What Is the Statute of Limitations on a Birth Injury Claim in Illinois?
The statute of limitations on birth injury claims in Illinois states that lawsuits must be filed within eight years of the child’s injury. If the child is disabled due to a birth injury, the statute of limitations can last until the child turns 22. Birth injuries may not be apparent until the child is older.
The statute of limitations refers to the length of time that a person has to file a legal claim. If the statute of limitations expires, a person loses the right to bring a lawsuit. A court will deem the claim to be “time barred.”
If your child suffered injury at birth due to suspected medical malpractice, an experienced and compassionate Chicago birth injury lawyer at Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C., can help you to meet all relevant deadlines and pursue all compensation that you are entitled to receive. Our law firm works with families in Chicago and throughout Illinois. Contact us today to learn more in a free and confidential consultation.
Why Put a Deadline on Medical Malpractice Claims?
Statutes of limitations exist for all types of personal injury actions. The idea behind setting a time limit on medical malpractice cases is that doctors and hospitals should not live in endless fear of being sued for old mistakes and the injuries they may have caused.
Also, as time passes, witnesses may forget details, and both the plaintiff and defendant may find it to be difficult to find evidence and argue their side of the case.
How Are Birth Injury Cases Different?
When a child suffers a birth injury, the parents may not know right away that their child has been harmed. Symptoms may take a long time to appear. When they do appear, a parent may not realize the full extent of the harm that the child has suffered. It could actually take many years to diagnose a child’s birth injury and assess the full extent of damage.
In particular, parents may not know that their child has suffered neurological injuries affecting motor or cognitive abilities until the child starts to miss developmental milestones. For example, a child may have suffered injuries at birth that cause the child to develop cerebral palsy. However, the disorder may not be diagnosable until the child reaches toddler age.
What Factors Affect the Statutes of Limitations in Birth Injury Lawsuits?
Generally, a patient must file a medical malpractice lawsuit in Illinois within two years from either the date of the injury or the date that the injured person reasonably should have discovered the injury. Regardless of when a patient discovers the injury, the maximum time allowed to file a claim is four years after the occurrence of the negligent act or omission.
However, the Illinois statutes of limitations provide some leeway for those who consider filing a medical malpractice claim related to birth injuries. Three exceptions exist:
- Minors – If the negligent act or omission leading to a medical malpractice lawsuit occurred when the injured victim was not yet 18 years old, the victim will have up to eight years after the date of injury in which to bring a claim. However, the victim must bring the lawsuit before he or she turns age 22.
- Disabilities – For a person who is disabled, the statute of limitations does not start to run until after the disability is eliminated.
- Fraud – If a medical care provider purposely withholds information to conceal an error, the statute of limitation extends to five years from the date that the patient discovers the injury.
Act Now If Your Child Suffers from a Birth Injury
Because of the statute of limitations, parents in Illinois should consult with a lawyer right away if they suspect that their child has suffered injury at birth due to medical malpractice. As a parent, you do not want to miss important deadlines and risk losing the right to pursue just compensation.
Developing any medical malpractice case can be a time-consuming task. A lawyer must obtain and review all medical records connected to the case, including records of prenatal care in a birth injury claim.
In addition to obtaining one or more independent reviews of medical records, a lawyer may also need one or more independent examinations of the injured child. For this reason, the lawyer should start work on the case with ample time before the statute of limitations expires.
Contact Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C., Today
If you believe that your child suffers from a birth injury caused by medical negligence, contact Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C., without delay. Our experienced medical malpractice attorneys can work with you to prepare a case that seeks full and fair compensation for the harm your child suffered.
To learn more, call or reach us online today. We serve clients in Chicago and throughout Illinois. We can provide a free and confidential consultation.