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In the blink of an eye, a car accident that you never saw coming can change your life. When it does, having a Claim Your Justice attorney on your side will help you to understand what rights you have, how to pursue damages, and what compensation you’re entitled to. At Claim Your Justice, our experienced Schaumburg, IL car accident attorneys are here to support you every step of the way.

As you navigate the personal injury claims process, there’s a lot to think about — evidence, how to prove fault, how to maximize your compensation, and the statute of limitations. The following will focus on the statute of limitations and how much time you have to file a claim after an Illinois or Wisconsin auto accident. To learn more how we can help you with your personal injury case, call our law firm directly or send us a message at your convenience.

What Is a Statute of Limitations?

In its simplest sense, a statute of limitations is a limit on the amount of time that you have to file a lawsuit against another party or take some other sort of legal action. It’s easiest to think of a statute of limitations as a clock; once the time on the clock is up, the right to bring forth a claim is over. Because statutes of limitations are critical, it’s smart to work with an attorney who can help you to understand and protect which time limit applies in your case.

Is the Statute of Limitations the Same for All Types of Cases?

The statute of limitations is not the same for all case types. Even within the category of civil claims, the statute of limitations varies by type of action. While this will be discussed more below as it pertains to a car accident, it’s important to know that the amount of time you have to bring forth a civil suit will look differently depending on if you’re injured in a car accident or just filing a claim for property damages; have been injured due to a doctor’s medical malpractice; etc.

What Is the Statute of Limitations for an Illinois or Schaumburg Car Accident Case?

Depending on the details of your case, there may be three different statutes of limitation that apply. Again, it’s important to not delay in talking to an attorney who can explain the statutes of limitation and which one(s) may be relevant for your case.

  • Wrongful death. A wrongful death lawsuit exists when the wrongful or neglectful acts of one party lead to the death of another. As tragic as it is to think about, the truth is that car accidents frequently cause of death in Illinois. If a loved one has been in a fatal car accident, then the statute of limitations that your family needs to be aware of is the wrongful death statute of limitations. As found in 735 ILCS 5/13-209, the statute of limitations for a wrongful death claim is:
    • Sec. 13-209. Death of party.
      • (a) If a person entitled to bring an action dies before the expiration of the time limited for the commencement thereof, and the cause of action survives:
        • (1) an action may be commenced by his or her representative before the expiration of that time, or within one year from his or her death whichever date is the later;

    In other words, if your loved one has died from injuries sustained in a car accident, you either have two years from the date of the accident or one year from the date of your loved one’s death, whichever is later, to file a wrongful death claim.

  • Personal injury. Most car accident claims are a form of personal injury claim, where the injured party seeks compensation for personal injury damages caused by the at-fault party. In a personal injury case in Illinois, the statute of limitations is two years from the date the cause of action accrues, as found in 735 ILCS 5/13-202. This means that if you are pursuing damages for economic and non-economic damages related to your injuries, such as compensation for medical bills, lost wages, emotional distress, and pain and suffering, you have two years from the date of your crush to initiate a lawsuit.
  • Medical Malpractice. A medical malpractice claim is serious and exists when a medical mistake results in injury or death. If you or a loved one has been the victim of a medical or hospital mistake, then the statute of limitations that your family needs to be aware of found in 735 ILCS 5/13-2122, the statute of limitations for a medical mistake is
    • Sec. 13-212. Physician or hospital.
      • (a) Except as provided in Section 13-215 of this Act, no action for damages for injury or death against any physician, dentist, registered nurse or hospital duly licensed under the laws of this State, whether based upon tort, or breach of contract, or otherwise, arising out of patient care shall be brought more than 2 years after the date on which the claimant knew, or through the use of reasonable diligence should have known, or received notice in writing of the existence of the injury or death for which damages are sought in the action, whichever of such date occurs first, but in no event shall such action be brought more than 4 years after the date on which occurred the act or omission or occurrence alleged in such action to have been the cause of such injury or death.
  • Property damage. Finally, the statute of limitations in Illinois for property damage is five years. If you are bringing forth a claim for personal injury damages, however, you will most likely roll your property damage claim into that and won’t need to worry about the five-year statute of limitations.

Claims Against the Government

One other thing to know about the statute of limitations in Illinois is that there are important different rules for individuals who are bringing a claim against a government entity. For example, if your car accident occurred due to the negligence of a state, county, school employee, or a CTA bus driver, you can still bring a claim for personal injuries, but there is a significant Statute of Limitations.

You must file a lawsuit within one year of the date of the accident. Note that claims against the government are complex due to the rules of sovereign immunity and if you have been in a car accident with a government employee or vehicle, you should prioritize seeking legal counsel.

Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations & the Discovery Rule 

It is very rare for the statute of limitations to be extended, but sometimes it is possible. A court in Illinois may recognize the “discovery rule,” which holds that the clock on the statute of limitations doesn’t start ticking until the injured person knows or should have known that they had a cause of action for injuries. While a delay in the knowledge of one’s injuries is common in medical malpractice claims, it is rare in car accident cases. That being said, if you didn’t discover your injuries until well after the date of the car accident and have good evidence as to why you may be able to have the statute of limitations extended.

What is The Statute of Limitations When a Minor is Injured?

The other time that the statute of limitations will be extended in a personal injury case is when a minor is the injured person. In these cases that statute of limitations is two years after the minor turns 18. .

What Happens if You Miss the Statute of Limitations?

If you have been injured in a car accident, suffered property damage in a car accident, or lost a loved one in a car accident, you do not want to miss the statute of limitations. If you miss the statute of limitations, you will be permanently barred from recovery.

It’s important to note that initiating a claim with an insurance company and filing a lawsuit is not the same thing. The statute of limitations refers to your right to bring a lawsuit in court. As such, if your claim isn’t settled within the statute of limitations, then you won’t be able to file a lawsuit For this reason, it’s important to start the claims process as early as possible; this way, if a settlement can’t be reached, you’ll still have plenty of time to think about filing a civil action in court.

Tips to Ensure the Statute of Limitations Isn’t Breached

Following a car accident, you should contact Claim your Justice and initiate your case as soon as possible to ensure that a) you maximize the recovery of damages that you are entitled to as soon as possible and b) you don’t risk breaching the statute of limitations. Tips to help you act in a timely manner include:

  • Seek medical care immediately
  • Call your insurance company within 24-48 hours of the accident to report the crash
  • File a police report immediately
  • Call the attorneys at Claim Your Justice Schaumburg attorney with experience working on car accident claims as soon as possible

Once you call Claim Your Justice our attorneys can take over handling the details of your case — including ensuring that you don’t breach the statute of limitations — so that you can focus on your recovery.

Call Our Claim Your Justice Schaumburg, IL Car Accident Lawyers Today

If you have been in a car accident, working with a Schaumburg, IL car accident lawyer is essential. To learn more about how we can help and what you should know about the statute of limitations, call our law firm directly at 888-77-KEITH or send us a message online to request a free case consultation.

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