When you are injured in an accident or collision, it is natural to think that you should heal fully before pursuing any legal action against the at-fault party. After all, the more it costs for you to fully heal, the larger your recovery may be. Additionally, any treatment you receive for your injuries after a settlement is reached may not be recoverable. However, there is a principle of law called the Statute of Limitations that everyone should understand in case they are injured at some point.
The Statute of Limitations is an Illinois law that sets a time limit on how long you have to file a claim against another party.
The Statute varies for different types of claims. For example, in most cases, medical malpractice and motor vehicle collision claims must be brought within two (2) years from the date the wrongdoing occurred. Any claims brought after this two (2) year period will not be allowed to be heard within a court of law and no defendant is likely to settle following this period of time. This means it is critically important to get a complaint on file prior to the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations.
There are a few exceptions which may allow the time frame to be expanded.
An expansion of the time frame of the statute of limitations is called “tolling.” A statute of limitations may only be tolled for very specific reasons that are defined by Illinois law. The most common reason to expand the time frame in which a suit may be filed is when the claimant (the person filing the lawsuit) does not immediately discover the cause of the injury. For example, in some medical malpractice suits, the injury is not discovered until a later diagnosis is made. However, even in such circumstances, there is an outer time frame known as the statute of repose, in which no claim will be allowed no matter when it is discovered.
A failure to file a complaint within the statute of limitations will forever bar and prevent any recovery for any injury you may have suffered, which is why it is important contact an attorney as soon as you believe you may have a possible claim against another individual.
The sooner a claim is brought to the attention of an attorney; the sooner they can evaluate when the proper time to file a complaint will be. If you have been injured, contact one of our qualified and compassionate attorneys today at (217) 394-5885.