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Statute of Limitations for Illinois Personal Injury Lawsuits

As part of our service we provide general information so that the public can educate themselves and avoid paying a lawyer for simple questions. This page discusses the statute of limitations in most Illinois personal injury cases. Please remember that the information on this page doesn't apply to every case and you shouldn't draw any final conclusions without speaking to a lawyer. If you would like our help in evaluating the statute of limitations for your possible claim, please contact us.

Illinois law generally requires that personal injury actions be filed within two years from an accident date. For example, if the plaintiff is involved in a car accident on June 5, 2015, he typically has until June 7, 2017 to file a lawsuit and attempt to recover damages against the party or parties responsible for his injuries.

Unlike Illinois medical malpractice cases where sometimes the discovery date of an injury is important, if you are involved in a slip and fall, car accident or many other personal injury cases, the date an injury is discovered is usually not relevant. For example, if you are on a car accident on October 1st, but don't notice an injury to your back until October 15th and don't get a diagnosis until October 30th, the statute of limitations will not be extended beyond the two years from the accident date.

Although the statute of limitations for personal injury actions is generally two years, there are several exceptions to this. For example, if the plaintiff is a minor (under eighteen years old), he or she typically has two years from the date of his or her eighteenth birthday to file his personal injury claim.

There are also several variations to the statute of limitations when a governmental entity is involved. If the personal injury action is against the State of Illinois, notice of intent to sue must be filed in the Court of Claims within one year, and the actual lawsuit must be filed within two years. Depending on the entity you are suing, there may be a notice requirement, where you are required to give notice of the intent to sue within mere months. If the lawsuit is against a local public entity, such as the Chicago Police Department, the plaintiff usually has one year to file his or her complaint.

Moreover, the plaintiff often has to file several complicated forms in order to initiate an action against a governmental entity, hence it is important to do so as soon as possible. If the proper steps are not taken within the allotted timeframes, the statute of limitations will bar your claim forever.

In addition, for some personal injury cases, like sexual abuse and molestation, the statute of limitations can be longer depending on your age or whether or not your memory has been repressed due to the trauma from the abuse.

Finally, sometimes the statute of limitations gets extended due to a mental disability. For example, if you are in a coma and the normal time limits pass to file a case, you will not lose your right to file a suit because of a situation beyond your control.

Finally, sometimes the statute of limitations gets extended due to a mental disability. For example, if you are in a coma and the normal time limits pass to file a case, you will not lose your right to file a suit because of a situation beyond your control.

Does this sound confusing? It can be due to all of the different laws that may apply. The key thing to remember is that if you are thinking about a claim the best thing you can do is talk to an experienced personal injury attorney. It doesn't cost anything and even if you aren't looking to sue it will allow you to make an educated decision. Once you miss the statute of limitations date you are done forever. If you have questions about any Illinois legal matter or would like an attorney referral, please do not hesitate to contact us. You will speak with one of our staff attorneys immediately.