Most people do not realize you only have one year to file a claim for medical malpractice if you’re the victim of a medical mistake in Ohio. Sadly, I’ve had to turn people away more times than I can count because they waited too long to call me. It breaks my heart every time to meet someone who desperately needs to be made whole again after being injured as the result of a doctor’s mistake, but I can’t help them because the law says too much time has gone by.
This legal time-limit is formally known as the statute of limitations. Medical malpractice claims are some of the most complicated cases, but they have the shortest statute of limitations. Often, people assume they have two years to pursue a claim for medical negligence, just as they would for an ordinary negligence claim. However, once they realize that is not the case it may be too late.
If you or someone you love was injured as the result of a medical mistake, you have to call me immediately, so that we have time to investigate your medical malpractice case before the expiration of the one-year statute of limitations.
It is common for the one-year statute of limitations to begin from the date the medical malpractice occurred, but there are instances when the statute of limitations’ clock for medical malpractice is delayed.
In Ohio, the medical malpractice statute of limitations’ clock can start based on the following dates:
- The date of the incident, assuming the patient was or should have been aware of his or her injury and/or the medical mistake.
- The date the patient discovered that he or she was the victim of medical malpractice. Medical mistakes aren’t always immediately apparent. That is why the law accounts for situations when patients aren’t aware of their injury and/or the medical mistake. As soon as the patient experiences what the law describes as a “cognizable event,” by which he or she should have been made aware of the medical malpractice, the one-year time limit immediately starts running. This is known as the discovery rule.
- The date you terminated your relationship with the doctor who caused you injury through medical malpractice. For example, if you continue seeing the doctor who caused your injury in an attempt to correct the problem, but then realize that the doctor is doing you more harm and you terminate the relationship, that would be the date the clock starts to run. Additionally, if your doctor’s treatment for a prolonged period of time is considered to be medical malpractice, the date you realize that and terminate the relationship would be the date the statute of limitations countdown begins.
Other important points to note about the medical malpractice statute of limitations in Ohio include:
- When a child is the victim of medical malpractice, the one-year statute of limitations begins running when the child turns 18.
- If you determine that you want to file a claim for medical malpractice very close to the expiration of one year, the law allows you to send the defendant something called a “180 Day Letter,” expressing your desire to further investigate your claim prior to filing a lawsuit. As long as the defendant is noticed in writing prior to the expiration of one year, you will get an extension.
- If you are required to file a lawsuit before you are ready simply to avoid being barred by the statute of the limitations, Ohio law lets you dismiss your case one time and refile it within one year.
These rules and exceptions surrounding medical malpractice laws in Ohio can be incredibly confusing. It is important to consult an attorney who is experienced in medical malpractice claims to help you navigate the complicated process. I have the knowledge and resources necessary to get you the compensation you need and deserve after your injury.
Author: Tim Misny | For over 34 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 or call at 1 (877) 944-4373.