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How Long Do You Have to File a Medical Malpractice Claim in Ohio?

July 12, 2021

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When your doctor or surgeon makes a mistake that causes you to suffer an illness or injury, you’ll probably know right away. But there’s also a chance you may not realize you’re a victim of medical malpractice until weeks, months, or even years later, especially if the malpractice was in failing to diagnose or correctly treat an existing condition.

What happens if you suspect you were harmed by a healthcare professional, but it has been a long time since you were negligently treated? Can you still file a medical malpractice claim to get money for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering?

The answer depends on a few factors, which we’ll explain in this post.

The Statute of Limitations for Ohio Medical Malpractice Claims is 1 Year

If you’re injured in a car accident in Ohio, you have two years from the date the crash occurred to file a compensation claim against the at-fault party. But if you’re injured by a doctor, surgeon, or other provider, you have only one year to take action.

However, that one-year period is different than the two-year period for car accident claims. Unlike the car accident statute of limitations, which starts the day the crash occurs, the medical malpractice statute of limitations starts the day you discover the injury or illness (or should have discovered it), or the day your doctor-patient/provider-patient relationship ends.

This is important, as knowing that medical malpractice occurred isn’t always obvious or easy. Symptoms may not show up for a long time after you were treated or operated on, and it’s common for patients to not begin having complications until well after a full calendar year has passed.

The Hard Cap for Medical Malpractice Claims in Ohio is 4 Years

Although the one-year statute of limitations rule doesn’t kick in until the victim is aware of the malpractice, there is a hard cap on most medical malpractice lawsuits of four years. In most cases, four years is enough time for medical malpractice victims or people who suspect they’re victims of malpractice to notice something is wrong, report it to their doctors, and decide to take legal action.

But even with this hard cap, there are still several important deadlines you need to be aware of:

  • If your medical malpractice injury or illness couldn’t have been discovered within the first three years after it occurred, but four years haven’t passed, you get a full calendar year to pursue compensation after discovering the injury—even if the total amount of time exceeds four years.
  • If your medical malpractice injury or illness was caused by a foreign object being left inside your body during a procedure or surgery, you have one year to file a lawsuit after discovering this object was left behind.
  • If you send a formal notice by certified mail to the hospital, doctor, clinic, or other defendant informing them of your intentions to file a medical malpractice claim, you have 180 days to file a lawsuit. This applies at any point during the one-year statute of limitations, even if the notice isn’t filed/received until the 364th day of the one-year period.
  • Children are exempt from the medical malpractice statute of limitations until they turn 18 years old, at which point they have one year from the date of their 18th birthday- their 19th birthday- to file a claim.

If you are unsure how much time you must file a claim, get in touch with a lawyer right away to discuss your options after medical malpractice to make sure you don’t miss an important deadline and your chance at deserved compensation.

Suspect Medical Malpractice? See a Doctor and Call a Lawyer.

If you believe that you or someone you love is the victim of medical malpractice, you should first view it as a potential medical emergency. That means calling your doctor right away and letting them know about any symptoms, side effects, and complications you’re experiencing. Some medical malpractice incidents require immediate treatment and even surgery to correct.

After you’ve been examined and treated by a healthcare provider, you should get in touch with an experienced Ohio medical malpractice lawyer. Getting treated for potential medical malpractice starts the clock on your claim, as it means you’re now aware of the malpractice or should be aware of it. One year goes by quickly, especially when it comes to building a medical malpractice claim, so don’t delay.

Successful Medical Malpractice Claims Take Time and Experience

Beating the statute of limitations isn’t the only reason to call a lawyer right away if you suspect medical malpractice. These claims are difficult to prove, and doctors, hospitals, and healthcare facilities have strong defenses against them. They require significant evidence, expert opinions, and vast legal resources to win.

We have decades of experience building and winning medical malpractice claims, but our attorneys do their best work when we have time to build our clients the strongest possible cases. The sooner you contact us, the more evidence we may be able to collect, and the more likely we’ll be able to get you maximum compensation for your losses. Call today for a free consultation.

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