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Is Illinois a Fault or No-Fault State?

Posted on July 25, 2023

There is a big difference between how vehicle accident claims are handled in a “fault state” versus a “no-fault state.” If you have ever wondered whether or not Illinois is a fault or no-fault state, you are not alone. We want you to know that Illinois is a fault-based state when it comes to vehicle accident claims. Another term for this that you may see used is “tort-based.” Our Chicago car accident lawyers are adept at clarifying the nuances of determining fault and will ensure you understand your rights and options clearly.

But what does this mean, exactly, for a car accident claim?

What Being a Fault-Based State Means?

If you get into a car accident in Illinois, you will deal with a fault-based system. This means that if another person calls to the accident, you will have to file a claim with your insurance carrier who will then file a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier. In order to recover compensation, it must be shown that the following four elements of negligence were present when the incident occurred:


Every driver on the roadway owes a duty of care to others around them when they get behind the wheel. This duty of care means that drivers must adhere to all traffic laws and operate their vehicles safely in order to avoid accidents.


Unfortunately, there are various ways that drivers in Illinois can breach their duty of care owed to others. Some of the most common breaches of duty that lead to vehicle accidents include drivers speeding, operating while impaired by alcohol or drugs, operating while distracted, failing to stop at stop signs or stop lights, and failing to maintain their vehicles.


After showing that the at-fault driver breached their duty of care, it must be shown that the breach of duty led to the accident that caused the injuries or property damage.


The last element of establishing negligence is showing that the injury victim sustained some sort of monetary loss as a result of the incident. This can include medical bills, lost wages, property damage expenses, and more.

Determining fault after a vehicle accident in Illinois involves gathering as much evidence as possible to prove what happened. This can include photographs taken at the scene of the incident, video surveillance footage of the incident, statements from eyewitnesses and others involved in the incident, medical records, and more.

The first line of defense after a vehicle accident is insurance. In the state of Illinois, every driver is required to carry the following:

  • Bodily injury liability coverage of at least $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident
  • Property damage liability coverage of at least $20,000
  • Uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage of at least $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident

How do No-Fault States Work?

Around a dozen states across the country use a no-fault insurance system concerning vehicle accidents. Under this type of system, individuals involved in an accident will turn to their own insurance carrier to file a claim and recover compensation, regardless of who was at fault for the incident. No-fault insurance allows compensation recovery relatively quickly after the incident occurred and often without as much dispute from the insurance carrier, particularly because they did not have to determine who caused the incident in order to pay out compensation. However, there are some drawbacks to this type of system, including the inability to file a civil personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party unless various injury or dollar thresholds have been met.