In order to bring a successful negligence claim in Illinois, the plaintiff must prove that a duty existed on the part of the defendant, the defendant breached that duty, the defendant’s breach of duty caused injury, and damages exist as a result of the injury.
Modified Comparative Negligence
Per 735 ILCS 5/2-1116, Illinois follows a modified comparative negligence standard when a negligence case is at issue. This means that if the plaintiff is found to have been 51% or more responsible for their injury, they are completely barred from any form of monetary recovery. However, if the plaintiff is found to be 50% or less responsible, they are eligible to recover and their damage award will be reduced in proportion to their level of fault.
Modified Joint & Several Liability
Defendants found to be liable for an injury are jointly and severally liable for a plaintiff’s medical expenses. However, if a Court finds one of the defendants to be 25% or less at fault, that defendant is only severally liable for non-medical damages whereas a defendant who is found to be 25% or greater responsible are jointly and severally liable for all non-medical damages.
Further, a Court held in Ready v. United/Goedecke Services, Inc., that the percentage of fault for parties who settled with plaintiffs out of Court is not to be considered when determining the allocation of fault among the remaining defendants.
Compensatory damages are awarded by a Court to compensate the plaintiff for injuries suffered as a result of the negligence of the defendant(s). The award is meant to restore the plaintiff – as much as possible – to the condition they were in prior to the injury occurring. Compensatory damages generally include economic damages such as past, current and future medical expenses, property damage, loss of income and loss of earning potential. It also includes non-economic damages such as emotional distress and pain and suffering.
Illinois once had a $500,000 cap on non-economic damages but the cap was held to be unconstitutional by the Illinois Supreme Court.
Punitive damages are meant to punish a defendant rather than to compensate the plaintiff. In order to support an award of punitive damages, the defendant’s conduct must have been outrageous to the point where the defendant was deemed to have been acting with actual malice, fraud, deliberate violence or gross negligence. If punitive damages are awarded, the amount must be proportionate to the wrong committed by the defendant.
The law firm of Walker Morgan is located at 135 E Main St., Lexington, SC 29072. All lawyers at Walker Morgan are licensed to practice law in the State of South Carolina. Should you wish to retain our firm for legal representation regarding a potential case in any other jurisdiction we are required to associate local counsel in that foreign jurisdiction and seek permission from a court of the foreign jurisdiction to temporarily engage in the practice of law therein for purposes of pursuing your potential claim only.
By offering the following information the lawyers at Walker Morgan are not offering legal advice or legal guidance. The lawyers at Walker Morgan are not licensed to practice law in Illinois. Should you have a question/concern specific to Illinois law, please contact an attorney licensed to practice law in the State of Illinois.