How to Prove Negligence in Illinois

Negligence is a legal term that means failure to use reasonable care resulting in damage or injury to another. In a car crash, for instance, if a driver fails to keep a proper lookout (because they are adjusting the radio or checking their cell phone), they would be negligent if their actions injure someone. 

Being  thoroughly prepared to prove negligence in court is the best way to receive the full and fair compensation you or your loved ones deserve. Here’s what you need to know to do that.

What is Negligence?

Negligence is a legal concept which relates to a duty between people.  This could be anything from drivers exercising due care when on the roadway, to a nursing home administering the proper medications. 

Regardless of circumstance, negligence occurs when one party fails to complete or perform their duty. If damages, injury, or death occur, the offender could be held liable for failing to perform their duty.

For example, if a nursing home gives your loved one the wrong medications and it leads to injury or death, the nursing home could be guilty of negligence.

How to Prove Negligence in Illinois

Negligence is dependent on the facts in each case.  To have a good chance at winning a negligence case and receiving compensation, you and your personal injury lawyer must prove the following five crucial elements:


There must be a duty owed to you or your loved one by the other party. The duty in a medical malpractice suit, for example, is your doctor’s duty to comply with the standard of care (i.e., what a reasonably careful doctor would do under the same or similar circumstances.)

Failure to perform duty:

One party didn’t perform the duty at all or to an acceptable standard. In the case of medical malpractice, this could include failing to diagnose a condition, providing improper medicine, or causing harm during the course of surgery/treatment.

Cause of damages:

Because the defendant did not perform their duty, you or a loved one were injured, incurred damages, or in the most tragic cases, died.

Immediate cause of damages:

The defendant’s failure to perform their duty caused your injury or damages, and the injuries or damages weren’t caused by something else.


You’ve been injured or incurred damages as a result of the other party’s negligence.

Contributory negligence in Illinois

Every negligence case in Illinois includes an analysis of contributory fault — did your own negligence contribute to your injuries.  

Illinois follows the 51% Bar Rule, which means that if you share up to 50% of the fault, you can still recover damages. However, your total recovery will be reduced by your own percentage of fault. So, if a jury awards you $100,000 but determines that you are 30% at fault, your recovery will be reduced by 30% ($100,000 – $30,000 = $70,000).  Importantly, if you are found to be more than 50% at fault, you will not be able to recover anything. 

Brian Lewis is here to fight for your loved one’s rights

Insurance companies will do anything to save money.  They deflect blame, try to shift the burden of responsibility to you, and try to minimize what they owe you. To successfully win a case, you’ll need a personal injury lawyer who can chart an effective legal course of action and hold the negligent party accountable. That’s what Brian Lewis does.

While injury caused by negligence will carry pain, suffering, loss of normal life, and other damages, winning a personal injury case and proving negligence will help you to grieve, receive financial compensation, and restore your sense of peace. If you or a loved one are the victim of negligence, don’t wait; contact Lewis Law Firm today. Their legal expertise will help you prove fault, win your negligence case, and receive the justice you and your loved ones deserve.

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