You are stopped at a stoplight and just as you hover your foot over the gas pedal to move forward, you are jerked forward because a minivan bumped you from behind. You step out of your vehicle to come around the back to see if there was any damage just in time to see that the vehicle quickly changed lanes and sped away. You do not give it a second thought because you think the damage is minimal, but later you discover that the damage is going to cost a lot of money to repair. Additionally, the day after the rear-end bump, you began to have a stiff neck and sore shoulders. But, you were not able to get the other driver’s information and you didn’t think it was worth it to file a police report, so you are left paying for the Chiropractor and the body shop on your own.
When should you file a police report?
If you are involved in a car accident that involved injury or death, or property damage over $1,500 ($500 if the other vehicle is not covered by car insurance). If a police officer does not show up at the scene of the accident, you must file a report with the local police department or the Illinois State Police as soon as possible.
You must file a written report for a reportable accident as soon as possible after the crash, but within 10 days of the accident and submit it to the Illinois Department of Transportation, Division of Traffic Safety. Failure to report a crash to the Illinois Department of Transportation could leave you liable for a $2,500 fine or up to one year in prison.
What happens if I do not report an accident within ten days?
If you fail to report a reportable accident, you could face suspension of your driver’s license. If you provide false information on a police report it is a Class C misdemeanor, which is punishable by a $50. fine and up to 30 days in jail.
While there may not be an Illinois state law requiring a driver to report a crash to their insurance company, your car insurance contract requires that you report an accident as soon as possible after it happens. Failure to report the accident within a few days may cause the insurance company to deny the claim.
If what you thought was minor property damage turns out to be something more substantial, it is helpful to have the protection of a police report as evidence that the crash took place so that you can pursue the claim. If your injury from a car crash that was caused by another person was serious, you might consider scheduling a consultation with an experienced Chicago car accident attorney today.
At Gainsberg Law P.C., every day we fight to win compensation for our clients who have been injured in a car crash in Chicago. To speak to a caring advocate, please phone us at 312.313.1621 or make an appointment by filling out our contact form.