Do I Need to File a Lawsuit for My Amputation Within a Certain Time Period Under Illinois Law?

Yes. Because your amputation case will largely be an action for personal injuries, you need to file the lawsuit within 2 years of when the accident occurred. Illinois law, in 735 ILCS 5/13-202, states this (the pertinent parts are underscored):

Actions for damages for an injury to the person, or for false imprisonment, or malicious prosecution, or for a statutory penalty, or for abduction, or for seduction, or for criminal conversation, except damages resulting from first degree murder or the commission of a Class X felony and the perpetrator thereof is convicted of such crime, shall be commenced within 2 years next after the cause of action accrued….”

In the medical malpractice context, the law specifically gives a 2-year limit as well but also bars any action for adults that commences 4 years after the incident regardless of when the plaintiff discerned the existence of the injury. 735 ILCS 5/13-212 provides this in more detail (the pertinent parts are underscored):

No action for damages for injury or death against any physician, dentist, registered nurse or hospital duly licensed under the laws of this State, whether based upon tort, or breach of contract, or otherwise, arising out of patient care shall be brought more than 2 years after the date on which the claimant knew, or through the use of reasonable diligence should have known, or received notice in writing of the existence of the injury or death for which damages are sought in the action, whichever of such date occurs first, but in no event shall such action be brought more than 4 years after the date on which occurred the act or omission or occurrence alleged in such action to have been the cause of such injury or death.

There are similar rules for amputations that arise from products and involves products liability claims. In these circumstances, you have 2 years to bring the lawsuit after you discern the cause of action but in no event can you bring them more than 10 years after the first user received it or 12 years after its first sale as 735 ILCS 5/13-213(b) reads (the pertinent parts are underscored):

“(b) Subject to the provisions of subsections (c) and (d) no product liability action based on any theory or doctrine shall be commenced except within the applicable limitations period and, in any event, within 12 years from the date of first sale, lease or delivery of possession by a seller or 10 years from the date of first sale, lease or delivery of possession to its initial user , consumer, or other non-seller, whichever period expires earlier, of any product unit that is claimed to have injured or damaged the plaintiff, unless the defendant expressly has warranted or promised the product for a longer period and the action is brought within that period.

Therefore, you generally must file your amputation claim within 2 years but in certain instances you might be given additional time if you did not discover the true source of the injury. This makes sense because certain incidents are so complicated that we cannot realize their consequences until much later such as with medications or harmful substances.

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