Illinois Car Accident Settlement Process and Timeline
In Illinois, you had better be prepared to go big or go home. The Land of Lincoln is home to one of the busiest airports and one of the tallest skyscrapers in the United States. Whether or not your car accident occurred in the Windy City, you may already be discovering that trials are not nearly as exciting as they are on The Good Wife. Rather than spending the time and money it takes to fully litigate your car accident claim, you may wish to explore the Illinois car accident settlement process and timeline.
Do I Need to Report a Car Accident in Illinois?
Per section 5/11-401 of the Illinois Vehicle Code, you must report any car accident which results in injury or death to a person. Failure to comply is a felony. Per section 5/11-406 of the Illinois Vehicle Code, you must report any car accident which results in property damage in excess of $1,500 within 10 days. Failure to comply may result in the suspension of your driver's license.
Illinois Car Insurance Laws
Illinois drivers are required by law to carry liability car accident insurance. Comprehensive or collision insurance policies are insufficient. Specifically, drivers must carry:
Illinois uses the "at fault" and the "modified comparative fault" systems. This means that even if you were 40 percent at fault for your car accident, the court would still award you 60 percent of any jury damages award. Keep this in mind if the other driver is falsely claiming you are not entitled to recover any damages because you were partially to blame for your injuries.
How Do Car Accident Settlements Work in Illinois?
After you file your lawsuit, you will likely be ordered to attend a mandatory settlement conference. Even if that’s not required, most car accident lawsuits are settled rather than tried all the way to a jury verdict. Settlements can either be lump-sum or structured settlements, which allow for multiple payments over the course of many years.
What is the Average Car Accident Settlement in Illinois?
Often car accident settlements are limited to the maximums available under the at fault driver's car insurance policy. If you are seriously injured, this may not be sufficient to cover all of your damages. Before you accept any settlement, be certain that the settlement contains sufficient funds to compensate you for:
- Car repairs
- Medical treatment costs
- Pain and suffering
- Lost wages from time away from work
How Long do I Have to File a Car Accident Lawsuit in Illinois?
You have two years in which to file a lawsuit for personal injury, such as a broken bone or whiplash, per section 5/13-202 of the Illinois Code of Civil Procedure. And if your claim is only for the damage to your car, such as a broken window or a dented bumper, you have five years in which to file a personal property damage lawsuit (section 5/13-205 of the Illinois Code of Civil Procedure).
Get Professional Help With the Illinois Car Accident Settlement Process
While it may be tempting to avoid the time and expense of a trial, trials are the way that Illinois insures that injured parties are compensated for their losses. Insurance companies may try to offer you significantly less money that a jury would award you. If you were injured in a car accident in Illinois and are looking to settle your claim, get in touch with an Illinois accident attorney experienced with obtaining fair and just settlements.
Next Steps: Search for a Local Attorney
Contact a qualified attorney.