Statute of Limitations on Personal Injury in Illinois: Everything You Need to Know

When you suffer an injury in Illinois due to another person’s carelessness or negligence, you most likely will have to deal with unexpected physical, financial, and emotional and challenges.

If you have medical bills overflowing and the quality of your life has been significantly impacted, you may be wondering if there is a statute of limitations on a personal injury claim in Illinois. Seeking legal counsel early on with an experienced personal injury attorney is essential to perserving your injury claim.

Below we will discuss the statute of limitations timeline and how it impacts your right to file a personal injury claim in Illinois.

Length of Time Allotted to File a Personal Injury Claim in Illinois

Most personal injury claims have a two-year statute of limitations in Illinois, but there are some circumstances where a case may have a different deadline. Still, in most cases, the clock starts when the injury occurs.

The deadline to file a personal injury lawsuit for compensation generally falls on the second anniversary of the injury or accident. The two-year deadline for the statute of limitations in Illinois applies to claims involving:

There are specific statutes for cases involving medical malpractice, claims for workers’ compensation, and government tort claims. The Illinois Workers Compensation Act has a statute of limitations of three years from your injury or two years from the date you last received benefits. It’s in your best interest to begin the claims process immediately to preserve your right to receive compensation. 

Consult with a personal injury attorney as soon as possible after your injury to ensure that you meet the crucial deadlines affecting your opportunity to make a claim and receive compensation.

The Discovery Rule

Sometimes a person may not discover their injury until many years after the accident or injury occurred. The discovery rule considers such circumstances and will extend the statute of limitations under specific circumstances.

For example, if a doctor negligently fails to identify a cancerous mass on a patient’s imaging study, and the patient does not learn they have cancer until a year later, the discovery rule can extend the start of the two-year deadline to the date the patient first learned of their cancer diagnosis, rather than on the date the doctor missed the cancerous mass on the imaging study.

If you did not discover your injury right away, the clock would begin on the day you found it rather than when it occurred. At that point, the statute of limitations would begin, and you would have two years from the date of discovery to file your personal injury claim.

Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations in Illinois

As outlined in the example above, the discovery rule can often apply in medical malpractice cases involving a delayed onset of injuries that manifest months or years after the negligent conduct occurred. In such cases, the start date for the statute of limitations can fluctuate depending on the facts, which is why it is critical to consult an experienced injury attorney as soon as you discover your injury in order to preserve your claim. Other instances may postpone or pause the time you have to file a personal injury lawsuit.

The two-year injury statute of limitations may be adjusted under the following circumstances:

  • When the victim has a legal disability and has been deemed mentally incompetent, the clock will begin once it is decided that the condition is resolved.
  • When the victim is under 18 years old and suffered the injury as a child, the two-year clock will begin on the 18th birthday.
  • Should the victim become legally disabled within the statute of limitations, the clock to file a claim will pause until they are found mentally fit.

Even with these exceptions, it’s always best to move quickly and consult an attorney as soon as possible to ensure your claim is preserved and handled correctly. 

Why is There a Time Limit to File a Personal Injury Claim in Illinois?

One of the biggest reasons for the existence of a time limit to file a personal injury claim is that it becomes significantly more difficult to prove an injury claim in court over the passage of time, which could subject potential defendants to unfair prosecutions. As time passes, evidence may become lost or corrupted, documents and records may be disposed of, and memories can fade.

The proof of a personal injury claim needs to be compelling. You are entitled to compensation for your injury, so filing your claim quickly and contacting an experienced personal injury attorney to help you is essential.

Hire a Qualified Personal Injury Lawyer in Chicago, Illinois

At Pullano & Siporin, our experienced personal injury attorneys in Chicago, Illinois, have the knowledge and experience needed to help you investigate your claim, gather evidence, determine the correct party liable for your injuries and the most effective next steps to ensure you receive full compensation for your injuries. Personal injury law is complex. We are here to help you navigate the legal system and ensure your rights are protected so that you get the full amount of compensation that you are entitled to under the law.

Contact us today to schedule a free consultation. Once you hire us to represent you, we get to work immediately to ensure you receive full justice, compensation, and provide you with peace of mind throughout the litigation process.

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