When you are in an auto accident in Illinois, you may want to hold the liable party responsible for your injuries and vehicle damage. However, you need to pay attention to the strict time limit set by the statute of limitations to file an insurance claim. The statute of limitations in Illinois can affect what you recover and whether you get compensation.
If you need to take legal action, an experienced personal injury attorney from Nessler & Associates can help you with the process. Your attorney can offer legal advice and negotiate with the insurance company to ensure your settlement covers vehicle repairs and medical bills.
Illinois Auto Insurance Coverage Requirements
Illinois insurance laws require all motor vehicle owners to have the minimum coverages in their auto insurance policy:
- $25,000 for an injury or death to one person in an auto accident
- $50,000 for all injuries or deaths to more than one person
- $20,000 for property damage
When you file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company, their coverages should compensate for medical bills and vehicle repairs due to the accident. If your damages exceed the driver’s policy limits, the driver may be responsible for covering the excess costs from your injuries and property damage.
How Do Auto Insurance Claims Work in Illinois?
For deaths and physical injuries, Illinois is a strict liability state. If the driver is entirely at fault for the accident, they are liable to compensate those who suffered injuries and property damage.
However, the at-fault driver’s insurance company can investigate the accident and determine the amount of damages using Illinois’ modified comparative negligence law. According to this law, the injured party may only receive compensation if they are less than 50% at fault for their injuries and property damage during the accident.
If the at-fault driver was responsible for 70% of the accident and you are found to be 30% at fault, then you can still receive compensation since your fault was less than 50%. The driver’s insurance company only has to pay up to 70% of your damages since you share some fault in the accident.
Whenever the insurance carrier offers you a settlement that does not fully cover your injury and property damage expenses, you can work with a lawyer to negotiate for a fair settlement. If the insurance company refuses to settle for a reasonable amount, then you and your lawyer can take your claim to court.
What is the Statute of Limitations for Car Accidents in Illinois?
Your experienced lawyer can file a personal injury lawsuit against the responsible party and their insurance company on your behalf with the statute of limitations. The filing deadline within Illinois’ strict time limits is as follows:
- The 2-year statute applies to any injuries or deaths starting from the date of the accident.
- If you want to file an accident lawsuit for the repair, replacement, or damage to your vehicle, then you must do so within 5 years following the accident.
Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations
If you’re uncertain if the Illinois statute of limitations applies to your case, your lawyer can review your case to see if one of these exceptions may extend the statute of limitations period:
- Legal disabilities, such as mental illness, can allow you to delay a personal injury claim. You have 2 years to file a lawsuit upon the removal of the disability.
- If an accident victim is under 18, the time limit for a personal injury lawsuit doesn’t apply until the victim turns 18. Upon reaching that age, the victim has 2 years to file a claim.
- An at-fault driver who departs from the state of Illinois after the accident but before the statute of limitation runs out, may not be subject to the two-year statute. The action for damages starts upon the return of the at-fault driver.
In addition to these exceptions, you have different filing requirements when involved in an accident with a government employee. Unlike a regular accident case, you must file a notice of claim against the government office. You have one year from the date of the accident to file this claim. You then have another year to file your personal injury suit, with a total limitation of two years.
Can You File a Lawsuit after the Statute of Limitation Has Passed?
Missing the statute of limitations can result in losing the chance of recovering compensation for your injuries. The at-fault party and their insurance company can move for dismissal of the case, and the court is likely to grant the motion.
The sooner you file your actions for damages with the help of an experienced attorney, the better your chances of receiving compensation.
Contact an Illinois Auto Accident Lawyer at Nessler & Associates
It’s easy to put off filing a personal injury claim after a car accident. Being involved in a collision with another vehicle can be a stressful experience, especially when you suffer injuries and property damage, but Illinois courts strictly enforce the statute of limitations.
Contacting an attorney as soon as possible after your accident helps to protect your rights and avoids having your settlement denied because you delayed filing your claim. However, even if the statute of limitations has passed on your case, it may still be possible to file your claim in certain circumstances.
If you were recently involved in a car wreck and suffered injuries, the auto accident lawyers at Nessler & Associates can help you meet the statute of limitation deadline and maximize your compensation.
Our team of seasoned personal injury attorneys and legal professionals has been helping injured people in Illinois get the financial compensation and justice they deserve for more than 35 years. Contact us today at (800) 727-8010 to schedule a free evaluation of your case and let us help you get the damages you are owed.