If you suffer harm due to negligent medical treatment, Illinois law allows you to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. But before you pursue a legal claim, it is important to have an understanding of the relevant laws.
Illinois’ Code of Civil Procedure contains various procedural rules regarding the statute of limitations and the burden of proof.
Statute of limitations
There is a strict time limit for filing a medical malpractice lawsuit. The general rule is that you must initiate a claim within two years of knowing about, or should have known about, medical negligence causing you harm.
However, there is also a “statute of repose,” which means that if more than four years go by since the malpractice, you do not have the right to file a lawsuit against the health care provider. This essentially means that, if you find out about the malpractice injury that took place more than four years ago, the court will throw out your lawsuit.
The affidavit of merit
In addition to filing a formal complaint, you must attach an extra document known as the affidavit of merit. This document declares that you or your attorney has consulted with a health care professional that meets the following criteria:
- Has knowledge about the medical issues in your case.
- Currently teaches or practices (or has taught or practiced within the last six years) in the area of health care inherent to your case.
- Has competence and experience in the subject matter.
The health care professional must also write a report that states that there is a justifiable reason for the lawsuit.
This is educational information about medical malpractice in Illinois, not legal advice.