What is the Personal Injury Statute of Limitations in Illinois?

February 2, 2021 by Barry Zlotowicz Law Firms 

What is the Personal Injury Statute of Limitations in Illinois?

Right after a car accident or other incident in which you suffer a serious

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injury, it can seem like time stands still. But the time you have to file a lawsuit to recover compensation for your injuries does not.

In Illinois, as in all other states, strict time limits apply to car accidents and other personal injury lawsuits. If you wait too long after your car accident to hire an attorney and file your suit, you can lose your right to seek compensation altogether, depriving yourself and your family of the money that could have helped you when you needed it most

Avoiding such a disaster is one of the biggest reasons to contact an experienced car accident attorney as soon as you can after your accident.

Speaking with an attorney does not necessarily mean that you will file a lawsuit, and it doesn’t mean that you’ll be paying any attorneys’ fees, as most personal injury law firms like Chicago Legal Group offer free initial consultations.

What it does mean is that you are taking a crucial step to protect yourself and your rights before the expiration of Illinois’ statutes of limitations for car accident and personal injury cases.

What is a “Statute of Limitations”?

A statute of limitations is a law that sets forth the period within which you must file a lawsuit for a particular claim. If you file a lawsuit after the applicable statute of limitations has passed, a court will likely dismiss it.

Different limitations periods apply to different types of claims. For example, if you wanted to sue someone for breaching a written contract in Illinois, you would need to file your lawsuit within ten years after the alleged breach occurred. If you wanted to file a suit alleging libel or slander, however, you would need to do so within one year.

What Is The Statute of Limitations For Car Accidents in Illinois?

Most personal injury lawsuits in Illinois, including those arising from injuries suffered in car accidents, must be filed within two years after the date of the crash or incident that caused the injury.

This two-year statute of limitations also applies to slip and fall, dog bite, product liability, and other injury cases.

If your car accident only involved property damage, you have five years rather than two to file a lawsuit for compensation for such losses.

“Tolling” of the Statute of Limitations for Car Accidents in Illinois

In most car accident and personal injury cases, the clock starts ticking on the limitations period the second after the accident or incident. But certain circumstances can extend the time within which an injury victim can file a personal injury lawsuit.

The start date of an Illinois limitations period can be delayed – or “tolled” – in a car accident or other personal injury lawsuit if an injury victim is under the age of 18 or is legally incompetent.

Such individuals cannot legally file a lawsuit on their own behalf, so the statute of limitations period is tolled until the victim turns 18 or when the victim regains their mental competence. However, parents or guardians may bring an injury lawsuit on behalf of a minor child before they turn 18.

Extremely Short Time to Bring Personal Injury Claims Against the Government 

Different rules and time limits apply to car accident and personal injury claims against a government entity, such as for injuries suffered in a crash with a garbage truck or a slip and fall on government property.

In such cases, an injury victim must file a civil lawsuit for personal injury against any Illinois local public entity or any of its employees within one year from the date the cause of action accrued.

Personal injury claims against the federal government are governed by the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA). A claim against the federal government must be filed within two years of the injury. The “claim” is not a lawsuit, but rather it is a notice provided to the federal agency or entity responsible for the injury. A lawsuit cannot be filed until after the agency has formally denied the claim or failed to respond within six months.

Other specific and strict rules apply to personal injury claims against government entities. Failure to follow these rules, even if your claim is timely, can doom your ability to hold the government accountable for your injuries.

Don’t Risk Losing Your Right To Compensation For Your Injuries. Call Chicago Legal Group Today To Arrange For Your Free Initial Consultation

The best way to protect your right to obtain compensation for the injuries and loss you suffered in a car accident or other incident is to contact an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible.

Located in Glenview, Chicago Legal Group focuses exclusively on the representation of personal injury victims, using our experience, tenacity, and advocacy skills to get our clients the compensation and resources they need to move forward with their lives. Your initial consultation is free, and you pay nothing in attorney’s fees until we obtain compensation for you.

Contact us for some free advice today at 1-847-305-4105.


This blog is for entertainment and informational purposes only. It is not intended as legal advice and the accuracy thereof is not warranted or guaranteed. This information is prone to errors and omissions. Use this information at your own risk. Reading this blog does not create an attorney-client relationship. All content in this blog is owned by the creator. This blog may include copyrighted information. Use of this information constitutes a “fair use” of this material.

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