If you are involved in an accident or collision in Illinois, you must be prepared to act responsibly and in accordance with State law. Following are some general guidelines and more specific requirements to follow in case of an accident.
FIRST AND FOREMOST
As a responsible driver, you must never leave the scene of an accident. Not only is it essential that you provide any necessary help immediately following an accident, but leaving an accident scene can result in a $25,000 fine, up to 3 years in jail, having your driving privileges revoked or your license suspended.
After stopping your vehicle, you should pull up as close to the accident as safely possible, without obstructing traffic. Take a moment to assess the situation, and do not panic. Be aware of the traffic situation, and any other potential dangers, such as fire.
You should do your best to provide immediate assistance to other motorists, passengers or pedestrians that may have been injured in the accident. Take extra care when attempting to move an injured person; if possible, wait for an ambulance to arrive. Notify 911 to report any injuries and call for medical assistance. If the accident did not result in any injuries, inform the local Illinois police, sheriff or nearest state police headquarters.
If you have been injured in a car accident, it is important to stay calm. If possible, ensure that you are out of danger and not blocking any oncoming traffic. Call or wait for help, and do not attempt to move if you are unable to do so. See Auto Accident Injuries for more information.
If you are involved in an accident in Illinois, you are required to provide certain information to the other parties involved. Likewise, fellow motorists, passengers or pedestrians involved in the accident must share similar information with you. Also, it is often wise to ask for the information of witnesses to the accident just in case you need to have them testify at a later date. The key information to exchange in the aftermath of an accident includes:
- Name, address and contact details
- Driver license number
- License plate number of the vehicles involved
- Auto insurance information for the motorists involved.
It may also be useful to take photographs at the scene of the accident. If you hit an unattended vehicle, you must make an effort to find the owner or driver, and follow these same procedures. If you are unable to locate the owner of an unattended vehicle, you are required to leave a note indicating your name and contact information, and a brief description of the accident.
REPORTING AN ACCIDENT TO THE ILLINOIS DOT
- In addition to reporting an accident to the local police, you are also required to report certain types of accidents to the Illinois Department of Transportation. You are required to complete and submit a Motorist Crash Report within 10 days of an accident, if any of the following apply:
- The accident resulted in death or injury;
- The accident resulted in damage to property in excess of $500;
- In most cases the police officer at the site of the incident will provide you with a copy of the Motorist Crash Report form. He or she will also complete part of the form for you. However, in case no police officer is available at the accident site, or you have lost your copy of the form, you will first have to call the police department and ask for the bar code number of the original Police Report. Once you have this number, you can request a blank copy of the form from the Illinois DOT by calling (217) 782-2575.
- If you fail to report an accident that meets the reporting requirements to the Illinois DOT, you may be liable to a fine of $2,500 or imprisonment up to one year. In the event that another driver offers to pay for damages and asks you not to report an accident, you are still required to file the report in any of the situations outlined above.
- Your report must include detailed and current information regarding your insurance coverage. The DMV will cross-check this information with the insurance company shown on the report. If you did not have liability insurance when the accident occurred, you may be subject to further penalties under the Safety Responsibility law.
- You must ensure that the information filled in the Motorist Crash Report form is as accurate as possible. Deliberately filling in false information can result in a $500 fine and jail sentence of 30 days.
- Notify your auto insurance company if you are involved in an accident.