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  • Writer's pictureHon. James M. McGing (ret.)

Statute of Limitations in Medical Malpractice Cases

When it comes to medical malpractice cases, time is of the essence. In Illinois, like in many other states, there is a time limit within which a victim can file a lawsuit against a healthcare professional or facility for medical negligence. This time limit is known as the "Statute of Limitations."


The Statute of Limitations for medical malpractice cases in Illinois is governed by the Illinois Compiled Statutes section 735 ILCS 5/13-212. This law sets forth the time frame within which a victim must file a lawsuit in order to seek compensation for injuries or damages resulting from medical negligence.


According to the statute, a medical malpractice lawsuit must be filed within two years from the date the victim knew, or should have known, about the injury or the existence of the medical negligence. However, in no case can a lawsuit be filed more than four years from the date of the act or omission that caused the injury.


This means that if you believe you have been a victim of medical malpractice in Illinois, it is crucial to consult with an attorney as soon as possible. Failing to file a lawsuit within the specified time frame can result in your case being dismissed, and you may lose the opportunity to seek compensation for your injuries.


It is important to note that there are some exceptions to the Statute of Limitations in Illinois. For example, if the victim is a minor under the age of 18, the two-year time limit does not begin until their 18th birthday. Additionally, if the healthcare professional or facility intentionally concealed the act of medical negligence, the time limit may be extended.


Another exception is the "discovery rule." This rule allows victims to file a lawsuit within two years from the date they discovered, or reasonably should have discovered, the injury or the existence of medical negligence. This is particularly relevant in cases where the injury or negligence is not immediately apparent, such as cases involving misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis.


It is worth mentioning that Illinois also imposes a "statute of repose" in medical malpractice cases. This means that regardless of when the victim discovered the injury or the negligence, no lawsuit can be filed more than four years from the date of the act or omission that caused the injury. However, there are exceptions to this rule as well, such as cases involving foreign objects left in a patient's body during surgery.


Navigating the Statute of Limitations in medical malpractice cases can be complex, and it is advisable to seek legal counsel from an experienced attorney who specializes in medical malpractice law. They can guide you through the process, ensure that your case is filed within the appropriate time frame, and help you pursue the compensation you deserve for your injuries.


In conclusion, the Statute of Limitations for medical malpractice cases in Illinois is two years from the date the victim knew or should have known about the injury or the existence of medical negligence, with a maximum limit of four years from the date of the act or omission. It is crucial to consult with an attorney promptly to protect your rights and seek justice for any harm caused by medical negligence.



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