The statute of limitations for minors in Illinois is different than the statute for other cases. If your child is under the age of 18 and is injured in an accident, contact our office today for a free consultation 847-305-4105.
Our office is representing three different cases of minor children who were injured in different personal injury accidents. One of our clients, a 11 year old female was injured when she was bitten by a dog. The two other kids both under age 10 were injured in an auto accident.
Minors in Illinois are governed by different rules than those for are accident victims who are over 18 years of age. So, what is the statute of limitations for minors in Illinois? And what are some of the other major issues that affect minor’s personal injury claims?
Statute of Limitations
A statute of limitations is a time period in which an injured person must file a lawsuit or else they will lose their right to recover for their injuries and damages. Why is it important to have statute of limitations? For several reasons. First, it prevents the claims from becoming stale. Also, it is intended to prevent defendants from being sued years after the accident occurs.
The statute of limitations in Illinois for a personal injury claim is 2 years from the date of the accident. Note that if the party who caused your accident is a government employee or entity, you are required to file a notice of claim and your lawsuit in a much shorter amount of time.
Exception to the Statute of Limitations for Minors
There are exceptions to the statute of limitations. The most common exception to the law is if a minor is injured in an accident. If your child is under 18 at the time of the accident, the statute of limitations for minors in Illinois provides the minor with 2 years to file a lawsuit after they turn 18 (or their 20th birthday).
However, if the child was injured by a doctor’s medical malpractice, a different set of rules are applicable. In that case, the child must file their lawsuit within 8 years of the act occurring or before the child turns 22 years old. Birth injuries fall under the same rule as medical malpractice claims.
Child Sex Crimes
Previously, if a child was the victim of sexual crime, it would have to be reported and prosecuted within 20 years of the minor turning 18 years old. In August 2017, Governor Rauner signed legislation eliminating the statute of limitations.
Pursuant to the new statute, “a prosecution for criminal sexual assault, aggravated criminal sexual assault, predatory criminal sexual assault of a child, aggravated criminal sexual abuse, or criminal sexual abuse may be commenced at any time regardless as to whether corroborating physical evidence is available or an individual who is required to report an alleged or suspected commission of any of these offenses under the Abused and Neglected Child Reporting Act fails to do so.”
Settlement of minors claims
When you file a lawsuit on behalf of a minor, the lawsuit is generally brought by and filed in the name of the guardian or parent as the “guardian ad litem.”
A parent does not have the final say in approving a minor’s claims, the Court does. Pursuant to the Illinois Probate Act and Illinois caselaw, all minor’s claims must be approved by the Court.
There is some disagreement as to whether all minor’s claims have to be approved by the Court. I have heard attorneys say if the case is small that they don’t need to obtain the Court’s approval.
Practically speaking, that might be correct. But legally speaking, the Court’s approval is required. If the Court does not approve the settlement, then technically the settlement is not binding on the minor who could theoretically pursue further damages on his or her own upon turning 18 years old.
If your daughter or son were injured in an accident and you want to speak with a lawyer about the statute of limitations for minors in Illinois, contact our office at 847-305-4105 for a free consultation.