Important note: The material below is not legal advice and is not to be relied on in the absence of advice by an attorney. Only your attorney can advise you as to the applicable statute of limitations in your case. Please consult with an attorney before making any decision as to the statute of limitations in your case.
What Is the Statute of Limitations in Illinois?
The Illinois personal injury statute of limitations establishes the timeframe within which personal injury claims must be brought to court, and it varies based on the details of each specific case. Plaintiffs seeking just compensation should understand the basics about these statutes and consult with an experienced law firm that can help them get results.
“Actions for damages for an injury to the person, or for false imprisonment, or malicious prosecution, or for a statutory penalty, or for abduction, or for seduction, or for criminal conversation … except damages resulting from first degree murder or the commission of a Class X felony and the perpetrator thereof is convicted of such crime, shall be commenced within 2 years next after the cause of action accrued, but such an action against a defendant arising from a crime committed by the defendant in whose name an escrow account was established under the Criminal Victims’ Escrow Account Act shall be commenced within 2 years after the establishment of such account. If the compelling of a confession or information by imminent bodily harm or threat of imminent bodily harm results in whole or in part in a criminal prosecution of the plaintiff, the 2-year period set out in this section shall be tolled during the time in which the plaintiff is incarcerated, or until criminal prosecution has been finally adjudicated in favor of the above referred plaintiff, whichever is later. However, this provision relating to the compelling of a confession or information shall not apply to units of local government subject to the Local Governmental and Governmental Employees Tort Immunity Act.” (735 ILCS § 5/13-202)
Under the Illinois statute of limitations, negligence is not always easy to prove. With an experienced personal injury firm working for you, your chances for getting the top results and the most compensation for you loss are much greater.
The same statute applies to toxic tort cases as to personal injury cases.
Statutes of Repose
The statute of repose in cases of construction liability is a maximum of ten years after the property improvement. Once a person discovers the issue in question, they have four years to take action from that date. (735 ILCS § 5/13-214)
The statute of repose for product liability is the shorter of ten years from the product’s sale date to the initial user or 12 years from delivery to the first owner. (735 ILCS § 5/13-213)
“Every such action shall be commenced within 2 years after the death of such person but an action against a defendant arising from a crime committed by the defendant in whose name an escrow account was established under the Criminal Victims’ Escrow Account Act shall be commenced within 2 years after the establishment of such account. … For the purposes of this Section 2, next of kin includes an adopting parent and an adopted child, and they shall be treated as a natural parent and a natural child, respectively. However, if a person entitled to recover benefits under this Act is, at the time the cause of action accrued, within the age of 18 years, he or she may cause such action to be brought within 2 years after attainment of the age of 18.” (740 ILCS 180/2)
In Illinois, the deceased’s representative in a wrongful death case also may file a claim under the Illinois Survival Act (conscious pain and suffering). An administrator will have to be appointed to bring both claims; a special administrator may bring only the death claim. Other regulations under the statute of limitations in Illinois for personal injury and wrongful death may apply.
According to the Illinois statute of repose, medical malpractice actions, “whether based upon tort, or breach of contract, or otherwise, arising out of patient care shall be brought more than 2 years after the date on which the claimant knew, or through the use of reasonable diligence should have known, or received notice in writing of the existence of the injury or death for which damages are sought in the action, whichever of such date occurs first, but in no event shall such action be brought more than 4 years after the date on which occurred the act or omission or occurrence alleged in such action to have been the cause of such injury or death.” (735 Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. 5/13-212)
“If the injury is an aggravation of a physical problem which may naturally develop, absent negligent causes, a plaintiff is not expected to immediately know of either its existence or potential wrongful cause. In this latter situation, it would be manifestly unrealistic and unfair to bar a negligently injured party’s cause of action before he has had an opportunity to discover that it exists.” (Clark v. Galen Hospital Illinois Inc., 322 Ill. App. 3d 64 (2001))
Malpractice: Other Professions
Under the Discovery Rule, no action may be commenced after four years from the act or omission causing injury unless it was concealed by the defendant. If the plaintiff is under 18, action must be brought within eight years of the action causing their injury and no later than their 22nd birthday.
Product liability cases are governed by the same statute as personal injury cases.
“The plaintiff may bring an action within 2 years after the date on which the claimant knew, or through the use of reasonable diligence should have known, of the existence of the personal injury, death, or property damage, but in no event shall such action be brought more than 8 years after the date on which such personal injury, death, or property damage occurred. In any such case, if the person entitled to bring the action was, at the time the personal injury, death, or property damage occurred, under the age of 18 years, or under a legal disability, then the period of limitations does not begin to run until the person attains the age of 18 years or the disability is removed.” (735 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/13-213)
Statute of Repose
“(b) Subject to the provisions of subsections (c) and (d) no product liability action based on any theory or doctrine shall be commenced except within the applicable limitations period and, in any event, within 12 years from the date of first sale, lease, or delivery of possession by a seller or 10 years from the date of first sale, lease, or delivery of possession to its initial user, consumer, or other non-seller, whichever period expires earlier, of any product unit that is claimed to have injured or damaged the plaintiff, unless the defendant expressly has warranted or promised the product for a longer period and the action is brought within that period.” (735 ILCS 5/13-213)
Libel and slander cases have a one-year statute of limitations. All other intentional torts have two years. (735 ILCS 5/13-201)
For fraud and tortious misrepresentation, the discovery rule postpones the statute of limitations until the injured party knows or should have known of their injury.
Municipal Liability/Sovereign Immunity
Under the Court of Claims Act, residents may bring suit against state government entities in personal injury cases through the Court of Claims. However, claims against local governments are limited by the Local Governmental and Governmental Employees Tort Immunity Act, which grants immunity in many cases.
The state uses a modified comparative negligence rule. Numerous specific rules apply for different cases that may affect the amount of recovery.
Charitable organizations are not immune to prosecution in Illinois.
In cases involving minors, incompetence, or imprisonment, plaintiffs have two years from the removal of this disability to file a legal claim, except in medical malpractice and other actions where specific statutes must be consulted. (735 ILCS 5/13-211)
Illinois has a comprehensive scheme of statutes controlling damage recoveries based upon a number of variables, such as the type of action, amount of the award, and date of occurrence.
The plaintiff must show a reasonable likelihood of proving facts at trial meeting the willful or wanton standard. No punitive damages are allowed unless actual damages are recovered.
Illinois is not a no-fault state.
Consumer Fraud Complaints
Consumers may file complaints with the Illinois Consumer Fraud Bureau online or by calling one of the state’s fraud hotlines:
- Chicago: 1-800-386-5438
- Springfield: 1-800-243-0618
- Carbondale: 1-800-243-0607
- Spanish-speaking hotline: 1-866-310-8398
Get Help for Your Personal Injury Case
If you need assistance with figuring out the Illinois personal injury statute of limitations that applies to your case, an experienced attorney can help. For a free consultation to learn about your legal rights, the statute of limitations in Illinois for personal injury cases like yours, and the prospects for your case, call Parker Waichman LLP today.