Super Lawyers
Illinois State Bar Association
Justia Lawyer Rating
Million Dollar Advocates Forum
Avvo Rating
BBB Accredited Business

How Long Is the Statute of Limitations for a Car Accident Injury Claim in Illinois?

In most cases, you will have two years from the accident to file a claim for motor vehicle damages, including medical bills, car damage, pain, and suffering.

The Chicago personal injury lawyers at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC can ensure you receive financial compensation for your damages and work directly with the insurance carrier to maximize your monetary compensation.

Were you involved in a collision that was not your fault? Contact our car accident law office today before the applicable statute of limitations expires at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number), or use the contact form today for immediate legal advice and schedule a free consultation.

All confidential or sensitive information you share with our legal team remains private through an attorney-client relationship.


Illinois' Car Accident Statute of Limitations: The Two-Year Rule for Filing Car Accident Lawsuits

When you have suffered injuries in an Illinois car accident, your insurance policy or the at-fault party’s insurance company will not be sufficient to fully compensate you for the costs of your medical care and lost wages.

For most car accident cases, your only true option for recovering the costs associated with the accident is to hire a personal injury attorney. Your lawyer can file a car accident lawsuit against the responsible party.

Most Car Accident Cases Must Be Filed Within Two Years

Illinois has a two-year statute of limitations for filing personal injury actions. You must file a lawsuit within two years from when the crash caused your injuries, or the car accident claim will be forever barred (735 ILCS 5/13-202).

Illinois also has a personal injury statute of limitations of five years after the collision for filing car accident cases over vehicle or property damage (735 ILCS 5/13-205).

However, if a local public entity or its employees caused the accident, the statute of limitations for personal injury victims to bring a car accident claim against the defendant and their insurance carrier is reduced to one year (745 ILCS 10/8-101).

Despite this general rule, it is best to consult with an auto accident attorney who has experience litigating Illinois motor vehicle collisions to determine the statute applicable in your case accurately.

Car accidents involving an injured minor or a municipal defendant can significantly alter the timeline. They may require either the filing of a notice provision or the filing of a lawsuit in a shorter period.

Additionally, many car accident cases require a significant amount of investigative work before the commencement of a lawsuit.

Identify All Potential Defendants for Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit for Compensation

An investigation may be necessary to determine liability in the case by getting witness statements or reviewing accident reconstruction materials.

An investigation may also be needed to determine the proper defendants (the parties to be sued), such as a corporate entity. If a driver was acting within the scope of his employment at the time of a crash, this information might not be readily apparent from a police report.

What If I Miss the Filing Deadline for Personal Injury Lawsuits?

If you try to bring car accident claims or wrongful death lawsuits with an Illinois car accident attorney more than two years after the car accident, the at-fault party (driver, insurance company, etc.) will more than likely seek to dismiss your case.

Typically, lawyers working for the insurance carrier will file a motion to dismiss, claiming your personal injury cases are barred by the Illinois statute of limitations (735 ILCS 5/13-202).

Should the court grant that motion with prejudice, the car accident victims will not have a right to recover any damages for the car accidents in question, no matter the injuries or costs and no matter the culpability of the defendant. This motion could also impact a future insurance claim under Illinois law.

They may be more or less willing to settle if you have not filed an action because they know your time is running out.

If you file a case, you will have more leverage in settlement negotiations. Still, you need to establish an attorney-client relationship with attorneys skilled in Illinois personal injury law first.

Call our personal injury lawyers after the accident for a free evaluation concerning the compensation you deserve and get under Illinois law. We can talk to you or use our lawyer referral service to get you the help you need.

Are There Any Exceptions to Illinois' Two-Year Rule for Personal Injury Cases?

Normally, you are out of luck if you wait more than two years for your injury lawsuit. However, Illinois intentionally delays when that clock starts running in some circumstances.

Practically speaking, this will give you more than the two years to file that 5/13-202 affords you.

  • Minors: If the person injured in the incident was a minor, then the clock starts running when that person turns eighteen (18) years old per (735 ILCS 5/13-211)
  • Disability: If the injured victim suffered a disability before, during, or after the accident but before the statute of limitations expired, then that person will be given another two years to file once the disability is removed per (735 ILCS 5/13-211)
  • Disappearance: If the at-fault driver or another party fled Illinois in between the accident and the statute of limitations expiration, then the period of that disappearance will not count towards the plaintiff's two-year window (735 ILCS 5/13-208)

Call our Chicago offices at (888) 424-5757 for a free consultation regarding the legal representation of your insurance claim or injury claims (and possible personal injury case) against the at-fault party (including the insurance company).

