a point of dispute when filing for a personal injury claim. The other party’s insurance companies or legal representatives might try to minimize the amount of compensation you receive in a settlement. Our team of Chicago car accident lawyers in Illinois will help you defend against any accusations that you were responsible for your injuries. We will look for any evidence that proves you did not neglect to take measures to mitigate your injuries.
In some parts of the country, your failure to wear a seat belt might be used against you while seeking compensation through a settlement. This argument suggests that you did not take the necessary precautions to prevent injury in case of an accident. However, in Illinois, seat belts are mandatory, and seat belt evidence cannot be used against you in a car accident case.
To be clear, the defendant in a personal injury claim will most certainly try to use the fact that you were not wearing a seat belt against you. However, this should not affect whether or not you recover compensation from the at-fault party. That said, the compensation you receive could be reduced based on the percentage of fault you contributed to the accident.
Can I Be Found Contributorily Negligent if I Was Not Wearing a Seatbelt in Illinois?
In the event that you win a car accident lawsuit, the amount of compensation you receive might not be the full amount you believe you are entitled to. This is due to the modified comparative fault rule in Illinois, which requires an assessment of whether you bear any responsibility for the accident and, if so, the degree of responsibility you bear.
Despite a victim possibly contributing to the circumstances that caused their injuries, Illinois law allows them to recover damages from other negligent parties. Compensation amounts are established by determining the percentage of fault of each contributing party. According to 735 I.L.C.S. 5/2-1116, compensation can still be recovered if the victim bears 50% or less of the fault, but their damages will be reduced according to their percentage of fault. If the victim bears more than 50% of the fault, they will not be eligible for compensation.
For example, if you were involved in a car accident and were rear-ended by another driver while stopping at a stop sign, and the other driver is entirely at fault, you would receive the full amount of damages you are entitled to. However, if you had stopped at the same stop sign, but your brake lights were not working, and the other driver assumed you were still moving, the judge or jury might determine that you share 40% of the blame for the accident. As a result, the compensation you are entitled to would be reduced by 40%, which is equivalent to your share of the fault.
Steps to Take After a Car Accident in Illinois
Being in a car accident can be a very distressing experience. It often happens suddenly, and victims can be left injured and confused. However, the actions you take after a car accident can have a significant impact on your ability to receive compensation for your injuries and other damages, regardless of whether or not you were wearing a seatbelt. If you are in Illinois, there are certain steps you can take that can greatly help you with your case.
Call the Police
If anyone is injured in an accident, it is important to call local enforcement. Even though it might not be necessary for a minor collision, the police will ensure the accident scene is secured, and medical assistance is provided to the injured parties. Besides they will also generate an accident report based on their initial investigation.
The report will contain valuable information that our attorneys can use to settle your case or, if necessary, take it to trial. Additionally, if you believe the other driver is not being honest, you should call the police, regardless of the situation.
Although the police report should contain this information, it’s important to gather the contact details of any other drivers involved in the accident, including both their personal and insurance information.
Statements given by uninvolved witnesses carry more weight than those given by parties involved in the accident. While this information might already be included in the police report, it’s crucial that we speak with any witnesses as soon as possible. Some witnesses might have left the scene by the time the police arrive, so it’s important that we talk to anyone who saw the accident, even if their account differs from your recollection of events.
Take Photographs and Videos
Nowadays, almost everyone has a smartphone equipped with a camera. If you find yourself involved in a car accident, it’s a good idea to use your phone to take pictures of the scene. These pictures can be extremely helpful for accident investigators, providing important information about what exactly happened. Be sure to take pictures of the cars involved, any damage sustained, and the condition of the road. Don’t worry about taking too many pictures – the more pictures, the better. Additionally, don’t forget to take pictures of any injuries you or your passengers might have suffered.
Seek Medical Attention
In case of a serious accident, it’s crucial to seek emergency treatment immediately at the scene. Never refuse medical assistance. Even if you feel fine after a collision, it’s still recommended to visit a doctor as soon as possible. Some injuries might not show symptoms until later, like muscle or head injuries. Due to the adrenaline rush, a crash victim might not realize the full extent of their injuries. Therefore, it’s important to get checked out to ensure any injuries are treated properly.
Our Illinois Car Accident Attorneys Can Help
To hear more about our services during your free initial case assessment with our Naperville, IL car accident attorneys, call Rhatigan Law Offices at (312) 578-8502.