Following a car accident, if settlement negotiations fail, you may need to file a lawsuit to recover compensation for your out-of-pocket damages. When taking legal action, it is a good idea to know how long you have to file a lawsuit after a car accident.
In Illinois, you have just two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit against the negligent driver, according to 735 ILCS 5/13-202. If your accident only resulted in property damage, you usually have five years from the date of the accident to file your claim, under 735 ILCS 5/13-205.
In some instances, you may have less time to file a lawsuit against a government department. For instance, let’s say that you were struck by a government-owned vehicle. In this situation, you would have less time to file your case than if you were making it against another party. You may also have to provide notice to the city and follow special rules to preserve your right to make a claim.
If you pass the applicable deadline, either for filing an insurance claim or lawsuit, you may not be able to pursue compensation for your damages.
Exceptions that Grant You More Time to Act
Under 735 ILCS 5/13-211, the state outlines the exceptions that may grant a claimant more time to file a lawsuit. For example, if the victim is a minor child at the time of the accident, the statute of limitations does not begin until the child reaches the age of 18. If the victim was disabled at the time of the accident, the statute of limitations does not begin to run until the disability is removed.
Additionally, if the at-fault driver left Illinois after the accident, but before the lawsuit could be filed, the statute of limitations may be tolled. To recover compensation for your damages, you may choose to work with a personal injury lawyer. They can investigate the details of your situation and explain how the state’s statute of limitations applies to your case.
Filing an Insurance Claim in Illinois
Illinois is an at-fault insurance state, meaning that if you got into a car accident, the other party’s insurance company may be responsible for your losses. You may first choose to file a claim with the other driver’s insurance company, up to the policy limits. You may negotiate back and forth with the insurance company to resolve your claim.
How long this process takes will rest on many details unique to your situation. Some insurance claims are resolved in a matter of days. Others can go on for years. At any point during the process, you have the ability to work with a personal injury lawyer. They can help you with the obligations that go into filing a successful insurance claim while also protecting you against any bad faith insurance practices.
Alternatively, if the other driver did not have adequate insurance coverage, you may choose to file a claim with your own insurance company. Many insurance companies require you to make a claim within 30 days from the date of an accident and will not handle a claim that passes this deadline. Your case may also be subject to other deadlines based on the details of your insurance policy.
Contact the Kryder Law Group, LLC for Help with Your Car Accident Case
Understanding how long you have to file a lawsuit after a car accident is critical to your case’s success. The Kryder Law Group, LLC can help you with the responsibilities that go into filing an insurance claim or lawsuit. Our team understands Illinois’s statute of limitations and can use that information when building your case.
When you partner with a car accident lawyer from our law firm, we can:
- File your case to the appropriate office
- Gather evidence of negligence
- Determine how the state’s statute of limitations applies to your case
- Identify the at-fault party (or parties)
- Evaluate the cost of your collision-related losses
- Negotiate a settlement
- Defend you against any bad faith insurance practices
- Consult with your health care team regarding your injuries
- Interview witnesses to your accident
- File your lawsuit in court, if necessary
We can discuss your case during a free consultation. When you connect to a member of our team, we can also explain how we render services on a contingency-fee-basis. You may be able to afford legal assistance at no out-of-pocket cost to you.
Call us today to learn more.