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Illinois Medical Malpractice Statute of Limitations: What You Need to Know

The medical malpractice statute of limitations in Illinois is two years from the date of discovery of the injury or negligence. This means that any patient or surviving family member who believes they have been injured due to a healthcare provider’s negligence must file a claim within two years of discovering the claim or being notified about it. In cases where there was enough information available for the patient to discover the error, but they had not yet done so, the two-year period begins when this information becomes known. It is important to note that filing a claim does not guarantee a successful outcome, as medical malpractice cases can be complex and difficult to prove.

It is also important for patients and families to understand that not all injuries resulting from medical care merit legal action. Any claims involving possible medical malpractice should first be evaluated by an experienced medical malpractice attorney in order to determine if a lawsuit is appropriate in your case. In addition to determining if you suffered an injury from negligence on behalf of the healthcare provider, an attorney can review relevant documents and speak with witnesses and experts in order to build evidence in support of your case.

What Is the Statute of Limitations?

The statute of limitations is a set rule in personal injury claims that places a strict time limit on how long an injured party has to file a malpractice claim. This set deadline exists, in part, because as time passes, crucial evidence may be lost or destroyed due to improper maintenance or maliciousness. Without such protections, justice for an injured person could be disadvantaged

In general, the goal of having the statute of limitation in place is to ensure that justice happens fairly and quickly while ensuring the accuracy and relevance of the evidence presented. Such laws prevent those with malicious intent from concealing negligent medical practice as well as any changes to evidence that could occur over time; it restricts lawyers working on a case to ensure only strictly relevant information is used in building an argument for compensation. Additionally, these laws protect healthcare providers against exaggerated accounts or falsified documentation of injuries sustained by careless services they provided.

What Constitutes Medical Malpractice in Illinois?

Medical Malpractice Statute
Medical Malpractice Statute of Limitations

Medical malpractice in Illinois is defined as an act of negligence by any healthcare professional, which can include doctors, nurses, technicians, and other medical personnel. It occurs when a healthcare professional breaches the accepted standards of their field while diagnosing and treating patients. This type of malpractice can be both physical and emotional neglect.

Examples of medical malpractice in Illinois include improper diagnosis or treatment, giving inappropriate medication prescriptions, performing unnecessary procedures, providing unnecessary treatments for pre-existing conditions, failing to inform a patient adequately about a procedure or its risks, ignoring test results that could have changed the course of treatment, not properly monitoring a patient after treatment begins, failing to monitor vital signs and keeping records accurately.

What Is the Medical Malpractice Statute of Limitations?

The statute of limitations for medical malpractice varies by jurisdiction, meaning it can change from state to state or country to country. In general, it refers to the period of time after an injury or illness within which a lawsuit must be filed.

In the United States, the medical malpractice statute of limitations for medical malpractice cases often ranges from one to three years from the date the plaintiff discovers or reasonably should have discovered the injury. However, some states might have shorter or longer statutes of limitations. Certain conditions or exceptions may also apply, such as if the patient is a minor, or if the malpractice was not immediately discoverable due to concealment or fraud.

How Long Do You Have to Sue for Medical Malpractice in Illinois?

The statute of limitations for medical malpractice in Illinois is generally two years from the date the claimant knew, or through the use of reasonable diligence should have known, of the existence of the injury or death for which damages are sought. The law also imposes a statute of repose, which limits the time to file a lawsuit to four years from the date of the alleged negligent act, regardless of when you discovered the injury.

There are exceptions to these rules. For example, if the person injured is a minor or under a legal disability, they have up to eight years to file a claim, but no claim can be filed after the person’s 22nd birthday.

Please note that this is only general information as of my last training data in September 2021, and the actual law may have changed after that date. Therefore, if you believe you have a medical malpractice claim, you should consult with a legal professional as soon as possible to understand the current laws that apply to your specific situation.

What Happens After the Statute of Limitations Has Passed?

Once the medical malpractice statute of limitations for a particular legal claim has passed, it typically becomes much harder, if not impossible, to file a lawsuit pertaining to that claim. In most instances, if a lawsuit is filed after the statute of limitations has expired, the defendant can use the expired statute as a defense to seek dismissal of the case.

If the court agrees that the medical malpractice statute of limitations has indeed expired, it will usually dismiss the case, regardless of the merits of the claim. This is because the statute of limitations is not just a guideline, but a legally binding limit set by the law. There can be exceptions and certain circumstances may pause or “toll” the statute of limitations, such as the plaintiff being a minor at the time the incident occurred or if the defendant was out of the state or country for a significant period of time.

How Long Will It Take to Resolve a Medical Malpractice Case in Illinois?

Medical Malpractice

The timeline for resolving a medical malpractice case in Illinois, as in other jurisdictions, can be highly variable. It depends on numerous factors, including the complexity of the case, the willingness of the parties to settle, court schedules, and many others. Medical malpractice cases can be quite complex and time-consuming, as they often involve detailed medical records, expert testimony, and nuanced legal arguments. Therefore, it is not uncommon for these cases to take several years to fully resolve.

If the case is settled out of court, which many are, the timeline can be shorter. Settlements can occur at any time during the process – even before a lawsuit is formally filed or right up to the point of trial.

On the other hand, if the case goes to trial and potential appeals are considered, the process can take several years. After a lawsuit is filed, it may take many months, or even a year or more, for the discovery process alone, during which both sides investigate the facts of the case, gather evidence, and take depositions.

Contact Phillips Law Offices Today for Qualified Representation

Looking for reliable and experienced legal representation? Contact Phillips Law Offices today. With a team of dedicated professionals well-versed in various fields of law, we ensure your case gets the attention it deserves. Whether you’re dealing with medical malpractice, personal injury, or other legal concerns, trust personal injury lawyers at Phillips Law Offices to fight for your rights and interests. We’re committed to delivering the highest standard of legal service. Don’t wait — reach out to Phillips Law Offices today for qualified representation.


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