What Is the Medical Malpractice Statute of Limitations in Ohio?


When you suffer an injury due to the negligence of another party — whether in a car accident, workplace injury, or medical malpractice case — Ohio has rules that limit how long you have to file a lawsuit. For example, the statute of limitations for a personal injury lawsuit in Ohio is typically two years from the date of the injury. However, the medical malpractice statute of limitations in Ohio is different.

Legal Time Limits

The statute of limitations for medical malpractice cases in Ohio is typically one year. However, the date that the year starts is different than it is with personal injury cases.

In a personal injury case, the date typically starts as soon as you are injured. However, the starting date for the medical malpractice statute of limitations in Ohio can be based on when you cease getting treatment from the doctor who allegedly committed the medical malpractice. This date may be a little more difficult to track, but you can usually pinpoint it based on billing records.

Exceptions and Extensions to the Medical Malpractice Statute of Limitations in Ohio

Does this mean that you always have exactly one year from the last time the doctor treated you to file a medical malpractice claim? No. Like most laws, this one has some exceptions. There is also a way to briefly extend the statute of limitations.

The main exception is when you were unaware that you were the victim of medical malpractice and could not have reasonably discovered it before ending your relationship with the doctor. In that situation, the starting date changes to when you discovered the alleged medical malpractice.

However, this also has an exception. There is a statute of repose that limits nearly all medical malpractice claims to four years maximum, regardless of when the injury is discovered.

That statute has only two exceptions. If you discover the injury after the third year has begun but before the fourth year is complete, you have one year from discovery to file. Additionally, if an object was left inside you during surgery, the statute of repose doesn’t apply.

Finally, there are exceptions for individuals who are not of sound mind. Until they return to sound mind, the statute of limitations is paused. According to Ohio law, anyone under the age of 18 is legally not of sound mind.

If you want to extend the statute of limitations, you can do so briefly. In such instances, the doctor must be notified of your intent to sue within the one-year time limit. Once you notify the doctor, you must then sue within 180 days. This can extend your time limit by up to six months.

Importance of Timely Action

When you have been injured in a medical malpractice case, it is important to act in a timely fashion, taking legal action as quickly as possible. The moment that you suspect you have been a victim of medical malpractice, you should contact a lawyer. They will then work to determine what timetable you are working with and help you stay within it.

How a Medical Malpractice Lawyer Can Help You Prepare a Case in a Timely Manner

The first thing the lawyer will do once you consult with them is gather as much information and evidence as possible. Your attorney wants to know exactly when the injury occurred, when you discovered it, and when you ceased to have a relationship with the doctor who harmed you. That information is critical for ensuring swift action.

If you are running low on time, your lawyer will start the legal process as quickly as possible. But when there are days, weeks, months, or even years to spare, they can make use of that time by carefully gathering evidence to strengthen your case.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Only Sue a Doctor for Medical Malpractice?

No. You can sue a nurse, doctor, hospital, or any other medical personnel who violated accepted procedures, resulting in you suffering an injury. Your medical malpractice lawyer will help determine who should be named in a lawsuit.

What Happens if I Try to Sue After the Medical Malpractice Statute of Limitations in Ohio Runs Out?

Unfortunately, if you allow the statute of limitations to expire, you are out of luck and your claim is barred. Except in the most extreme of circumstances, the defense will file a motion to dismiss, and the judge will dismiss the case with prejudice. This means that you can’t file it again.

Why Is There a Statute of Limitations?

The basic concept behind a statute of limitations is that people should not have to live in fear of being sued for actions they took decades earlier. Evidence begins to evaporate over time. If you were allowed to sue your doctor 30 years from now, they would have to look for witnesses and records from 30 years earlier to defend themselves. That kind of evidence is almost impossible to find.

Contact the Attorneys for Medical Malpractice at The Moore Law Firm Today

The statute of limitations in Ohio for medical malpractice claims is one of the shortest in the country and has some of the fewest exceptions. Furthermore, the statute of repose means that time is extremely limited, even if you are eligible for an exception to the main statute of limitations.

If you want to avoid running out of time after suffering at the hands of a negligent doctor, you need to act swiftly. Contact our experienced medical malpractice attorneys to schedule a free consultation as soon as you are able to.

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If you have been injured or have lost a loved one as a result of another person's negligence, you deserve to be fully compensated for your losses. The simple fact is that you should not be forced to pay the price for another person's careless or reckless actions.