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Chicago Hit and Run 101_ Navigating the Aftermath of a Run-in With the Law

Someone who causes a car accident is responsible for paying for its consequences. So what happens when the other driver flees the scene to avoid taking responsibility?

There are various ways you may proceed in these circumstances. If you don’t know what to do after a hit and run in Chicago, start by calling the police. You can explore your legal options after filing an official report.

Reporting a Hit-and-Run in Chicago

Do you know how to take legal steps after a hit and run in Chicago? Illinois law previously required motorists to contact law enforcement about any crash that results in:

  • Death
  • Bodily injury
  • More than $1,500 in property damage (or $500 in property damage to an uninsured vehicle)

While this is no longer the law, it’s a good idea to alert the authorities of any accident. For one, you shouldn’t assume you’re unhurt just because you don’t notice any signs of injury right away after a crash. Injuries like concussions sometimes appear hours or even days after wrecks. In addition, a crash can send adrenaline coursing through your body, preventing you from noticing the pain from your injuries right away.

Similarly, the fact that a vehicle “looks fine” doesn’t mean it is. What appears to be minor cosmetic damage could hide damage to internal components.

The point to understand is you can’t easily tell when a crash causes bodily injury or major property damage. A wreck may cause injury or significant property damage without immediately appearing to.

Always assume you need to report a collision in Chicago. This is especially true if another driver fled the scene. Chicago hit and run laws require you to stay at the scene unless you need medical treatment. Leaving the scene of an accident – even one you did not cause – is a crime.

The Importance of a Chicago Police Hit and Run Report

The officer investigating the crash will file an official report about the incident. You may request a copy of this report later.

A police report can play an important role in future legal proceedings. For example, the information it contains can help you establish that you did not cause the accident yourself. A police report may serve as valuable evidence in these circumstances.

The information you provide to the officer at the scene might also help the police identify the driver who fled. In the immediate aftermath of a crash, your main focus should be on getting to safety and tending to any injuries requiring urgent attention. However, if you can, you should also try to note as many important details as possible, including:

  • The make of the driver’s vehicle
  • The model of the driver’s vehicle
  • The vehicle’s license plate number
  • The direction in which the driver was headed
  • A physical description of the driver
  • A description of any damage to the driver’s vehicle

Speak with witnesses at the scene of the crash as well. They may also provide helpful information to you and the police. Don’t forget to take down the names and contact information of witnesses. Ask if anyone would be willing to give recorded statements at the scene.

What to Do After a Hit and Run in Chicago

Cooperate with the police when they investigate the crash. The aftermath of a traffic collision is often confusing, particularly when the other driver flees the scene. Don’t let your confusion affect what you say to the police. Stick to the facts, and don’t speculate when answering any questions. Avoid making any statements that might suggest the crash was at least partially your fault.

The police will give you permission to leave the scene once they no longer require your presence. Seek medical care right away once the police indicate you can go. Remember, you might have injuries of which you are unaware. See a doctor to determine whether you need further treatment.

Here are some other steps to take in the days after a Chicago hit-and-run:

  • Contact your insurer to let them know about the crash. Do not go into details without first discussing your case with an attorney.
  • Contact the police to request a copy of the police report and ask if they identified the driver who caused the wreck.
  • Refrain from posting about your crash on social media or openly discussing it with anyone other than medical professionals, insurance company representatives, and legal professionals.

Finally, get in touch with a lawyer. They can review your case for free and advise you on your options. If you decide to hire them, they can represent you during correspondence with an insurance company.

Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury Coverage (UM): Its Role in Hit and Run Insurance Claims in Illinois

a hand holding a tablet with a woman sitting on the ground next to a car accident

Illinois drivers must purchase certain insurance coverage when registering cars in the state. Among the coverage you must purchase in Illinois is Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury Coverage (UM). At a minimum, your policy should offer coverage of $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident.

This policy covers you in the event that an at-fault motorist lacks insurance. As such, it also applies when the at-fault driver has fled the scene. You may seek compensation via UM after a hit-and-run if you’re unable to track down the driver who caused the crash.

Contact a Chicago Hit-and-Run Accident Lawyer

Finding legal help after a hit and run in Chicago is an important step to take. In these circumstances, an attorney handling cases involving hit and run victim rights in Chicago may help by:

At JJ Legal, we tailor our approach to the specific details of every case. To learn more about what our team of attorneys can do for you, contact us online or call us today at 312-200-2000 for a free case review with a Chicago car accident lawyer.

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