Medical malpractice victims deal with many frustrating problems. Not the least of which is understanding how the statute of limitations affects their case. Just as they discover and adjust to the outcome of their injury, they begin losing time to take action. Dividing their time between dealing with their injury and finding out if they have a claim is an awful choice. That can make it very difficult to start getting their life back to normal. An experienced medical malpractice attorney can help them by focusing on the legal matters so that they can focus on healing.
If the statute of limitations expires before you file a lawsuit, you lose the chance to seek justice. Even if it is clear you were a victim.
As soon as you suspect medical malpractice contributed to the injury you should begin looking into it. There is a time limit, by law, on how long you have to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. This time limit is called the statute of limitations. If the statute of limitations expires before you file a lawsuit, you lose the chance to hold those who hurt you accountable for their negligence. Even if it is clear you were a victim.
The reason we have a statute of limitations is to find a balance of protecting injured parties while allowing medical providers a chance to defend themselves while records and witnesses are still available.
There are a few triggers that start the clock on the statute of limitations running, those are:
- When the malpractice occurred.
- The date an injury was caused by the malpractice.
- When the plaintiff (victim) discovered or should have discovered, he or she was injured.
The statute of limitation and the statute of repose make timing a critical part of your decision to file a medical malpractice lawsuit.
In Illinois, a medical malpractice lawsuit must be filed within two years of the date that you discover or should have discovered your injury or the injury to a loved one. However, there is another deadline running as well. This deadline is known as the statute of repose. The statute of repose requires that any medical malpractice lawsuit must be filed no later than four years from the date on which the medical malpractice occurred.
The statute of limitation and the statute of repose make timing a critical part of your decision to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. Collecting evidence, ordering records, finding experts, and handling probate issues (in cases where the victim has died) all take time. Trying to file a lawsuit with the deadline looming can be detrimental to your case. If you think that medical malpractice contributed to your injury, it is always in your best interest to give your attorney as much time as you can to begin working on your case.
The statute of limitations and the statute of repose may seem overwhelming, but a good attorney will take the time to help you understand it. He or she will also have the experience to understand how it affects your case and be able to help you make a plan to move forward.