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Last updated: June 2, 2023

What to Do After a Hit-and-Run in Illinois

Leaving the scene of a car accident could result in imprisonment and thousands of dollars in fines.

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A hit-and-run occurs when someone hits a car, whether moving or parked, and flees the scene, not stopping to exchange information with the other driver. If you’re hit by another vehicle and the driver leaves the crash site, your main options are to figure out who the driver was and file a third-party claim with their insurance provider or make a first-party claim with your provider.

Hopefully, however, you’ll be able to find the driver, as any first-party claim could make your rates go up, even if the accident wasn’t your fault.

What to Do After a Hit-and-Run in Illinois


Here’s what to do if someone hits your car and flees the scene:

  1. Get medical attention. Call 911 if you’re hurt.
  2. Collect evidence. Collect as much information as you can about the vehicle that hit you as well as its driver. If you can recall, write down the following:
    • License plate number
    • Vehicle description
    • Direction vehicle was headed
    • Take photos of the accident scene and any damages to your car, and talk to people nearby who may have seen the hit-and-run. Write down their contact information and mention these witnesses when you file a police report for your insurance claim.
  3. Call the police. In Illinois, you’re legally required to report any accident that results in injury, property damage or death worth over $1,500, or worth over $500 if your car is insured, within 10 days of the accident.1 Regardless of whether it’s legally required, filing a police report will help you in the claims process.
  4. Alert your insurance provider. If you want to file a claim, contact your insurance company within five years of the hit-and-run to file a property damage claim and within two years for a personal injury claim.

This process is the same whether someone hits your car while it’s in motion or hits your parked car, although you’ll have to rely more heavily on eyewitnesses if you weren’t present during the latter scenario.


Here’s what not to do after a car accident:

  • Skip reporting the accident to the police. Not only is this required in some cases, but you’ll also want the police report for your insurance claim.
  • Neglect to file a claim. If you don’t file a claim, you’ll have to pay for your injuries and property damages out of pocket.
  • Chase the driver. Chasing the driver who hit you is dangerous, and you may also miss out on obtaining key witness testimony.
  • Leave the scene. Stay at the crash site as you call the police. Leaving could cause you to lose help from witnesses, whom victims are more dependent on in hit-and-runs than any other type of car accident.


How to Recover Damages

If you or the police are able to locate the driver who hit you, file a third-party claim with their insurance provider to cover your losses.

Another option, if you’re not made whole, is to file a personal injury lawsuit, which can award you damages as long as you’re less than 50 percent at fault, which should apply to most hit-and-runs. Most accident attorneys will give you a free consultation; then, if they take your case, you pay them only if you win.

However, if you can’t figure out who exactly was involved in the hit-and-run, you’ll have to file a first-party claim with your own insurance provider.

Does Car Insurance Cover Hit-and-Runs?

Car insurance covers hit-and-runs only if you have the following types of car insurance in Illinois:

  • Uninsured motorist coverage: You can use uninsured motorist coverage to pay for your injuries and damages in the event of a hit-and-run.
  • Collision coverage: Collision coverage pays for your car’s damages, regardless of who caused the accident.
  • Medical payments (MedPay) coverage: MedPay pays for your and your passengers’ injuries.



If you have only the minimum amount of coverage Illinois requires, which is just liability coverage, then your car insurance won’t cover any costs stemming from a hit-and-run. Liability coverage applies only to the other party’s damages and injuries, not your own.

Illinois Crime Victims Compensation Program

If all else fails and you are eligible, you can participate in the Illinois Crime Victims Compensation Program, which can get you up to $27,000 for your losses, including:

  • Medical costs
  • Hospital expenses
  • Dental costs
  • Mental health expenses
  • Lost wages (maximum of $2,400 per month)
  • Funeral/burial expenses

To participate, you must:

  • Be either the victim or the spouse, parent, child, or witness of someone killed or injured in a hit-and-run. You can also receive compensation for mental health services only if you are a minor who is the sibling or half-sibling of the victim. Hit-and-runs of pedestrians are also covered.
  • Notify the police of the crime within 72 hours.
  • Apply for the Illinois Crime Victims Compensation Program within five years of the crime date.2


Use this program as a last resort only after insurance and personal injury lawsuits do not pay out.

