Illinois Contractual Indemnity

Illinois Contractual Indemnity: Understanding the Basics

Contractual indemnity is a fundamental principle in business transactions. It is a legal arrangement that protects one party from bearing the cost of damages, losses, or liabilities incurred by another party, arising from a breach of contract or other legal claims. In Illinois, contractual indemnity has a specific legal framework that governs its interpretation and enforcement. In this article, we`ll provide an overview of Illinois contractual indemnity and its key provisions.

What is Contractual Indemnity?

Contractual indemnity is a contractual provision where one party agrees to defend, indemnify, and hold harmless another party from any losses or damages arising from a breach of contract or other legal claims. In essence, the indemnifying party agrees to compensate the indemnified party for any losses or damages incurred due to the indemnifying party`s fault or negligence.

In Illinois, contractual indemnity is governed by the Illinois Contribution Among Joint Tortfeasors Act (740 ILCS 100/0.01 et seq.) (the «Act»). The Act provides a framework for interpreting and enforcing contractual indemnity agreements.

Types of Contractual Indemnity

There are two types of contractual indemnity: limited and broad. Limited indemnity agreements provide indemnification for a specific set of losses or damages. Broad indemnity agreements, on the other hand, provide indemnification for all losses or damages, whether directly or indirectly related to the contract.

In Illinois, broad indemnity agreements are generally disfavored. Under the Act, a contractual indemnity agreement is enforceable only to the extent that the indemnification provision is «limited to the extent of the indemnitor`s negligence.»

Scope of Contractual Indemnity

The scope of contractual indemnity is critical in determining the extent of liability that the indemnifying party assumes. The scope of indemnity depends on the language of the indemnity provision. A well-drafted indemnity provision should clearly identify the losses or damages that the indemnifying party is liable for and the conditions that trigger the indemnification obligation.

In Illinois, indemnity provisions must be strictly construed. The Act provides that an indemnity provision is enforceable only to the extent that it is «clearly expressed» in the contract. The indemnity provision must be unequivocal in its terms, and any ambiguity in the provision will be construed against the party seeking indemnification.

Enforcement of Contractual Indemnity

In Illinois, contractual indemnity agreements are generally enforceable. However, the enforceability of the indemnity provision depends on the type of damages or losses that the indemnified party incurred. The Act provides that an indemnity provision is not enforceable against the indemnified party`s willful or wanton conduct or intentional wrongdoing.

Moreover, in Illinois, contractual indemnity agreements must comply with the anti-indemnity provisions under the Workers` Compensation Act and the Construction Contract Indemnification for Negligence Act. These laws limit the scope of indemnification that can be provided in certain industries.


Contractual indemnity is a crucial component of business transactions. In Illinois, contractual indemnity agreements are governed by the Illinois Contribution Among Joint Tortfeasors Act. Understanding the key provisions of contractual indemnity, such as the types of indemnity, the scope of indemnity, and enforcement, is essential to ensuring that the indemnifying party assumes the appropriate level of liability. A well-drafted indemnity provision can provide valuable protection to businesses, while a poorly drafted provision can expose them to significant liability.