Illinois Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Claims

This page has been written, edited, and reviewed by a team of legal writers following our comprehensive editorial guidelines. This page was approved by Founding Partner, Terry Crouppen who has more than 40 years of legal experience as a personal injury attorney. Our last modified date shows when this page was last reviewed.

BY
Brown & Crouppen

The statute of limitations for personal injury claims in Illinois is 2 years, meaning Illinois residents have 2 years from the date of their accident or injury to file a lawsuit. 

The statute of limitations is a legal deadline for filing a lawsuit after a personal injury accident occurs. In the state of Illinois, the statute of limitations for most personal injury claims is two years from the date of the injury, which is specified in the Illinois Compiled Statutes, section 735 ILCS 5/13-202. Individuals who do not file a lawsuit within the 2-year deadline will be unable to take legal action and pursue compensation for any injuries and damages resulting from the accident.

Deadline Extensions & Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations in Illinois

For some cases and certain circumstances, there may be exceptions and extensions to the deadline of Illinois’s personal injury statute of limitations.

Extensions

  • Discovery Rule: In some personal injury cases, the injured party is unaware of their injuries. The Discovery Rule allows for the statute of limitations to begin when the individual becomes aware of their injury or should have become aware of their injury.
  • Defendant Leaves State: If the defendant leaves the state, the deadline for the statute of limitations would not include the duration of time for which they were not present in the state.

Exceptions

  • Minors: When the personal injury victim is a minor (under the age of 18), the statute of limitations is typically “tolled” or paused until they reach adulthood. Once they turn 18 years old, the two-year time limit for filing a lawsuit begins. This exception allows minors to file a personal injury claim within two years from their 18th birthday.
  • Mentally Handicapped Individuals: If the injured person has a mental disability that renders them incapable of understanding their legal rights or pursuing a claim, the statute of limitations may be tolled. In such cases, the clock for the statute of limitations may start when the disability is no longer an impediment, allowing the individual to file a lawsuit within the regular time limits.
  • Government Agencies or Employees: When filing a personal injury claim against a government agency or employee, special rules apply. Generally, there are specific notice requirements and shorter timeframes for bringing a claim against governmental entities. For example, if a personal injury claim involves a local municipality, the injured party may be required to provide a written notice of the claim within one year of the incident. Failure to meet these notice requirements may result in the loss of the right to pursue a claim against the government.

Other Legal Considerations for Illinois’s Personal Injury Statute of Limitations

In addition to the general statute of limitations for personal injury claims in Illinois, there are other legal considerations and different deadlines for various types of claims.

  • Negligence Claims: Negligence claims encompass a wide range of personal injury cases. The general statute of limitations of 2 years applies to negligence claims, including slip and fall accidents, dog bites, and other accidents caused by someone’s negligence.
  • Auto Accidents: For personal injury claims arising from auto accidents, including car, truck, or motorcycle accidents, the general statute of limitations of 2 years from the date of the injury applies (see statute of limitations for car accidents in Illinois). It’s important to note that different rules and deadlines may come into play when filing insurance claims and pursuing compensation from the at-fault party.
  • Wrongful Death Claims: In cases of wrongful death, where a person’s death is caused by another party’s negligence, the statute of limitations is generally 2 years from the date of the deceased person’s death. It is crucial to consult with an attorney promptly to ensure compliance with the applicable deadline and to understand the specific requirements for filing a wrongful death claim.
  • Product Liability Claims: Product liability claims involve injuries caused by defective products. The statute of limitations for product liability cases is generally 2 years from the date of injury or within ten years from the date of the first sale, lease, or delivery of the product to the initial user, whichever is later. However, it is advisable to consult with an attorney, as there may be exceptions and variations depending on the circumstances of the case.
  • Premises Liability Claims: Premises liability claims arise when an individual is injured on someone else’s property due to hazardous conditions or negligence. The general statute of limitations of 2 years applies to premises liability claims, such as slip and fall accidents, dog bites or animal attacks, and injuries caused by inadequate maintenance or security.
  • Workers’ Compensation Claims: If you sustain a work-related injury or illness, you may be eligible to file a workers’ compensation claim. In Illinois, the statute of limitations for workers’ compensation claims is typically 3 years from the date of the injury or 2 years from the date of the last payment of compensation, whichever is later. However, there may be exceptions and specific timelines depending on the circumstances, so consulting with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney is advisable.
  • Medical Malpractice Claims: Medical malpractice claims involve injuries caused by healthcare professionals’ negligence. In Illinois, the statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims is generally 2 years from the date of the injury or within 4 years from the date of the act or omission that caused the injury, whichever occurs first. However, there are exceptions for cases involving foreign objects left in the body or cases where the injury is not immediately discoverable. It is crucial to consult with a medical malpractice attorney to understand the specific rules and deadlines that apply to your case.

Get Help from a Personal Injury Attorney at Brown & Crouppen Law Firm

Given the complexities of personal injury claims, consulting with an experienced personal injury lawyer is always recommended. An attorney can guide you through the legal process, protect your rights, and help you maximize compensation.

Get started with your case by requesting a free case evaluation online from Brown & Crouppen. Our personal injury attorneys have recovered over $1 billion as a result of accident and injury claims. With locations in Edwardsville and Fairview Heights, Illinois, our car accident lawyers are conveniently located to better serve you.

SCHEDULE A FREE CONSULTATION

314-222-2222
Text with a live representative
Text “GETBC” to 314-222-2222
Standard rates apply