How Hit-and-Runs Affect Car Insurance Rates

When it comes to at-fault versus no-fault car accidents, typically, your insurance premium will increase more after an accident you caused versus an accident you didn’t cause; e.g., a hit-and-run in which you were the victim. However, your insurance could still increase after a hit-and-run if you file a first-party claim, rising an average of 51 percent. In contrast, if you file a third-party claim with a known driver as the responsible party, your insurance won’t increase at all.

Statistics About Hit-and-Runs in Illinois

Hit-and-runs are becoming more common in the Prairie State. In 2021, the last time the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released national data, 10 percent of all fatal motor vehicle crashes in Illinois involved hit-and-runs, twice as much as a decade earlier.3

Year Fatal crashes in Illinois involving a hit-and-run Percentage of total fatal crashes in Illinois involving a hit-and-run
2011 40 5%
2012 68 8%
2013 60 7%
2014 46 5%
2015 47 5%
2016 69 7%
2017 70 7%
2018 75 8%
2019 94 10%
2020 96 9%
2021 117 10%

During this period, fatal crashes in Illinois involving hit-and-runs increased by 193 percent.

Taking a closer look at the 2021 data, we found that the majority of hit-and-run deaths involved pedestrians. However, many involved distracted drivers and impaired drivers.

Fatal crashes in Illinois involving hit-and-runs in 2021 Number Percentage of total
Total 117 N/A
Involved a pedestrian 70 60%
Involved a distracted driver 44 38%
Involved a driver BAC of 0.08% or more (impaired driving) 43 37%
Involved speeding 40 34%
Involved a driver age 15-20 10 9%
Involved a driver age 65 or older 3 3%
Involved a drowsy driver 1 1%

Taking a look at the hit-and-run fatality rates by city shows that Chicago was home to nearly half of all such incidents in 2021. Why were there so many hit-and-run deaths in the Windy City? We’ll explain below.

City in Illinois Number of fatal crashes involving hit-and-runs in 2021 Percentage of total
Chicago 56 48%
Rockford 7 6%
Harvey 5 4%
Aurora 3 3%
Dolton 2 2%
Peoria 2 2%
Addison 1 1%
Bartlett 1 1%
Bloomington 1 1%
Burbank 1 1%
Calumet Park 1 1%
Crete 1 1%
Danville 1 1%
Des Plaines 1 1%
Dixmoor 1 1%
Fairview Heights 1 1%
Glenview 1 1%
Gurnee 1 1%
Hometown 1 1%
Indian Creek 1 1%
Jacksonville 1 1%
Joliet 1 1%
Kankakee 1 1%
Lansing 1 1%
Lincolnwood 1 1%
Loves Park 1 1%
Moline 1 1%
Niles 1 1%
Riverdale 1 1%
Round Lake Beach 1 1%
Saint Charles 1 1%
Schiller Park 1 1%
South Chicago Heights 1 1%
Springfield 1 1%
Summit 1 1%
Washington Park 1 1%
Worth 1 1%
Not in a city 11 9%

Driver Characteristics

The drivers involved in fatal hit-and-runs tend to be male, accounting in 2021 for 79 percent of such incidents in Illinois where the sex of the driver was known.

Drivers involved in fatal hit-and-runs in Illinois in 2021 Male Female Unknown Total
Number 86 23 60 169
Percentage of total 51% 14% 36% N/A
Percentage of total known 79% 21% N/A 109

When it comes to fatal hit-and-runs in Illinois in 2021 where the age of the drivers was known, the plurality were between the ages of 25 and 34. That accounts for 32 percent, or nearly a third, of hit-and-run accidents.

Age group Number of drivers involved in fatal hit-and-runs in Illinois in 2021 Percentage of total Percentage of total known
Younger than 16 1 1% 1%
16-20 10 6% 11%
21-24 14 8% 16%
25-34 28 17% 32%
35-55 13 8% 15%
45-54 6 4% 7%
55-64 12 7% 14%
65-74 3 2% 3%
Unknown 82 49% N/A
Known 87 N/A N/A
Total 169 N/A N/A

Why Hit-and-Runs Happen

There are many factors that go into hit-and-run car crashes, aside from the driver themselves and the number of pedestrians around. For example, many environmental factors — like lighting, roadway geometry, and population density — contribute to the likelihood of hit-and-runs.

In 2021, 73 percent of fatal hit-and-runs in Illinois occurred in the dark.

