How Long After a Car Accident Can You File a Claim in Illinois?

Car accidents can happen at any time and anywhere. The aftermath of an accident can be scary, confusing, and overwhelming. If you are involved in an accident, you may be unsure what to do or what options you have.

For example, do you know who was at fault and who is responsible for the medical bills and damages?

You may also wonder if you can file an accident claim against the at-fault party and how long after an accident you can do this. It is important to be aware that there are strict time limitations for filing legal claims of any kind, known as the statute of limitations. However, it is equally important to understand that you need to begin taking the appropriate action immediately after any accident in order to preserve your legal rights and to ensure that you receive full compensation.

The process of how to handle a car accident claim is complex and confusing, especially if you are not an experienced car accident attorney. Therefore, the best option is to contact an experienced attorney right away who can help guide you through this difficult process. This will ensure you get the best possible result and will help you move on with your life.

Statute of Limitations for Illinois Car Accidents

Generally, the statute of limitations for a car accident claim in Illinois is two years from the date of the accident. However, there are exceptions to the general rule that can either shorten or lengthen the statute of limitations. For example, if the defendant is a state or local governmental entity (i.e., the Chicago Transit Authority), the statute of limitations is only one year. In some claims against governmental entities, there is also a notice requirement that must be filed well before the one-year statute of limitations.

Another example of a shortened statute of limitations is claims made under the Dram Shop Act against an establishment for serving alcohol to an intoxicated person who subsequently causes an accident or injures someone. Dram Shop claims must also be filed within one year. 

As mentioned, there are exceptions to the two-year statute of limitations that can lengthen, or “toll”, the statute of limitations. These exceptions apply to minors and persons who are legally disabled, such as someone in a coma. Generally, the statute of limitations does not begin to run until either the minor reaches the age of 18 or the legally disabled person is no longer under legal disability.

It is important to note that the statute of limitations for car accidents applies to all vehicle collisions. It also applies to drivers and passengers, bicyclists, pedestrians, scooter riders, and motorcyclists.

Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Illinois

If someone dies as a result of a car accident, the deadline to file a claim is slightly different.

In the state of Illinois, the amount of time you have to file a wrongful death lawsuit is two years from the date the death occurred. This amount of time can be shorter depending on the circumstances surrounding the person’s death and/or who may be named as a defendant.

Recovering the Compensation, You Deserve After an Illinois Car Accident

It’s important to remember that you should not rely on the information above regarding the statute of limitations in your case. You should review your situation in detail with an experienced personal injury attorney without delay to ensure that your claims are protected. We encourage you to get in touch with our legal team at Drake & Collopy, P.C., to discuss your potential case as soon as possible.

Contact Us for A Free Consultation

At Drake & Collopy, P.C., we have over five decades of combined experience successfully representing injury victims in the Chicago area and throughout Illinois. The first step is to get in touch with our legal team for a consultation. You can count on us to put our knowledge and experience to work for you.