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Is there a time limit for filing suit in a medical negligence case?

Urbana, IL |

My wife was admitted to the hospital in July of 2007. The hospital withheld serious medical information from us that we did not become aware of until April 2009. My wifes medical condition is serious and having this information two years ago may have helped. Now it may be too late.
Is there a time frame in which one must take action. If so, at what point does that time frame begin.

Attorney Answers 4


  1. Any action for personal injury or death against a physician or hospital must be filed within two years from the date the claimant knew or reasonably should have known of the injury.

    In no event can a suit for medical malpractice be brought more than four years after the date on which the alleged act or omission occurred. Id. This statute of repose is constitutional. Mega v. Holy Cross Hospital, 111 Ill. 2d 416 (1986).

    If you fail to file your claim within the statute of limitations, you may be forever barred from bringing your claim regardless of the merit of your claim. Therefore, even if you do not know if you have a valid claim, or if you will be bringing a lawsuit, you should consult with an experienced personal injury attorney.

    You will need an expert to attest that the medical standard of care was violated, and that expert affidavit needs to be attached to the complaint if you file a civil action.

    You might find my Legal Guide helpful "How to Choose A Lawyer For You"

    http://www.avvo.com/legal-guides/ugc/how-to-choose-a-lawyer-for-you

    You might find my Legal Guide helpful " What Do I Tell My Lawyer"

    http://www.avvo.com/legal-guides/ugc/what-do-i-tell-my-lawyer

    You need a lawyer. Check with a lawyer to discuss more of the details.

    Good luck to you.

    God bless.

    NOTE: This answer is made available by the lawyer for educational purposes only. By using or participating in this site you understand that there is no attorney client privilege between you and the attorney responding. This site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney that practices in the subject practice discipline and with whom you have an atttorney client relationship along with all the privileges that relationship provides. The law changes frequently and varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. The information and materials provided are general in nature, and may not apply to a specific factual or legal circumstance described in the question.


  2. You have two years. A defendant will try to argue that the two years started in July 2007. You will argue that it started in April 2009. Either way, find a personal injury attorney a soon as possible who can look at all the facts and evaluate your case. If you want to file suit, the sooner the better. You can generally consult with a personal injury attorney for free. I recommend finding someone with experience in medical malpractice. There are many attorneys in Chicago that are successful in these cases. I know some of the personally, so let me know if you need a referral.


  3. I am not licensed in IL, but you need to call a local lawyer right away. Many states have one and two year limitation periods that run from the time that you knew or should have known. In addition, there is an ultimate time period that is usually longer that runs from the date of the alleged negligent act. Delay rarely works in your favor so call today.

    Betsey Herd
    Tampa, Florida


  4. If the hospital withheld information from you and your wife and there were no other circumstances that would have made you aware of the medical information, your attorney can argue that the statute of limitations did not begin to run until you discovered the information. This is commonly called the "discovery exception" to the two year statute of limitatons. The applicability of this exception depends on the facts of the particular case. You should call an experienced medical malpractice attorney immediately to learn whether the facts surrounding your wife's potential case would apply. It's possible that the attorney may not be able to give you a conclusive answer without investigating the claim and obtaining a medical opinion from a qualified physician, so the sooner you contact an attorney, the better.

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