An Illinois personal injury attorney may help file a lawsuit after the car crash, car accident case, or other theories of liability (i.e., medical malpractice claims) under the relevant Illinois statute.

Please do not leave sensitive or confidential information (zip code search history, etc.) in your communications to us. These are attorney listings and paid attorney advertising.

How Can a Personal Injury Lawyer Help Me File in a Timely Matter?

Skilled attorneys can make your job and life easier after a crash. There will be a lot to do to get your case or claim in on time before the Illinois statute of limitations expires. They can assist with this will allow you can focus on your health, job, family, and life.

Generally, legal teams start by investigating the factual circumstances of the car accidents, including parties involved, road conditions, and weather. They may interview witnesses in pursuit of this investigation.

Then, they typically turn to build your legal cause of action. Many lawyers do this by reviewing laws, talking to opposing parties, and then drafting and filing cases or bringing a claim with the insurance company.

Much of this takes time, resources, and tremendous experience. The good news is we can provide most if not all of that for you.

We can set up an attorney-client confidential relationship for legal assistance to pursue legal action if the injury occurred due to someone else's negligence or modified comparative fault and you wish to recover compensation for your personal injuries.

Legal proceedings against the insurance carriers or other parties must be initiated before the time limit, but an attorney-client arrangement can help start that process.

Call us today to discuss how the injury occurs and how you can recover (message and data rates apply-calling constitutes acceptance of terms and rates).

What Should I Do Right After a Car Accident?

As you understand now, the clock starts running on your case the moment it happens. You need to quickly and precisely to successfully bring and litigate a lawsuit in court or claim in the settlement.

Following state laws and taking legal action can preserve your cause of action and expedite the time it takes you or a family member to file in the proper Illinois courthouse before the two-year deadline:

  • Go to a doctor: Your doctor will record your injuries suffered in the car accident in Illinois and help you recover.
  • Hire a lawyer: A law firm can begin the investigation process and ensure the lawsuit filed on your behalf is submitted before the time-limits deadlines.
  • Write down what happened: Memorializing critical facts from auto accidents will help in the future and point out areas you need to investigate further and gather more information (i.e., employment history, property damage itemization, etc.)
  • Avoid contact with opposing parties: No communication will slow you down and potentially eliminate your legal rights to pursue recovery in court.

If there is any dispute concerning the property damage in your car accident, the statute of limitations extends the time to file a lawsuit by five years from when the collision occurred.

Contact our attorneys if you or third parties have a few questions about what financial recovery compensation you deserve and can necessarily secure.

We could take legal action for the injured person on a contingency fee basis against the other driver if someone else's negligence caused the collision.

Let a Personal Injury Attorney File a Lawsuit for Your Medical Bills and Lost Income before the State's Strict Time Limit Expires

The personal injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC are skilled in investigating and litigating auto accident cases in the metropolitan Chicago area and beyond. Our personal injury law firm represents individuals exclusively—never companies.

We invite you to contact a car accident lawyer from our law office for a free consultation of your compensation case without any cost or obligation.

Our Chicago law firm accepts every personal injury case or lawsuit on a contingency fee basis. We only charge a legal fee if our lawyers successfully resolve your claim for monetary compensation. Call us today at (888) 424-5757.

We accept clients nationwide and throughout Illinois, including Cook County, DuPage County, Lake County, Winnebago County, Kane County, Will County, Sangamon County, and the Chicago metropolitan area.


Client Reviews
Jonathan Rosenfeld was professionally objective, timely, and knowledgeable. Also, his advice was extremely effective regarding my case. In addition, Jonathan was understanding and patient pertaining to any of my questions or concerns. I was very happy with the end result and I highly recommend Jonathan Rosenfeld. Michonne Proulx
Extremely impressed with this law firm. They took control of a bad motorcycle crash that left my uncle seriously injured. Without any guarantee of a financial recovery, they went out and hired accident investigators and engineers to help prove how the accident happened. I am grateful that they worked on a contingency fee basis as there was no way we could have paid for these services on our own. Ethan Armstrong
This lawyer really helped me get compensation for my motorcycle accident case. I know there is no way that I could have gotten anywhere near the amount that Mr. Rosenfeld was able to get to settle my case. Thank you. Daniel Kaim
Jonathan helped my family heal and get compensation after our child was suffered a life threatening injury at daycare. He was sympathetic and in constant contact with us letting us know all he knew every step of the way. We were so blessed to find Jonathan! Giulia
Jonathan did a great job helping my family navigate through a lengthy lawsuit involving my grandmother's death in a nursing home. Through every step of the case, Jonathan kept my family informed of the progression of the case. Although our case eventually settled at a mediation, I really was impressed at how well prepared Jonathan was to take the case to trial. Lisa