Personal injury law is a savior for victims sustaining injuries and damage in mishaps caused by someone else’s negligence. This law has your back, whether you get hurt in a road accident, a slip-and-fall mishap at a shopping mall or your workplace, or due to a defective product. You can even seek justice for a botched-up surgery or diagnosis through a medical malpractice claim.
While personal injury claims apply to all American states, rules, and norms may vary. Moreover, the numbers differ state-wise. For example, Illinois currently ranks at number five for the maximum number of personal injury cases per capita. The rate of these cases is a staggering 140% over the national average. Additionally, more than 23% of the state’s civil caseload comes from these claims.
You have a good reason to dig deep into the personal injury law of Illinois if you live in Chicago, Edwardsville, or any other city in this “negligent-accident-prone” state. Time constraints are critical in this context because delays can weaken your case. You may even end up missing out on your rightful compensation.
Here are the key facts to understand about the timelines for personal injury claims in Illinois.
Statute of Limitations in Illinois
Statutes of limitations determine how much time a victim has to file a lawsuit to claim compensation from the guilty person. The timeline varies from state to state. For Illinois personal injury cases, the statute of limitations is two years. The time period is counted from the date when the injury first took place.
There may be certain case-specific exceptions to the statute of limitations in Illinois. It means you may get additional time to file a claim in such situations. Here are some instances:
- You may get a two-year period from the date of discovery of your injury if you were unaware of it until some time after the mishap.
- The clock starts from the victim’s 18th birthday if they were under 18 at the time of the accident.
- For mentally incompetent victims, the period begins when the doctor declares them fit again after the issue is resolved.
- Someone who leaves the state after the accident can seek an exemption for the period they were away.
A local lawyer with in-depth knowledge of Illinois personal injury law is the right person to guide you about the time constraints and exceptions. If you live in Edwardsville and want more time to file a claim for whatever reason, look for an Edwardsville personal injury lawyer to help you get sufficient time. The city records thousands of traffic accidents every year, making it a hub for personal injury cases in the state.
Missing Out on the Deadline
Missing out on the statute of limitations puts your compensation claim at risk, regardless of its authenticity. If you try to file a personal injury claim after the two-year deadline in Illinois, expect the defendant to file a “motion to dismiss”. Unless your case falls into a valid exception, the court will likely dismiss your case.
In this event, you lose your right to seek damages for your injuries from a court, no matter how obvious the defendant’s liability is. The filing deadline is a critical aspect of taking your injury claim to an Illinois court with a formal lawsuit. Missing out is not a choice, so you must contact a lawyer sooner than later.
The Settlement Factor
Statistics indicate that settlement is the most common route for personal injury victims in the US. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, court cases comprise only 4% to 5% of the claims. Illinois is a part of the statistics, with more cases ending in settlements than court trials. Settlement is an easier option, but you shouldn’t pick it for a lowball amount.
TorHoerman Law notes that victims need not worry about legal fees for a trial because they can hire a no-win-no-fee professional. Lawyers working on the contingency-fee model charge only when the victim wins the case and gets compensation.
Even if you plan to settle the claim out of court with the defendant and their insurer, the filing deadline is still crucial. Having time on your side gives you leverage while bargaining a deal. If the insurance company knows that you are beyond the deadline, they will have an upper hand because you no longer have the court-route option.
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The time constraint factor for Illinois personal injury claims is pretty straightforward. As a victim, you must file a lawsuit within the two-year deadline if the settlement amount doesn’t work for you. Either way, bringing a lawyer into the picture is a wise move. A legal expert covers you on all fronts, from ensuring optimal settlement to keeping you ahead of deadlines if you decide to take the case to a court trial.