Whether you are in Champagne, Chicago or Waterloo, you have plenty of roads and sites to explore in Illinois. You can travel from the waters of Lake Michigan to the Gold Coast in Chicago, as do the more than 8 million licensed drivers in the state, who drive an average of 8,000 miles per year. There is a lot of urban traffic in Illinois, so it is no surprise there are plenty of car accidents. If you are living or traveling to Illinois, it is recommended to know the accident laws and resources of the Prairie State in case you have an auto accident.
Statistics and Notable Settlements
Illinois has one of the most complex road and transportation systems in the country, as it is
- 274,290 car accidents were reported in Illinois in 2012.
- 79,700 of the accidents were rear end crashes, or 29% of all crashes.
- 886 of the accidents in 2012 were fatal with at least one death; this represented .3% of all accidents reported.
- 956 total deaths occurred from car accidents that year.
- 60,284 injuries were reported from car accidents in 2012.
- 77% of car accidents only damaged property.
- 8187 of the accidents in 2012 involved an accident with a bicyclist or pedestrian.
a central transportation hub for the central US as well as the entire US. The high volume of traffic in the state, especially in Cook County, causes a lot of car accidents. Below are car accident statistics for Illinois from 2012:
Chicago and Cook County is the most populated part of the state and is traveled the most. Below are recent statistics for car accidents in Chicago;
- 131,506 car accidents happened in Cook County in 2012. The accidents in the county were 48% of all the crashes reported for the state that year.
- 31% of car accidents in Cook County in 2012 were rear end crashes.
- 5808 car accidents in the county involved bicyclists or pedestrians.
- 2012 saw more accidents involving pedestrians and bicyclists – 5655 in 2011 vs. 5808 in 2012.
- 252 fatal car accidents were reported in the county in 2012. There were 270 deaths and were 28% of all fatal accidents in Illinois that year.
- In 2012, there were fewer car accidents than 2011, with 133,499 reported in 2011, which was 2000 more than 2012.
A recent high-profile car accident settlement in Cook County involved two fatal police pursuits in 2017. A 56-year-old woman was killed on the South Side as she was driving to a funeral when a vehicle went through a red light and hit her car. Ten months later, a 42-year-old man was driving home late at night when a speeding car smashed into his car at a South Side intersection.
Both victims were involved in crashes caused by high speed chases with police offices. Personal injury lawsuits over both cases were settled in early 2018, with the City of Chicago and Calumet Park paying out nearly $13 million. The deaths and settlements have highlighted the dangers of police pursuits in busy urban areas.
Police in Cook County must follow what is called a balancing test when deciding whether to chase suspects or not. They are supposed to only pursue suspects who are wanted for a violent crime. They also must weigh risks to public safety including volume of traffic and road conditions.
Illinois Negligence Laws
If you have a car accident in Illinois, it is important to know that there is a modified comparative fault law here. This may affect your case and how much you can recover. The modified comparative fault standard in Illinois means you may seek damages from the other driver for your property damage and injuries, IF your own degree of fault for the crash is not more than 49%. If you are 50% or more at fault, you cannot pursue a personal injury claim, nor can you pursue a wrongful death claim on behalf of the deceased.
Illinois Statute of Limitations
It is important to know the statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit in Illinois if you are in an accident. For personal property lawsuits and claims, you have up to five years from the date of the accident. For personal injury, you have two years from the date of the accident to file your claim or lawsuit.
Auto Insurance Requirements for Illinois
State law requires you to have a minimum level of auto insurance. The minimum policies required in this state are:
- $20,000 bodily injury per person in each accident
- $40,000 bodily injury for all people in each accident
- $15,000 property damage liability
- $20,000 and $40,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury
- $25,000 and $50,000 underinsured motorist coverage
- $15,000 with $250 deductible for uninsured motorist property damage
If you do not keep this minimum level of insurance in Illinois, you may be fined $500 and your license plates may be suspended for up to 120 days. If you drive in the state with a suspended license, you can receive up to a year in jail and a fine of $2500.
Other Illinois Driving Laws
- Illinois has a ban on texting for all drivers. Talking on cell phones is against the law for new drivers, but adult drivers may use a hands-free cell phone unless they are in a construction or school zone.
- As of 2014, most highways in the state have had their speed limits increased to 70 MPH. This includes parts of I-55 and I-80 near Joliet, I-57 near Park Forest and I-88 west of Aurora.
- As of 2014, you can be fined $1500 for tossing cigarette butts on roads or sidewalks in the state.
Illinois Car Accident Resources
If you have a car accident in Illinois, you will probably be stressed and upset, so use the below information and resources to get you on the right path.
- All drivers in Illinois car accidents must file an accident report if the crash caused injury, death or more than $1500 of property damage, if all drivers carry insurance; the threshold is $500 if any driver lacks insurance. If a police officer does not show up at the accident, you must file the report with the local police department.
- If you need a copy of a police report in Chicago, which could be necessary for filing a personal injury claim, you can purchase one for $6 from the Chicago Police Department.
- It is important to understand what your potential car accident claim could be worth. Getting a ballpark figure will help you to decide whether it is worth it or not to seek compensation. Use our resources at Lawsuit Info Center to help you determine what you case is worth.