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Personal Injury and the Illinois Statute of Limitations


Under Illinois law, there are certain timing restrictions and deadlines that you need to be aware of and familiar with if you are planning to make a claim. These restrictions are referred to as statute of limitations. These laws and limitations were put in place for a few reasons; that evidence is still apparent and could easily be collected, and also to limit the “threat” of a lingering lawsuit to hold over someone.

The statute of limitations for a personal injury claim, according to statute 735 ILCS 5/13-202, is two (2) years. This means that from the date of the accident or the discovery date, the plaintiff has two (2) years to make a claim. If it is personal injury to property, as explained in statute 735 ILCS 5/13-205, it is five (5) years. For injury claims against a city or county, the plaintiff has one (1) year to file a lawsuit. While the time limit to sue the state is still two (2)  years, a formal complaint must still be filed within that one (1) year timeframe in order to do so.

When talking about statute of limitations, it is important to first start off explaining when the deadline to make a claim first begins. Typically, it is assumed that the “clock” will start to run when the injury is first suffered. While this would make sense, it is technically when the injury or accident is first discovered that the clock will start, this is called the “discovery date” and it is used in most claims as the starting point.

There also may be occurrences when the statute of limitations can be paused for a period of time. This may happen if the plaintiff is a minor or the plaintiff is mentally incompetent at the time that the injury occurred. Limitations can also be shortened through contracts.

Once a claim has been made under the time given to make one, damages are then sought out for compensation. One thing to be aware of is comparative fault in Illinois injury cases which seeks to sort out damages when more than one party is responsible or “at fault” for an injury. It is not unusual for the defendant to allege that the plaintiff was partially or completely at fault. When this happens, the state may use a modified version to calculate the amount of damages that can be received.

A typical story to illustrate the modified version would be: Suppose a person is walking around in a grocery store and is too distracted by the product labels to notice the lifted floor tile. This person trips, falls to the ground, and injures herself. It is determined later in court that the person was 10% at fault, making 90% of the fault going to the grocery store. Since 10% of the blame went on the person, that 10% then gets deducted from the total amount of damages the person could have received. In extreme circumstances, when a court finds that 50% or more of the fault is against the plaintiff bringing the claim, then that person will receive none of the damages.

Unfortunately, injuries happen all the time, and when they do, you deserve compensation. Sherwood Law Group specializes in personal injury accident cases and offers free consultations for any personal injury and accident case. Whether car accident, trucking accident, pedestrian struck by motor vehicle, bike accident, slip and fall, construction accident, trip and fall, premise accident, wrongful death, or other personal injury accident, Sherwood Law Group will be able to thoroughly evaluate your case and get you the money, settlement, verdict and award that you rightfully deserve.
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