Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations related to auto accidents relate to both personal injury lawsuits, as well as property damage lawsuits. In Illinois, you will have 2 years to file your personal injury claim from the date of your accident. Likewise, you will have up to 5 years to file any property damage claims.
Illinois is an "At Fault" State
In order for you to win your case you will have to prove who is responsible for causing the accident. Illinois is one of many states which implements at fault rules when an accident occurs. Therefore, people seeking compensation must prove that someone was “at fault”. Individuals involved in auto accidents should also be aware of modified comparative fault. Modified comparative fault refers to the fact that people seeking compensation cannot be at equal or more fault than the other party involved in the accident. In short, the way that “fault” is measured is done so by a judge and jury who give it a percentage. Therefore, if you are at 50% fault in your case, it is likely there will be no recovery. Say you are 30% at fault, you would be entitled up to 70% recovery of the damages. Likewise, if you are 0% fault, you may recover 100% from damages. In conclusion, modified comparative fault helps limit award amounts to individuals.
Reporting Car Accidents in Illinois
Firstly, people should know that under Illinois state law a person must report any accident resulting in death or injury. If an individual fails to do so they may be charged with a felony. In addition, Illinois state law requires any accident resulting in more than 1,500 dollars in property damage be reported. A person must report the accident within 10 days of when it took place. Failure to do so can result in your license being suspended.
To learn more about the timeframes involved with auto accidents, follow this link: How Long Do You Have to Report a Car Accident in Illinois?
Car Accident Settlement
After you successfully file your lawsuit, it is likely you will be ordered to attend a settlement conference. Most usually these are mandatory. However, if it is not required of you, people should still be aware that most car accident lawsuit are settled, rather than tried in a court of law. Settlements are most usually either lump sum amounts or structured settlements. Structured settlements allow multiple payments to be made over a period of many years. Settlements most usually are determined by the guilty party’s insurance companies’ maximums. Therefore, depending on your injuries, the awarded amount of money may not be enough. Individuals are responsible to assure that enough money will be awarded to cover their damages.
Length to File a Car Accident Lawsuit
The length of time associated with filing a car accident lawsuit depends on the specifics to the case. If you are in an accident which resulted in for example, a broken arm or leg, this is considered “personal injury“. A person who is subjected to a personal injury has 2 years to file. If the accident only involved your car and no one was hurt, it is considered a “personal property damage lawsuit”. People involved in cases like this have up to 5 years to file their lawsuit. Individuals may file both lawsuits, or one or the other. In addition, people do not have to win both lawsuits in order to receive compensation. For example, you could win your personal injury case and receive the compensation from it, while losing your personal property damage case, or vice versa.
Car Accident Damages
The damages associated with car accidents are usually broken down into two separate categories. Firstly, there are what is considered economic damages. These damages include medical costs, lost wages, vehicle replacement and repair, and any other out of pocket expense you endured from the accident. Secondly, there are non-economic damages which consist of things like pain and suffering, disability, or emotional pain, such as stress, anxiety, or depression. In conclusion, listed below are common damages associated with car accidents.
- Vehicle Repairs
- Vehicle Replacements
- Medical Costs
- Pain & Suffering
- Rental Car
- Lost Wages
- Wrongful Death