Not very long.
The time limit for pursuing a medical malpractice claim in Ohio is shorter than any other lawsuit time limit. If you plan to sue your house painter for breaching a written contract, you don’t need to rush. You have 8 years to file a lawsuit. In case your neighbor trespassed your property, relax. Four years is enough to file a lawsuit without a rush. But if you were injured because of a doctor’s negligence, you need to hurry and file a medical lawsuit in time.
Statute of limitations
The law requires the victims of medical malpractices and negligence to file the relevant lawsuits within one year (12 months) of the time the ‘cause’ of action accrues.’ One of the most challenging things is to determine is when medical malpractice ‘cause of action accrues.’ It may mean ‘when the medical-related mistake took place’ or ‘when the patient should have realized that they suffered an injury due to a specific medical mistake.’ The latter is also known as the ‘discovery rule.’
If you (the patient) have a continuing physician-patient relationship with the medical practitioner, the ‘cause of action’ may not ‘accrue’ until that relationship has ended. This is known as ‘termination rule.’ Because it’s difficult to know when the time limit clock starts ticking, it’s crucial to get the services of a reliable Cleveland medical malpractice attorney immediately after realizing that you suffered an injury associated with medical malpractice or negligence.
There are several exceptions to the 1-year time limit. When a minor suffers medical negligence related injuries, they have one year from the time they reach maturity (their 18th birthdays) to file a lawsuit. For example, if a child was injured at birth, he or she has 19 years to file a medical malpractice claim. However, the kid’s parents can (and should) sue on behalf of the child before the kid matures. Otherwise, the memories of significant witnesses might fade, and medical records may be destroyed or go missing.
The second exception involves plaintiffs in a medical malpractice lawsuit who are of ‘unsound mind’ if the ‘cause of action accrues.’ However, invoking this right can be challenging. Even when you are absolutely sure that this exception applies in your case, it’s advisable to work with a lawyer so that the attorney can advise you of the most viable time limit.
The time limit can be extended
An experienced attorney knows that the one-year time limit can be extended. However, there are many potential pitfalls. The law allows a one-time time limit extension of up to 180 days on condition that you serve the potential defendant with a special written notice before the one-year time limit expires. That means you must identify everyone at fault for your injuries serve them with the notice, and be able to prove the receipt of the notice.
The Ohio law is stringent on this issue. If you send the notice via a certified mail and comes unsigned or signed by another person, it’s invalid. Some medical facilities and doctors avoid such letters or tell their secretaries to sign them just to make it difficult for the patient to extend the time limit.