How Long Do I Have to File a Malpractice Lawsuit?

Under the law of most states, you have a limited period of time to file a medical malpractice suit. That time limit is called the statute of limitations. The statute of limitations varies state by state and there are fact specific issues that may extend the time limit. Determining the applicable statute of limitations requires the application of both legal and factual analysis. The only way to truly understand the appropriate time limit is to consult with an attorney who concentrates his or her practice in the field of medical malpractice.

In general, the law in both Illinois and Missouri is that a medical malpractice action must be filed within two years of the negligent act. There the similarity ends. For example, the law in Missouri generally extends that start date on the running clock to the last date you received continuous treatment, from the negligent health care provider, related to the negligent care. In Illinois, the clock begins to run when you knew, or should have known, that negligence had occurred. Further, in Missouri the time limit for filing a wrongful death action is three years, not two.