When you file a car accident case in Waukegan, Illinois, it is subject to the same statute of limitations that govern other personal injury claims like slip and fall accidents. A statute of limitations is a law that establishes the timeline you have to file a car accident lawsuit from the day of the accident. Therefore, you need to know how much time you have to file a lawsuit when you notice that your injuries are life-threatening or costly.
Statute of limitations in Illinois
Statutes of limitations vary from one state to another. In Waukegan, Illinois, the statute of limitations for car accident lawsuits is two years from the date of the accident. In simple words, you have two years from the day the car crash happened to seek compensation failure, to which you may lose your right to hold the negligent party accountable.
However, some personal injury claims have shorter and longer statute dates, so it is best to consult a Waukegan car accident attorney. If you miss the deadline due to special reasons and file the lawsuit anyway, keep in mind that you have very little leverage in court. Also, unless your particular reason is eligible for a deadline extension, your case will likely be dismissed.
Exceptions to the statute of limitations
There are a few specific times when the statute of limitations may be extended past the two years:
- The claimant was under legal disability or subject to a temporary or permanent mental illness. In such a case, they have two years from when the disability is alleviated to file a car accident lawsuit.
- The claimant was a minor (under the age of 18) at the time of the accident. The timeline starts counting when they turn 18years old.
- If the claimant comes under a legal disability following the car accident.
Ideally, you should engage a car accident attorney to understand the statutes of limitation surrounding your specific case.
What happens when you delay a car accident claim?
You are likely to find yourself in a challenging situation when you delay filing your car accident lawsuit, regardless of the reasons. Firstly, it makes your case complicated because it negatively impacts your credibility. Insurance companies usually send adjusters to investigate a car accident claim and determine its validity, and delaying the claim may have unintended consequences like lost evidence.
Delaying a car accident claim also makes it hard to prove your case in court. When establishing liability, it becomes challenging for the attorney to link your injuries to the accident. For instance, if you suffered a spinal injury and delay seeking treatment and filing a claim, the insurance company may contend that something else caused the injury and not the accident.
Engaging a car accident attorney helps
It is wise to contact a car accident attorney immediately when you encounter a car accident. It is usual to feel overwhelmed by all the legal dealings that come with it, but a lawyer helps you understand state laws that govern your case. Even if you have missed the deadline, they can evaluate your case to determine if it is viable and what to do next.