How Long After a Car Accident Can I File a Personal Injury Claim?
If you were involved in a car accident in Illinois, you have two years from the date the accident occurred to file a personal injury claim. This is known as the statute of limitations, and it is the legal timeframe you have in order to take legal action.
Generally, the sooner you file a personal injury claim, the better. Yet, there are some exceptions and other legal timeframes you must respect to receive compensation for your losses. Here is what you should know.
Personal Injury Claim Deadline
In most car accidents, you have two years' time to file a personal injury claim. This is the legal deadline you must adhere to if you want to file a claim in court, and not the time you have to file your claim with the insurance company.
Property Damage Claim
Sometimes, car accident victims might have been lucky and only incurred damages relating to their vehicles. In this case, you might want to file only a property damage claim. In this situation, under Illinois law 735 ILCS 5/13-205, you have five years to file a lawsuit. You should seek this claim as soon as possible if you want to seek coverage for your repair bills or manage the cost of replacing your vehicle.
Wrongful Death Claim
If you lost a loved one in a car crash in Illinois, then you have to assert your family’s legal rights and take action. The statute of limitations for wrongful death claims in Illinois is two years after the date of death, and not the accident for wrongful death claims.
If they succumbed to their wounds several days, weeks, or months after the accident, then you have two years to file a claim from the moment you lost them. However, if your loved one died exactly when the car crash occurred, then you have two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit and receive compensation for your losses.
Why You Should File a Claim as Soon as Possible
All accidents revolve around the investigation phase, and the sooner you file a personal injury claim, the higher chances you have to be appropriately compensated for your injuries. With time, even eyewitnesses can become unreliable as memories fade.
You need to act as quickly as possible to build a strong case and act when you and the other parties involved can recall the accident more accurately. If you file a claim later, it can be used against you.
In some situations, you can still file a personal injury claim even after the statute of limitations has expired. The best way to tell is by contacting a personal injury lawyer and presenting your case. They will be able to guide you through the legal proceedings and inform you if the deadline can be extended and how strong your case is overall despite the untimely claim.
You might have a strong motive or reason that can be legally used to justify the delay. Contact a personal injury attorney that offers free consultations to learn more.