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Statute of Limitations in Illinois Civil Sexual Abuse Cases 

If you or a loved one has been sexually abused in Illinois, you have the right to seek justice through one or more legal actions. This includes filing a civil lawsuit against your abuser and potentially a third party, such as an institution that failed to protect you. An important law to know if you wish to file any type of claim is Illinois’ statute of limitations, or legal deadline to file.

What Is a Statute of Limitations?

A statute of limitations is a time limit for initiating a legal proceeding. It is set by legislation and differs from state to state. With limited exceptions, if a claimant misses the statute of limitations, he or she will be time-barred from taking legal action. This makes it important to speak to an attorney about a potential lawsuit as soon as possible.

Statutes of limitations promote fairness and justice in the legal system by ensuring that claims are filed and resolved in a timely manner. This can help ensure the preservation of evidence, protect defendants from having the threat of a lawsuit hanging over them indefinitely, and support a more efficient court system.

How Much Time Do I Have to File a Sexual Abuse Claim in Illinois?

Under Illinois Compiled Statutes Section 13-202, adult victims of sexual abuse and assault typically have two years from the date of the most recent incident to file a related personal injury claim. However, some exceptions can extend or shorten the filing deadline in special circumstances. This includes the child victim extension.

As of January 1, 2014, Illinois’ statute of limitations on childhood sexual abuse cases under Illinois Compiled Statutes Section 13-202.2 was lifted. Currently, cases that are brought after this date do not have a legal deadline for filing. However, victims should still take prompt action to strengthen their cases and ensure important evidence remains available.

There is a 20-year time limit on childhood sexual abuse civil actions that are filed prior to the passing of the law that eliminated the statute of limitations on January 1, 2014. The 20-year time clock starts counting down when the person reaches the age of 18, when a disability is removed, or when he or she discovers that an injury was caused by an act of child sex abuse.

Is There a Criminal Statute of Limitations on Sexual Abuse Cases in Illinois?

No, there is no statute of limitations on criminal sexual abuse cases against alleged offenders in Illinois. In 2019, Illinois became the eighth state to completely remove its statute of limitations for prosecuting sex crimes. This decision came two years after Illinois abolished its statute of limitations for prosecuting sex crimes against victims under the age of 18.

Prior to the removal of the criminal statute of limitations, prosecutors had a maximum of 10 years to bring charges against a suspect for an alleged sex crime, but only if the offense was reported to law enforcement within three years of it occurring. These time limits significantly limited the ability of victims to seek justice through criminal charges against their perpetrators.

Contact an Attorney Sooner Rather Than Later

If you are seeking legal advice or information about a particular civil sexual abuse case in Illinois, it is crucial to consult with an experienced attorney as soon as possible. There may be no statute of limitations to file, but taking prompt legal action can give you a stronger case.

The lawyers at Taxman, Pollock, Murray & Bekkerman, LLC can review your case to determine if it has merit. If so, we can help you pursue justice within all of Illinois’ time limits and other legal regulations. Call (312) 321-8414 today for a free, confidential case consultation.