The statute of limitations refers to the time limit for taking legal action after an incident that gives you the right to do so. For instance, you could be a car accident victim who wants to recover damages from the liable party. Here in Illinois, you would generally have up to two years to file a lawsuit for your injuries or the death of a loved one.
However, several factors can affect exactly how much time you have to bring your case to court. Find out what you should know about the statute of limitations after a car accident in Illinois.
When does the Statute Timer Start?
In most instances, the car accident case’s statute of limitations begins on the date of the incident. But if the crash killed a loved one, the statute clock will start running on the date of their death instead. That means it could start counting down much later if your loved one did not instantly succumb to their injuries.
The Time Limit Differs for Vehicle Damage Cases
Perhaps you were uninjured in a car accident, but you want to be compensated for auto repairs or valuables that were damaged. Under Illinois law, you can file the property damage case within five years instead of two.
Your Car Accident Case’s Deadline Could Still Get Moved
Illinois’ statute of limitations can also have tolling exceptions, which suspend the statute timer if special instances apply to your car accident case. This helps protect you from the inability to sue due to unfair circumstances. The statute of limitations generally starts running again once the exception no longer applies to you.
For example, the liable driver might have gone to another state or country to try and wait out the statute timer. However, the law states that the statute of limitations would only commence when they return to Illinois. Another instance will be if the driver faces criminal charges. In such a scenario, the timer will only start counting after the criminal court settles its case.
The statute of limitations can also get tolled if the car accident victim is still a minor. If you are suing on behalf of your child, the case’s filing deadline will be two years from when they turn 18 years old. People who become legally disabled due to the accident will also have the statute timer tolled for their case. It will begin running after they recover from the disability and can handle their affairs—including filing the suit.
What If Illinois Government Employees Caused the Car Accident?
While the Court of Claims Act and Tort Immunity Act lets you file accident claims and lawsuits against Illinois’ government offices, their filing deadlines work differently from regular car accident cases.
When filing a claim with the liable government office, you must first provide a notice of claim with the Court of Claims and Attorney General within one year. You then have to file the claim within two years of the accident date. However, if you plan to file the claim within a year, there is no need to notify the respective government departments.
You also have a year to file if you decide to take a lawsuit to the Court of Claims.
What Happens When You Miss Your Case’s Filing Deadline?
In general, failing to adhere to Illinois’ statute of limitations will result in the dismissal of the vehicle accident lawsuit upon filing. Consequently, this means you will be unable to seek compensation for your expenses and any accident-related losses.
As such, it is critical to review your circumstances for any statute of limitations exceptions. It may provide you additional time to concentrate on your automobile accident lawsuit. Naturally, it would be in your best interest to begin building your case as soon as feasible. A lawyer can do this for you while you focus on recuperating.
Allowing us to get to work for you right away can help you avoid getting pressed for time later on if you have other affairs to handle.
We Can Help You Comply with Your Case Requirements
Dealing with injuries and expenses after a car accident is stressful for anyone, but you can take legal action for the suffering it caused. If you were recently involved in an auto collision in Illinois, The Kryder Law Group, LLC is here to help. Our accident lawyers can advise you on the statute of limitations after a car accident in Illinois and help you comply with all the applicable requirements for taking timely legal action.
Besides auto accidents, our other practice areas include construction accidents, medical malpractice, and slip and falls. Our legal team has nearly two decades of experience with injury cases throughout Illinois. If you have any legal concerns about your situation, you can discuss them with us at (312) 223-1700. You can also schedule your free case consultation through the form here on the website.