Can I sue hospital/doctor after 2yrs of initial malpractice if issue was discovered later?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Can I sue hospital/doctor after 2yrs of initial malpractice if issue was discovered later?

I had a cesarean in ’14’ I remained
hospitalized for additional week
because I had an infection under the
cesarean line. Over the years I have
developed a very large keloid that is
getting surgically removed next month
because it’s continues to grow. Can I
still sue the hospital since they
apparently used unclean utensils to do
the cesarean?

Asked on February 16, 2017 under Malpractice Law, Illinois


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

The statute of limitations (or time within which you must start a lawsuit) in your state for medical malpractice is 2 years from when you did or *should* have discovered the injury (and never more than 4 years from the date of the procedure: there is a hard-limit of 4 years). If you knew you had an infection right after the procedure, it may well be that a court would consider that you should have known of the possibility of malpractice then; therefore, once two years have passed from when you discovered the infection, it would likely be too late to sue.
In addition, it's not enough to say that they "apparently" used unclean utensils: to win a case, you need proof or evidence (1) of the malpractice, or careless medical procedures; and (2) that the malpractice caused the condition. Without such evidence, there would be no point in suing, since hypotheses or suppositions, even if logical, will not win a lawsuit; only evidence or proof does.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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