Dena Standley | February 24, 2023
Summary: Illinois makes it relatively easy to find and access your court records if you’re being sued by a debt collector. You can find your Illinois court case at the courthouse or online. Once you access your records online, visit SoloSuit to learn more about how to win a case against a debt collection agency.
Finding your case records in Illinois is relatively easy, thanks to the meticulous methods the state applies to ensure the documents are accessible to its citizens. Citizens can access their case information online via the Illinois portal search tool called re: SearchIL. Some counties, found in the list below, have individual portals to access court case records. You can also visit the courthouse where the case was filed.
Once debt collectors take you to court, you need to follow up on the case to ensure they do not submit inaccurate debt information or get a judgment in their favor without your knowledge. This article will help you understand the court structure in Illinois and how you can access your case records.
Knowing the Illinois judicial system will help you know which court will hear your case and where your case will be transferred if you disagree with the lower court's judgment and choose to appeal the case outcome. Since debt collection lawsuits are considered civil cases, we will focus on Illinois’ civil court structure in this section.
The Illinois judicial system consists of one Supreme Court, five Courts of Appeal, and twenty-three Circuit Courts. Each of these courts handle civil cases at different levels. Let's look at them in detail.
The graphic below further illustrates the Illinois court structure:
Your debt collection case will be heard in the Circuit Court, often in the small claims division, depending on the amount of money in question. The small claims division has simplified rules that help citizens settle monetary disputes without the lengthy legal process. Illinois allows you to represent yourself, but you have to pay filing fees.
You’re probably thinking you need to hire an attorney to represent you in your debt collection case. Finding a lawyer can be stressful and expensive. Save yourself the anxiety and money by representing yourself with SoloSuit’s help.
Check out this video to learn more about how to respond to a debt collection lawsuit in Illinois:
The court clerk assigns every debt lawsuit a case number. This helps to keep records organized and enables easy accessibility. The case number is created using the year the lawsuit was filed, the case type or court, and the sequential number of cases in that year.
For example, case number 2022-SC-000001 is the first small claims case filed in 2022.
To get your case number, make an official in-person request to the courthouse that will hear your case. Use this link to find your county’s court location. Some counties have an online portal (find the list below) where you can search using other details such as party name, filing date, and case type. The case details will appear together with the case number. If your county does not have a specific link, use re:SearchIL.
Illinois allows citizens to access their case records once they know which courthouse their case was filed. The court clerk is in charge of these records and will grant you access in the following two ways:
Now, let’s take a closer look at each of these options.
If you choose to access your case documents in person, you have to visit the courthouse and make a written request to the court clerk. Give the clerk the following relevant information to make the process easier and faster:
Find your court location at the Illinois courts directory page. Scroll down the page until you see your county‘s name or court name. The address is next to it. Let's look at an example.
Example: Randy had a credit card debt of $3,700 with Midwest Credit and Collection (MCC). He received a lawsuit letter from them after he told their agent to stop calling him or he’d report them. Randy planned to ignore it, but his colleague advised him to respond to the lawsuit and follow up on his case if he didn't want to pay more than he owed. Since he didn’t know much about responding to a lawsuit, Randy used SoloSuit to help him customize his Answer and file it with the court on his behalf. After a week, he wanted to confirm if his Answer had been included in the court records. He searched for the Brown County courthouse address online and visited the courthouse. He got copies of his court records after filling in a request form and paying $3.
Illinois has a sophisticated tool called re: SearchIL to avail court documents to its citizens online. You need to register a free account to gain access to the portal. Once you sign up, you’ll be required to verify the account via your email, and immediately you'll be taken to a dashboard that requires you to fill in the following information to search your case:
Some counties grant access to records specifically for their counties after submitting the required information. Here is the compiled list.
Even after your creditors file a lawsuit and you send your Answer, you do not have to go through the court process. SoloSuit can help you request creditors to settle out of court using our Motion to Compel Arbitration and SoloSettle. These documents are compelling, and most creditors accept an out-of-court settlement request. Start working on your document with us today.
This calculator is for educational purposes only.
SoloSuit makes it easy to fight debt collectors.
You can use SoloSuit to respond to a debt lawsuit, to send letters to collectors, and even to settle a debt.
SoloSuit's Answer service is a step-by-step web-app that asks you all the necessary questions to complete your Answer. Upon completion, we'll have an attorney review your document and we'll file it for you.
"First time getting sued by a debt collector and I was searching all over YouTube and ran across SoloSuit, so I decided to buy their services with their attorney reviewed documentation which cost extra but it was well worth it! SoloSuit sent the documentation to the parties and to the court which saved me time from having to go to court and in a few weeks the case got dismissed!" – James
You can ask your questions on the SoloSuit forum and the community will help you out. Whether you need help now or are just looking for support, we're here for you.
>>Read the FastCompany article: Debt Lawsuits Are Complicated: This Website Makes Them Simpler To Navigate
>>Read the NPR story on SoloSuit. (We can help you in all 50 states.)
Here's a list of guides for other states.
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