What Is the Statute of Limitations for Car Accidents?


If you were injured in a car accident, you have limited time to file a lawsuit — known as the statute of limitations. This is because it is difficult to accurately determine evidence long after your car crash. If you didn’t get medical care, it can also be hard to connect your wounds to your car accident.

Because time can reduce the plausibility of your evidence, there is a statute of limitations that prevents you from filing beyond a specific time period. When this period expires, you may not have any options to pursue compensation. You can visit this website for more information on the statute of limitations and how it applies to your case.

How Long Is the Statute of Limitations for Car Accidents?

The statute of limitations for car accidents, depending on the state, is typically between two to six years. It’s important to note that this time frame begins after the accident has occurred. While certain exceptions may apply, it’s best not to hesitate. Before filing a lawsuit against an at-fault driver, you must ensure the deadline has not passed.

What Is the Statute of Limitations In Illinois?

In Illinois, the statute of limitations for car accidents is two years from the date of the accident. If you wait longer than two years after the incident to file a lawsuit, your case will likely be denied.

What Happens If My Statute of Limitations Has Expired?

When you wait too long to file a lawsuit, the statute of limitations may have expired and you will lose your right to compensation. However, depending on the circumstances, certain exceptions may apply and you may be able to pursue legal recourse. 

If this is the case, you should contact an experienced personal injury attorney who can provide more information and advice on your specific case.

Statute of Limitations Exceptions

Exceptions to the statute of limitations in Illinois include:

You Were Traveling In Another State

If you are a resident of Illinois but were traveling out of the state at the time of the accident, you will be subjected to that state’s statutes.

The At-Fault Driver Passed Away

If the at-fault driver has died since the date of the accident, you may still have legal recourse up to two years after the date of death.

The At-Fault Driver Left the State 

If the driver who caused the accident leaves the state, you have two years upon their return to file a lawsuit.

The Car Accident Victim Was Under 18

For minors, the statute of limitation can be extended for two years after they turn 18.

You Were Unaware of Injuries

You may have additional time to file a lawsuit if you were unaware of your injuries immediately after the accident. In this case, you would need to provide evidence that demonstrates you could not have reasonably known about your injury earlier.

Statute of Limitations For Minors

In Illinois, children are subject to a different statute of limitations than adults. If a minor was injured in an accident, they have until the age of 18 or 8 years after the date of the accident to file a lawsuit — whichever comes first. This means that if a 17-year-old was involved in a car accident, they would have until they turn 20 to file a lawsuit.

Minors do not have the same legal capacity as adults, so any lawsuit or claim must be brought forward by a parent or guardian. It is always recommended to seek professional legal advice in cases involving minors, especially when filing a lawsuit against an at-fault driver.

Should I Pursue a Settlement For My Car Accident?

Pursuing a settlement for your car accident is always recommended to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve quickly. Your attorney can provide more information and advice on whether or not it is worth filing a lawsuit and the best way to proceed with your case.

How Do I Know I’m Not At Fault For My Car Accident?

In Illinois, the state follows a comparative negligence system. This means that each party involved in the car accident is assigned a percentage of fault for the incident. This will be taken into consideration when determining who is liable for damages. Your attorney can provide more information on your specific case and can hire experts to determine who was at fault in your car accident.

The statute of limitations for car accidents in Illinois is two years from the date of the accident or when you became aware of any injuries caused by the accident. Certain exceptions may apply. Speak with a knowledgeable personal injury attorney to understand your legal rights and options.