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Losing the right to compensation due to statutes of limitations

A Cook County resident who is injured in a head-on collision caused by a distracted driver does not want to be told by an attorney that he or she has lost the right to sue for damages. Unfortunately, too many people wait before seeking legal advice following an auto accident because they are unaware of the Illinois statute of limitations.

Statutes of limitations are intended to prevent people who have been suffered a serious injury in a car accident from putting other parties at a disadvantage by waiting too long to file a claim. Witnesses die or move away, memories fade and evidence gets lost with the passage of time.

The Illinois statute of limitations for personal injury actions gives an injured plaintiff just two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit for damages. Compensation recoverable may include pain and suffering, lost wages, medical expenses and other damages caused by the conduct of a negligent driver. All of it is lost to the plaintiff who waits more than two years before suing the responsible party.

The law allows for exceptions to the two-year statute of limitations in cases involving minors who are under 18 years of age and those individuals who are mentally incompetent at the time of the accident. The state grants those individuals additional time to sue by tolling, or placing a temporary hold on, the running of the statute of limitations.

The consequences of filing a lawsuit too late can be devastating for a person injured by negligent actions of another individual. Someone injured by the negligence of another person should consult with a personal injury attorney as soon after the accident as possible in order to avoid problems with the statute of limitations.

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