Even the best medical providers can make mistakes that hurt you. Personal injury claims arise when one person or company harms someone through negligence. When the injury is caused by a healthcare provider’s negligence, you may have a medical malpractice claim. However, as with other lawsuits and legal matters, state law governs things like when and how you can file. For example, Illinois statute of limitations laws set some important deadlines you need to consider immediately if medical errors have injured you.
What is a statute of limitations law?
Generally, this type of law tells potential plaintiffs how long they have to file a lawsuit. Courts can bar claims made after the statute of limitations has passed. The statute of limitations usually begins on:
- The date the injury actually happened,
- When the injured person discovered the injury, or
- When the injury could have been uncovered with reasonable efforts had been taken.
Statute of limitations deadlines begin to ‘run’ on one of the dates mentioned above. Sometimes people can ‘toll’ the statute, which is kind of like stopping the clock, hitting the pause button, or getting an extension. When someone says the statute deadline has ‘run’ or it’s ‘barred that means that time ran out.
So, how long do I have to actually sue my doctor?
Every state has its own laws. This type of law can vary greatly from state to state. In this article, we will look only at Illinois statute of limitations laws that might affect your ability to sue your doctor or other medical professional:
In most situations, you should file your medical malpractice claim no more than:
Two (2) years from the date you knew or should have known about the medical mistake. For example, you could have surgery tomorrow, but not know immediately that your surgeon made a mistake. As soon as you should have known about the mistake, the statute of limitations starts to run.
Four (4) years from the date of the actual medical error.
Eight (8) years from the date a person under the age of 18 was injured but not after the injured person’s twenty-second birthday.
Can you give me some examples of how a statute of limitations might work?
Let’s say that Mary has knee replacement surgery. She notices immediately that the new joints seem unstable, causing considerable pain. Mary’s doctor apparently made several obvious mistakes during the surgery. Since she knew or should have known about the surgeon’s error immediately, she probably has only two years to file her medical malpractice lawsuit.
Contrast this with Joe’s experience. His lung surgery seemed to go just fine. However, almost three years after the surgery, he learns that his cancer has returned. His surgeon failed to remove all the cancerous tumor and failed to give Joe the chemo he needed. Although he is beyond the two year statute of limitations, Joe’s statute of limitations begins on the date he learns of his doctor’s mistakes. Since he may have only four years from the date of the surgery to sue his doctor, he should see an experienced medical malpractice attorney immediately.
Finally, Amy suffered from severe depression as a teenager. When she was 16, her therapist ignored her suicidal thoughts and switched her to medication that could actually increase her chances of committing suicide. Although her parents stopped her attempted suicide in time, the family was distraught. Amy also suffered physical trauma that took time and money to repair. Amy and her parents may file a medical malpractice lawsuit any time in the six years between the date of her injury and her twenty-second birthday.
Don’t Miss the Illinois Statute of Limitations Law if You Need to Sue Your Doctor.
Please remember that every case is different. If you feel you have missed out on suing your doctor, nurse, or dentist, talk to an attorney before giving up.
If you are interested in the matters discussed in this blog, be sure to call us for a free consultation or leave a comment.
At the Dailey Law Firm, P.C., our team of skilled lawyers and professionals provide sound and current legal representation that you need. Call us at 844-342-5353 to set up a free consultation or use the Contact Form on our website. There’s no fee for personal injury cases unless we win.
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