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What is the Illinois Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury?

 Posted on May 03,2024 in Personal Injury

IL injury lawyerAfter people are injured in an accident, whether it is a car accident, a dog bite, a pedestrian accident, or a workplace accident, their thoughts are not usually on how much time they have to bring a lawsuit. This is especially true when the accident results in the death or catastrophic injury of a loved one.

Although thinking about how long you have to file a lawsuit after an accident may seem bothersome when you are dealing with the immediate aftermath of the accident, it is very important to do so right away. The amount of time you have to file a lawsuit or claim against an insurance company is not very long, and the longer you wait, the harder it can be to get evidence supporting your case. To learn more about this topic, read this blog and then get in touch with one of our Illinois personal injury attorneys for more help.

What is the Difference Between a Civil and Criminal Lawsuit? 

Most people know that when you commit a crime, you can be taken to criminal court and prosecuted. But what do you call actions that are not necessarily criminal in nature that still have a negative impact on someone - like when a dog bites a child, or when someone publishes false information about someone else in a newspaper?

Civil law handles issues like this, and instead of being called “crimes,” the actions are called “torts.” Different laws apply to criminal and civil law, and they are treated in different ways. For example, it is harder to prove that someone is guilty of a crime than of a tort.

What is a Statute of Limitations? 

“Statute of limitations” is just the legal term for how much time you have after an accident happens to sue someone or their insurance company. Virtually every criminal and civil case has a statute of limitations. These exist so that:

  • Necessary evidence does not get lost
  • Witness testimony is not forgotten
  • Accusations without merit cannot be brought years later
  • People who might have been accused of a crime or a tort can get on with their lives

Certain very serious crimes do require longer statutes of limitations, and state and federal law sometimes change to reflect that. For example, the Illinois Statute of Limitations for sex crimes against adults was eliminated completely in 2019.

When Does the Statute of Limitations Start? 

The Illinois Code of Civil Procedure talks about civil laws and how they work. For personal injury lawsuits, the law says that people who want to bring a case only have two years from: 

  • The date the injury happened.
  • The date they knew (or should have known) they were injured
  • The date they became mentally competent
  • The date they turned 18

Can the Illinois Personal Injury Statute of Limitations Be Extended? 

Rarely, situations can affect or extend the statute of limitations. For example, if you were hurt in a drunk driving accident and the person responsible for the accident was involved in a criminal DUI case, the statute of limitations may be affected by the criminal case. Usually, however, your best chance of meeting with success in a personal injury claim is by acting quickly, hiring a great attorney, and avoiding statute of limitations issues completely.

Hurt in an Accident? Call Our DuPage County, IL Personal Injury Lawyers Now

At SpyratosDavis LLC, we understand completely that the law around personal injury can be confusing. Fortunately, you do not have to be an expert in the law to work with us; instead, we handle the legal side of things while you focus on healing and moving forward. While we believe in answering clients’ questions and keeping our clients informed about their cases, we are here to do the heavy lifting and will relieve you of as much work as possible. Call us today at 630-810-8881 to schedule a free consultation with one of our friendly, knowledgeable Chicago, IL personal injury attorneys.

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