When you’re injured in an accident, the at-fault person’s insurance may help cover a portion of your damages. But you’re not just limited to receiving money from their insurance provider. You may also be able to sue them for additional compensation. But you’re only able to file a personal injury lawsuit within a specific time frame. This time frame is known as the statute of limitations. Here’s what your Chicago personal injury lawyers want you to know about the statute of limitations.
You Have Two Years to File a Claim
Under Illinois law, you have two years to file a personal injury claim under the state’s statute of limitations. The clock starts ticking as soon as you know you’re injured. In most cases, this means you have two years from the date of the accident to file your claim.
There Is an Exception
Some injuries may not be readily apparent for years and if the statute of limitations were enforced without exception, those individuals would be unable to sue for damages even if they didn’t discover their injuries until much later. Luckily, the state understands this and makes an exception under the discovery rule.
The discovery rule effectively extends the statute of limitations to two years after the discovery of the injury rather than the date of the accident that ultimately caused the injury. Keep in mind that for the discovery rule to apply, you’ll likely need documentation from your doctor indicating that the injury wasn’t discovered immediately after the accident.
They’ll need to document when you started experiencing symptoms and when the injury became apparent to them.
Why There’s a Time Limit Imposed
Though it might seem unfair to impose a time limit for how long you can wait to file a personal injury lawsuit, there’s a good reason for it. The statute of limitations ensures that everyone is treated fairly and given enough time to file a claim without the details of the accident or the injury fading.
Think of it this way—if you wait ten years after an accident to file a claim, your memory of the incident will likely be hazy or full of embellishments that you firmly believe are true. This can make it harder for the court to determine a fair settlement for your injuries. But if you file a claim within two years of your injuries, those memories will be fresher and you’ll be better able to explain what happened and the pain you’re experiencing from the accident.
What Happens if You Wait Too Long?
When you’re recovering from your injuries, the last thing you may want to deal with is filing a lawsuit against the person responsible for your injuries. But if you wait too long and don’t file within the two-year time period, your case will likely be dismissed outright. That’s why it’s so important to reach out to a Chicago personal injury lawyer as soon as you know you’re injured.
At Anesi Ozmon, LTD., our team understands that recovering from your injuries can be time-consuming and expensive. We want to help you get the compensation you deserve so you can focus on your recovery. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.