Illinois patients who suspect that they were the victims of medical malpractice may be unsure where they will find the time to collect their medical records, contact an attorney and initiate a malpractice case. It may be even more difficult if they are still recovering from a botched surgery or are undergoing long-term treatment as a result of a delayed diagnosis. However, because of the statute of limitations on medical malpractice suits, it may be beneficial to start the process as soon as possible.
Illinois enforces a two-year statute of limitations on most medical malpractice cases. People who wish to bring suit against a doctor, hospital or other party must generally take action within two years of first becoming aware of the mistake or when they should have conceivably known. Some medical errors may not become apparent until years later and may only be diagnosed with an X-ray or other exam. The deadline for this type of case is generally two years from the first diagnosis of the injury. All medical malpractice claims must be made within four years, regardless of whether the injured person could have been aware of the mistake that caused their injury.
Children under the age of 18 are not subject to the filing deadline, nor are people with disabilities that affected their ability to file suit. The statute of limitations does not apply when parties attempt to prevent victims from discovering their injury or when they commit any other acts of fraud.
Successful medical malpractice suits may provide victims with the funds they need to pay for further treatment and other expenses. However, it may be difficult for some victims to file within the statute of limitations. Personal injury attorneys may be able to handle medical malpractice claims even when the filing deadline is approaching.
Source: FindLaw, "Illinois Medical Malpractice: Statute of Limitations", November 12, 2014