Reporting a Car Accident in Illinois: How Long Do You Have?

Being involved in a car accident can be a scary and confusing experience. These incidents typically happen with no warning, and the aftermath of a crash often leaves those involved wondering what steps to take.

It is crucial that you report your vehicle accident to the appropriate authorities. This is not just a recommendation; this is required in most situations. Here, we want to discuss Illinois laws regarding reporting vehicle accidents as well as why reporting the incident is in your best interest in the long run.

Illinois law for reporting vehicle accidents

For many people, reporting an accident after it occurs is second nature. However, there are various reasons why people involved in automobile accidents in Illinois choose not to report the incident. Often, a choice to not report the incident is made between the parties involved, and they go their separate ways. This can be disastrous, particularly if one or more party has sustained a delayed car accident injury or has more property damage than they realized.

State law (Illinois Statute Chapter 625 Vehicles § 5/11-406) says that you must report a vehicle accident to the Illinois Department of Transportation if:

  • The accident has resulted in bodily injury or death of any party involved, or
  • The accident has resulted in property damage of more than $1,500

The crash must be reported to the Illinois DOT within 10 days after the incident occurs. The report can be completed by the crash victim, their insurance agent, the owner of the vehicle, or a legal representative. The Motorist Crash Report can be submitted online. Failure to report an accident in Illinois is punishable by a suspension of your driver’s license. Additionally, providing false information on an accident report is considered a Class C misdemeanor offense, which is punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a $500 fine.

In order to properly complete this form, the following information needs to be gathered and included:

  • Time and place of the accident
  • Name, address, and date of birth of all motorists involved
  • Driver’s license information for all motorists involved
  • License plate numbers and states for all motorists involved
  • Name and address love all parties involved and the name of their insurance carrier
  • The name and address of all registered vehicle owners of vehicles involved
  • An explanation of what happened during the incident

This is not the police report

Illinois law also requires that drivers report an accident to local law enforcement as soon as possible. If the incident occurred inside of a municipality in Illinois, then the local police department needs to be called. If the incident does not occur inside of a municipal boundary, the driver needs to call the county sheriff’s office or the nearest Illinois State Police headquarters. Typically, if somebody calls 911 to report the incident, one of these agencies will respond.

Even though these agencies will conduct an investigation and issue a police report, drivers must still submit a Motorist Crash Report of their own to the Illinois DOT within 10 days after the incident.