If you’ve received a ticket from a red-light or speed camera in Chicago – you may be eligible to get some of your money back.
In July, City Council approved a $38.75 million settlement of two class-action lawsuits that alleged the City failed to give motorists adequate notice of a violation before finding them guilty and imposing an additional late fee.
Filed in March 2015, the first suit claimed the City did not follow its own legal requirements by failing to send a second notice of violation before charging an additional $100 penalty.
At the time, the law allowed violators 14 days to contest their ticket, and 25 days before a late fee – up to double the ticket amount – was added.
Less than two months after the lawsuit was filed, the city removed the legal requirement to send a second notice.
Then in Sept. 2016, City Council passed an ordinance to provide those motorists who hadn’t received a second notice of violation another opportunity to challenge their tickets, in an effort to retroactively bring the city into compliance with the law and ultimately fend off the original lawsuit.
That sparked the filing of the second class-action suit in November, which argued that the City’s new workaround was unenforceable for a number of reasons – including that it was unconstitutional because it denied residents due process.
The settlement impacts about 1.2 million people who received a violation between March 23, 2010, and May 17, 2015, and did not respond to the initial notice before being issued a determination of liability and an accompanying late fee.
The city will pay a refund of up to 50 percent of what drivers paid (depending on how many claims are submitted) from a fund of $26.75 million, and will forgive up to $12 million in unpaid debts.
Violations covered under the settlement will also not count toward determining whether a car is impounded, will receive the boot, or if a drivers’ license is suspended.
The City planned to mail impacted drivers information on the settlement as well as instructions on how to submit a claim, but you can also check online to see if you’re eligible.
First, you can search to find any tickets by license plate, driver’s license number and more here on the City of Chicago’s website. If you find any violations, you can enter the ticket number (or number on the notice received in the mail) on the city’s website here.
You have until Dec. 11 to file a claim, which will be paid out beginning in Aug. 2018.