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How Long Do I Have to File a Lawsuit After a Car Accident?

When you’ve been injured in a car accident, your priorities change. With visits to the doctor, dealings with insurance companies, car repairs, and potential lawsuits, staying organized can be difficult. This is on top of expensive medical bills and pain caused by your injuries.

Illinois has a two-year statute of limitations, but there may be other deadlines. Receiving prompt medical treatment after the accident is crucial because it documents your injuries and allows you to connect them to the accident.

While your health should be your first priority, you shouldn’t let your financial health fail because of someone else’s negligence. Avoiding medical debt and having access to the funds to pay for future medical procedures, therapies, and prescriptions are all key. That’s where an experienced car accident lawyer in Chicago can help you stay on track with your recovery.

Langdon & Emison have been helping the victims of Chicago car accidents find their way through stressful and heartbreaking injuries for over 30 years. We want to provide the legal assistance you need to get you the compensation you deserve. Call us at (312) 855-0700 to schedule a free, no-risk consultation.

The Timeline of a Chicago Car Accident Lawsuit

24-48 Hours After the Accident

One of the first things you should do after a car accident is see a doctor. Without establishing your injuries with a medical professional, there is no way to quantify the costs of your injuries and medication.

Your doctor should provide you with a treatment plan, which you should follow carefully. Hold onto all paperwork, receipts, and prescription information so you’ve got solid documentation of your costs.

If your injuries or pain and suffering worsen over time, schedule follow-up visits with your doctor. Explain all changes to properly account for the ongoing difficulties caused by the accident.

After you’ve established care with a doctor, inform your car insurance company of the accident. Even if you’re likely going to be filing on someone else’s policy, your insurer will want to be aware of the incident.

You should also give the other driver’s third-party bodily injury liability (BIL) insurer notice of a possible claim. You may have a narrow window to report the claim, often within the next 30 days. Keep in mind you’re not actually required to file the claim along with proof of damages in this timeframe; you’re merely required to inform them of a possible claim.

Now would also be the best time to contact your legal representation, as a Chicago car accident attorney can help you communicate with your insurance company. Though your insurance company usually has similar objectives when you’re not at fault, they don’t always want the same thing you want.

For instance, if you’re in an accident with an underinsured or uninsured driver, you and your insurance company may have competing interests. Working with a seasoned personal injury attorney could prevent you from revealing any information that could put your recovery at risk.

A Week to a Month After the Accident

There’s no legal obligation for you to speak directly with another driver’s insurance adjusters beyond notifying them of a claim and providing basic details. They will sometimes contact you hoping you will inadvertently reveal damaging information about your accident.

In some cases, the responsible party’s insurance may quickly attempt to get you to settle, especially if they know their policyholder was negligent. You can also expect an early settlement offer if you’ve got severe injuries, as they hope you’ll take any amount of money to start dealing with those expensive medical bills.

Taking one of these early offers can be detrimental in the long term. If you accept, you will be ineligible to pursue a greater amount in the future. This risk is why it is always beneficial to review your damages in full, preferably with the help of a trustworthy Chicago car accident lawyer.

If you’ve been offered a settlement within a month of your accident, it’s not unreasonable to think that your injuries may be worth more than the insurance company is offering. Seeking the advice of an experienced car accident lawyer in Chicago may help you recover the maximum.

Up To Two Years After the Accident

Chicago law allows personal injury lawsuits to be filed as far as two years after the date the injury occurred. For property damages, the maximum is five years.

Although this may seem like a lot of time, it can quickly sneak up on you. Without taking early action, you may wind up missing the deadline. It’s better to be prepared earlier than necessary than underprepared when it’s too late.

The sooner you bring a skilled legal team on board with your Chicago car accident case, the sooner you’ll be able to focus on recovery. Having a proven personal injury attorney on your side from the get-go will help you avoid the common slip-ups that cost car accident victims a lot of money.

If you’ve been in an accident and have waited to begin the legal process, there’s no time like the present to take action and help yourself now and in the future.

Seasoned Legal Representation for Chicago Car Accident Victims

The law firm of Langdon & Emison is dedicated to helping the victims of Chicago car accidents recover the maximum possible. If you’re concerned about the statute of limitations on personal injuries in Chicago, you have just two years from the date of the injury to begin legal proceedings.
Whether you’ve been injured in a car accident very recently or you’re closing in on the two-year point, we want to hear from you. We offer free consultations and are available 24/7. Call us at (312) 855-0700 or contact us online to schedule an appointment, and we can get you on the path to a full recovery today.