You likely have previously heard the term “statute of limitations” and might be wondering now how statutes of limitations apply to your vehicle accident case. The attorneys at Stein & Shulman, LLC, break down Illinois statutes of limitations in the blog below.
What is a Statute of Limitations?
Statutes of limitations are created by state law and set time limits on filing all types of legal claims in court. Every state has its own statutes of limitations, and they will vary depending on the nature of a claim and the damages associated with that claim.
It is easiest to think about a statute of limitations as a filing deadline. It is a hard date by which you must file your case in a court of law. If you miss the deadline, you risk completely losing your legal rights to file a lawsuit. Keep in mind, you only have to file your claim by the time your statute of limitations runs; You do not have to obtain a full claim resolution by this date.
Purpose of Statutes of Limitations
Statutes of limitations might seem unfair, but they have a number of positive purposes. States impose statutes of limitations because they tend to have the following effects on litigation:
- Ensuring the reliability of evidence to be presented at trial;
- Enabling access to documents, records, and other evidence; and
- Preventing indefinite, unmitigated expense by potential defendants in anticipation of litigation.
By having a deadline, plaintiffs work up and file their claims faster. A lack of delay increases the chances that witnesses will have accurate memories and documents will still be accessible for use as evidence.
Illinois’ Statute of Limitations on Vehicle Accident Claims
Generally, the statute of limitations on a vehicle accident case in Illinois is two years. You therefore ordinarily have two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit in court seeking damages for your injuries. A few factors can change the timeframe, however, depending on the facts of your unique case.
Assessing Your Own Statute of Limitations
Because your statute of limitations is so important and carries such large potential consequences, you absolutely need to hire an experienced lawyer to be sure you have the right date. You do not want to try to assess your own statute date because it might not be as simple as two years from the accident. You could have more or less time than that, and you do not want to risk missing your filing deadline. An experienced attorney will review all of the facts of your claims to calculate the correct date in your Illinois vehicle accident case.
If you were injured in a vehicle accident in Illinois, contact Stein & Shulman, LLC, today to discuss your legal options with a skilled accident lawyer. You can schedule a case consultation at no cost to you by calling our office at 312.422.0500.