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Illinois Car Accident Compensation Laws

If you're in a car accident in Illinois, you'll want to know the laws of the state concerning car accident compensation.

Continue reading to learn more about car accident compensation laws in Illinois.

The chart below lays out key aspects of Illinois' car accident compensation laws and is followed by detailed explanations of the laws.

Statute of Limitations

Two years for personal injury lawsuits (735 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/13-202)

Five years for property damage lawsuits (735 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/13-205)

Limits on Damages

There are no limits on damages. The cap was held to be unconstitutional. (LeBron v. Gottlieb Memorial Hospital)

Other Limits

Modified comparative fault can prevent or limit recovery, depending on the driver's percentage of fault for the accident. (735 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/2-1116)

"At Fault" and "Modified Comparative Fault" Rules in Illinois

Illinois is one of the vast majority of U.S. states to employ "at fault" rules for car accident claims. These rules are also known as "tort liability" rules. Drivers involved in car accidents who seek compensation must prove that the other party was at fault for the accident.

It's important to note that Illinois is a "modified comparative negligence" jurisdiction. These jurisdictions are also known as "modified comparative fault" jurisdictions. That sounds complicated, but it's really common sense. To recover compensation for car accident injuries or property damage, the party seeking compensation must not be more at fault than the other party involved in the accident.

Fault is measured in terms of percentages calculated by a judge or jury, if the claim doesn't settle first. Fault of 50% or more prevents a party from recovering. This law operates to reduce damage awards as well. For example, if a person is found to be 25% at fault, they would only recover 75% of their damages.

Types of Damages

Damages that often result from car accidents include:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Medical costs
  • Vehicle repair or replacement
  • Rental cars
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of affection or companionship
  • Wrongful death

The above damages are often categorized as economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages include replacement or repair of the damaged cars, past and future medical expenses, lost income, and calculable other out-of-pocket expenses. Non-economic injuries, on the other hand, cover things such as pain, emotional stress, and disfigurement or disability.

Limits on Damages

The harshest limit in any legal case is the statute of limitations (time limit) for filing your case. In Illinois, there are two different time limits. An injured party has two years from the date of the car accident to file a lawsuit for personal injury and five years to file for property damage. A pending insurance claim doesn't buy you time to file a lawsuit, so it is important to consult with an attorney early to evaluate the strength of your claim.

Beyond the time limit, and any reduction in damages under the comparative fault law, there is no other cap on damages. Illinois' cap was found to violate the state's constitution in 2010.

Get Legal Help from an Illinois Car Accident Lawyer

Missing a filing deadline or settling for less than your case is worth can be devastating to you and your family if you are injured severely in a car accident. An experienced attorney can discuss the strengths of your case and how much compensation may be available. Contact an Illinois car accident lawyer today.

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