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Statute of Limitations – How Long Do I Have to File a Claim in Ohio?

Ohio Statute of Limitations

What is a Statute of Limitations?

Most people have heard the phrase “statute of limitations,” but what does it really mean? In legal terms, statute of limitations sets limits on the length of time available to take legal action. The time limits vary depending on the state and the type of case.

For personal injury victims, the statute of limitations is the amount of time an injured party has to file a lawsuit. In this article, we’ll focus on the Ohio statute of limitations.

Limitations by Case Type

Auto Accident Statute of Limitations

Statute of Limitations Auto Accident Ohio
In Ohio, the statute of limitations for most personal injury claims is two years.

An auto accident victim has two years from the date of the incident to file a personal injury claim. Once that time expires, the injured party will be barred from recovering any damages.

This statute of limitations can be extended if “good cause” is shown. Good cause generally involves bad faith actions taken by the other party or another legitimate reason for why the claiming party could not file the lawsuit in a timely fashion.

Medical Malpractice Statute of Limitations

Statute of Limitations Medical Malpractice Ohio

Medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare professional—through a negligent act or omission—causes an injury to a patient.

The general statute of limitations for medical malpractice cases is one year after the victim’s injury occurred. The time period begins on the latest of one of the following:

  • When the injury/medical malpractice took place
    • For example, if you were injured during an operation, you must file a claim within 12 months of the date of your surgery.
  • When the victim discovers his or her injuries (or reasonably should have discovered them)
    • For example, if you experienced extreme back pain after back surgery, you must file a claim within 12 months of when the pain started.
  • When the victim’s relationship with the medical provider ended

The one-year time period can be extended if—within the one-year limitations period—the victim notifies the medical provider that he or she is considering filing a claim. Once the notice is received, the victim has 180 days to file suit.

Statute of Repose

Ohio sets an outside limit of four years for filing medical malpractice cases. This is known as a statute of repose. Think of this as a sort of limit on the statute of limitations.

In Ohio, the statute of repose for malpractice claims is four years.

For example:

A doctor performed surgery on a patient in February 2017. The patient did not discover that something went wrong until February 2021 (four years later). Even if the victim files a lawsuit within one year of discovery–meeting the statute of limitations–it falls outside the four-year statute of repose, meaning the case cannot proceed.

There are exceptions to the statute of repose:

  • If a foreign object is left in a patient’s body during surgery
  • If the victim discovers the injury more than three years after the time of the malpractice but before the four-year statute of repose is up
    • In this case, you have the full year to file a malpractice claim.
  • The time period for filing suit is paused while the victim is still a child or “of unsound mind.”

Our experienced Ohio personal injury attorneys are ready to review your case. For a free, no-obligation consultation, call 1-800-ELK-OHIO or fill out our online form.

Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations

Statute of Limitations Wrongful Death Ohio

A wrongful death claim is a lawsuit brought when someone dies because of the defendant’s negligent or intentional act. If the victim would have been able to recover damages in a personal injury action had they survived, the estate likely has grounds for a wrongful death claim.

Only a personal representative of the deceased person’s estate may bring a claim in Ohio. The decedent might have named a representative in a will. If not, the courts will assign one during probate.

The personal representative has two years from the date of the individual’s death to bring a wrongful death suit. The claim may seek damages on behalf of the estate and surviving family members.

Product Liability Statute of Limitations

Statute of Limitations Product Liability Death Ohio

Product liability refers to a manufacturer or seller being held legally responsible for placing a defective product into the hands of a consumer.

Product defects can include issues with the design, manufacturing or marketing of a product.

The statute of limitations gives consumers two years after their injury to file a complaint. The statute of repose eliminates all product claims if a suit is not filed within 10 years after the product reaches its first purchaser.

Workers’ Compensation Statute of Limitations

Workers' compensation statute of limitations

Workers’ compensation law is a system of rules in every state designed to pay the expenses of employees who are harmed while performing job-related duties. Employees can recover lost wages, medical expenses, disability payments and costs associated with rehabilitation and retraining.

The statute of limitations for filing a new claim in Ohio is one year from the date of injury.

Occupational disease claims must be filed within two years. Occupational diseases are usually caused by work-related exposure to dust, gas or fumes; toxic substances; infections; radiation; physical vibrations; and/or extreme changes of temperature, noise or pressure.

Is There a Statute of Limitations for Social Security Disability Claims?

The U.S. Social Security Administration’s (SSA) two biggest benefit programs are Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). An individual must have a severe medical impairment that is expected to prevent full-time work for at least one year.

According to the administration’s website, SSDI pays benefits to you and certain members of your family if you are “insured,” meaning you worked long enough and paid Social Security taxes. SSI pays benefits based on financial need.

Unfortunately, deserving individuals are sometimes denied the benefits they need to survive following an unexpected illness or catastrophe.

There is no time limit to file an SSDI claim or to file for SSI benefits. However, please note:

  • SSA will not pay retroactive benefits for more than 12 months before the date the application is filed.
  • You cannot receive SSI benefits for any month before the date of the SSI application.

The skilled attorneys at Elk & Elk can help you in all areas of personal injury. We will walk you through the legal process and explain your rights and options. For a free consultation, contact us online or call 1-800-ELK-OHIO.