Helpful Resources for Chicago Personal Injury
When you decide to pursue a personal injury claim, the process may seem overwhelming. There’s a lot of information you’ll need or want, and you may not know where to find it. This page offers some useful resources and links to help you get started. However, if you’ve hired a Chicago personal injury attorney, your lawyer can get many of these documents for you.
For a claim involving an accident with a car, truck, or another vehicle, you’ll want to obtain a copy of the accident report from the police agency that responded to your crash. That could be the Chicago Police Department, Cook County Sheriff’s Office, or Illinois State Police, depending upon where your accident happened. If your accident was on an interstate or state highway, the officer likely was an Illinois State Police trooper. If it was on a city street, the Chicago PD likely responded. The sheriff’s office would respond if your accident was on a county road. If you were in one of the incorporated suburbs with its own police department, that department will be the one with the report.
To get a copy of the police report, you’ll need your crash report number and IDOT number. Those are on the Illinois Motorist Report you should have been given when the accident initially was reported. The Illinois Motorist Report also will tell you which agency responded and has the crash report.
Here is contact information for the three main agencies:
Illinois State Police
Patrol Records Section
801 South 7th Street, Suite 700-A
Springfield, IL 63703
Crash reports cost $5; traffic accident reconstruction reports are $20. Check or money order should be made payable to Illinois State Police and your request should include a self-addressed stamped envelope so the report can be mailed to you.
Chicago Police Department
Record Customer Service Section
3510 South Michigan Avenue
Phone: (312) 745-5199
You can purchase reports online for accidents that happened in 2010 through 2012. Cost is $6. Otherwise reports have to be requested in person at the above address.
Cook County Sheriff’s Department
Attn: Freedom of Information Officer
Richard J. Daley Center
50 West Washington, Room 704
Chicago, IL 60602
Request reports by email or regular mail. The first 50 pages of black-and-white copies are free. Additional pages are 15 cents each.
If you need a report from another department, many Illinois departments have reports available for purchase online at https://reportsonline.docview.us.com/citizen
If you end up filing or otherwise involved in a lawsuit, you’ll need information for the court where your case will be heard. For an accident or injury that happened in Chicago, you’ll either be in the Circuit Court of Cook County or the federal court for the Northern District of Illinois. Cases typically only go to federal court if the people or companies involved are from different states and the amount of money involved exceeds $75,000, or there’s some issue of federal law at the heart of the case.
The Circuit Court of Cook County has numerous locations in and around Chicago. This following is the main location. For other locations, visit the website.
Circuit Court of Cook County
Richard J. Daley Center
50 W. Washington St.
Chicago, IL 60602
There are two divisions of the Northern District of Illinois federal court. The one covering the Chicago area is the Eastern Division. The location is:
Northern District of Illinois
Everett McKinley Dirksen
United States Courthouse
219 South Dearborn Street
Chicago, IL 60604
Getting Your Driving Record
If your injury was related to an auto accident, you may need a copy of your driving record at some point during the claims process. You can get your Illinois driving record in person or by mail through the Illinois Secretary of State’s office.
To get your driving record by mail, you’ll first need to download the driving abstract request form, which you can find here. Print the form, fill it out, and mail it along with a check or money order for $12 to:
Secretary of State
Driver Analysis Section
2701 South Dirksen Parkway
Springfield, IL 62723
To request your driving record in person, you can find a Driver Services office near you.
If you were injured by a defect in someone else’s property and are pursuing an Illinois premises liability claim, an important step will be to identify who owns the property or who is responsible for the property. In Cook County, you can take the first step toward finding out who owns a property by using the “Property Search” function on the county assessor’s website.
- Go to Cook County Assessor and select “Property Search”
- Select the tab for “Property Address Search”
- Fill in the search boxes with the information you have
- If you know whether the property is residential or non-residential, you can use the Property Class drop-down menus to narrow your search
- Click the “Search by Address” button to see your results
If you don’t know the exact address, you can input an address range or just the street. If you only use the street, you might have a lot of hits to sift through. It’s useful to at least be able to know the property was in the “3000 block” because than you can put in 3000 to 4000 as the range. You’ll still get a lot of hits, but fewer than just using the street name.
If the property was a business, Google Maps often will let you type a business name into the search bar and will fill in the address for you. If that works, then you can use the address to search for the property owner on the assessor’s website.
For example, you can go to Google Maps and type “Wrigley Field Chicago IL” into the search bar, and the result will show you that our office is at 1060 West Addison Street in Chicago. If you then search for “1060 West Addison” using the assessor’s property search, you can find out the 14-digit PIN for that property. The PIN is your key to getting other public records about the property. Once you have the PIN, you can contact the Cook County Recorder of Deeds at (312) 603-5050 about who owns the property.
Evaluating Medical Providers
If you’re pursuing a Chicago medical malpractice claim, you may want to look up the license status of the provider who caused your injury or harm. You can look up a variety of types of health professional license holders through the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation website.
You can search by name and board, which essentially is the type of provider. Say you’re searching for a physician named John Smith, you could type his name into the search fields and under “Board” you would pick “Medical Board.” You can narrow your search by typing in the city where he practices, e.g., Chicago, and the name of his practice, such as Chicago Family Health, if you know it. The results will show you if John Smith has an active medical license, the license number, when the license was issued or renewed, and whether there have been any disciplinary actions against him. Past disciplinary actions may show that the physician has made the same kind of error or similar errors in the past.