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What Are the Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury in Illinois?

On Behalf of The Law Offices of Goldfine & Bowles, P.C.

February 15, 2024

In Illinois, the personal injury statute of limitations gives you two years from the date of the injury to file most personal injury lawsuits. If you wait too long to file a personal injury lawsuit and miss this two-year deadline, you could lose your right to sue. However, there are several exceptions to this rule that can extend or shorten the filing window. Here are the key exceptions:

Cases Involving Injured Minors

If the injured person is under 18 when the injury occurs, Illinois law “pauses” the filing window so it begins running on their 18th birthday, not on the injury date. This means an injured minor has until their 20th birthday to file a personal injury lawsuit in Illinois. This exception acknowledges that minors do not have the capacity to act on their legal rights.

Cases Where the Injury Is Not Immediately Apparent

Sometimes, a person might not realize they have suffered an injury right away, or they might not know that someone else’s actions contributed to their injury. In such cases, the filing window starts when the person discovers or reasonably should have discovered both the injury and its cause. This rule is relevant in medical malpractice cases where the harm caused by a healthcare provider’s mistake does not become apparent until much later.

Cases Involving Injured Parties with Mental Disabilities

In some cases, the injured person might have a mental or legal disability at the time of the injury that prevents them from understanding their rights or taking legal action. In these situations, the filing window does not begin until the disability is lifted. This exception protects the rights of individuals who are not mentally capable of pursuing their claims.

Wrongful Death Cases

The statute of limitations is different in cases involving wrongful death. In these cases, the family or representatives of the deceased person have two years from the date of death to file a lawsuit, regardless of when the actual injury occurred. This is different from personal injury cases, where the clock usually starts ticking from the date of the injury.

Claims Against Government Entities

If your injury claim is against a city, county, or state government in Illinois, different rules apply. You often have only one year to file a claim in these cases. Government liability claims are subject to many strict requirements, so it’s wise to consult an attorney if you know or suspect you have such a claim.

Contact an Illinois Personal Injury Lawyer Now

Remember that exceptions to Illinois’ standard two-year filing window are rare, so it’s important to work with a knowledgeable attorney if your deadline is approaching. To learn more about your rights after an unexpected injury in Illinois, contact The Law Offices of Goldfine & Bowles now for a free case review.