Illinois’ statute of limitations for medical negligence cases

Every year many and varied medical malpractice lawsuits are filed in Illinois. Medical malpractice or medical negligence is any act or omission to act when caring for a patient which digresses from the applicable standard of care in medical practice and results in injury to the patient.

Like most civil lawsuits, medical malpractice lawsuits in Illinois are subject to a statute of limitations, which requires a lawsuit to be filed within a certain period of time. Under Illinois law, a medical negligence case can be initiated within two years from the date the claimant discovered, or should have discovered, the death or injury. In no event, however, can the lawsuit be brought more than four years after the negligent act or omission. Additional time may be available if the victim was a minor or other some disability at the time of the negligent act, or if the defendant fraudulently concealed the malpractice.

In order to prove a case of medical negligence, the patient or the patient’s family has to show that the medical practitioner in question owed a duty of care to the patient. Secondly, the patient must also prove medical practitioner departed from the standard of care exercised by practitioners in the specific field. Finally, the patient or his family has to prove that due to the failure to follow the standard of care, an injury has been suffered by the patient.

While numerous medical negligence cases are filed each year, proving liability can be a complex task. A mere mistake or wrong opinion would not make the doctor liable for injury suffered. Professional legal help may become even more important in cases where the lawsuit is barred due to expiration of the statute of limitations.

Source: 735 Ill. Comp. Stat. § 13-212, accessed Dec. 25, 2014