"Statutes of limitations" are laws that set time limits on how long you have to file a "civil" lawsuit, like a personal injury lawsuit, or how long the state has to prosecute someone for committing a crime. These time limits usually depend on the legal claim or crime involved in the case, and they're different from state to state. For example, in some states you may have three years to file a personal injury lawsuit after you were hurt in car accident, but in other states you may have two years. As a general rule:

  • The time period begins to run on the date your claim arises or "accrues," like the day of the car accident, or when a crime is committed, and
  • Once the statute of limitations has expired or "run," you can't file a lawsuit (or be prosecuted for a crime)

Below are the statutes of limitations in Illinois for various civil claims and crimes. The list doesn't cover everything. Also, the laws may change at anytime, so be sure to check the current laws and read them carefully, or talk to an attorney if you have any questions.

Civil

Note: Most of the civil statutes of limitations are in 735 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/Art. XIII of the Illinois Compiled Statutes or "code." You need to scroll through the page provided to see the code sections noted below. Also, you can scroll through the laws to find the statute of limitations for civil claims or "causes of action" not listed below.

Description

Statute

Assault and Battery, 2 years

735 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/13-202

Contract (in writing), 10 years

735 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/13-206

Contract (oral or not in writing), 5 years

735 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/13-205

False Imprisonment, 2 years

735 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/13-202

Fraud, 5 years

735 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/13-205

Enforcing Court Judgments, 20 years

735 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/13-218

Legal Malpractice, 2 or 6 years (Depending on when the victim "discovered" the malpractice)

735 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/13-214.3

Libel, 1 year

735 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/13-201

Medical Malpractice, 2 years

735 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/13-212

Personal Injury, 2 years

735 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/13-202

Product Liability, 2 years

735 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/13-213(d)

Property Damage, 5 years

735 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/13-205

Slander, 1 year

735 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/13-201

Trespass, 5 years

735 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/13-205

Wrongful Death, 2 years

740 Ill. Comp. Stat. 180/2

Criminal

Note: Most of the Illinois criminal statutes of limitations are in 720 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/3-5. You need to scroll through the page provided to see this code section. Also, you can scroll through the criminal laws (found in Title 3 of the Criminal Code) to find crimes not listed below, and then use 720 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/3-5 to find the statutes of limitations for those crimes.

Description

Statute

Arson, No time limit

720 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/3-5(a)

Assault, 3 years or 18 months (Depending on the facts of the case)

720 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/3-5(b)

Burglary, 3 years

720 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/3-5(b)

Disorderly Conduct, 3 years or 18 months (Depending on the facts of the case)

720 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/3-5(b)

Kidnapping, 3 years

720 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/3-5(b)

Manslaughter, involuntary, No time limit

720 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/3-5(a)

Murder, No time limit

720 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/3-5(a)

Rape, No time limit or 3 years (Depending on the facts of the case)

720 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/3-5(a) or (b)

Receiving Stolen Property, 3 years or 18 months (Depending on the facts of the case)

720 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/3-5(b)

Robbery, 3 years

720 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/3-5(b)

Theft, 3 years or 18 months (Depending on the facts of the case)

720 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/3-5(b)

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