Start My Answer

Illinois Statute of Limitations on Debt Collection

George Simons | November 10, 2023

George Simons
Co-Founder of SoloSuit
George Simons, JD/MBA

George Simons is the co-founder and CEO of SoloSuit. He has helped Americans protect over $1 billion from predatory debt lawsuits. George graduated from BYU Law school in 2020 with a JD-MBA. In his spare time, George likes to cook, because he likes to eat.

Edited by Hannah Locklear

Hannah Locklear
Editor at SoloSuit
Hannah Locklear, BA

Hannah Locklear is SoloSuit’s Marketing and Impact Manager. With an educational background in Linguistics, Spanish, and International Development from Brigham Young University, Hannah has also worked as a legal support specialist for several years.

Fact-checked by Patrick Austin, J.D.

Patrick Austin
Attorney from George Mason
Patrick Austin, JD

Patrick Austin is a licensed attorney with a background in data privacy and information security law. Patrick received his law degree at George Mason University's Antonin Scalia Law School, where he served as the Editor-in-Chief for the National Security Law Journal.

Summary: The Illinois statute of limitations is ten years for credit card debt, medical debt, auto and student loan debt, mortgage debt, and other debts resulting from personal loans. For debts connected to oral contract, the Illinois statute of limitations is five years. If you're being sued for an old debt, use the expired statute of limitations as a defense in your case.

Have you received a debt collection Summons and Complaint about an old debt in Illinois? If your Answer is yes, it's about time to plan how to respond to the lawsuit, avoiding a default judgment in the process. A lawsuit is often the last resort debt collectors or creditors opt for while recovering delinquent debt.

However, if the debt is more than five years old, chances are that its statute of limitations has already expired, and the collector can't sue you.

Here's everything you need to know about the statute of limitations on debt collection in Illinois and what you need to do if you have been sued for such a debt.

Use SoloSuit to respond to a debt collection lawsuit in 15 minutes.

Illinois statute of limitations on debt collection

Statute of Limitations on Debt in Illinois

Debt Type Deadline
Oral Contract 5 years
Credit Card 10 years
Medical 10 years
Auto Loan 10 years
Student Loan 10 years
Mortgage 10 years
Judgment 20 years
Source: 735 ILCS 5/13-205, 5/13-206, and 5/13-218

The statute of limitation is the time a debt collector or a creditor has to file a lawsuit against a debtor to recover a debt. When this time elapses, the collector can't take legal action against you regarding the forfeited payments.

Like any other state in the US, Illinois has its own statute of limitations for different types of debts. For example, all unwritten and open-ended agreements have a limit of five years. On the other hand, written agreements and promissory notes have a limit of 10 years.

When does the statute of limitations clock begin?

The statute of limitation period starts counting from the time the debt is unpaid, usually 30 days from the date you make the last payment on your debt account. If a debt collector fails to file a collection lawsuit within the defined statutory period, it means you can raise the statute of limitations as an affirmative defense in your case.

However, the debt collector will still contact you to request payment because, technically, you're still responsible for the debt even if its collection limit has expired. Therefore, avoid making payments without a stable financial plan because that will restart the clock even if you spent years without paying the debt.

As soon as you forfeit payment again, the collector can file a lawsuit to enforce the debt. And if they win the case, the court may issue a wage garnishment order allowing the collector to garnish a portion of your paycheck until the debt is cleared.

However, you can decide to pay what you owe under agreeable terms with the collector to avoid damaging your credit report. You may try to negotiate the debt or agree to a repayment plan with the debt collector and ensure that everything is confirmed in writing before you make any payments.

Make the right affirmative defense with SoloSuit and win in court.

How to answer a debt collection lawsuit in Illinois

Each state has specific deadlines for answering the Summons. For instance, in Illinois, the deadline depends on the amount of debt you've been sued for.

If the debt is worth $10,000 or less, you'll be required to appear in court on the date stated in the Summons. The judge will then inform you when you need to file your Answer, usually within ten days from the date of the court appearance.

On the other hand, debts worth more than $50,000 should be answered within 30 days from the day you receive the court Summons.

