Individual States 

ILLINOIS

ASSUMPTION OF RISK

Assumption of risk is no longer a complete bar, but remains a factor in the apportionment of damages. In wrongful death action based on strict liability, proof is needed of a deliberate decision by decedent to encounter known risk, or willingness to take chance. Hanlon v. Airco Indus. Gases, 579 N.E.2d 1136 (Ill. 1991) .

CAPS ON NONECONOMIC DAMAGES

There are no exclusive Products Liability statutes under this category.

COLLATERAL SOURCE RULE

In actions for property damage, bodily injury, or death, based on negligence, or product liability based on strict liability, benefits provided for medical charges, hospital charges, or nursing or caretaking charges in excess of $25,000, paid or payable by any other insurance company or fund are deducted from judgment provided:
(1) application is made within 30 days to reduce the judgment;
(2) reduction shall not apply to the extent that there is a right of recoupment through subrogation, trust agreement, contract, lien, operation of law or otherwise;
(3) reduction shall not reduce the judgment by more than 50 percent of the total amount of the judgment;
(4) the damages awarded shall be increased by the amount of any insurance premiums or the direct costs paid by the plaintiff for such benefits in the two years prior to the injury or death or to be paid by the plaintiff in the future. 735 Ill. Comp Stat. Ann. 5/2-1205 and 2-1205.1 .

COMPARATIVE FAULT

In actions for property damage, bodily injury, or death in which recovery is predicated upon negligence or strict product liability, the plaintiff may only recover if his contributory fault is 50 percent or less of the proximate cause of the injury or damage. Where recovery is not barred, it will be reduced according to the amount of fault attributable to the plaintiff. The jury shall be instructed of this in writing. 735 Ill. Comp Stat. Ann. 5/2-1116 and 2-1107.1 .

ECONOMIC LOSS

The economic loss rule, or Moorman Doctrine, prohibits a party from recovering solely economic losses in tort. Moorman Mfg. Co. v. National Tank Co., 435 N.E.2d 443 (Ill.1982).

The following exceptions apply:
1. Recovery in tort is permissible when there is damage to property other than the defective product supplied by the defendant and the damages resulted from a sudden or dangerous occurrence. Damages to other property must be coupled with a sudden or dangerous event for this exception to apply for neither an injury nor a sudden and calamitous occurrence standing alone is sufficient to bring a claim within the bounds of tort recovery. Trans States Airlines v. Pratt & Whitney Canada, Inc., 177 Ill.2d 21 (Ill. 1997) .

Additionally, damages to the product itself are not recoverable regardless of whether they resulted from a sudden or dangerous occurrence. Mars, Inc. v. Heritage Builders of Effingham, Inc., 327 Ill.App.3d 346 (2002) .
2. The plaintiff's damages are proximately caused by the defendant's intentional, false misrepresentation or by the negligent misrepresentation of a defendant in the business of supplying information for the guidance of others. MCI Worldcom Network Serv., Inc. v. Big John's Sewer Contractors, Inc., 2003 WL 22532804 (N.D.Ill. 2003) .

JOINT & SEVERAL LIABILITY

In actions for property damage, bodily injury, or death, based on negligence, or product liability based on strict tort liability, all defendants found liable are jointly and severally liable for plaintiff's past and future medical and medically related expenses. With all other damages, a defendant will be (1) jointly and severally if his share of the fault is 25 percent or more, or (2) severally liable if his share of the fault is less than 25 percent. 735 Ill. Comp Stat. Ann. 5/2-1117 .

PUNITIVE DAMAGES

Punitive damages are recoverable in product liability actions if the defendant acted willfully or with such gross negligence as to indicate a wanton disregard of others' rights. J.I. Case Co. v. McCartin-McAuliffe Plumbing & Heating, Inc., 118 Ill. 2d 447 (1987) .

In all actions for bodily injury or physical damage to property, based on negligence or strict product liability, punitive damages shall not be included in the complaint. However, plaintiff can make a pre-trial motion to amend the compliant to include punitive damages if he can establish a reasonable likelihood of proving facts at trial sufficient to support such an award. 735 Ill. Comp Stat. Ann. 5/2-604.1 .

A trial court may, in its discretion, enter a remittur and a conditional new trial if it finds an award of punitive damages to be excessive. The court may also apportion the punitive damages award among the plaintiff, his attorney, and the State of Illinois. However, the court may not award an attorney more than the amount authorized in the contingent fee contract. 735 Ill. Comp Stat. Ann. 5/2-1207 .

RIGHT TO CONTRIBUTION

A right to contribution exists only in favor of a tortfeasor who has paid more than his pro rata share of the common liability, and only for that amount in excess. 740 Ill. Comp Stat. Ann. 100/2(a) to (b) .

When release or covenant is given in good faith to one joint tortfeasor, it does not discharge any other tortfeasor unless its terms so provide, but it does reduce the plaintiff's recovery by the greater of the amount stipulated or the amount of consideration paid. 740 Ill. Comp Stat. Ann. 100/2(c) .

A tortfeasor who settles is discharged from all liability to make contribution to any other tortfeasor. However, a settling tortfeasor may not recover contribution from another tortfeasor unless that tortfeasor's liability was extinguished by the settlement. 740 Ill. Comp Stat. Ann. 100/2(d) to (e) .

Anyone who, by payment has discharged in full or in part the liability of a tortfeasor and has thereby discharged in full his obligation to the tortfeasor, is subrogated to the tortfeasor's right of contribution. However, this does not affect any right of contribution or subrogation arising from any other relationship. 740 Ill. Comp Stat. Ann. 100/2(f) .

SPECIAL DEFENSES

In strict liability and product liability actions based on design defects, evidence of compliance with federal standards is admissible. Rucker v. Norfolk & Western Railway Co., 396 N.E.2d 534 (1979) .

The providing of, or payment for, medical or similar expenses shall not be construed as an admission of liability, and shall not be admissible as evidence of an admission, except at the instance of such person or persons making such provision, payment, or offer. 735 Ill. Comp Stat. Ann. 5/8-1901 .

STATUTES OF LIMITATION

Personal injury actions must be brought within two years, whether brought in negligence or strict liability. 735 Ill. Comp Stat. Ann. 5/13-202 .

Property damage actions must be brought within five years. 735 Ill. Comp Stat. Ann. 5/13-205 .

Breach of warranty actions must be brought within four years, except where there is an express warranty covering future performance beyond the four-year limitations period. 810 Ill. Comp Stat. Ann. 5/2-725 .

Wrongful death actions must be brought within two years. This applies to an action for death caused by wrongful act, neglect or default. 740 Ill. Comp Stat. Ann. 180/2 .

STATUTES OF REPOSE

No product liability action based on strict liability shall be commenced more than twelve years after the first sale, lease, or delivery by seller, or more than ten years after the first sale, lease, or delivery of possession to its initial user, consumer or other non-seller, whichever expires earlier. This statute may not apply if there is an express warranty for a longer period or the damage resulted from alteration, modification, or change of the product unit subsequent to the date of the first sale and the action is brought within ten years of the alteration. Replacement of a component part is not a sale, lease, delivery, alteration, modification, or change. 735 Ill. Comp Stat. Ann. 5/13-213(b) .

STRUCTURED SETTLEMENT

There are no exclusive Products Liability statutes under this category.