Ohio's Time Limits for Car Accidents Involving Injured Minors | KNR
Kisling, Nestico & Redick, LLC Hurt in a Car? Call KNR.
Every state has laws limiting how long you have to file a claim after an accident. In Ohio, the time lime for minors is different.
Written by
KNR Legal
Date posted
September 12, 2023

When the unthinkable happens, and your child is injured in a car accident due to another’s negligence, you must know your rights and available legal paths.

The good news is you can potentially file a claim against the responsible party’s insurance for compensation. This can help cover medical costs, pain, emotional distress, and other damages. But there is a time limit to act, and you must file within Ohio’s statute of limitations for injured minors.

Here’s a guide to help you navigate Ohio’s personal injury laws for minors and ensure you and your child secure the maximum compensation you deserve.

What is the Ohio Statute of Limitations?

Every state has laws limiting how long you have to file a claim for damages after an accident. This limit is referred to as the statute of limitations.  Under Ohio Revised Code 2305.10, there’s generally a two-year window from the accident date or when the injuries are identified to lodge car accident claims.

Missing this deadline without a valid exception could prevent you from filing. But, in Ohio, the statute of limitations differs for adults and minors.

The Statute of Limitations for Minors in Ohio

In most cases, those aged 18 and over must file a claim within two years of the accident. However, Children injured in accidents before their 18th birthday have a unique provision. Injured minors can initiate a lawsuit until two years after their 18th birthday. This can often give injured minors until age 20 to pursue a car accident claim or lawsuit.

Why is the Time Limit Different for Children?

The law recognizes that minors may not be able to bring a lawsuit on their own. As such, the statute of limitations is typically “tolled” or paused for minors.

By the time they become adults and fully realize the implications of their injuries or have the means to address them, a standard statute of limitations might have already elapsed. Extending the time frame ensures fairness and provides minors an opportunity to seek justice once they are adults and can better advocate for themselves or make informed decisions about pursuing legal action.

Imagine you are a 16-year-old who is injured in a car accident. At the time, you might be overwhelmed with immediate concerns like recovery, school, and the emotional trauma from the accident. Given your age and potential lack of resources, you might not immediately think about legal recourse or understand the full extent of long-term damages.

By the time you turn 18 and become aware of lingering physical issues or financial burdens from the accident, you may not have a chance to file a claim if the standard statute of limitations applies. Instead, Ohio gives you until age 20, allowing for a more informed and less pressured decision-making process about pursuing a lawsuit.

Exceptions to Ohio’s Statute of Limitations

Many jurisdictions, including Ohio, recognize exceptions to the statute of limitations for personal injury claims, including those involving minors. While the specific exceptions can vary, some potential exceptions to the time limit for minors might include:

  • The Discovery Rule: If an injury or its connection to the accident isn’t immediately known or discoverable, the statute might start from the date the injury was discovered or reasonably should have been discovered rather than the date of the accident.
  • Mental Incompetence: If a minor is declared mentally incompetent, the statute of limitations might be tolled until the period of incompetence ends.
  • The Defendant’s Absence: In some cases, if the person responsible for the injury leaves the state or hides to avoid litigation, the time they are absent might not count toward the statute of limitations.
  • Fraudulent Concealment: If the responsible party deliberately hides information about their liability for the accident or injury, the time during which the information was concealed might not count.

How to Protect Your Child’s Right to File?

If your child has been involved in a car accident, you’ll likely be frightened for them and hyper-focused on getting them the medical care they need.  Aside from getting them to the hospital, there are things you can do to help ensure your child files a timely injury claim and secure the compensation they deserve.

  • Document Everything: After ensuring your child’s safety, document the scene. Take photos or videos of the accident site, vehicle damages, visible injuries, and anything else that might be relevant.
  • Gather Witness Details: If there were any witnesses to the accident, collect their contact information. Their accounts could be valuable if you decide to file a claim.
  • Obtain a Police Report: Always ensure a formal police report is made. This will provide an official record of the accident and can be critical in any subsequent legal proceedings.
  • Keep Medical Records: Retain all medical documentation, including hospital bills, prescriptions, therapy sessions, and other related records. This will help quantify your damages and show a direct link between the accident and the injuries.
  • Seek Legal Advice Early: Consult with an attorney experienced in personal injury or car accidents. They can guide you through the next steps, help you understand the statute of limitations, and ensure your child’s rights are protected.
  • Avoid Giving a Formal Statement: Refrain from giving detailed statements to insurance companies or accepting settlement offers. These entities might try to minimize their payouts, and what you say can significantly affect your child’s claim.

By being proactive, you can help your child and strengthen your position should you decide to pursue legal action.

Parents Can File for an Injured Child

Remember, when a child is injured, they cannot legally file a lawsuit due to their minor status. As a result, the legal system allows parents or appointed guardians to step in and act on the child’s behalf.

Therefore, if your child is injured, you don’t need to wait until they are 18. You should consult a lawyer who can explain your rights, options, and if the statute of limitations applies.

Contact KNR for a Free Consultation

Time is of the essence when it comes to recovering compensation in a car accident claim. If your child has been hurt in an Ohio car accident, contact Kisling, Nestico, & Redick today.

As one of Ohio’s largest and most successful personal injury law firms, our car accident lawyers have been helping people in cases like yours for over 15 years. We will review the details of your child’s accident, explain the statute of limitations, and what you can expect.

Call 1-800-HURT-NOW. for a free, no-risk consultation.