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How Long Do You Have to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit in Illinois?

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

July 2, 2024

Suffering an accident-related injury in Illinois can lead to excruciating pain and significant disability, requiring lengthy and intensive medical intervention. However, the consequences of an injury do not end here. Injury victims often face overwhelming medical bills for their diagnosis, treatment, and long-term care. Furthermore, their injuries may force them to miss time at work, resulting in an unsustainable loss of income.

Illinois permits individuals who have suffered injuries due to someone else’s negligence to seek compensation for these and other losses. However, there are strict deadlines in place for anyone wishing to file a lawsuit, so you must consult with an experienced personal injury attorney as swiftly as possible after an accident.

What Is the Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Lawsuits in Illinois?

Each state determines its own time limit for filing a personal injury lawsuit. In Illinois, the statute of limitations requires accident victims to initiate legal action within two years of the injury date. If they fail to act before this deadline, the court may bar them from recovering the compensation they deserve. Additionally, a case against a governmental entity is a one-year statute.

What Is the Purpose of the Statute of Limitations?

The statute of limitations serves several important purposes in personal injury cases. First, it encourages plaintiffs to file their claims promptly, while evidence is still fresh and witnesses are more likely to remember the details of the incident. This helps ensure that the court has access to the most accurate information when deciding the case.

Moreover, the statute of limitations protects defendants from having to defend against old claims, which can be challenging due to lost evidence, faded memories, and other factors. By establishing a clear deadline for filing a lawsuit, the statute of limitations provides a degree of certainty and finality for all parties involved.

Are There Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations?

While the two-year limitations period applies to most personal injury cases in Illinois, there are some exceptions. For example:

  • Discovery Rule – If an injury is not immediately apparent, the limitations period may be extended to two years from the date the accident victim discovers or should have reasonably discovered a delayed-onset injury.
  • Legal Disability – If the injured person is under 18 or has a legal disability at the time of the accident, the statute of limitations may be paused until they turn 18 or the disability is removed.
  • Defendant’s Absence – If the defendant leaves the state after the incident and before the lawsuit is filed, the time they are absent may not count toward the two-year limit.

It is essential to consult with a knowledgeable Illinois personal injury attorney to determine whether any exceptions apply to your case and to ensure you file your claim within the applicable timeframe.

Contact The Law Offices of Goldfine & Bowles Today

Consulting with a knowledgeable Illinois personal injury attorney as soon as possible can ensure you do not miss any statutory deadlines in your personal injury case. Furthermore, early action can allow your attorney to collect crucial evidence before it disappears and interview eyewitnesses before their memories fade.

The legal team at The Law Offices of Goldfine & Bowles has been fighting on behalf of injured Illinois individuals for over 60 years, and we are ready to stand up for you today. Call or contact us online to speak with a member of our team in Peoria, Bloomington, or Galesburg today.