How Long Do You Have to Sue for Medical Malpractice

by | Mar 10, 2022 | Medical Malpractice

In Illinois, you have two years from the date you discovered or should have reasonably discovered an injury caused by a health care provider’s negligence to sue for medical malpractice. This deadline is called a statute of limitations.

If you do not discover your injury right away, the state law extends this deadline to four years from when the medical negligence happened. There are some exceptions to the medical malpractice statute of limitations in Illinois. Read on to learn more about how long you have to sue for medical malpractice.

What is the Statute of Limitations for Medical Malpractice Claims?

Under the Illinois medical malpractice statute of limitations, you have two years from the discovery date to bring a claim against the negligent health care provider. The discovery date refers to the day you realized or should have reasonably realized your medical malpractice injuries.

You must document this discovery date by safely keeping all medical records and communications with the medical practitioner or medical institution. A medical malpractice lawyer can help you obtain these documents and determine a valid discovery date.

On top of the two-year deadline, Illinois also has a statute of repose that runs for four years. The four-year statute of repose begins from the date of the act, error, or event that resulted in your medical malpractice.

Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations for Medical Malpractice Claims

A couple of exceptions apply to the Illinois time limit for medical malpractice claims. You must prove that you qualify for the exception to file a medical malpractice claim after the expiry of the imposed deadline.

A Special Deadline for Minors

Children below 18 who sustain medical malpractice injuries have an eight-year deadline to file a medical malpractice claim. The clock starts ticking from the date of the medical error or event that caused their injuries. The child must bring a claim against the at-fault party before turning 22.

A Special Deadline for Physically Impaired Victims

If a medical malpractice injury physically incapacitates a victim to the extent that the victim cannot file a claim, the statute of limitation will not start right away. The clock will start ticking once the victim is no longer disabled and physically able to move forward with the lawsuit. Once that happens, the injured victim will have two years to prepare and file a claim.

A Special Deadline for Cases Involving Fraud

If fraudulent activities on the defendant’s part prevent the injured patient from asserting his or her rights, the deadline will be five years from the day the injured patient realized what caused his or her injury. Fraud may arise in a medical malpractice case when a medical practitioner or medical institution deliberately withholds information to hide negligence or substandard care.

How Can a Medical Malpractice Attorney Help Me File a Case on Time?

A medical malpractice attorney knows that time is of the essence in medical malpractice claims and will take the necessary steps to file your case on time. The attorney will obtain copies of your medical records and documents. The attorney will compile your employment information and gather the required documents to prove lost wages if your medical malpractice injury has prevented you from working.

The medical malpractice attorney will interview your friends, family members, neighbors, and coworkers to determine how the injury has impacted your life. The attorney will also interview all witnesses and medical practitioners involved in the case to gather more evidence.

The attorney will evaluate all the available evidence to determine the liable parties and their respective insurance companies. The attorney will also review all state-specific laws and statutes to build a compelling medical malpractice claim and file it within the imposed statute of limitations.

Do medical malpractice lawyers go to court? Yes, a medical malpractice lawyer might take a case to court if the lawyer disagrees with the liable party’s insurance company. The lawyer will then argue before a judge or jury on the injured patient’s behalf.

Who May Be Liable for Your Medical Malpractice Injuries?

If treatment caused your injuries or worsened your condition, you may be wondering, “who is responsible for medical malpractice?” Multiple parties, including medical doctors, nurses, anesthesiologists, hospital administrators, medical facilities, and pharmaceutical companies, could be liable for medical malpractice. The most important part of a medical malpractice lawsuit is determining the fault that caused the injury and identifying the most appropriate defendants.

You might also be wondering, “how hard is it to win medical malpractice cases?” These cases are quite hard to win because medical malpractice attorneys must prove the following elements: the existence of a medical duty of care, the existence of a doctor-patient relationship, patient injuries were a direct result of inappropriate medical care, and the patient incurred damages or losses because of the injuries.


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