Request a Free Consultation

Understanding Illinois Medical Malpractice Law

Request a Free Consultation
Posted on May 8, 2024

While we would all like to believe we can trust medical professionals completely, the truth is that everyone makes mistakes. Doctors and nurses have a duty to their patients to provide the best possible treatment within their means. When they are negligent and not fulfilling this duty, it can worsen conditions or cause new injuries.


If you intend to sue a medical care provider for causing you damage through their negligence, you must understand the ins and outs of Illinois medical malpractice law. You can pursue compensation, though you may not get far without the proper information. Luckily, we can give you a rundown of the basics regarding Springfield medical malpractice laws

Defining Medical Malpractice 

Medical malpractice is the legal term for when a medical care provider or facility breaches its patient responsibility. While not all treatments will work all the time and a doctor cannot be held responsible for trying and failing, there are some situations where the care provided is criminally negligent. Such situations include:


  • Surgical or anesthesia errors
  • Mishandled medication
  • Misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis
  • Diagnostic errors
  • Inadequate follow-up treatment


While these are all potential medical malpractice and personal injury cases, you must still prove that they occurred and caused you serious damage. You will only have a successful medical malpractice case when that can be proven through carefully gathered evidence and testimony. Medical malpractice is not entirely tied to injury as you can also pursue a claim against the wrongful death of a close loved one. 

Defining Treatment When You Are Facing a Medical Malpractice Claim

Defining “treatment” in the legal sense can be especially complicated whether you are diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury, back injury, or other catastrophic injury. Broadly, it refers to any action a medical professional prescribes to potentially diagnose, treat, or otherwise provide care for a patient’s illness or injury. Because of this, defining treatment is important to your medical malpractice claim because it helps define whether you qualify to file a medical malpractice claim. 

Illinois Law May Impact Your Case In Severe Ways 

As you pursue compensation for an Illinois medical malpractice claim, remember that your claim’s outcome can vary depending on these laws. Without taking them into account, you could lose compensation. Be sure you keep the following laws in mind as you navigate a claim. 

What are the Illinois Statute of Limitations Rules?

In Illinois, you have 2 years to file your claim or 4 years from the date of discovery, according to 735 ILCS 5/13-212. The discovery date refers to the day you did or would reasonably have discovered evidence of medical malpractice. For example, you may have had severe abdominal pain for a year after surgery but did not have access to an X-ray showing proof that your doctor left tools in your abdomen until that point. 


Date of discovery rules are important for medical malpractice claims, where the injury may not immediately be obvious. You may have ongoing health issues that may make it difficult to spot these issues, or you may not realize right away that your injury or illness was worsened by the treatment they gave. These dates allow malpractice victims to get the support they need during these difficult times. 

Illinois Recovery Limits on Medical Malpractice Damages

One of your biggest concerns may be ensuring you get the full value of your claim, not damages, with a cap. Fortunately, Illinois’ cap on non-economic damages was repealed in 2010. That means you can pursue the full value of your compensation. 


Another notable part of Illinois’ medical malpractice damage caps is that it does not allow victims to seek punitive damages, according to 735 ILCS 5/2-1115, to protect the doctors facing severe, expensive lawsuits.


 In fact, according to a study published in the National Library of Medicine, the average physician spends nearly 11% of a 40-year career with an unresolved malpractice claim, which can be costly for both doctors and hospitals. However, while there are some limits on your potential compensation, that does not mean you do not have grounds to receive compensation that meets your needs.