Auto accidents are often harrowing, life-disrupting events, especially if they cause a person serious personal injuries. If you’ve been in an auto accident that has caused you personal injury and affected your ability to work or live as usual, you might consider filing a lawsuit to recover fair compensation for the damages you’ve incurred. Before you do, there’s an important law you should know about: The Illinois Personal Injury Statute of Limitations.
When you file a lawsuit for personal injuries you’ve sustained after an auto accident, it’s subject to the same personal injury laws that also govern a slip or fall at a place of work. This law, called the Illinois Personal Injury Statute of Limitations, establishes a strict time limit within which you have the right to ask a court for compensation for your losses. Anything outside of this time limit is considered a missed deadline, so make sure you understand how much time you have as soon as your injuries become life-interfering or costly.
Illinois Personal Injury Statute of Limitations Deadline
In the state of Illinois, the personal injury statute of limitations is outlined in 735 Illinois Compiled Statutes section 5/13-202. Specifically, the statute states “actions for damages for an injury to the person. . . shall be commenced within two years next after the cause of action accrued.” Put simply, this means that if you want to file a lawsuit after an auto accident caused you personal injury, you have two years to do so.
This two-year deadline is on the table for both formal lawsuit filings in a court of law, and for personal injury settlement negotiations outside of court. Know that if you do miss the two-year deadline and file a lawsuit anyway, you’ll have very little leverage in court. It’s likely that your case will ultimately be dismissed unless your circumstance qualifies for a deadline extension.
Exceptions to the Illinois Personal Injury Statute of Limitations
Illinois state law does establish a few specific times when the deadline might be extended past the two year limit. Here are some exceptions to the rule:
- If the injured person was under a legal disability (i.e. was subject to a temporary or permanent mental illness) at the time of the accident, he or she has two years to file the lawsuit once the disability is alleviated (735 ILCS 5/13-211).
- Similarly, if the injured person comes under a legal disability after the accident but before a personal injury lawsuit is filed, that will also extend the two-year deadline.
- If the injured person was under the age of 18 at the time of the accident, the two-year time limit countdown doesn’t start until they turn 18 (735 ILCS 5/13-211).
- If the person who allegedly caused the injury (the defendant) left the state of Illinois at some point after the accident happened but before the lawsuit was filed, the period of absence likely won’t be counted as part of the two years (735 ILCS 5/13-208).
Here at Friend, Levinson & Turner, LTD, we know that auto accidents can be terrifying and can disrupt life events. It is normal to feel overwhelmed with all of the legal dealings you may have afterwards. Understanding state laws that govern legal claim filing deadlines can be tough, which is why recommend that you consult with an experienced personal injury attorney about your particular case if you are unsure how much time you have to file your personal injury lawsuit. For questions, concerns, or legal representation, please give our office a call anytime at 312-346-8465. Our number one priority is helping you receive fair compensation for your injuries and we are standing by for your inquiries today.
If you or a loved one is injured in an auto accident, please call my office at 312-346-8465 or contact us using the form below.