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How Long Do You Have To Report a Car Accident in Illinois?

July 3, 2024

After being involved in a crash, it is important to understand how long you have to report a car accident in Illinois. When you get injured in a car accident, it is crucial to do everything necessary to protect your legal rights. Even if you are clearly entitled to financial compensation, mistakes and oversights can prevent you from recovering the financial compensation you deserve. 

Does this include reporting your car accident? If so, how long do you have to report a car accident in Illinois? 

Until recently, the answer to the first question was “Yes.” However, this changed when the Illinois General Assembly passed Public Act 102-0560. Under this new law, accident reporting is no longer required for the general public. As the Illinois Department of Transportation explains

“[C]ompletion of the Illinois Motorist Report is no longer a requirement. Based on Public Act 102-0560, a motorist involved in a motor vehicle crash will not need to fill out an SR1B Illinois Motorist Report . . . . However, pursuant to State Rules, any employee involved in a crash in a state vehicle, is STILL required to file this report.”

But, while you may not be required to report your car accident under Illinois law, it is still important to call 911 after an accident resulting in serious injuries or property damage. Additionally, you may need to report the accident to your insurance company under the terms of your policy. Both of these steps can be essential for protecting your ability to recover just compensation for your medical bills, repair bills, pain and suffering, and other accident-related losses. 

Calling 911 After a Car Accident in Illinois

Any time you are involved in a car accident resulting in serious injuries or property damage, it is important to call 911 from the scene. When you call 911, you should tell the dispatcher that you were involved in an accident, you should describe the location of the accident as precisely as possible, and you should answer the dispatcher’s questions to the best of your ability. 

The dispatcher will ask if anyone needs emergency medical attention. If so, you should say, “Yes,” so the dispatcher can send both police and EMTs. Then, you should wait at the scene of the accident until the first responders arrive, staying well off the side of the road to keep yourself out of harm’s way. 

Calling 911 from the scene of a car accident is important for a couple of reasons. First and foremost, it ensures that anyone who needs medical attention can receive appropriate care as soon as possible. Second, it creates a formal record of the accident. The police report will state where and when the accident happened, and it will also state the responding officer’s observations regarding the circumstances involved. This record can be essential when it comes to proving your legal rights and seeking just compensation. 

Contacting Your Auto Insurance Company After a Car Accident 

Along with calling 911 from the scene of the accident, it is also important to report the accident to your insurance company. This may be required under the terms of your policy; and, in any case, it will be a necessary first step for utilizing any coverage you have available. Even if the driver who hit you is insured, you may still need to file a personal injury protection (PIP) or underinsured motorist (UIM) claim to make sure the financial consequences of the accident are no greater than necessary. 

When you contact your insurance company, however, you need to be very careful. You need to avoid saying anything that could raise questions about your right to coverage. Simply state where and when the accident happened, provide the other driver’s insurance information, and let the adjuster know that you are dealing with both injuries and property damage (if this is the case). Do not make any assumptions, and do not say anything that suggests you might share responsibility for the collision. 

Then, from this point forward, you should have a lawyer deal with the insurance companies on your behalf. Protecting your legal rights isn’t easy, and the insurance companies will be focused on paying you as little as possible. An experienced car accident lawyer will be able to help you seek the full compensation you deserve while making sure that the insurance companies don’t take advantage of you.

Speak with a Car Accident Lawyer in Chicago for Free

If you have been injured in a car accident and would like to know more about protecting your right to financial compensation, we encourage you to contact us right away. 

Contact the personal injury attorneys at Coplan + Crane today online or at 708-358-8080 to schedule a FREE case evaluation. We welcome clients from across Illinois, including Chicago, Oak Park, Rockford, and other areas.