Lighting condition Number of fatal motor vehicle crashes involving hit-and-runs in Illinois in 2021 Percentage of total
Daylight 23 20%
Dark, not lighted 27 23%
Dark, lighted 59 50%
Dawn 2 2%
Dusk 1 1%
Dark, unknown lighting 4 3%
Not reported 1 1%

Roadway geometry can also play a role, as roads with short sight distances and small curve radiuses increase the chance and severity of car accidents.4 Additionally, the more people who live in a city, the more drivers there are on the roads and the more pedestrians there are on the sidewalks or streets. Chicago is not only the site of the most fatal hit-and-runs in Illinois, but it also has the highest population density, with 12,046 people per square mile.56 These facts are likely connected, with Chicago’s high population density contributing to the frequency of hit-and-runs in the city.

Hit-and-Run Laws in Illinois

If you caused an accident in Illinois and left the scene, hire an accident attorney, particularly if there was bodily injury or death.

Hitting a car and driving away without calling the police is illegal in Illinois and can lead to dire consequences both for the driver and the victims. If you’re involved in an accident that results in injuries or death, you’re required to stop as close to the scene of the crash as possible. From there, you must remain until you have performed your duty to “give information and render aid,” according to Illinois laws.

What does that mean, exactly? “Give information” means you exchange your name, vehicle identification number, driver’s license number, and mailing address with the victim. You must also assist anyone who is injured by helping them get medical care. Then, you must report the accident to the police.

But what if you’re injured in this at-fault accident? If you went to the hospital directly after the crash, you must report the accident to the police at either a police station or sheriff’s office within half an hour of your hospital discharge. You’ll have to give the police the following information.

  • Date and time of the accident
  • Name
  • Address
  • Vehicle identification number
  • Names of all occupants in all vehicles


What happens if you’re found guilty of a hit-and-run accident in Illinois? If you flee the scene of an accident in Illinois and don’t report it to law enforcement, you could face fines, imprisonment, and even a license suspension or revocation.7

Hit-and-run penalties in Illinois Unattended (parked) vehicle Property damage only Injury Death
Conviction Class A misdemeanor Class A misdemeanor Class 4 felony Class 4 felony
Imprisonment maximum 1 year 1 year 1-3 years 1-3 years
Fine maximum $2,500 $2,500 $25,000 $25,000
License revocation/suspension No Only if damage you caused is more than $1,000 Yes Yes

Penalties for not reporting an accident to the police are actually harsher than the consequences of the hit-and-run itself. If you cause a death and don’t report it to the police, you could spend four to 15 years in jail for that crime alone. However, it’s not necessary to report accidents that cause property damage only.

Not reporting an accident to the police Class 2 felony Class 1 felony
Consequences of accident Injury Death
Length of imprisonment 3-7 years 4-15 years
Fine $25,000 maximum $25,000 maximum
License status Revoked Revoked


To be on the safe side, never leave the scene of an accident in Illinois, and always report it to the police. To protect yourself as a potential victim of a hit-and-run, make sure you have full coverage car insurance. Unlike liability insurance, full coverage will pay for your injuries and damages and those of your passengers, even if you’re not sure who hit you. That said, keep in mind that your car insurance premium may increase even though the accident wasn’t your fault.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the success rate of hit-and-run cases?

The success rate of hit-and-run cases varies widely. For example, according to the Los Angeles Police Department, in 2017, it solved only 8 percent of all reported hit-and-runs. The previous year, the solve rate was 12 percent, according to an article in the Los Angeles Daily News.

Is it possible to hit a car and not know it?

Yes, it is possible to hit a car and not know it if the collision was light enough.

What happens if you lightly hit a car?

If you lightly hit a car, you should still remain at the scene and exchange information with the other driver. If there are any damages or injuries that aren’t apparent initially, your insurance will pay for them. Depending on your state and the severity of the damages and injuries, you may be required to file a police report as well.

Should I leave a note if there is no damage?

Even if you believe there was no apparent damage after you hit a car, you should still leave a note with your contact information, as there could be damages you don’t know about later on.


  1. Illinois Compiled Statutes. Illinois General Assembly. (2023).

  2. Crime Victims Compensation: Frequently Asked Questions. Kwame Raoul Illinois Attorney General. (2023).

  3. Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS). National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. (2023).

  4. Relationship of Accident Rates and Road Geometric Design. IOP Conference Series: Earth and Environmental Science. (2023).

  5. Illinois Population Data. Illinois Department of Public Health. (2023).

  6. Illinois. Census.goc. (2021, Oct 8).

  7. Illinois Hit-and-Run Accidents. Enjuris. (2023).