In general, personal injury law refers to cases in which someone sustained an injury to their body. The term may be applied also to cases in which someone died. There are many types of personal injury cases. For example, personal injury cases include cases in which a patient is injured by the negligence of a doctor or nurse (medical malpractice), cases in which someone is injured by a defective product (product liability), cases in which someone is injured due to a defect on someone’s real estate, cases in which a railroad worker is injured while on-the-job and cases in which someone is injured by an intoxicated individual who purchased alcohol at an establishment that sold alcohol. Other examples of personal injury cases are construction-site accidents and motor vehicle collisions.
In Illinois, there are time limitations on when a case for personal injuries may be filed in court. These are called statutes of limitations. There are different statutes of limitations for different types of personal injury cases. Should a personal injury case not be filed in court within the applicable statute of limitations, the case may be barred forever.
In general, the statute of limitations in Illinois for personal injury cases is two years. However, there are exceptions to this general rule. For example, a case in which a minor is injured may not have to be filed within the same statute of limitations as a case in which an adult is injured. In addition, people who have legal disabilities may have an extended period of time to file a personal injury case in court.
In general, cases for Wrongful Death must be filed in court within two years after the injured person died.
Sometimes, a violation of someone’s civil rights gives rise to a claim for personal injuries also. For example, if someone is arrested without probable cause and battered by the police, that person has a claim for violation of their civil rights because of the wrongful arrest, and that person has a claim for personal injuries to compensate them for the medical expenses incurred and for the pain and suffering they experienced. Often, but not always, cases for violation of someone’s civil rights are filed in federal court.
In Illinois, workers compensation claims are governed by a particular statute. Workers compensation claims are not filed in the Circuit Court or in federal court. Instead, they are filed at the Illinois Workers Compensation Commission. In general, a workers compensation claim must be filed within three years of the date on which a worker had an accident at work, or two years from the last date benefits were paid, whichever date is later. Under workers compensation, an employer must pay the necessary medical bills incurred by the injured employee, and the employer must pay temporary compensation to the injured employee while the employee is unable to work. However, an injured employee is not entitled to compensation for pain and suffering under the Illinois Workers Compensation Act. In order to be entitled to workers compensation benefits, it is not necessary for the injured worker to prove that the employer was at-fault for the accident at work.