Chicago Hit & Run Accident Attorneys
Laws Regarding Hit & Run Accidents in Illinois
Like other states, Illinois has hit and run laws regarding what you can—and cannot—do after a motor vehicle accident. These laws make it a crime to leave the scene of an accident, regardless of how minor or major the crash, without stopping and identifying yourself. Known as a “hit-and-run,” fleeing the scene of a crash can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the outcome of the accident.
If you were the victim of a hit-and-run accident, you are likely wondering what options you have when it comes to recovering compensation. Because Illinois follows a fault-based system, you typically must bring a claim against an at-fault driver to recover for your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages. But what happens when you cannot identify the at-fault driver because they did not stop at the scene?
In fact, you may have several options for recovering compensation after a hit-and-run in Chicago or anywhere in Illinois. We encourage you to reach out to our attorneys at McHargue & Jones, LLC to learn how we can help you with your case.
Why Do People Commit Hit & Runs?
There are many reasons people fail to stop after an accident. Some of the most common include:
- Lack of auto insurance
- Lack of valid driver’s license
- Driving under the influence of alcohol/drugs
- Panic/fear or repercussions
- Not wanting insurance premiums to go up
- Driving a stolen vehicle
Unfortunately, when a driver flees the scene of an accident, it leaves victims to pick up the pieces on their own. That being said, it may be possible for the police to locate and charge the hit-and-run driver, but you must act quickly to report the incident. When you report the accident, make sure to tell the officer everything you can remember about what happened, as well as any details you have about the other driver and/or their vehicle, such as its make, model, color, license plate, etc. Remember, you are required by state law to report any accident that results in injury, death, or property damage in excess of $1,500 within 10 days.
Can You Get a Settlement from a Hit & Run?
There are two main ways to receive a settlement after a hit-and-run accident. First, if the police can locate the hit-and-run driver, you can bring a claim against their insurance company, just as you would in any standard car accident case. If, however, the police are not able to identify the hit-and-run driver, your only option is to seek compensation through your own insurance provider.
As part of its auto insurance requirements, the state of Illinois requires you to purchase minimum at least $25,000/$50,000 per person/accident in uninsured motorist (UM) and underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage. The purpose of UM/UIM coverage is to protect you when you are hit by motorists who do not have insurance or only have the minimum liability insurance, and this is not enough to cover your damages. UM coverage also protects you when you are involved in a hit-and-run.
After a hit-and-run accident, you can turn to your auto insurance provider and file a UM claim. This allows you to collect compensation for your medical bills, but it does not cover vehicle repair costs. You will need to file a collision insurance claim with your insurance company to recover vehicle repair or replacement expenses.
It can be difficult to understand your exact insurance policy, and insurance companies are often hesitant to pay out claims. Even though they are supposedly there to protect you, your insurance company may offer you a lowball settlement after a hit-and-run. We encourage you to work with a skilled hit-and-run accident attorney in Chicago, like those at McHargue & Jones, LLC, to protect your rights.
How Long Does a Hit & Run Claim Take?
While you are wondering whether your insurance company will pay for the hit-and-run accident, you might also be concerned about the length of time this may take. With medical bills mounting and everyday expenses piling up while you are out of work, the aftermath of an unexpected accident can be extremely stressful.
Unfortunately, there is no set time for how long hit and run claims take in Illinois. Instead, many factors play a role in the length of a given claim, from how much auto insurance coverage you have to how willing your insurance company is to settle your claim. Generally speaking, settling a hit-and-run claim can take anywhere from 30 days to 6 months; if your case goes to trial, it may take as much as 2 years.
Here are some important deadlines you should know when pursuing your hit-and-run case:
- Within 24 Hours: See a medical professional and have your injuries treated. Whether you receive emergency care immediately after the accident or make an appointment with your doctor on your own, you should always seek medical attention after an accident.
- As Soon as Possible: Notify your insurance company about the accident. Depending on your exact policy, you may need to report the accident within a few days if you wish to file a car accident claim, whether through your UM or collision coverage.
- Within 10 Days: Report the accident to the police. Illinois law requires you to report any motor vehicle accident resulting in bodily injury/death and/or property damage valued at more than $1,500 to local law enforcement within 10 days of the accident.
- Within 1 Year: File your car accident wrongful death lawsuit. If your loved one was killed in a hit-and-run accident, you have one year from the date of death to file a wrongful death lawsuit with the court.
- Within 2 Years: File your car accident injury lawsuit. Illinois has a two-year statute of limitations on car accident lawsuits, meaning you have two years from the date of the accident to bring your case (note that this only applies to lawsuits, not claims).
- Within 5 Years: File your property damage lawsuit. If your case does not involve bodily injury or death but only involves property damage repairs and/or replacement, you have five years to file your case with the court.
How McHargue & Jones, LLC Can Help
For more than 20 years, our firm has been committed to representing seriously injured individuals in complex personal injury claims. Our Chicago hit-and-run accident lawyers understand the challenges you face, and we know how to help you navigate the legal process to fight for the fair recovery you deserve. We work tirelessly to ensure your rights are protected every step of the way and will handle every legal detail so that you can focus on your physical and emotional recovery.
- What You Should Know About Speaking to an Insurance Company After a Car Accident
- The Importance of Seeing a Doctor After a Car Accident
- What is Included in a Car Accident Police Report?
- Filing a Wrongful Death Claim After a Fatal Car Accident