Is it too Late to File Suit for a Dog Bite Injury 16 Years Old?

Question:

My daughter was bitten in the face by a dog when she was 5.
The owners of the dog were renting their home at the time and didn’t have insurance. Our attorney at the time said we should wait until our daughter was old enough to file her own lawsuit. She will turn 21 in Sept of 2003. Her bite was very extensive requiring 5 surgeries.

–Michelle, Lewistown, IL

Answer:

A minor has until two years after reaching majority (18) to file a lawsuit in Illinois. Hence, she could wait until she was 20, not 21. The statute of limitations has likely run out on her claim. In addition, I don’t see any advantage in waiting to file a claim. Perhaps your attorney was thinking she would wait until the defendant had money.
She may have lost all her rights. Tragically, she has undergone five surgeries and defendant didn’t have insurance. You have no claim against the lawyer, since the statute of repose for filing a malpractice claim against the lawyer is 6 years from the date of the bad advice.