The state has not paid claims for about 200 traffic accidents in which the state is liable in the current fiscal year, according to Central Management Services.
CMS says because the state has not enacted a budget, there is no appropriation for the state’s self-insurance fund, which is used to pay claims on traffic accidents in which the state is at fault.
Springfield personal injury attorney Jim Ackerman, who handles cases involving vehicle accidents, said it’s a pathetic situation.
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“If a state employee runs into your car and damages your bumper or fender or whatever, the state is not paying that now,” Ackerman said, “and if they run over your mother and kill her, the state isn’t going to pay that for quite some time.”
Ackerman said if you are caught driving — let alone get into an accident — without insurance, the penalties range from court supervision to a $500 fine and even a suspended license.
CMS projects the 200 claims total about $560,000, which includes costs for related services such as appraisals.
CMS Spokeswoman Meredith Krantz said CMS is hopeful the issue will be resolved.
“We’re hopeful that the General Assembly can pass a balanced budget soon so we can continue to make those claim payments,” Krantz said.
Republican state Rep. Ron Sandack said it’s embarrassing.
“I wish I could say I’m shocked and surprised, it’s simply more of the same,” Sandack said. “We simply continue to beget more bad news upon more bad news.”
Meanwhile Democratic state Rep. Jack Franks said he’s disgusted.
“Listen, if we were a company the government would sue us and shut us down,” Franks said. “That’s how bad we are.”
Both Sandack and Franks say lawmakers should get back to work on the budget, though they differ on who should call them back to Springfield: the House speaker or the governor.
Carol Portman from the Taxpayers Federation of Illinois said it’s another consequence of an unprecedented situation.