Court Dismisses Case After Failure to Pay Filing Fee Within Statute of Limitations

In a recent case, a woman filed a complaint against CVS for negligence and wantonness. The injury occurred on September 2, 2013 after the woman fell on an unknown substance in a retail store. She filed the claim on August 26, 2015. When she filed the complaint, she filed an “Affidavit of Substantial Hardship,” which indicated that she could not pay the filing fee. A few weeks later, the court granted her hardship petition and waived the fee. However, the court later reversed its earlier order and denied her hardship petition. The woman then paid the filing fee. CVS then moved to dismiss the lawsuit because the two-year statute of limitations had passed before she paid the filing fee or before her hardship petition had been granted.

Wet FloorThe state’s supreme court held that under a state statute, a plaintiff has to pay the filing fee or have a hardship petition approved within the statute of limitations. Even though the woman filed the complaint within the statute of limitations, it was insufficient to commence an action to extend the statute of limitations. The two-year statute of limitations had passed before she paid the fee or her petition was approved. Thus, even though she filed within the time period, her complaint was not timely and was dismissed.

Statutes of Limitations in Illinois

For legal proceedings, individuals have to file claims within a specified period of time, called a “statute of limitations.” The reasoning behind these laws is that there is a reasonable period of time that defendants will be subject to claims, so evidence will still be available, and so a person with a valid claim will pursue it with diligence.

Statutes of limitations vary by jurisdiction and by the claim. In Illinois, for negligence claims, there is generally a two-year statute of limitations for personal injury claims and a five-year statute of limitations for claims involving damage to property.

Once the statute of limitations passes, a claim usually can no longer be filed. Generally, the time period begins when a person suffers an injury. However, sometimes it begins when a person discovers an injury or that the defendant was at fault for the injury. This is often judged by when a reasonable person would have discovered the injury or its cause. Yet there are also a number of exceptions. For example, a person who was a minor or who was incompetent when the time period began can extend the statute of limitations. The statute of limitations and exceptions depend on the specifics of each case.

Do You Want More Information about Filing a Claim?

If you have suffered an injury and want more information about filing a claim, you should speak to an attorney as soon as possible. The time period in which you have to file your claim has likely already begun, and failing to adhere to deadlines can result in a dismissal of your claim. At Moll Law Group, our Chicago lawyers are skilled in many personal injury claims, from premises liability to car accidents and medical malpractice. We may be able to help you recover damages if you have been hurt, but it is important to act fast. Call us at 312-462-1700 or use our online form to set up a free consultation.

See More Posts:

Recent Study Highlights Risks of Emergency Surgeries, Illinois Injury Lawyer Blog, May 18, 2016.

Court Finds Nursing Home Waived Its Right to Arbitration Despite Signed Arbitration Clause, Illinois Injury Lawyer Blog, June 13, 2016.

Woman Injured by Hot Air Balloon While Standing in Line Permitted to Sue Despite Signed Waiver, Illinois Injury Lawyer Blog, May 11, 2016.