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How long do I have to file a lawsuit?

Under 735 Illinois Compiled Statute 5/13-202, a person has two years from the date of an accident to file a personal injury lawsuit. With a medical malpractice claim, the statute of limitations will be two years from the date that a person knew or should have known that they were the victim of medical malpractice.

The limitations period is much shorter when a person has a claim against a city or county government, as those actions must be filed within one year of the date of an accident. Any lawsuit against the state must be filed within two years as well, but you also have to submit a notice of your intent to sue within one year.

Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations in Illinois

Certain exceptions also exist to the standard statute of limitations. For example, an injury victim who is a minor will not be old enough to file a legal action, so their limitations can be tolled (delayed) until they turn 18 years of age, which means that they generally have until age 20 to file a lawsuit.

The statute of limitations can also be tolled for other disabilities, such as a person who is not mentally competent after their accident, or individuals who are in comas. In such cases, the limitations period will not begin until the date that the person regains their faculties.

Illinois also establishes that no medical malpractice claim can be filed more than four years after the date of when the underlying medical error occurred, and this is known as a statute of repose that ends all legal rights after a specific date. Minors must bring medical malpractice cases within eight years of the time of a medical error, and no claim can file after a juvenile has turned 22 years of age.

Medical malpractice claims commonly involve what is known as the discovery rule, which allows for some people to have legal actions when they could not have known about the true nature of their injuries at the time of the accident. The discovery rule will not trump the statute of repose, however.

Another possible reason for the tolling of a limitations period could be when a negligent party leaves the state and becomes challenging to track down. The period that the person is absent from the state and is unresponsive to legal actions also will not be counted against the statute of limitations.

For cases involving injuries to real property or personal property, 735 Illinois Compiled Statute 5/13-205 establishes that a person will have five years to file a lawsuit. It is essential to understand that some exceptions to the statute of limitations can still be challenging to earn court approval for, as many courts are predisposed to narrowly construing these limitations periods.

An excellent example of this would be Giles v. Parks, 2018 IL App (1st) 163152, a 2018 court case in which the Illinois Appellate Court for the First District held that Illinois’ tolling statute for a legally disabled person’s claims does not apply to claims brought by the personal representative. The case involved a man who filed a lawsuit against the owner of a tow truck that struck and killed his brother two years before, but his action was dismissed because while it was filed within two years of his brother’s death, it was filed two years and one day after the date of the actual accident.

Contact Spiros Law, P.C. To Speak with an Experienced Injury Lawyer

If you were hurt in an accident due to negligence or if you suffered injury or illness due to the lack of adequate care from a medical professional, time is limited to take legal action. Contact an experienced Danville injury attorney at Spiros Law, P.C. to schedule a free consultation to discuss your rights and how we can help you get the compensation you’re owed within the window allotted to you by law. Call us at (217) 443-4343 to schedule your case evaluation today.