If you have suffered an injury in an accident in Illinois, you may be wondering how long you have to file a lawsuit to seek compensation for your injuries and damages. This is an important consideration, as failing to take legal action with an Illinois personal injury lawyer within the specified time limits can result in forfeiting your right to recover anything. Understanding Illinois’ statute of limitations for personal injury claims is crucial.
What is the statute of limitations in Illinois?
Illinois law sets time limits, known as the statute of limitations, for filing different types of civil lawsuits. For personal injury claims, the statute of limitations in Illinois is two years from the exact day of the accident or injury. This means that you have two years from when your injury occurred to file a lawsuit against the responsible parties.
The two-year limit applies to most accident and injury claims in Illinois, including:
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Slip and fall accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Defective products
- Animal bites
- Assault and battery
If you miss this critical two-year deadline, you will be prohibited from seeking compensation through the courts.
When does the clock start ticking?
The two-year timeframe begins running from the date of the injury or accident. This is important if your injury does not materialize until sometime after the accident itself. For instance, you may not realize the full extent of harm from a car accident until months later. Even so, the statute begins running on the actual date of the accident, not when the injury is discovered.
Exceptions to the two-year limit
There are some exceptions where Illinois law provides more time to file a lawsuit:
- Minors have until the age of 20 to file claims for personal injuries suffered as a child.
- Certain medical malpractice claims may qualify for a four-year statute of limitations instead of two years.
Additionally, the deadline may be postponed while attempting to settle a claim outside of court or through mandatory arbitration procedures. Consulting a personal injury attorney can help determine if any exceptions apply in your specific case.
Meet the Strict Deadline with an Illinois Personal Injury Attorney
While a two-year window may seem reasonable on paper, the time often passes quickly following an unexpected accident and injury. Meeting the statute of limitations requires prompt legal action in pursuing compensation. A Decatur personal injury lawyer can evaluate your claim and ensure your rights are protected before the deadline expires. Do not risk losing the ability to recover damages. Call [[title]] at [[phone]] to get started with a free consultation.