Illinois Medical Malpractice Statute of Limitations

If you’ve been injured by a healthcare provider’s negligence or hospital negligence, you may be entitled to a medical malpractice claim. Medical malpractice lawsuits are for cases when an injury occurs due to the lack of care provided by a healthcare professional and/or the medical facility. This claim must be filed within a certain time frame. But what is the medical malpractice statute of limitations Illinois?

Before filing any kind of personal injury claim in Illinois, it’s important to accomplish two things. First, find personal injury lawyers who have experience handling Illinois medical malpractice cases. Second, you should understand Illinois law surrounding medical malpractice claims. For more information or to schedule a free consultation with us, please call an experienced medical malpractice attorney Chicago at 312-321-1111 today. You can also fill out our online intake form.


What Is Statute of Limitations?

As with many personal injury claims, a medical malpractice lawsuit has limitations laws. The statute of limitations filing deadline basically places a time limit on when injured patients can file malpractice claims. But why do we have a filing deadline in the first place? Doesn’t this just hurt the medical malpractice victim in the end?

Not necessarily. These limitations for medical malpractice are highly important in maintaining a fair civil and criminal justice system. If the medical error or malpractice occurred six months ago, it makes sense for the victim to come forward with a reliable memory of the events. However, if a victim comes forward fifteen years after the alleged misconduct, the evidence and testimony will likely be significantly less reliable.

The Illinois statute of limitations allows a malpractice case to remain fair to the victim and the medical personnel involved in the alleged malpractice. However, it’s important to note that certain exceptions exist, which we discuss in more detail later.

What Constitutes Medical Malpractice in Illinois?

Medical malpractice in Illinois occurs when a doctor or other healthcare professional breaches the standard of care when they’re treating a patient. When a person or institution violates the standard of care, this is known as medical negligence.

Unfortunately, it is a relatively common incident in the United States. According to the McGill Office for Science and Society, approximately 700 preventable deaths occur every day as a result of medical negligence. Below, we list the most common medical malpractice cases.

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Let’s say your doctor reaches a diagnosis and proceeds to evaluate treatment options. It is possible for a health care professional to choose the wrong treatment for that diagnosis. It is also possible for them to choose an appropriate treatment, but to administer it improperly. When these medical errors happen, you can file a medical malpractice lawsuit. 

Maybe you go to the doctor for medical issues you’ve been having recently. Your medical care professional evaluates your symptoms and fails to diagnose something very serious, such as cancer. Because of this, you might have a worse outcome than if they had properly diagnosed you. In this instance, your healthcare professional could face an Illinois medical malpractice case. 

Contact a Chicago cancer misdiagnosis attorney for more information.

As with product manufacturers and retailers, any health care professional has a duty to inform their patients of potential risks associated with certain medications or procedures. Illinois medical malpractice laws refer to this as the “duty of informed consent.” Failing to uphold this duty is to open yourself up to a malpractice suit. 

What Are the Basic Requirements for Medical Malpractice Cases?

As with other personal injury claims, there are certain requirements that you must meet to have a legitimate claim under Illinois medical malpractice laws. Importantly, you must meet all three requirements to have a valid case.

Medical malpractice laws require that you, as the plaintiff, must have had a relationship with the medical professionals or medical institution against which you are filing suit. In order to establish a valid doctor-patient relationship, you need only show that you and the doctor agreed on your treatment.

Then, you must establish that your doctor was medically negligent. Simply feeling unsatisfied with the results of your treatment is not a reasonable and meritorious cause for having a lawsuit filed. The plaintiff and the plaintiff’s attorney must prove that the doctor exhibited negligence in either diagnosis or treatment. 

You must then prove that their negligence caused your physical trauma or injury. Specifically, you and your attorney must prove that your injury was more likely than not a result of the doctor’s actions. In most cases, expert testimony will help.

Your injury must have then caused you specific medical malpractice damages in order to qualify for a claim. The specific damages are as follows:

  • Mental or emotional anguish
  • Physical pain and suffering or a loss of physical ability
  • Additional medical bills as shown by medical records
  • A lost ability to work, lost wages, or lost earning capacity

Our Chicago emotional distress lawyers can show you how to calculate pain and suffering and help you calculate lost wages.

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What Are the Special Requirements for Medical Malpractice Cases?

It’s important to remember that every state has its own unique and specific laws regarding personal injury cases. This includes medical malpractice damages and claims. Therefore, it’s important to have an Illinois attorney explain them to you in a free consultation. 

Special Notices

Some states require that affected patients must notify their qualified health care professional of their claim before filing the lawsuit. The notice must include a basic outline of the claim.

