How Long do I Have to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit Related to Injuries I Sustained as a Pedestrian?
In Illinois, you have two years from the date you were injured to file a lawsuit to recover compensation for any type of personal injury caused by another’s negligence.
Illinois, like most states, has a statute of limitations that places a time limit on your ability to sue for physical injuries and other damages sustained in a pedestrian accident.
Here is the language from the Illinois statute:
“Actions for damages for an injury to the person, or for false imprisonment, or malicious prosecution, or for a statutory penalty, or for abduction, or for seduction, or for criminal conversation that may proceed pursuant to subsection (a) of Section 7.1 of the Criminal Conversation Abolition Act, except damages resulting from first degree murder or the commission of a Class X felony and the perpetrator thereof is convicted of such crime, shall be commenced within 2 years next after the cause of action accrued…”
(735 ILCS 5/13-202)
Basically, this means that you must file your complaint for relief two years from the date of the traffic accident or other incident that caused your injuries. There are exceptions, however. For instance, if you don’t realize that you were injured or how seriously you were injured in the accident right away, you might have additional time to file as long as the delay in your discovery was reasonable. In such scenario, the two-year deadline wouldn’t begin running until you discovered or reasonably should have discovered your actual harms.
Another exception relates to minors. They have two years beyond the age they reach legal majority to sue (generally on their 20th birthday).
However, the general rule is that Illinois limits your right to pursue recovery for personal injury by making you file within two years.
Why Does Illinois Limit my Right to Bring Damages for Pedestrian Accidents?
There are several explanations for these types of limits. The fundamental reason is that the state wants to motivate citizens to bring their cases in a reasonably timely fashion out of fairness to the potential defendants who must defend against the suit. The idea is that it is unfair to the parties, not to mention harmful to commerce, when potential defendants must exist under the perpetual threat of being sued at any time for anything that may have happened at some point in the past. Also, the more dated and “stale” that cases get, the more difficult they are to litigate and the more wasteful they are of court resources. Critical evidence may be lost or witnesses may become unavailable.
For these reasons, Illinois like other states has enacted statutes of limitations to address these and other concerns.
What are the Consequences of Failing to Meet the SoL?
Failure to comply with a statute of limitations is a complete bar to recovery. If you do not bring suit against the person or entity that caused your pedestrian injuries within two years, then you will not be able to recover from them at all. Consequently, an injured pedestrian should consult with a qualified accident attorney as soon as feasible to determine who the responsible parties are and what the applicable statute of limitations is. Then, you can both work within the deadline to develop an appropriate case strategy.
Think Your Pedestrian Accident Claim Might be too Late?
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC can help you understand all the complex laws surrounding Illinois pedestrian accidents, including statutes of limitations. Once you retain our services and decide to file a claim, we will fight for your right to recovery at no cost to you until your case is successfully resolved. Act now before it’s too late. Give us a call today and let one of our seasoned pedestrian accident attorneys ease your concerns.