If you have suffered an injury in the state of Ohio due to the negligence of another party, you have a legal right under the law to sue that person or entity for your damages, including for pain, suffering, and medical expenses. However, the length of time you have to file such a lawsuit is also limited under the law. Your ability to file a claim is regulated by something in the law called a “statute of limitations.” Although this element of the law can also apply to criminal cases, our focus is on the statute of limitations in personal injury cases.
If you believe you have been injured due to the negligence or actions of another party, it’s vital that you explore your legal options as soon as possible. One of our experienced Ohio personal injury lawyers from Kisling, Nestico & Redick can help you understand your rights and ensure you don’t lose your opportunity to file a claim. Call us today at 1-800-HURT-NOW so we can provide you with a free case evaluation.
Importance of the Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations rule governs the length of time you have to file a claim. If the deadline to file expires, you will have missed your opportunity to make a claim and forfeited your right to recover compensation from the other party.
Due to limitations on the time in which you have to file a claim, it’s important to speak with an Ohio personal injury attorney as soon as possible after you been injured in order to understand your rights to recover compensation, and the timeframe in which you have to take action.
Defining the Statute of Limitations
What is the statute of limitations in Ohio for a particular type of claim? Generally speaking, the Ohio statute of limitations in personal injury cases begins from the moment of the incident that is the subject of the claim. This means the clock on your ability to file a claim begins to tick down from:
- The time you were injured, OR
- The time at which you reasonably should have known you incurred the injury
This second time mentioned above – the time at which you should have realized you suffered the injury – can be a little more complicated to determine. An injury and its consequences are not always apparent immediately at the time of its actual occurrence.
For instance, you may have been involved in a vehicular accident and not realized that you suffered whiplash until days after the crash. Or, a surgeon performing your surgery may have made a mistake during the procedure that did not manifest itself until weeks, months, or even years after the surgery was performed. As well, you may have been exposed to a chemical at some point which did not manifest negative symptoms until much later. These and other similar instances can fall under something called the “discovery of harm” rule. This rule can affect the time at which your actual statute of limitations begins to run.
Also note that if you suspect that you may have suffered an injury, but you refuse to get checked by a doctor for a long period of time with that knowledge, you cannot claim your statute of limitations begins when you finally do get checked and verify your injury. In such a case, the law states that you should have reasonably known you were injured sooner.
Examples in Personal Injury Cases
Under Ohio law, the statute of limitations in personal injury cases is predicated in part on the nature of your injury.
General Personal Injury – 2 years
The statute of limitations for a general personal injury claim (such as a vehicle crash) is two years from the date of the occurrence. If your claim is for injury or harm caused by drugs or chemicals, it must be submitted within two years of your medical diagnosis or when you should have reasonably known about your injury, whichever occurs first.
Medical Malpractice – 1 year
In general, the statute of limitations for a medical malpractice claim is one year after the time of your injury. However, the statute of limitations may be different than one year in certain cases based on applicable rules and exceptions, such as age of the person injured.
Products Liability – 2 years
If you have been hurt by a defective or faulty product, you have two years from the time of your injury or from the time you should have reasonably known that you were injured. Product liability cases also include a “statute of repose,” which is a deadline past which you are not permitted to file a case regardless of when you discovered your injury. In Ohio, this deadline is 10 years after you receive the product.
There are various exceptions to the statute of repose:
- If you discover your injury more than eight years after obtaining the product, you have two years to file from the time of discovery.
- If a 10+ year warranty on the product has not expired at the time of your injury due to the product, you can file within two years of the discovery of your injury.
- If the product’s supplier or manufacturer is found guilty of fraud that contributed to your injury, the 10-year statute of repose does not apply.
Premises Liability – 2 years
You have two full years to file a claim after you were injured on the property of another party due to their failure to provide proper maintenance. Depending on the circumstances, you may have the right to file a claim against the builder, owner, engineer, or architect of the property structure(s).
Premises liability claims include a 10-year statute of repose from the date the relevant property improvement or construction was finished. As with the statute of repose for products, exemptions exist with premises liability as well. The first exemption is for the case in which you discover your injury somewhere between eight to 10 years after the relevant construction or property improvement was completed. The second exemption applies when fraud is involved.
Exceptions to the Statute
The Ohio statute of limitations in personal injury cases is subject to certain exceptions regarding when the clock can start for your opportunity to file a lawsuit. The legal term used when there is a delay in the start of your timeframe to sue is “tolling.” This delay can be applied if you are under 18 years of age or determined to be mentally unfit. Once you turn 18 or are evaluated as mentally fit under the law, your statute of limitations clock may start to tick down.
Other exceptions that allow for tolling include when the accused at-fault party is imprisoned, hiding, or otherwise absent. Whenever the alleged at-fault party is found or released from prison, your statute of limitations to file may begin.
Contact an Experienced Ohio Personal Injury Lawyer
Although Ohio’s statute of limitations in personal injury cases is relatively straightforward, there are modifications and exceptions that you may need to understand in order to ensure your rights and ability to file a lawsuit. If you have suffered a personal injury and need clarification about your rights or statute of limitations, an experienced attorney from our team at Kisling, Nestico & Redick is here to help.
Contact us today at 1-800-HURT-NOW to set up a free consultation and learn how we can help you.