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Back to the Basics – The Statute of Limitations in Illinois

Patients put a lot of trust in the abilities of their physicians. They expect their doctors to act with professional expertise and provide the utmost level of treatment. When this expectation is not met, the patient may face serious injuries and even more questions. Though you may know something went wrong and suspect that your physician is at fault, you may not understand your rights or the correct course of action to assert them. Your many concerns may include the statute of limitations. While many people are familiar with the term, most individuals are clueless about how it affects their individual circumstances.

The statute of limitations is the time limit that the law places on a person to pursue a legal claim. The reasons for these laws include:

***Prevents parties from bringing a lawsuit against another party after an unreasonable amount of time elapses.

***Promotes the commencement of a lawsuit while evidence is accessible. The passage of time often erodes the availability of reliable evidence and witnesses.

If you want the courts to hold your physician financially responsible for your injuries, you must give consideration to the statute of limitations within the state of Illinois. Failure to do so can leave you unable to file suit in a court of law.

The first step in considering the statute of limitations is understanding when the clock begins to run. Generally, judges may look at the following actions when determining whether the statute of limitations has elapsed:

***When the action occurred

***When the resulting injury occurred

***When the plaintiff discovered the injury

***When necessary treatment for the injury ended.

The Illinois Statute

In Illinois, the law requires the filing of a medical malpractice lawsuit within two years of discovering that the injury occurred. The court may also declare a time when the victim should have discovered the injury and use that date to calculate the statute of limitations. For example, Illinois lawmakers are considering an extension for mesothelioma lawsuits based on the amount of time it can take for patients to develop symptoms. Generally, every medical malpractice lawsuit must be filed within four years of the injury. This law even applies when the injured party does not become aware of the injury until after four years.

Several conditions may create exceptions to these rules. If the injured party is a minor, the statute of limitations is extended to eight years, but the lawsuit must commence prior to the age of 22-years-old. If the accused somehow prevents the victim from filing a lawsuit or the victim is disabled, the statute of limitations may also extend until the preventing condition of disability is removed. For those with permanent disabilities, the time never begins to run, allowing them to file suit at any time in their lives.

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