In all legal claims, there are many requirements that must be met. These requirements help ensure that only valid claims move forward in the court system. One of these requirements is that certain times of claims must be filed by a certain deadline, which is usually a certain amount of time after an event has occurred. This deadline is called the statute of limitations. If a claim is not filed by the applicable statute of limitations, the court may dismiss the case. In personal injury claims, such as motorcycle accident claims, truck accident claims, and car accident claims, if an accident victim does not file a case by the statute of limitations, that victim may be wholly liable for all of the financial losses he or she has incurred as a result of the accident. This means that the victim would be responsible for medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses.
In personal injury claims, Illinois generally allows only two years from the date of the accident to file a claim. If the accident resulted in a death, the statute of limitations is generally two years from the date of the victim’s death.
Although two years may seem like a significant period of time, many accident victims are surprised at how quickly this deadline can sneak up on them. If an accident victim requires an extended hospital stay and then many weeks or months of physical therapy upon being released, that victim has probably already lost several months of time. Additionally, some accident victims are unaware that they should even pursue a legal claim because they have primarily been speaking with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Of course, the insurance adjuster’s goal is to protect the insurance company, not the accident victim!
There are some exceptions to the two-year personal injury statute of limitations, however. For example, individuals with certain disabilities, such as mental illnesses, have two years from the date their disability is resolved to file a claim.
Similarly, the statute of limitations for minor victims does not begin until the minor turns 18 years old. Therefore, an injured child technically has until his or her 20thbirthday to file a personal injury lawsuit.
Some individuals flee after they cause an accident. If the at-fault driver cannot be located after an accident, the period of time it takes to locate this individual likely will not count against the statute of limitations.
To ensure that a personal injury claim is filed in a timely manner, it is best to consult with an experienced accident attorney as soon as possible after a crash. These attorneys are well aware of all applicable deadlines, as well as their exceptions.
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If you were injured in a vehicle accident in Illinois, contact Stein & Shulman, LLC, today to discuss your legal options with a skilled Chicago accident lawyer. You can schedule a case consultation at no cost to you by calling our office at 312.422.0500.