If you have a legal dispute with someone in which the total amount of damages sought is less than $10,000, you can have the matter settled in what’s known as small claims court. If you were struck by someone backing out of the grocery store and want them to cover your medical bills, or if someone failed to uphold their end of a contract, you can seek compensation in small claims court. However, like most court proceedings, there are deadlines that must be met in order to file your claim. Below, we look at the time limits and statute of limitations in small claims cases in Illinois.
Small Claims Time Limits In Illinois
Small claims court is a form of civil court where you can sue another party for $10,000 or less in damages. These cases are often resolved much sooner than criminal law or family law cases, and a person is less likely to have a lawyer in a small claims cases compared to those other types of law. With that said, having a lawyer by your side substantially increases your odds of winning your small claims cases.
We understand that it has to make financial sense in order for you to retain a lawyer in a small claims case, but if you’re seeking a four-figure payout, it’s likely in your best interest to at least consult with a lawyer at the outset of your case to talk about all your options. Even if you don’t move forward with that lawyer by your side, that first free consultation could make all the difference in your case.
So how long do you have to bring small claims charges against another person or company? Here’s a look at the time limits for small claims cases in Illinois:
- For cases involving injuries you received from another party, you have two years from the date of the incident to file the claim.
- For cases involving personal damage to property, you have five years from the date of the incident to file the claim.
- For cases involving a breach of contract in which the agreement was not in writing, you have five years from the date of the broken contact to file the claim.
- For cases involving a breach of contract in which the contract was in writing, you have 10 years from the date of the broken contract to file the claim.
Now, it’s important to realize that just because you have multiple years to bring forth a claim, it’s not always a good idea to wait that long. As soon as there is clear evidence that the other party is not going to uphold their end of the deal, set up a consultation with a small claims lawyer. This action will either help the other party realize that you are serious about the situation and they’ll pay what they owe, or the small claims process can begin to move forward. Either way, you’re getting a positive result.
At Appelman Law, we’ve helped many individuals pursue a small claims case on their own and we’ve won countless small claims cases for our clients. We know how to present evidence so that it puts you in a positive light with the court, and we’re confident we can secure a favorable result. For more information about how we can help with your small claims case, or if you are interested in setting up that free strategy session, reach out to Brett Appelman and the team today at (630) 717-7801.