31 Oct, 2023

How Long Do You Have to Report a Car Accident in Bloomington, IL

Author Todd A. Strong
Drivers fill out an accident statement report after having a parking lot accident. how long do you have to report a car accident
Drivers fill out an accident statement report after having a parking lot accident. how long do you have to report a car accident

Are you wondering, “How long do you have to report a car accident in Illinois?” In general, drivers are required to report car accidents to the police within 10 days if there is an injury, death, or significant property damage. It’s also advisable to report accidents to car insurance companies as soon as possible. Following the state’s reporting requirements is essential to protecting your right to compensation after being involved in a car accident. Learn more about when and how to report a car accident in Bloomington and the rest of Illinois below.

How Long Do You Have to Report a Car Accident?

Reporting an accident isn’t always the first thing that comes to the minds of car accident victims. Nevertheless, it’s one of the steps you must take after an accident.

State Regulations for Reporting Car Accidents in Illinois

You’re required to file a crash report with the Illinois State Police (ISP) no later than 10 days after your crash if it involved one of the following:

  • Injury or death of one or more people
  • More than $1,500 worth of damage to a vehicle or property
  • Over $500 in property damage and one or more drivers were uninsured

If a police officer visits the accident scene, he or she will investigate the accident and create an official report. As a result, you won’t have to file a crash report on your own.

Illinois drivers involved in an accident are required to stop at or close to the accident scene. You could face hit-and-run charges if you leave the scene without stopping to render aid and exchange information with the other driver.

If a driver fails to stop immediately and return to the scene after being involved in an accident, the driver is required to report the place, time, and approximate time of the accident, and the names of the driver and all other occupants, address, and vehicle registration number at the nearest police station within 30 minutes of the crash. When you’re the victim of a hit-and-run accident, it’s possible to find and charge the at-fault driver. It’s recommended that you act quickly, gathering as much information as you can and reporting the incident to the police as soon as possible.

Previously, accident victims were also required to fill out and submit an Illinois Motorist Report to the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) within 10 days of the crash. However, the requirement has been repealed. Currently, only employees involved in accidents in state vehicles are required to fill out and submit the report to IDOT.

Reporting to Your Auto Insurance Provider

Now that you know when to notify the police of a crash in Bloomington, the next question is, how long do you have to report a car accident to your insurance provider? Illinois state law doesn’t require you to report your crash to your car insurance company. Nevertheless, auto insurance contracts usually require people to report their accidents soon after they’ve happened, which may be within 24 or 48 hours or even up to 30 days. You can find out the applicable time limit by reading your policy carefully.

It’s best to notify your insurance provider about a car accident as soon as possible. This will help you avoid filing issues when you make a first-party claim later, someone makes a claim against you, or if your insurer needs to recover money from the at-fault party’s insurer.

Factors That May Influence the Reporting Deadline

A few factors that may influence the reporting deadline include:

Your Insurance Company

Insurance providers have different requirements for reporting crashes and injuries. As a result, deadlines may vary from one company to another.

Injury Severity

The severity of your injury may also be a factor. When you’re not seriously hurt, you can notify your insurer and the police of your crash a few minutes or hours after its occurrence. However, if you’re severely injured and require emergency treatment or hospitalization, you may be allowed to report the accident when it’s practically possible.

For example, according to Illinois law, a person who was involved in an accident but didn’t stop and return to the crash scene is supposed to report the accident at a police station close to the crash scene no later than 30 minutes. However, if a driver fails to stop immediately at the scene and is incapacitated and hospitalized, he or she is required to report the accident to the police within 30 minutes of being discharged from the hospital.

Legislative Changes

The Illinois legislature can make changes to state laws that affect deadlines for reporting car accidents in Bloomington. For example, up to August 2021, drivers involved in accidents that led to injuries, death, or property damage exceeding $1,500 were required to complete the Motorist Crash Report and submit it to IDOT within 10 days of their accident. The state legislature passed a law that repealed those reporting requirements. As a result, only state employees involved in accidents when driving government-owned vehicles have to submit a crash report to IDOT.

How to Report a Car Accident in Bloomington

It’s normal for victims to feel overwhelmed by what to do after a car accident in Illinois. Here’s how you should go about reporting your accident:

Reporting to the Police

Unless your accident involves no injury and property damage of less than $1,500, you’ll have to notify the police after being involved in an accident in Illinois. The law requires you to notify the police through the fastest available means of communication, which in most cases is a cell phone. Call the police after stopping your car as safely as possible close to the crash scene if you’re able to do so. Calling 911 lets you summon both police and medical assistance.

After a police officer appears at the scene of the accident, he or she will prepare a report containing valuable information, like:

  • Details of the drivers and property involved
  • Statements from the drivers
  • Date, time, and location of the accident
  • Statements from witnesses
  • Summary of how the accident occurred

A police report can help strengthen your car accident claim. Your Bloomington car accident lawyer can use it to your advantage during negotiations with the other driver’s insurance company. When talking to the officer, only state the facts and avoid apologizing or assigning fault.

If there was no responding police officer at the scene, you should file a crash report within 10 days of your accident. After collecting the personal information of the other drivers involved and witnesses and taking pictures and videos of the scene, you can then proceed to report the accident to local law enforcement. Some types of accidents can be filed online, such as accidents that cause property damage only, single-vehicle accidents, and crashes on interstate highways or State Highways under the jurisdiction of the ISP.

You can request an official copy of the accident report by mail or online.

Reporting to Your Insurer

You can quickly notify your insurer of your accident by calling them. Insurance companies usually have an online page or app that you could also use to report your accident. When contacting your insurance company, you could ask questions like “What is the insurance claim process for a car accident?” to know the right processes and deadlines.

When speaking with your insurance company, limit conversations to facts about the accident. Don’t discuss fault or your personal feelings or downplay the seriousness of the crash or your injuries.

How Long Do You Have to File a Car Accident Claim?

Illinois is an at-fault state, so the insurance provider of the at-fault driver’s liability coverage is required to pay for the other party’s damages. You can file a claim with the other driver’s insurance company. If your claim is denied, you receive an inadequate settlement, or the insurance company delays the claim, you could file your claim as a lawsuit in court. But how long after an accident can you file a claim? Understanding the state’s statute of limitations — the law that sets deadlines for filing lawsuits — will help you better understand when to file a car accident claim.

The Statute of Limitations for Car Accident Cases

The statute of limitations for filing a personal injury lawsuit following a car accident in Illinois is generally two years from the date the crash occurred. The court will dismiss your case if you file a car accident lawsuit after the expiry of the statute of limitations, unless there’s an exception that applies to your case. You’ll have forfeited the ability to receive compensation from the other driver and his or her insurer.

When the statute of limitations runs out, the insurance company will simply deny your claim. That’s because the company knows you don’t have any legal recourse. As a result, it’s best to file a car accident claim early enough after the accident, leaving adequate time to file a car accident lawsuit if necessary. If you want to ensure you preserve your legal rights to maximum compensation, you can discuss your case with an Illinois car accident lawyer.

About The Author

Photo of Todd A. Strong
Illinois workers’ compensation and personal injury lawyer Todd A. Strong is the founder of Strong Law Offices in Peoria, Illinois. Todd brings considerable legal knowledge, experience, and skill to the table to ensure injured victims throughout the state are treated with respect, dignity, and fairness.