How long do I have to hire an attorney for a personal injury claim in Illinois?

The law requires that you file a lawsuit within a specified period of time depending on the nature of the claim and the entity that caused your injury. This is referred to as the statute of limitations. Failure to file suit within this time frame prevents you from filing suit at all. In some instances, there are various exceptions to the statutes of limitation that may extend or limit the limitation periods. There may be special claims presentation requirements for claims against state and local government. For example, claims against governmental agencies including the state and municipal corporations must be filed within one year of the date of the incident. For these reasons, it is important to consult an attorney as early as possible to be sure you don't miss a crucial deadline.

In Illinois, an action for personal injury or death generally must be brought within two years from the date when the cause of action accrues. In most cases, the cause of action accrues on the date of the incident, but there may be exceptions when the injury could not have reasonably been discovered until a later date. If a person entitled to bring an action is under the age of eighteen or under a legal disability, then he or she may bring the action within two years after the person reaches the age of eighteen or the disability is removed.

A lawsuit for medical malpractice must generally be filed within two years from the date the victim knew, or should have known of the malpractice. However, all medical malpractice actions must be brought no later than four years from the date on which the medical malpractice occurred, even if the victim of the malpractice was unaware of the malpractice until more than four years later. If plaintiff is a minor, the statute of limitations is extended and the action must be brought within 8 years after date or omission causing injury, but never after 22nd birthday.

The information on this page is meant to provide a general overview of the law. The laws in your state and/or city may deviate significantly from those described here. If you have specific questions related to your situation you should speak with a local attorney.

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