Illinois statute of limitations on medical malpractice claims

Firm News | September 26, 2014

Medical malpractice under Illinois law is a term used to describe a broad range of personal injuries caused by negligent health care providers. Some examples of medical malpractice are: a doctor’s failure to diagnose a disease, wrongly prescribed medicines, surgical errors and mistakes, performing surgery on the wrong site, etc., and it is important to note that medical malpractice is not limited to hospitals but can also be found in nursing homes and skilled care facilities. Basically, it occurs anytime a health care professional breaches one’s duty to provide patients with a reasonable standard of care.

The Illinois legislature has set a timeframe for which patients injured by medical malpractice can file a lawsuit to recover compensation for their injuries. This is known as a statute of limitations, and bars anyone from bringing such a claim after the expiration period, no matter how egregious the injury.

In Illinois, the statute of limitations on medical malpractice cases is two years from the time that the person filing the claim, the claimant, knows about the injury or reasonably should have known about the injury. There has been much legal wrangling over that period of discovery when the patient first “learned” of the injury, but under no circumstances can a medical malpractice claim be brought more than four years after the incident or omission which allegedly caused the injury to occur.

The only exception to that statute of limitations is if the injured patient was a minor at the time of the medically negligent incident. In those cases where an individual is under 18, one will have up to eight years in which to file the claim just as long as it is filed before one’s 22nd birthday.

If you are an Illinois resident harmed or had your medical condition worsened by a doctor, nurse, dentist or nursing home staff member, you may be eligible to sue for compensation. However, time is of the essence in such claims. You must act quickly to preserve your right to seek restitution for your injuries.

Source: Illinois State Appellate Court-Opinions, “No. 1-08-3278, Uldrych v. VHS of Illinois – State of Illinois” Sep. 26, 2014