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Ask a Lawyer: What Does the Term “Injury Discovery” Mean?

Published on Nov 27, 2019 at 9:41 am in Personal Injury.

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Injuries can occur from all kinds of situations. A personal injury case stems from a serious injury caused by another person. Whether you’ve been in a serious car accident, experienced medical malpractice, or used a product that later turned out to be harmful, you could get injured from the negligence of another person. But you don’t always know you’re injured immediately after an accident. It can sometimes take weeks, months, or even years to realize you’ve been injured or developed a disease from an incident or product.

When you’ve been injured or developed a disease, there isn’t always a particular incident you can pinpoint as the cause. Other times, you know exactly what caused your injury because you felt it immediately. That’s where injury discovery comes in. Injury discovery means that the statute of limitations to file a case begins when you become aware of your injuries that were caused by another person or company.

Here are some potential scenarios about the different timelines of discovering injuries:

  • You were in a car accident and discovered you were injured immediately following the accident. Your injury could be something like a broken bone and hurt right away.
  • Maybe you were in a minor car collision, but left the scene feeling like you were fine. Days later, you start experiencing symptoms of whiplash. When you go checked out by a doctor, they document that you have whiplash from the accident from days prior.
  • If you went in for a surgery and your doctor messed up, you could feel pain that wasn’t planned. It might take until the expected pain subsides to realize that something isn’t right. If you’re feeling more pain than normal after the surgery, your doctor might have committed medical malpractice by negligence.
  • You could have used a product every day for years and never had a problem. Years later you could be diagnosed with a disease that was determined to be the result of the product use. Recently, people who used Roundup Weed Killer frequently have found that it caused them to develop different cancers over the years.

In any case, the determined date of when you acquired your injury helps with documentation but does not affect statute of limitations. Instead, the statute of limitations starts counting down when your injury is realized or diagnosed.

No situation is the same, so your case could be different from any of these scenarios. A Chicago personal injury lawyer can help you figure out your next steps after you’ve discovered an injury caused by someone else.

Statute of Limitations in Illinois

It’s important that you have documentation of when you realized that you were injured because it determines when the statute of limitations starts for your case. Say you were injured in a car accident but didn’t realize your injury until a year later. You still have the full two years to file a claim for your injury since the Illinois personal injury statute of limitations doesn’t start until you realize you’re injured.

But if the injury is from a healthcare professional in a medical situation, the medical malpractice statute of limitations in Illinois is up to 2 years for adults and 8 years for minors.

Injury discovery is not to be confused with a personal injury case’s process of discovery. The discovery process is completely separate, and though presenting your injury discovery might be part of the discovery process, they are not the same. The discovery process is a pre-trial hearing of evidence and other pieces of your case.

If you’ve suffered an injury from the negligence of another person, you could have a long road ahead of you. Recovery from physical pain and emotional trauma requires time and dedication. That might mean time off work, lost wages, and financial struggles. You shouldn’t have to deal with hardships caused by someone else and deserve compensation. Contact Thomas Law Offices in Chicago and we can fight for you so that you can focus on healing.