Is There a Time Limit on Personal Injury Claims in Chicago, IL?


Some say there is no time limit to grieve or recover from a significant injury. Everyone processes the complex emotions in a traumatic event at their speed and in their own time. Unfortunately, your time is limited if you are involved in a significant accident caused by someone else and wish to pursue a lawsuit seeking compensation for your financial losses.

A statute of limitations is a law that sets the maximum amount of time an individual has to initiate legal proceedings like a personal injury lawsuit. The statute of limitations varies based on the state and the type of legal proceeding. What happens if you don’t file your lawsuit within the legally defined statute of limitations? You can lose all leverage with the insurance company and severely limit your ability to seek maximum compensation for your injuries because the court will likely dismiss your case with no hearing.

The personal injury attorneys at the Alvarez Law Office want to help you pursue the money you deserve by giving you helpful information about the time limit Illinois law places on personal injury cases.

Do Different Personal Injuries Have Different Periods?

Individual states spell out the time limits people have for filing cases seeking compensation for financial losses caused by another party. In Illinois, those filing a personal injury lawsuit after an accident have two years from the accident date to use the legal system to seek compensation for their financial losses. Common examples of personal injury cases that fall within the two-year statute of limitations include:

Although two years is the standard time limit to file a lawsuit in most personal injury cases, there are exceptions. In medical malpractice cases, the statute of limitations allows two years from the date of discovery to file the lawsuit. That means individuals have two years from discovering harm from a medical procedure, not necessarily two years from the date of the injury or surgery. This rule is in place because harm related to medical negligence may not immediately be apparent. Patients then have additional time to pursue compensation.

In the case of birth injuries, the law allows eight years from the date of birth to file a lawsuit.

Is There Any Way to Extend the Deadline?

Thankfully, for those injured in accidents caused by careless individuals, there are ways to extend the personal injury statute of limitations. Sometimes referred to as tolling, pausing the statutory time period gives an individual more time to file a lawsuit under certain conditions. When do extensions to the personal injury statute of limitations apply? Consider the following:

  • Disability – If an individual injured in an accident is legally declared disabled, they have two years to file a personal injury lawsuit from the date of disability’s removal. 
  • Minors – When a minor is hurt in an accident, the two-year statute of limitations does not apply until the minor turns 18, as long as a parent or guardian hasn’t initiated a claim on the child’s behalf before that date.
  • Period of Absence – The deadline to file a personal injury case can also pause if the individual responsible for causing the accident leaves or flees the state before a victim initiates the legal process. The period of the individual’s absence from Illinois does not count as part of the two-year time limit.

Managing strict legal deadlines can be challenging when you’re coping with the pain and stress of a significant injury. It is always best to consult an experienced Chicago personal injury lawyer who can manage legal deadlines and keep your case on the right track.

Why Is It Better to Claim Sooner than Later?

There are numerous reasons why initiating a personal injury lawsuit sooner rather than later is vital. First, remember that you have limited time to file a personal injury lawsuit. Two years sounds like plenty of time, but it can speed past when you are injured or engaging in a back-and-forth struggle with an insurer. Unfortunately, once the statute of limitations expires, you have little to no recourse for recovering the compensation you deserve. Attempting to file a case after the deadline expires typically results in your case’s dismissal. You lose leverage with the insurance company and the ability to have your case heard by a jury or judge.

Another reason you must start the process early is that the longer you wait, the less evidence you can secure to strengthen your case. Having an attorney on your side means they can quickly work to secure relevant evidence before it is lost or destroyed. Truck accidents are a great way to highlight the importance of early intervention. Commercial vehicles typically have “black boxes” on board that record vital information like speed, braking, hours of operations, and other details that can be used by your attorney to build a compelling case for maximum compensation. However, these devices are easily erased, or the data is recorded over if too much time elapses.

As time passes, the memories of critical witnesses can falter or become less accurate, jeopardizing your chances of recovering maximum compensation for your financial losses. Additionally, waiting to seek compensation for your medical bills and lost wages can lead to financial instability. You may not have the funds readily available to cover costly expenses related to the accident, causing undue stress and financial burden on you or your family. 

Contact a Knowledgeable Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Today 

Have you been injured in an accident? It’s time to contact an experienced Chicago personal injury attorney with the Alvarez Law Office. Our legal team wants to help you recover the compensation you need by reviewing your situation and highlighting your legal options for pursuing the money you deserve from the party who injured you. With over 200 years of combined experience, we are prepared to tackle the most complicated cases and fight to recover maximum compensation for your injuries. 

Arrange a free consultation to learn more about how the Alvarez Law Office may be able to help you. Contact our Chicago office today. 

The post Is There a Time Limit on Personal Injury Claims in Chicago, IL? appeared first on Alvarez Law Office | Injury Law Firm in Indiana and Illinois.

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