Guide To Illinois Statute of Limitations For Car Accidents
Millions of people are victims of car accidents each year. Not only do they experience physical injuries but also emotional pain and suffering. Time in recovery can prevent the victim from living their normal life. Serious injuries can also result in missing school or work and lost wages. The financial effects of a car accident can be overwhelming.
Luckily, a victim can seek compensation for their damages and injuries suffered as a result of an automobile accident by filing a personal injury suit. If you were a victim of an Illinois car accident, you must follow Illinois state law and procedure for seeking compensation. According to the Agruss Law Firm in Chicago, one must file a personal injury suit promptly in accordance with the statute of limitations. Otherwise, any claims will be barred.
What is a Statute of Limitations?
A statute of limitations refers to the time limit that a person has to file a lawsuit or for a crime to be prosecuted. In addition to statutes of limitations for federal claims, each state also has statutes of limitations for state law claims. The law in Illinois regarding the time limit to bring a personal injury lawsuit is codified in 735 Illinois Compiled Statutes section 5/13-202.
This law states that a personal injury claim must be filed within two years after the incident. Any lawsuit brought after the two-year deadline is barred. Your claims and rights will be lost after that. Time is of the essence. If you have been a victim of a car accident that was not your fault, consider contacting an Illinois car accident attorney immediately to help file a timely claim.
Why Is There a Statute of Limitations?
The reason why there are statutes of limitations is for fairness and to pressure the integrity of the legal system. For instance, If a person comes out and wants to sue someone for an accident that occurred decades ago, bringing a lawsuit would not be fair to the parties involved. After this time, many witnesses’ memories would be unreliable, and much of the evidence could be lost. As such, a statute of limitations prevents a delayed suit to ensure fairness. Only the worst felonies, such as murder, do not have any statutes of limitations.
How the Statute of Limitations Affects a Car Accident Claim
The statute of limitations for most civil cases in Illinois is set for two years. When you think of it, two years does not seem like a lot of time to get evidence, especially if you are severely injured and dealing with the aftermath of a traumatic event. It is important to keep in mind that the statute of limitations only requires that a car accident claim be filed within two years. This does not mean the case needs to be completed or settled within two years.
Many personal injury claims will not settle in two years. If the case goes to trial, it could be well over a year or two before it even is heard in court, depending on the court calendar and backlog of cases. Be prepared to file your claim timely while also realizing that the lawsuit could take a while.
How to Make Sure Your Claim Is Filed on Time
Being in a car accident can be shocking. Not only have you suddenly gotten hurt but your car has been damaged as well. Although an auto accident can be frustrating, it is important to remember that the clock on your claim starts ticking the moment the crash occurred. If you are an accident victim, it is important to follow crucial steps to have a favorable outcome.
Seek Medical Attention
Taking care of your health and injury is the number one focus after you have been injured. Get medical attention and make sure to follow up with your doctors. Adhere to all medical advice, and collect the results of any x-rays, tests, and doctor reports.
Collect all information Regarding the Accident
Document the names of the parties, contact information of any witnesses, and police accident reports. Collect photos of the car crash scene, your car, and your injuries. Get estimates of the damage to your automobile from a reputable mechanic. Bring all this information along with your medical records to a personal injury lawyer.
Seek Consultation from an Illinois Car Accident Lawyer
Filing a personal injury claim is difficult and complex. A Chicago car accident lawyer knows the statutes of limitations and other Illinois laws regarding a personal injury claim. They can help you file a timely claim so that you will not miss the deadline to seek compensation.
Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations is a strict rule. If you do not file your claim in time, you are prevented from ever bringing it—even if you are severely injured and need compensation. There are a few scenarios, however, that might extend the time you have for a claim.
Lawsuit for Property Damage
If you are only suing for damage to your vehicle and not for personal injury, the statute of limitations is five years after the date of the crash.
Wrongful Death Lawsuit
A wrongful death lawsuit is a claim in which a family spouse, child, or family member sues another person for negligence that resulted in their loved one’s death. The wrongful death statute of limitations in Illinois is five years from the time of the victim’s death if the death was caused by intentional violence on the defendant’s part.
Don’t Delay Filing Your Car Accident Claim
The Illinois statutes of limitations set a clear deadline for when someone can file a personal injury lawsuit. If you or a loved one has endured damage or injury in a car accident due to someone else’s negligence, you are entitled to compensation. Filing a legal claim requires tremendous attention to detail regarding the state laws and deadlines.
An Illinois car accident lawyer can assist you in providing documentation and filing the claim on time. A lawyer can also help you maximize the amount of compensation you receive. The window for filing a claim is only two years for most cases, so don’t delay scheduling a free consultation with Agruss Law Firm, LLC. to discuss your next steps.