Statute of Limitations in Illinois: Personal Injury

Statue of Limitations Illinois

If you are injured in an accident caused by someone else, you have the right to seek compensation.

However, the personal injury statute of limitations in Illinois restricts the time you have to file a claim after an accident.

If you have suffered an injury in an accident that wasn’t your fault, it is important that you speak with a personal injury attorney right away.

Your attorney can help you understand and comply with important deadlines in your case.

What Is the Statute of Limitations in Illinois For a Personal Injury Claim?

The Illinois statute of limitations for personal injury is two years from the date of the accident.

This limitations period applies to claims for things like:

  • Car accidents
  • Truck accidents
  • Pedestrian accidents
  • Motorcycle accidents
  • Slip and fall accidents
  • Dog bites
  • Product liability
  • Medical malpractice

The time limit is shorter if the defendant is a government entity. For cities and counties, you have one year to file suit.

For the State of Illinois, you have two years to file in court, but you must file a formal complaint with the state within one year to preserve your right to sue.

What Happens If I Don’t File My Claim on Time?

If you file a lawsuit after the limitations period has passed, the court will likely dismiss your case.

Even if you have already started negotiating with the insurance company before the limitations period expires, it is important that you file a formal complaint with the court within the limitations period.

If the period expires before you reach a settlement, you will lose your leverage.

The insurance company can simply refuse to settle, and you will have no remedy.

Are There Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations?

There are some exceptions to the personal injury statute of limitations in Illinois that will extend your time to file.

These exceptions pause or “toll” the statute of limitations for a certain period of time.

Discovery Rule

Sometimes you can suffer injury in an accident without knowing it.

In this situation, the statute of limitations may be tolled until the time you discovered or should have discovered your injuries.

This rule is most likely to apply to medical malpractice cases, but it can occasionally affect other types of personal injury cases too.


If the defendant resides in another state, Illinois may not be able to exercise jurisdiction over them.

In that case, Illinois law tolls the statute of limitations during the time the person is outside the state.

Legal Disability

If someone is unable to pursue a claim due to a legal disability, the statute of limitations is tolled until the disability is removed.

Generally, this applies to people who are institutionalized or have a serious mental illness.


In most cases, if a person is under the age of 18 at the time of the accident, they will have two years from the time they turn 18 to file a suit.

How Can VanDerGinst Law Help?

An experienced personal injury attorney at VanDerGinst Law can help you comply with the statute of limitations in the state of Illinois.

If the deadline for your claim has passed, we can determine whether you might benefit from an exception to the statute of limitations.

VanDerGinst Law has been helping personal injury victims for over 30 years.

We know how to successfully handle a personal injury claim and maximize your compensation.

Contact us by phone or online to learn more about what we can do for you.