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Your Time Is Running Out: The Illinois Statute of Limitations

It’s heartbreaking to take a call from someone who was seriously hurt in an accident – whether a car accident, truck accident, motorcycle accident, etc. – and you have to tell them that the statute of limitations expired and you can’t do anything for them. It’s a harsh reality – you don’t have an infinite amount of time to take action against the party that hurt you.

In Illinois, you have two years from the date of the injury to file a personal injury lawsuit. Yes, that means the statute of limitations may begin to run the day you get injured. Though, the statute of limitations might run from the date you discovered you were injured, rather than the date that you actually suffered the injury. This is known as a “discovery date” and typically comes into play with workplace disease claims and medical malpractice claims. Typically, if you were hurt in an accident, the statute of limitations begins to run on the date of the accident.

So, for example, if a loved one was abused at a nursing home on February 1, 2014, you would have until February 1, 2016 to file a personal injury claim. This may sound like plenty of time, but many people who suffer serious injuries are overwhelmed with medical bills, missing time from work, trying to put their life back together after the incident, etc. Many people don’t think about hiring a lawyer until later and, before you know it, your window may be closed. Think of the statute of limitations as a ticking clock counting down each day you don’t take action.

Many other types of personal injury cases also have the two-year statute of limitations:

Wrongful death, 2 years Product liability, 2 years Medical malpractice, 2 years
In addition to the two-year statute of limitations, there are certain loopholes you have to watch out for when taking legal action against certain parties. For example, a personal injury claim against a city or county only affords a one year statute of limitation for filing a personal injury claim. If you have a claim against the state of Illinois, there is still a two year statute of limitations, but you have to file a formal claim within one year from the date of the accident causing your injury. These loopholes come into play if you were hurt in an accident involving a city, state, or municipal vehicle. For example, if you or a loved one are hit while crossing the street by a city bus, the shortened statute of limitations likely applies.

Time to Take Action

Determining which statutory limitation applies to your case can be complicated. You should speak to an experienced personal injury lawyer to discuss the facts surrounding your potential case and how much time you have to file a lawsuit.

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