Statutes of Limitations

Illinois law states that you must file a lawsuit as a medical malpractice plaintiff within two years of the date which you either discovered the negligence or should have reasonably known of the negligence. Additionally, if you discover your injury later on, then you have no longer than four years in which to file your claim.

For cases in which the medical malpractice plaintiff was a minor at the time of the incident, the deadline is extended to eight years from the date of the injury. However, the suit may not be brought after the plaintiff’s twenty-second birthday. 

Except in very rare circumstances, your case will almost certainly be denied by the court if you miss your filing deadline. This is the main reason why it is so important to abide by filing deadlines as best you can.

Medical Malpractice Review Panels

Many states also require affected patients to submit their malpractice claims to a medical review panel. The experts of the panel will evaluate the case’s evidence and testimony in order to determine whether malpractice actually occurred. Then, the conclusion from the panel will be presented to the court. 

illinois medical malpractice statute of limitations

Expert Testimony Required

As with many personal injury cases, expert testimony is often required or highly recommended. For malpractice cases, you generally need at least one qualified expert and one affidavit at your trial. 

Damage Award Limits

Some states place limits on how much a patient can receive in damages as a victim of malpractice. However, the Illinois Supreme Court declared the damages cap to be unconstitutional in LeBron v. Gottlieb Memorial Hospital (2010). Since then, there has been no cap on any form of damages in a malpractice case in Illinois. 

What is the Medical Malpractice Statute of Limitations for Illinois?

In the state of Illinois, the statute of limitations gives a patient 2 years from the date of discovery to file a medical malpractice claim. However, the “date of discovery” is where this gets a little sticky. This is the date that the patient discovered or should have discovered that his or her injuries were a result of medical malpractice.

The date of discovery should be as well-documented as possible. We recommend retaining all medical bills, records, and correspondence.

An Illinois medical malpractice attorney can help with this process. The injured party will need to establish a clear date of discovery. Moreover, on top of the 2-year statute of limitations, the state of Illinois bars a patient from filing a claim more than four years from the date of the medical treatment that caused the injuries, regardless of when the patient discovered the injury in question. 

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

Medical malpractice statute of limitations Illinois: Under Illinois law, you must file a medical malpractice lawsuit within a certain time frame, otherwise the suit could be barred. The general rule for medical malpractice in Illinois is 2 years from the time of injury.

Even if you believe that the statute of limitations has run out for your case, you should still seek legal advice from professional medical malpractice attorneys in Illinois. At Curcio & Casciato, we’ll be able to review the facts surrounding the case and explain your legal options to you. 

What Happens After the Statute of Limitations Has Passed?

Unfortunately, once the medical malpractice statute of limitations for Illinois has passed, the patient no longer has the right to file a medical malpractice claim or receive any type of compensation. 

Since time is critical, it’s important that anyone who believes he or she may have been a victim of medical malpractice in Illinois should reach out to a practicing attorney immediately. 

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

medical malpractice statute of limitations illinois

There’s really no means of determining the length of a medical malpractice case. Some cases can be settled in a year, while others can take as many as three or four years to be resolved. What’s important is that you recover as much as you deserve, financially. 

Illinois Statute of Limitations Exceptions

As with most laws, a few exceptions to the medical malpractice statute of limitation exist. The injured party must prove that he or she is eligible for one of the following: 

Children under the age of 18, who have been injured by medical malpractice in Illinois have up to 8 years from the date of the treatment that caused the injuries. But, in order to qualify for this exemption, the minor must file before his or her 22nd birthday.

If a medical professional or healthcare facility intentionally withheld information to conceal their negligence or improper care, the statute of limitations is 5 years from the day that the cause of the injury was discovered. 

If the injured patient is so incapacitated that he or she is physically unable to file a medical malpractice claim in Illinois, the statute of limitation doesn’t begin until the patient’s disability is removed and he or is physically able to move forward with the medical malpractice lawsuit. From this point, the injured party will have 2 years to file a claim against the healthcare professional or medical facility. 

Experienced Chicago Medical Malpractice Lawyers

If you or someone you love was a victim of medical malpractice in Illinois, Contact the Medical Malpractice Attorneys in Chicago at Curcio & Casciato. Call 312-321-1111 or contact our Chicago law firm online to schedule a consultation. We prioritize each and every attorney-client relationship we form, even after a free evaluation of your case. Any sensitive or confidential information that you give us will remain confidential. If you have to deal with a stubborn insurance company in your case, we’re happy to speak with them on your behalf.