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Illinois Statute of Limitations Based on the Type of Personal Injury Case

Personal injury cases in every state have a limited time for filing known as the statute of limitation, Illinois included. In Illinois, the state’s law gives victims a deadline for filing a personal injury lawsuit for damages, depending on the case. Not filing within the stipulated time means losing the right to file a claim and demand compensation from the at-fault party.

Therefore, it is crucial that every victim of personal injury recognize the statute of limitations that applies to their specific case. In this article, we will consider the statute of limitations in Illinois for personal injury cases and why it exists.

Different Personal Injury Cases With Different Statutes of Limitations

Generally, personal injury claimants have two years to file a personal injury case in Illinois after which they cannot. Under the state’s statute, the clock starts running from the date the individual suffered the injury. In other words, the day you mark the second anniversary of your injury is the deadline for filing a lawsuit.

However, this rule does not apply to every personal injury case; some specific statutes apply to specific cases. The personal injury cases that the two-year deadline in Illinois apply to include:

  • Car accidents
  • Pedestrian accidents
  • Construction accidents
  • Wrongful death
  • Truck accidents
  • Product liability matters
  • Nursing home neglect and abuse
  • Workplace accidents
  • Motorcycle accidents
  • Bicycle accidents

However, cases involving medical malpractice, workers’ compensation claims, and government tort claims have different statutes. Let us consider these personal injury cases and their statute of limitations one after the other:

Medical Malpractice

Medical malpractice lawsuits come with a two-year statute of limitation, but how the two years are calculated is different. The law gives patients additional time to pursue compensation because injuries related to medical malpractice are not immediately apparent. In this case, the clock starts running from the moment the individual:

  • Knew they were injured,
  • Should have known they were injured, or
  • Received written notice of their injury.

Workers’ Compensation claims

Although not a lawsuit, workers’ compensation claims offer injured workers the chance to be compensated for work-related injuries and illnesses. Under the state’s Workers’ Compensation Act, the worker has to file a claim:

  • Three years from the day they were injured, or
  • Two years from the date they received their last benefits.

Government Tort Claims

Typically, governmental organizations in Illinois follow sovereign immunity that protects them from liability, but only in certain personal injury lawsuits. If, for instance, government negligence contributed to your accident or injury, you can file a claim for damages against them. “It is believed that the law made provision for this to ensure government entities are not left unchecked from tortious actions,” says Attorney Andrew Kryder of The Kryder Law Group, LLC Accident and Injury Lawyers.

However, the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury lawsuit against the government in Illinois is much stricter. The Local Governmental Employees Tort Immunity Act and Court of Claims Act provide different statutes of limitations as follows:

  • The Local Governmental Employees Tort Immunity Act: One year to file a claim based on willful and wanton misconduct or two years to file a claim based on medical negligence.
  • The Court of ClaimsAct: You have one year from the date of your accident to file a lawsuit with the Court of Claims. Or you have one year from the date you got injured to file a notice with the Court of Claims and Attorney General. Or two years to file a lawsuit if you have already tendered a notice of your claim.


Illinois gives personal injury cases an expiration date to discourage individuals from delaying the pursuit of justice. Meanwhile, note that this Illinois statute of limitation is only for filing; the actual case can be extended.

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