Can I Record Someone After an Auto Accident – IL Eavesdropping Law

In the past several years, I’ve received calls from a few people who asked if Eavesdropping Law Illinoisthey can record someone after an auto accident. Illinois is a “two party state.” Meaning, both parties to a private conversation need to consent to an audio or visual recording. If you don’t obtain permission, you’ve violated the statute. Call our office at 847-305-4105  or email us for a free consultation on this topic.

The Statute

The Illinois eavesdropping statute states in part:

  • A person commits eavesdropping when he or she knowingly and intentionally:

(2) Uses an eavesdropping device, in a surreptitious manner, for the purpose of transmitting or recording . . . private conversation to which he or she is a party unless he or she does so with the consent of all other parties to the conversation. (720 ILCS 5/14-2) (from Ch. 38, par. 14-2)

The Situation

After an auto accident, one of the parties might be inclined to take an audio or visual recording of their conversation with the opposite party. Why would someone do this? Most people do it to try and record the other party admitting fault and/or to catch them lying.

If you take an audio or visual recording of the other party during a private conversation in a “surreptitious” manner (for example, hiding your cell phone in your pocket and recording your conversation with the other driver), you have committed a crime. Note that this does not apply to the recording of peace officers. That is an exception to the statute.

The recording you obtained will not be admissible and as such, all you will have accomplished is the commission of a crime.

If the conversation you were in was not “private”, meaning there were other people around and/or you were in a public place where it could be easily overheard, you may not have violated the statute.

Alternatives to recordings

Instead of trying to record someone after an auto accident, I suggest you immediately document anything the other person says in writing. The other party might apologize after the accident. If you were to document that he/she apologized while at the scene, that documentation/evidence might be admissible later.

Audio/Visual Recordings in General

This issue has arisen as a hot button issue lately with the revelation that President Trump’s attorney Michael Cohen recorded his conversations with the President regarding paying hush money to various women to cover up past infidelities.

Many people have asked whether what Cohen did is a crime. These recordings took place in New York. NY is a one party-consent state which means that only one party has to consent to the recording.

As such, Cohen may not have violated NY law. However, as an attorney he owed a duty to his client to protect attorney client communications. Recording a conversation with a client could be a breach of that duty. So, if nothing else, I would think Cohen will have issues with the state bar of NY.

Bottom line is that you should not record someone after an auto accident unless you provide them notice that you are recording them. If you are involved in a situation involving the recording of someone in Illinois, call our office for a free consultation at 847-305-4105.

The Dangers Of Driving While On The Phone

The digital age has brought with it a new menace on the roads.

That menace is drivers who use their cell phone while driving. A study by Cambridge Mobile Telematics has shown that about one-quarter of drivers involved in accidents, were on their phones within a moment of crashing. It was also shown that more than half of the accidents in the study were the result of distracted driving due to cell phone use.Auto Accident Attorneys Chicago

When you are driving in Chicago, dealing with distracted drivers is an unavoidable reality.
Areas to be particularly wary of include:

• The drop-off areas at both airports
• Solidarity Drive between the Field Museum and the Adler Planetarium
• King Drive
• Grand Avenue
• The Stevenson Expressway
• Lake Shore Drive

As the economy has improved and gas prices have gone down, more cars have gone on the road. When you throw distracted driving into the mix, traffic fatalities tend to rise.

The Cambridge study shows that despite the ban on using hand held devices while driving, places like Illinois are not seeing a dramatic reduction in the average amount of time drivers spend on the phone.

Enforcement of the ban is very difficult. There are far more drivers on the road than the police can keep track of and almost all of them have cell phones. For this reason, police only catch about one in ten violators of this ban.
In Illinois, if you are caught using your phone while driving, you can expect to pay a $75 fine for the first offense and up to $150 for any subsequent offenses.

With all these drivers looking at their phones instead of the road, no one is safe. Even the most alert drivers are at risk of being involved in an auto accident. Having a good auto accident attorney on your side has never been more important than it is today.

If you spot a driver texting while driving, call the attorneys at Chicago Legal Group at 847-305-4105.

Niles Automobile Accident And Handling Property Damage

You were fortunate and didn’t have any serious injuries after your auto accident, but what about your car?  If the accident was not your fault and your car was damaged, you can get your car repaired and personal property recovered.  Feel free to consult with Niles car accident attorney, Barry Zlotowicz of the Chicago Legal Group.property damage from car accident

When in an automobile accident, you are entitled to payment for damage done to your car and personal property.  Personal belongings that were inside the vehicle at the time of the accident, if the accident was someone else’s fault includes: computer, iPods, tablets, clothing, eye wear and other personal belongings.

Based upon on your specific auto coverage and who is found at fault of the auto accident, an insurance company, by contract, may be required to pay for the damages to your property.  The insurance contract will often show that the company is obligated to repair or even replace your car.

In the case of repairs, some companies will do their own estimates, although others may ask that obtain your own estimates.  You are typically free to decide which body shop you prefer to use.  On the other hand, some insurance companies may have a list of recommended body shops for you to go through.  If you select one of the recommended shops, and later there is a problem with their repairs, the insurance company may be able to help with handling the issue with the shop.

Additionally, you may be entitled to be compensated for the “loss of use” of your vehicle while it is being repaired.  This payment may be used to rent a replacement vehicle.  The amount in which you may be entitled to may differ under the conditions of your particular case and with the insurance company.

Often your car will be “totaled.”  Generally, a vehicle is “totaled” when the cost of repairs surpasses 80% or more of the value of the vehicle.  The challenges occur when it comes time to figure out the true value of the vehicle.

You may be able to recover your losses from the following sources:

Collision Coverage under Your Insurance – This is normally the fastest and simplest way to get your car repaired.  Your car repairs will be paid under your own insurance policy no matter who is at fault in the accident.

Liability Coverage under the Defendant’s Insurance – If the other person’s insurance company accepts fault in your accident, they will generally pay to have your car repaired. Regrettably, insurance companies usually take days or even weeks to make a decision as to whether or not to accept fault in the accident.

Uninsured Motorist Coverage under Your Insurance – If the person who caused the accident doesn’t have any insurance or is unable to be identified, you are protected under the uninsured motorist coverage of your own policy.

If you are a resident and had a car accident in Niles, we can help you get your car repaired and your personal property recovered.  Our office is equipped to assist you with recouping from the damages. Get in touch right now for a free consultation with Barry Zlotowicz, a Niles personal injury attorney at 847-305-4105 or 877-LAW-4312.