You may also be required to file your Answer along with an Appearance in Illinois.

What's the difference between an answer and an appearance document?

The Answer is the legal document bearing your response to all the claims on the complaint. On the other hand, the Appearance is your description of how you wish to be heard during the lawsuit.

There are different ways to file your Answer and Appearance in the state; the first method is filling the forms provided by the state's court system. They include forms AR-A 1403.4 and AP-P 503.5, respectively.

The other method is creating your own Answer document and including all the important information about the case. This document must include:

  • Your contact information;
  • The plaintiff's contact information;
  • Information about the court and the case;
  • Your response to all the claims in the complaint;
  • Your affirmative defenses (reasons why the plaintiff has no case against you).

If you don't know where to start, the Solosuit web application can also help with responding to the debt collection lawsuit. The app is specifically designed to help debtors effectively generate a legal document to file in court as their Answer to a debt collection lawsuit.

After preparing your Answer, you'll need to send it to the court where the lawsuit was filed and serve the plaintiff with a copy. Courts in Illinois have two distinctive requirements for filing an Answer that sets them apart from other states.

  • Debtors are required to file their Answers online.
  • Debtors must include in their Answer proof that they delivered a copy of the Answer to the plaintiff.

File your answer to debt collectors fast with SoloSuit.

How Solosuit can help you

Illinois has one of the most complex procedures of filing an Answer for a debt collection lawsuit. You may either have 10 or 30 days to file your Answer to the court, depending on the amount of debt you owe.

Regardless of the nature of your case, this timeframe is never enough.

Additionally, other requirements such as the filing fees in some courts and the "proof of delivery" may not be easy to comprehend if it's your first time doing this. The court may also reject your Answer if it doesn't meet the requirements.

However, with Solosuit, you don't have to worry about anything else but answering the questions generated by the software to help you respond to the lawsuit. Using your responses, Solosuit will then create a legal document to file in court as your Answer to the lawsuit.

What is SoloSuit?

SoloSuit makes it easy to respond to a debt collection lawsuit.

How it works: SoloSuit is a step-by-step web-app that asks you all the necessary questions to complete your answer. Upon completion, you can either print the completed forms and mail in the hard copies to the courts or you can pay SoloSuit to file it for you and to have an attorney review the document.

Respond with SoloSuit

"First time getting sued by a debt collector and I was searching all over YouTube and ran across SoloSuit, so I decided to buy their services with their attorney reviewed documentation which cost extra but it was well worth it! SoloSuit sent the documentation to the parties and to the court which saved me time from having to go to court and in a few weeks the case got dismissed!" – James

Get Started

>>Read the FastCompany article: Debt Lawsuits Are Complicated: This Website Makes Them Simpler To Navigate

>>Read the NPR story on SoloSuit: A Student Solution To Give Utah Debtors A Fighting Chance

How to answer a summons for debt collection in your state

Here's a list of guides for other states.

All 50 states.

Guides on how to beat every debt collector

Being sued by a different debt collector? We're making guides on how to beat each one.

Win against credit card companies

Is your credit card company suing you? Learn how you can beat each one.

Going to Court for Credit Card Debt — Key Tips

How to Negotiate Credit Card Debts

How to Settle a Credit Card Debt Lawsuit — Ultimate Guide

Get answers to these FAQs

Need more info on statutes of limitations? Read our 50-state guide.

Why do debt collectors block their phone numbers?

How long do debt collectors take to respond to debt validation letters?

What are the biggest debt collector companies in the US?

Is Zombie Debt Still a Problem in 2019?

SoloSuit FAQ

If a car is repossessed, do I still owe the debt?

Is Portfolio Recovery Associates Legit?

Is There a Judgment Against Me Without my Knowledge?

Should I File Bankruptcy Before or After a Judgment?

What is a default judgment?— What do I do?

Summoned to Court for Medical Bills — What Do I Do?

What Happens If Someone Sues You and You Have No Money?

What Happens If You Never Answer Debt Collectors?

What Happens When a Debt Is Sold to a Collection Agency

What is a Stipulated Judgment?

