You should seek out an attorney as soon as possible after your accident to discuss the statute of limitations and how it relates to your case. Since most personal injury attorneys offer a free case evaluation, there’s no risk in calling today to speak to the legal team at Agruss, a law firm in Chicago. They have also provided useful information to help you understand the statute of limitations, what purpose it serves, and what to do if you’ve been injured.
What is a statute of limitations?
A statute of limitations is a legal limit for how long a person has to bring forth a tort against a defendant. This is a protection in the law so that individuals and entities aren’t being sued years later after evidence has deteriorated; other factors could have contributed to the injuries or memories have faded.
Think about what would happen if someone accused you of causing an injury to them 10 years ago that they have been suffering from and want compensation for now. You would question why it took them so long to reach out, and could understandably question whether or not something else happened in their life that injured them rather than your actions. Some harms have no statute of limitation, such as murder. Still, in personal injury cases, it’s important to file your claim right away so that the defendant can’t argue that your injuries weren’t severe enough or that they weren’t caused by their action or inaction.
What happens if I wait too long to file my claim?
You can file a personal injury claim after the statute of limitations has elapsed, but the defendant will likely have the case dismissed on the basis of the statute expiring. No court will grant you your damages if the statute of limitations expires. You have two years from the date of your accident in Illinois to file your claim.
Should I wait to speak to an attorney?
No. When you are going up against the insurance companies, you need more than just a great attorney. You also need a strong case. The sooner you file your personal injury claim, the better because the other party’s attorney can argue that if your injuries were serious enough, then you would have sought help and compensation for them sooner. They will also argue that your injuries weren’t due to the defendant’s actions but rather to another event that the defendant is being unfairly held liable for.
What if I didn’t know the negligent party was responsible for my injury or my loved one’s death?
Again, traditionally the “clock” on the statute of limitations starts on the day of the accident or when the injury occurred. There is a delayed discovery rule, however, that says that the “clock” on a personal injury case can start when the plaintiff knew or reasonably should have known of the injury and who may have wrongfully caused it. If it’s been over two years since your injury or loved one’s death and you want to know if you should file your claim, then the best thing for you to do is to talk to a personal injury attorney. They can prepare the strongest case for you based on the discovery of the fault, and guide you as you go through filing your claim.