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Can I Sue an Out-of-State Driver After a Car Accident in Illinois?

Written by Jared Staver

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Jared Staver is a Personal Injury Lawyer based in Chicago, Illinois and has been practicing law for over 20 years.

Jared Staver

CATEGORY: Auto Accidents


The Illinois Department of Transportation reports more than 313,000 car crashes occurred in 2015, resulting in over 91,000 injuries and nearly 1,000 fatalities. In fact, more than 10 people were injured in an auto accident every hour that year. With all the travelers passing through Illinois each year, if you’re injured by a careless motorist who lives in another state, you may be asking yourself, Can I sue an out-of-state driver?

Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. is known as some of the best car accident lawyers in Chicago because we know how to handle situations like this with the skill you deserve. Our record of obtaining results for our clients speaks for itself. We can help if you have been hurt in a car accident regardless what state the other driver calls home. Contact us at (312) 236-2900 for a free consultation.

What is a Fault State?

In most instances, the state in which a car accident occurred is the state that determines who is to blame. In a fault state like Illinois, drivers’ insurance companies must cover costs based on the extent to which each party was responsible for the crash.

According to the Insurance Information Institute, only 12 states and Puerto Rico currently operate under a no-fault system. In this system, car accident victims may only sue for injuries as well as pain and suffering. Certain conditions like the severity of the injuries and, in some instances, the number of days of disability following the accident must be met. These stringent requirements can increase how long it takes to reach a decision and reduce the compensation a victim ultimately receives.

Suing an Out-of-State Driver in Illinois

A court must be able to exercise personal jurisdiction over anyone you sue, which means it must have the authority to hear your case and to decide matters about the driver who caused your auto accident. While that driver might object on the grounds that they do not reside in Illinois, driving in a state generally suffices to establish personal jurisdiction.

As the plaintiff, you must be certain to file your case in a court that maintains jurisdiction over your lawsuit. Failure to do so will mean your case must be moved an appropriate court that can render a decision, and this can cause significant delays. If and when this occurs, you risk exceeding the time limit for filing your suit and your case may be dismissed.

You might also choose to sue the negligent driver in federal court. Filing in federal court requires what is termed “diversity of citizenship.” Simply put, you and the defendant must live in different states. In addition, a federal court lawsuit requires that you seek more than $75,000 in compensation for reasons like medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Contact Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. to Help

You are entitled to compensation when another driver causes your auto accident, even if they live in another state. Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. can help if you have been hurt in an auto accident because our years of experience mean we know how to right this kind of wrong. Call us at (312) 236-2900 to schedule an appointment and we will do our best to assist you.

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(312) 236-2900
(312) 236-2900
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