What Is the Statue of Limitations in Illinois?
The statute of limitations is a legal term that refers to the period of time within which a person must initiate legal proceedings against another party. In Illinois, like in many other states, different types of legal claims have different time limits. These time limits vary depending on the nature of the claim and are established by state law. Understanding the statute of limitations is crucial for individuals seeking legal recourse, as failing to file a claim within the specified time frame can result in the claim being barred forever. This article will explore the statute of limitations in Illinois and answer some frequently asked questions.
Civil Statute of Limitations in Illinois:
1. Personal Injury: In Illinois, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims is generally two years. This means that if you have been injured due to someone else’s negligence, you have two years from the date of the injury to file a lawsuit. However, there are some exceptions to this rule. For example, if the injury is caused by medical malpractice, the statute of limitations may be extended to two years from the date the injury was discovered or should have been discovered.
2. Property Damage: If your property has been damaged due to someone’s negligence or intentional actions, you generally have five years from the date of the incident to file a lawsuit in Illinois.
3. Breach of Contract: If you have a dispute over a contract, the statute of limitations in Illinois is generally ten years. However, for oral contracts, the limitation period is five years.
4. Defamation: If you have been defamed in Illinois, you generally have one year from the date of the defamatory statement to file a lawsuit.
Criminal Statute of Limitations in Illinois:
1. Murder: There is no statute of limitations for murder in Illinois. This means that a person can be charged with murder at any time, regardless of how much time has passed since the crime was committed.
2. Other Felonies: For most other felonies, the statute of limitations in Illinois is generally three years. However, there are exceptions for certain crimes, such as sexual offenses against minors, which can have longer or no statute of limitations.
3. Misdemeanors: The statute of limitations for misdemeanors in Illinois is generally one year.
Q: Can the statute of limitations be extended?
A: Yes, there are circumstances in which the statute of limitations can be extended. These exceptions are known as tolling or “pausing” the statute of limitations. For example, if the defendant is out of the state or in hiding, the statute of limitations may be tolled until they can be located.
Q: Can the statute of limitations be shortened?
A: No, the statute of limitations cannot be shortened unless it is explicitly provided for by law.
Q: What happens if I file a lawsuit after the statute of limitations has expired?
A: If you file a lawsuit after the statute of limitations has expired, the defendant can raise the defense of the expired statute of limitations, and the court will likely dismiss your case.
Q: Can the statute of limitations be different for different types of claims within the same case?
A: Yes, it is possible for different claims within the same case to have different statute of limitations. It is important to consult with an attorney to determine the specific time limits that apply to your case.
In conclusion, the statute of limitations in Illinois is a critical factor to consider when pursuing legal action. Knowing the time limits for different types of claims can help individuals protect their rights and ensure that they take appropriate action within the specified period. It is always advisable to consult with an experienced attorney to understand the specific statute of limitations that apply to your situation.