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Illinois Car Accident Laws

Posted on July 31, 2021 in

Car accidents are unfortunately common in Illinois, leading to thousands of injuries each year. Victims of these collisions have the right to hold negligent drivers accountable for their losses, which may include medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering. If you plan to file a car accident claim in Illinois, it is important to be aware of the laws that surround the insurance and litigation processes.

There are several laws and requirements that Illinois drivers need to follow. Failure to abide by these rules—or drive a motor vehicle safely—can result in serious penalties, including fines, jail time, and financial liability for any accidents.

Here is a brief overview of the car accident laws that you need to know when you operate a vehicle on Chicago roads.

Illinois Insurance Requirements

Like most states, Illinois follows a fault-based system when it comes to car accidents. Any driver who causes a collision is financially liable for the damages of his or her victims. For example, if a driver runs a red light and collides with a vehicle traveling through the intersection, he or she must pay for the economic and non-economic losses that the other driver, his or her passengers, and any other victims sustain in the crash.

To uphold this financial responsibility, all drivers in the state of Illinois must carry the following minimum amounts of liability insurance.

  • $25,000 for injury or death of one person per accident
  • $50,000 for all of the injuries or deaths that occur in an accident
  • $20,000 for property damage that occurs in an accident

Under this system, victims of car accidents can seek compensation by filing an insurance claim against the at-fault driver or filing a personal injury lawsuit in civil court. If the driver is uninsured or does not have adequate insurance, victims can also file an insurance claim under their own policies as long as they have the appropriate coverage.

If you fail to carry the required insurance coverage, you could face fines and other penalties. Plus, you could be completely liable for any damages that occur in an accident that you cause. Always make sure to carry the appropriate coverage whenever you get behind the wheel.

Illinois Car Accident Reporting Requirements

In certain circumstances, you may be required to file a report after an Illinois car accident. According to the Illinois State Police, you must file a crash report if your collision involved any of the following:

  • One or more persons died in the accident.
  • One or more persons suffered a bodily injury in the accident.
  • Both drivers have insurance and the accident caused more than $1,500 in property damage.
  • One or more drivers are uninsured, and the accident caused more than $500 in property damage.

If a police officer appears at the scene of the accident, he or she will create a report about your crash. However, if an officer does not respond to the collision, you will need to file a report with the Illinois State Police within 10 days.

Filing Deadlines for Illinois Car Accident Claims

If a victim wants to file an insurance claim after his or her accident, he or she will need to adhere to the filing deadline established by the appropriate insurance company. Some insurance companies require claims to be filed within a month of the accident, while others could impose shorter or longer deadlines.

A car accident lawsuit, on the other hand, is subject to a rule known as the statute of limitations. Under this law, victims have two years from the date of the accident to file their claim or the court will dismiss their case. If a person was killed in the accident and someone is filing a wrongful death claim on his or her behalf, the deceased’s representative has one year to file.

The Statute of Limitations for Accident Claims

The statute of limitations is a law that sets filing deadlines for certain types of lawsuits. This rule is very important; if you file a claim after the appropriate deadline passes, the court will likely dismiss your case. As a result, you will be ineligible to recover compensation.

In Illinois, the statute of limitations for car accident lawsuits is two years from the date of your collision. If anyone died as a result of the accident, the filing deadline is also two years. However, if you are filing a claim for property damage, you have five years to bring your case to court.

Comparative Negligence in Car Accident Claims

In many car accidents, one driver is clearly at fault for the accident and is liable for the entirety of the victims’ damages. However, not all collisions are as straightforward. In some accidents, both drivers may be partially responsible for the collision.

In these situations, Illinois’s comparative negligence laws will apply. Under this rule, the court will reduce a plaintiff’s award by the amount of fault that he or she shares. If the plaintiff’s liability exceeds 50% of the total, he or she will not be eligible to recover any compensation.

For example, say that a driver ran a red light and collided into your vehicle. However, you were texting and driving at the time of the collision. In this situation, the court may assign you 30% of the fault. If you request a $40,000 settlement, you will only be eligible to recover $28,000.

Do You Need a Lawyer?

If you are filing a car accident lawsuit or insurance claim in Illinois, it is important to seek the help of a Chicago auto accident attorney as soon as possible. A lawyer can provide several benefits to your claim, including the following.

  • Your lawyer will be able to negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf and advocate for your maximum possible compensation.
  • Your attorney can conduct an in-depth investigation into your accident to identify the liable party and craft a compelling case for your right to compensation.
  • Your lawyer can accurately calculate your damages and ensure that any settlement offers you receive are sufficient to meet your needs.
  • If your accident involves complex factors such as unclear liability or extensive long-term costs, your lawyer will have access to expert witnesses who can testify on your behalf.
  • Navigating a car accident claim can be difficult after a recent injury, and your lawyer can handle all aspects of your case so you can focus on recovery.

After you seek medical attention for your injuries, contact an attorney to discuss your optimal path to compensation.