One of the most devastating things I face as a personal injury lawyer is having to tell someone who has a legitimate case, that I cannot help them because they waited too long to come to me.
The law sets forth something called the statute of limitations, which strictly defines the amount of time someone has to bring a claim. Once that time period has expired, there is nothing I can do. The claim is forever barred, and the individual has no way to be compensated for the pain they have suffered.
If you suspect you or a family member has been made a victim of someone else’s negligence, you have to call me right away. The statute of limitations varies depending on what type of case you are dealing with, and a variety of other factors.
The statute of limitations for medical malpractice cases in Ohio is one year.
This means that a victim of medical malpractice has one year from the day the statute of limitations’ starts running to bring a claim. The question is, when does that clock start running? The answer isn’t as clear as one would except.
Three scenarios can occur, resulting in three different dates that can mark the beginning of the one year period.
- The actual date the medical malpractice occurred (For example, if a doctor made a mistake during surgery, it would be the date of the surgery.)
- The date the negative consequence of the malpractice was discovered (Also known as the “discovery rule,” this refers to the first date that the victim of medical malpractice knew or reasonably should have known that medical malpractice occurred and resulted in some type of injury.)
- The date of termination of the doctor/patient relationship with the doctor who committed the medical malpractice, and who is the subject of the lawsuit (If a doctor makes a mistake and you continue to see that doctor in hopes that he or she can fix the problem, the clock does not start running until you sever your relationship with that doctor.)
Additional facts to consider regarding the medical malpractice statute of limitations in Ohio include:
- When a child is the victim of medical malpractice, the one-year statute of limitations does not begin until the child becomes 18.
- Ohio allows a victim of medical malpractice to postpone the one-year statute of limitations by sending a “180 Day Letter,” informing the potential defendant of the possibility of a lawsuit. As long as the defendant receives the letter before the one-year statute of limitations runs out, the individual has another 180 days to file the lawsuit.
- In Ohio, there is something called the “Rule 41(a) Dismissal” that allows an individual to dismiss a medical malpractice claim once and he or she may refile within a year.
With all of these exceptions and rules, clearly this can get confusing really quickly. Keep this simple thought in mind; if you think there is any chance you or a loved one has been a victim of medical malpractice, you need to call me immediately at 1 (877) 944-4373.
Author: Tim Misny | For 33 years, personal injury lawyer Tim Misny has represented the injured victim in birth injury, medical malpractice, and catastrophic injury/wrongful death cases, serving “Cleveland, Akron/Canton, Columbus & Cincinnati, Ohio.” You can reach Tim by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.