What is the Deadline for a Defendant's Answer to Avoid a Default Judgment?

Can a Judgement Creditor Take my Car?

Can I Settle a Debt After Being Served?

Can I Stop Wage Garnishment?

Can You Appeal a Default Judgement?

Do I Need a Debt Collection Defense Attorney?

Do I Need a Payday Loans Lawyer?

Do student loans go away after 7 years? — Student Loan Debt Guide

Am I Responsible for My Spouse's Medical Debt?

Should I Marry Someone With Debt?

Can a Debt Collector Leave a Voicemail?

How Does Debt Assignment Work?

What Happens If a Defendant Does Not Pay a Judgment?

How Does Debt Assignment Work?

Can You Serve Someone with a Collections Lawsuit at Their Work?

What Is a Warrant in Debt?

How Many Times Can a Judgment be Renewed in Oklahoma?

Can an Eviction Be Reversed?

Does Debt Consolidation Have Risks?

What Happens If You Avoid Getting Served Court Papers?

Does Student Debt Die With You?

Can Debt Collectors Call You at Work in Texas?

How Much Do You Have to Be in Debt to File for Chapter 7?

What Is the Statute of Limitations on Debt in Washington?

How Long Does a Judgment Last?

Can Private Disability Payments Be Garnished?

Can Debt Collectors Call From Local Numbers?

Does the Fair Credit Reporting Act Work in Florida?

The Truth: Should You Never Pay a Debt Collection Agency?

Should You Communicate with a Debt Collector in Writing or by Telephone?

Do I Need a Debt Negotiator?

What Happens After a Motion for Default Is Filed?

Can a Process Server Leave a Summons Taped to My Door?

Learn More With These Additional Resources:

Need help managing your finances? Check out these resources.

How to Make a Debt Validation Letter - The Ultimate Guide

How to Make a Motion to Compel Arbitration Without an Attorney

How to Stop Wage Garnishment — Everything You Need to Know

How to File an FDCPA Complaint Against Your Debt Collector (Ultimate Guide)

Defending Yourself in Court Against a Debt Collector

Tips on you can to file an FDCPA lawsuit against a debt collection agency

Advice on how to answer a summons for debt collection.

Effective strategies for how to get back on track after a debt lawsuit

New Hampshire Statute of Limitations on Debt

Sample Cease and Desist Letter Against Debt Collectors

The Ultimate Guide to Responding to a Debt Collection Lawsuit in Utah

West Virginia Statute of Limitations on Debt

What debt collectors cannot do — FDCPA explained

Defending Yourself in Court Against Debt Collector

How to Liquidate Debt

Arkansas Statute of Limitations on Debt

You're Drowning in Debt — Here's How to Swim

Help! I'm Being Sued by My Debt Collector

How to Make a Motion to Vacate Judgment

How to Answer Summons for Debt Collection in Vermont

North Dakota Statute of Limitations on Debt

ClearPoint Debt Management Review

Indiana Statute of Limitations on Debt

Oregon Eviction Laws - What They Say

CuraDebt Debt Settlement Review

How to Write a Re-Aging Debt Letter

How to Appear in Court by Phone

How to Use the Doctrine of Unclean Hands

Debt Consolidation in Eugene, Oregon

Summoned to Court for Medical Bills? What to Do Next

How to Make a Debt Settlement Agreement

Received a 3-Day Eviction Notice? Here's What to Do

How to Answer a Lawsuit for Debt Collection

Tips for Leaving the Country With Unpaid Credit Card Debt

Kansas Statute of Limitations on Debt Collection

How to File in Small Claims Court in Iowa

How to File a Civil Answer in Kings County Supreme Court

Roseland Associates Debt Consolidation Review

How to Stop a Garnishment

Debt Eraser Review

Do Debt Collectors Ever Give Up?

Can They Garnish Your Wages for Credit Card Debt?

How Often Do Credit Card Companies Sue for Non-Payment?

How Long Does a Judgement Last?

​​How Long Before a Creditor Can Garnish Wages?

How to Beat a Bill Collector in Court