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Illinois Civil Statute of Limitations Laws

In civil law, plaintiffs have time limits in which to file a claim. These time limits are known as "statutes of limitations." These laws are in place to ensure that claims are made while evidence is still fresh. They also help prevent the constant "threat" of a lawsuit hanging over a defendant indefinitely.

Illinois civil statutes of limitations impose a two-year time limit for personal injuries and a five-year time limit for injury to personal property.

Generally speaking, the clock starts running at the time an injury is suffered. But that's not always the case. Technically, it doesn't start until the "accrual of claims." This could be the point when the injury (or its cause) is discovered. The so-called "discovery rule" allows a suit to be filed within a certain time after the injury is discovered or reasonably should have been discovered.

Additionally, the statute of limitations may be "tolled" -- or paused -- for a period of time. This may happen if the plaintiff was a minor (under 18) or mentally incompetent at the time the injury occurred. Also, statutes of limitations may be shortened through a contract.

A breakdown of Illinois civil statutes of limitations is listed in the following table. See FindLaw's "Time Limits to Bring a Case: The Statute of Limitations" to learn more.

Injury to Person

Libel/Slander

Fraud

  • For concealment of a cause of action, the statute of limitations is five years. (Refer to 735 ILCS 5/13-215)
  • For fraud by a decedent, the statute of limitations is two years. (Refer to 735 ILCS 5/13-220)

Injury to Personal Property

Professional Malpractice

  • For medical malpractice claims, the statute of limitations is two to four years. (Refer to §735 ILCS 5/13-212)
  • For legal malpractice claims, the statute of limitations is six years. (Refer to 735 ILCS 5/13-214.3)

Trespass

Collection of Rents

Contracts

  • For written contracts, the statute of limitations is ten years. (Refer to 735 ILCS 5/13-206)
  • For oral contracts, the statute of limitations is five years. (Refer to 735 ILCS 5/13-205)

Collection of Debt on Account

  • For collection of debt on an account, where there is an agreement in writing, the statute of limitations is ten years. (Refer to 735 ILCS 5/13-206)
  • For collection of debt on an account, where is an oral agreement, the statute of limitations is five years. (Refer to 735 ILCS 5/13-205)

Judgments

Note: Laws are subject to change through a variety of means, including by higher court decisions and by newly passed legislation. Consider conducting your own legal research or contacting an attorney near you to verify the laws of your state.

Research Illinois Law

Consider reviewing the following resources for more information about laws in Illinois, including those related to statutes of limitations:

  • At Illinois Law, you'll find links to all laws in the state, including those related to statutes of limitations.
  • At Official State Codes, you'll find links to the official online statutes (laws) in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Civil Statutes of Limitations: Related Resources

Consider reviewing the following resources for more information about laws and legal issues related to statutes of limitations:

Learn About The Time Limits of Your Civil Case: Contact an Illinois Attorney

Time is of the essence when it comes to filing an injury-related civil claim such as a car accident, defective product, or medical malpractice suit. You'll want to be sure you file your personal injury lawsuit within the time frame required by the law. Make sure you're following proper legal procedure by contacting an Illinois litigation attorney today.

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