Car Accident Laws in Illinois: Everything You Need to Know

Important Car Accident Laws in Illinois


If you or your vehicle have sustained injury/damage in a car accident in the state of Illinois, you might be wondering what are the statutory time limits for filing a lawsuit and how the competitive negligence rule applies to auto accidents in the state. There are several state laws that can influence your case. Let’s take a look!


Important Things to Consider

When you are considering filing a claim after a car accident, you need to be mindful of the following:

  • You have two years to file for most car accident injury lawsuits
  • There is a five-year time limit to file for vehicle damage caused by a car accident
  • That the state of Illinois has a modified comparative fault rule that allows you to get financial recovery only when the claimant has 50 or less percent responsibility for causing the accident


Statute of Limitations in Illinois Car Accident Lawsuits

The statute of limitations is basically the law that sets how much time you have to bring a lawsuit after a car accident. In Illinois, you have two years to file a case for injuries you sustained in a car accident that occurred within the state. Whether you were a passenger, another driver, a pedestrian, a motorcyclist, a bicyclist, or even an electric scooter rider, you have two years from the date of the accident to bring a lawsuit for personal injury. You also have two years to file a wrongful death lawsuit and five years to file a vehicle damage case.


It is important to differentiate between car accident lawsuits and car insurance claims, these are two separate things, and you need to check with your insurance carrier for the latter.



Comparative Negligence

In instances where the other driver was entirely responsible for the car accident, that usually means that the driver (through their insurance) will pay for the incurred lost wages, medical bills, and other losses you may have suffered. However, what happens when you were partially at fault for the crash? The so-called comparative fault rule comes into play.


When both parties are found to share a percentage of the blame for a car accident, the state of Illinois enforces its comparative fault rule. In these cases, the jury has to calculate two things — the total amount of the plaintiff’s damages, as well as the percentage of fault of each party involved in the crash. Under the comparative fault rule, the amount of compensation for the plaintiff’s damages is reduced by the percentage of his or her share of fault. However, if the plaintiff’s fault percentage is more than 50, they can’t recover any damages.


Dealing with car accident laws in Illinois can be a lengthy and complicated process. Be sure to turn to an attorney should you need help along the way. Legal Chiefs’ network of expert lawyers would love to help you!


Find An Auto Accident Attorney In Your Area Now Without Leaving The Comfort Of Your Home



Auto Accident FAQ

Your first and foremost action following an accident is to stay calm, check if you or anyone else involved has been injured, and call the police. Get the name and contact information of all parties involved in the accident as well as any witnesses of the event. To document the damage, take pictures of the accident scene, the vehicles, and your injuries. It’s important not to admit liability until you hire an attorney because they will conduct a thorough investigation to establish the driver at fault.
Right after a car accident, you may feel fine, but injuries can surface days, weeks, and even months later. That’s why it’s good to see a doctor even if you don’t believe you were injured in the accident. Your doctor can recognize issues or injuries that won’t immediately become apparent to you and alert you to warning signs of injuries that may arise due to the accident. If you fail to treat your injuries within a certain period of time, you may forfeit your right to get reimbursement for future medical costs. The general rule is not to settle auto accident claims without having been examined by a medical professional.
In most cases, you won’t have to go to court. The majority of auto accident claims are resolved outside of court after negotiating the terms with the insurer. Most insurance companies generally try to settle claims as quickly as possible and for as little money as possible, so it’s wise to have an attorney negotiate on your behalf.
In addition to taking pictures of the accident scene and taking the contact information of the involved parties and witnesses, your detailed explanation of how the accident happened is also necessary to file a claim. Law enforcement reports of the accident will also serve as crucial evidence in your claim.
Many factors determine the driver at fault in an auto accident case. Do not accept any part of the blame until the investigation has concluded. Even if the investigation finds that you are partially at fault, you may still be entitled to receive compensation. There are cases when the victim also shares part of the blame for an accident. If, for example, you were driving five to ten mph over the speed limit when the accident happened, this would have limited your reaction time, and you could likely be considered a negligent driver even if you weren’t the one to cause the crash. Different states have different ways of settling auto accident claims where more than one driver is at fault. So it’s best to check the specific laws in your state (or the state where the accident took place) or discuss the matter with your auto accident injury lawyer.
It happens surprisingly often that people get into an auto accident where the driver at fault doesn’t have insurance. In these situations, it’s wise to have an auto insurance policy that comes with Uninsured Motorist (UM) coverage. That way, if you get into an accident and the at-fault driver doesn’t have insurance, you will still be able to file your claim under the UM coverage you have with your own insurance company. Your insurer will then process the claim following the same process as it would for an opposing insurer. The only difference is that the claim will be against your UM coverage and not against another driver. Likewise, if you were involved in a hit-and-run accident where the responsible driver fled the scene before you could take their information, you can again seek compensation from your UM coverage.
Suppose you suffered injuries after an auto accident that was caused by another driver’s negligence. In that case, there are two main types of damages that you may seek compensation for: compensatory (a.k.a. monetary) and punitive damages. Compensatory damages are the most common type of damages in a personal injury claim, and they often include: ● Current and future medical bills ● Property damage ● Emotional duress ● Lost wages ● Loss of enjoyment of life ● Loss of future earnings potential On the other hand, punitive damages are much rarer, but they can occur in situations where the vehicle manufacturer is to blame.