Filing a medical malpractice claim quickly is important in Ohio, as the statute of limitations is only one year after the cause of action. These types of cases can involve complex issues, with lots of paperwork and investigation that must be done. It’s best to get started shortly after suffering an injury or medical condition because of a doctor’s negligence to avoid missing the filing deadline.
Ohio Statute of Limitations in a Medical Malpractice Case
Each state has its own rules concerning the timeframe in which a medical malpractice claim can be filed. As noted, in Ohio it is one year after the date on which the cause of action or the omission occurred. So let’s say a patient was injured on June 15, 2012. By June 15, 2013, the claim would need to be filed.
There may be an exception to this rule, which would allow for an extension with filing a claim. An example is when a patient submits a written notice to the healthcare provider indicating that a lawsuit could be filed against him or her. From the time the notice is given, the patient then has 180 days to move forward with a claim.
So if the patient waited until May 30, 2013 to send a notice to the healthcare provider indicating that legal action may be brought, there would be an additional 180 days (which would go past the one year timeframe of June 15) to do so.
The reason for a notice is that sometimes a case can be settled without having to file a lawsuit. The healthcare provider might want to avoid the risk of going to trial.
Impact of Discovery Rule in a Medical Malpractice Claim
Sometimes injuries stemming from malpractice aren’t immediately discovered. This is where the discovery rule comes into play. Let’s say an injury occurred on June 15, 2012, but it wasn’t until more than a year later that complications are linked back to an act of medical negligence.
This allows for an extension on when a claim can be filed. In Ohio, legal action could still be sought as long as it falls within four years of the date in which the act of negligence took place. Once it is discovered that an injury was related to the healthcare provider’s act of negligence, the Ohio statute of limitations is still one year from the date of discovery.
If the individual could not have discovered the injury until after three years from the date of occurrence but discovers it before the expiration of the four year period following the occurrence, the patient has a year from the date of discovery to file the claim.
For example, if an object is left inside a patient’s body after surgery, the Ohio statute of limitations gives the patient one year to file a claim from the time it’s discovered an object was left behind or when it reasonably should have been discovered. The four-year time limit applies to these cases as well. Commonly retained foreign objects include sponges and surgical instruments.
A Cleveland Medical Malpractice Attorney Can Ensure a Claim is Filed before the Ohio Statute of Limitations Expires
It is best to move forward with a claim as quickly as possible, as this preserves evidence and reduces the risk of running out of time to file the claim. The Becker Law Firm can help victims of medical negligence file a lawsuit against a healthcare provider who has caused serious or fatal injuries. Call (440) 252-4399 to set up a consultation with an attorney about your medical malpractice claim and to ensure it’s filed within the Ohio statute of limitations.