Illinois Hit and Run Laws

Illinois hit and run laws: What happens if you do a hit and run in Illinois?

Under 625 ILCS 5/11-402, Illinois hit and run laws, a hit and run is punishable by up to fourteen years in prison, a fine, and license suspension.

Quick take:

  • Failure to comply with drug/alcohol testing after a hit and run is a class 1 felony if the victim dies.
  • Leaving the scene of an accident that results in property damage alone is a misdemeanor.
  • You have ten days to report an accident in Illinois.
  • Failure to file a police report in Illinois is a felony if the accident result in injury or death.
  • You may leave the scene of an accident if you fear for your safety or if the accident does not result in injury or property damage.


Illinois leaving the scene of an accident: misdemeanor hit and run property damage

In Illinois, the circumstances of the case dictate if the accident is a felony, misdemeanor, or not a crime. Under Illinois hit and run laws, an accident becomes a crime if either party involved flees the scene without exchanging personal information or rendering reasonable assistance to any injured person/s.

Note: To convict the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt three elements:

  • You drove the vehicle.
  • The vehicle was involved in a traffic collision.
  • You intentionally or knowingly left the scene.

Minor hit and runs in Illinois fall in the category of misdemeanors. The question is, what are your obligations at the scene of an accident that only results in property damage?

Under state law, whenever you are involved in an accident, you must immediately stop your vehicle at the scene or somewhere close by and remain there until you fulfill the requirements of section 11-403.

Section 11-403 “duty to give information and render aid

The statute requires you to do the following before leaving the scene.

  • Immediately stop the vehicle and avoid blocking traffic more than is necessary.
  • Give your name, address, contact information, and vehicle registration number to the victim, law enforcement, or a passenger in the struck vehicle.
  • Render reasonable assistance to anyone injured, including transporting the person to a hospital or other care facility.

What happens if you fail to fulfill these requirements?

Failure to fulfill the requirements above is a class A misdemeanor if the accident results in property damage alone.

What happens if you hit and run a parked vehicle in Illinois?

If you flee the scene without fulfilling the requirements mentioned above, you are guilty of a class A misdemeanor. What if you cannot find the driver or law enforcement agent?

State law requires you to leave the information mentioned above on a note placed on a conspicuous section of the struck vehicle. In addition, if the accident results in significant damage to the parked vehicle, you must report the accident at the nearest police station.

Illinois hit and run laws: felony hit and run death or injury

If you are involved in an accident that results in serious injury or death, section 11-401 requires you to report the incident to law enforcement within thirty minutes of the accident. In addition, if you are incapable or admitted to a hospital, you must report the incident within one hour after being discharged.

That said. After an accident in Illinois, if you notice that the other driver or struck person is incapacitated, not moving, injured, or deceased. You must immediately stop the vehicle at the scene or close by and render reasonable assistance to the victim.

You also have a legal obligation to stay at the scene until law enforcement arrives.

Note that section B of the statute reads in part, quote:

No report made as required under this paragraph shall be used, directly or indirectly, as a basis for the prosecution of any violation.”


“Any person arrested for violating this Section is subject to chemical testing of his or her blood, breath, other bodily substance, or urine for the presence of alcohol, other drug, or drugs, intoxicating compound or compounds, or any combination thereof, as provided in Section 11-501.1.”

What is the penalty for hit and run/leaving the scene of an accident in Illinois?

  • Misdemeanor hit and run property damage/striking an unattended vehicle: class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to 365 days in jail and a maximum fine of $2500.
  • Felony hit and run injury or death: class 4 felony punishable by up to three years in prison and a maximum fine of $25000.

What is the penalty for failing to report an accident in Illinois?

If you do not file a police report within ten days after the incident, the penalty is up to seven years in prison if the accident results in injury and up to fifteen years if the accident results in death. The victim or victim’s family may also file claims including wrongful death, lost wages, and other damages resulting from the accident.

Consequently, if you were involved in a hit and run, it is vital that you contact a lawyer immediately and do not admit fault at the scene. If you must leave the scene, you should have a good reason, for example, you feared for your safety, or the accident left you incapacitated, thus fleeing the scene -was not voluntary or intentional.

What if you refuse drug or alcohol testing?

The statute says that failure to comply with drug test requirements if the accident results in injury or property damage is a class 2 felony. The crime escalates into a class 1 felony if the victim dies.

Note – Upon conviction for the crimes above, the secretary shall revoke the accused’s driving license.

Illinois hit and run laws: what you must remember:

  • You must stop your vehicle immediately after an accident.
  • Assisting the victim or anyone injured is a legal obligation, meaning, you may face punishment for failing to assist someone who needs it.
  • You must report the accident to law enforcement if it results in death or injury or if it causes property damage surpassing $1500.
  • You have ten days to file a report after the accident.

What to do immediately after a hit and run in Illinois

Immediately after an accident in Illinois, you must remain calm. Why? If you threaten or harm the driver, the individual has a valid reason to flee the scene and may file assault or property damage charges against you.

Instead, what you should do is:

  • Do not admit fault: words like “I did not see the vehicle coming,” and “it was entirely my fault,” may cost you your compensation. Therefore, do not say anything that may shift fault to you.
  • Contact emergency services: words like “I’m okay” may also cost you your compensation. Therefore do not make any comments about your physical condition until you get an opinion from a physician or emergency worker.

Collect evidence to make tracking down the perpetrator easier

If there are no cameras in the area, or if you do not have a dashcam, write down everything you see, including the fleeing vehicle make, driver description, vehicle color, damage to the vehicle, and anything else that may aid the police to track down the driver.

If witnesses are in the area, collect their names and contact information.

What if a witness leaves the scene?

You should share witness information with law enforcement when they arrive at the scene.

Also, do not leave the scene until you contact law enforcement

How is fault determined in Illinois?

Illinois is a “comparative fault” state. Because of that, your claim award diminishes based on your share of responsibility for the accident. Note that if your share of fault is above 50%, you are not eligible for compensation.

Who decides your share of fault?

When you file a claim, a jury will calculate the total dollar amount of the claimant’s damages and the percentage of fault for each party. That is why you mustn’t admit fault for the accident or say anything that the other party may use in their defense.

If you plan to file a suit, it is in your best interest to consult with an experienced attorney.

What is the statute of limitations on accidents in Illinois?

Under state law, you have two years from the time of the incident to file a claim if you suffered an injury. For property damage, the statute of limitations is five years starting from the date of the accident. However, as mentioned, you can only recover damages if your percentage of fault is below 50%.

What if the victim dies?

If the victim dies, the statute of limitations is two years, starting from the time of death.

Illinois hit and run laws: defense strategies

Note that all hit-and-runs are unique, meaning you should start thinking about your defense immediately after the accident. Ideally, you want to stop and remain at the scene until you exchange information with the victim or until law enforcement officers show up.

Is there a valid reason for leaving the scene of an accident?

Yes. If you feel that remaining at the scene is unsafe for you or the people in your vehicle, for example, if an angry crowd forms or if the victim or someone else reacts violently. In this case, you may leave the scene and report the incident at the nearest police station.

Secondly, if you have verified that no one apart from yourself or someone in your vehicle was injured, you may leave the scene. Remember, you have ten days to report the incident, and anything you say to the police may be used against you.

 You were not behind the wheel

As mentioned, prosecutors must prove that you were driving the vehicle at the time of the accident. Consequently, if the car was stolen or someone else was driving the vehicle at the time of the incident, you may use that as a defense.

Other defenses include:

  • The other driver or struck person said everything was all right.
  • You complied with the requirements.

Other Illinois Laws