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Medical Malpractice, How Long Do You Have to File

Thumbnail image for Dollarphotoclub_57318485.jpgThe statute of limitations in Illinois for filing a medical malpractice claim is two years from the date the injury was discovered, or should have been discovered by the individual. Failing to file a claim within this time period can result in the court dismissing the claim. However, there are exceptions and it's important to understand these before moving forward.

When the Clock Starts Running

The clock starts to run in Illinois based on a number of factors. It can start when the malpractice occurs. It can start when the act causes injury. It can start when the individual discovered the injury, or should have discovered that they had suffered an injury. Finally, it can start when the treatment concludes.

Further, the statute of limitations requires individuals to file their claim no later than four years following the injury causing event. Any claims filed outside of these limits can result in the lawsuit being thrown out. Because opposing counsel can argue the effective starting time, it's essential to file the claim as soon as possible to avoid the court determining that the claim is beyond the acceptable time frame.    

The Affidavit of Merit

Illinois statutes require the plaintiff's attorney to file an affidavit of merit with medical malpractice claims. This affirms that the plaintiff's attorney has examined the facts of the claim in conjunction with a qualified healthcare professional. This professional must have knowledge of the medical issues involved, have relevant experience and competency, and practice or taught in the field of medicine related to the plaintiff's case.    

Medical Malpractice and Minors

The statute of limitations is extended beyond two years for minors. These rules are complex and medical malpractice lawyers can help individuals or their parents navigate the rules as they apply to their specific circumstances. If the injury occurred before the child turned 18, they have until they turn 26 to pursue the claim. However, they must file it before their 22nd birthday. If the child was incapacitated by the injury, the claim can be pursued by the child's parent or legal guardian.  

Medical Malpractice Caps in Illinois

There are no statutory limits on medical malpractice claims in Illinois. This means that plaintiff's can pursue just compensation for their injuries. Illinois statutes allow individuals to pursue compensation for lost income, medical expenses, loss of earning capacity, pain and suffering, etc. 

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