You generally have two years to file a lawsuit after a truck accident, per 735 ILCS 5/13-202. Some facts of your situation may toll this timeline. For instance, if you were injured as a minor or the negligent party fled the state, you could be granted more time to act. A Chicago truck accident lawyer can examine the facts of your case and explain how Illinois’s statute of limitations impacts your case.
Explaining Illinois’s Statute of Limitations
State legislators establish time restrictions, referred to as statutes of limitations, for filing lawsuits. As noted, Illinois gives you two years to file a truck accident lawsuit. The clock generally starts ticking from the date of the collision.
If you miss the deadline set forth by Illinois’s statute of limitations, the defendant could file a motion to have your case dismissed. If the court grants this motion, you would not be able to pursue compensation for your losses.
How the State’s Statute of Limitations Could Affect You
These time restrictions may seem to benefit the defendant in such a case––and they do. By setting a deadline by which a lawsuit must be filed following an accident, the defendant benefits from knowing how long legal action can be filed against them.
However, the laws also exist to protect you, the victim. By presenting this time restriction, you enjoy a greater chance of recovering damages sooner after your injury. In addition, this deadline motivates you to act quickly, which gives you greater access to fresh evidence that supports your liability claim.
When you hire a law firm after your truck accident, they will launch an investigation into the cause of the collision. By beginning the investigative process promptly following the incident, you enable your lawyer to recover fresh evidence from the accident scene and other sources.
Several Things Have to Happen Before You File a Lawsuit After a Truck Accident
Two years might strike you as plenty of time to file a lawsuit after your truck accident. However, a number of things may take place before a lawsuit can be filed.
The truth is most truck accident victims recover compensation via a settlement from the at-fault party’s insurance company, per the American Bar Association (ABA). When you hire a lawyer after your accident, they will investigate your accident to gather evidence. Their findings will help your lawyer identify the at-fault party and enable them to calculate your damages.
Your Lawyer Must First Investigate Your Accident
To determine fault and liability for your Chicago truck accident, your lawyer must first conduct an investigation into your circumstances.
- Visit the accident scene to collect evidence
- View video footage from intersections and surveillance cameras
- Review photos
- Interview witnesses
- Work with accident reconstruction specialists
- Gather your medical records
- Obtain the police accident report
- Get copies of past wage statements from your employer
Your lawyer may also want to talk to experts in the fields of medicine, economics, occupational therapy, and psychology, who can present their professional testimonies regarding your injuries and damages.
Your Lawyer Must Then Assign Liability
After gathering your case’s evidence, your lawyer will need to show how another party caused your accident and injuries.
Namely, they need to gather evidence that proves the following:
- The other party owed you a duty of care to act in a way that would keep you free from injuries.
- The other party violated this duty of care.
- The other party’s actions caused your accident.
- You incurred financial losses as a result of the accident.
Once your lawyer determines fault and liability for your losses, they can enter into the negotiation process.
Your Lawyer Will Attempt to Negotiate with the Insurer
Once your lawyer determines the value of your damages, they will include them in a demand letter and present it to the at-fault party’s insurer. Yet, the insurance company may challenge your claim or at least attempt to undervalue it. At this point, your attorney may enter into negotiations with the insurer to try to arrive at a fair settlement agreement.
If the insurer fails to offer a fair settlement amount, your lawyer can file a lawsuit on your behalf. From there, they will present your case to a jury who will determine your case’s outcome.
The insurance company is aware of the state’s statute of limitations. They may employ bad faith insurance practices to get the statute of limitations to expire on your case. Your lawyer can implement a variety of legal measures to prevent this from happening.
Learn More About Filing a Lawsuit After a Truck Accident
Your case may need to go to trial. If so, consider hiring a Chicago truck accident lawyer. By taking prompt legal action, you can work to prepare your case before the state’s statute of limitations expires.
Call The Kryder Law Group, LLC today for a free case evaluation at (312) 223-1700.