Ohio Medical Malpractice Statute of Limitations: What You Need to Know

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The Ohio medical malpractice statute of limitations only lasts so long. If you’re injured by a doctor, you may be entitled to compensation through a medical malpractice lawsuit. According to a John Hopkin’s Medicine study 250,000 deaths each year are caused by medical malpractice. About 740 of those resulted in payments; the total medical malpractice payouts for the year totaled more than $215 million.

“Third highest cause of death in the U.S. is medical error.”

Martin Makary, M.D., M.P.H.,

If you’ve been injured and you have options but you have a deadline to file a case. This is called a statute of limitations.

Let’s Get Started.

What is Medical Malpractice?

“Medical malpractice” refers to mistakes made by doctors and other medical care providers. Sometimes, medical malpractice is obvious. In some cases, patients have been treated mistakenly for cancer when their test results were mixed up, had the wrong limb amputated, and had surgical instruments left inside them.

In other cases, the malpractice is subtle and harder to detect. First there are cases where patient was prescribed the wrong medication or the pharmacy mixed up the prescription. Next, the doctor was tired and misdiagnosed a serious condition. Finally, a surgeon could have made an error and caused an injury during surgery.

Medical malpractice may be either intentional or unintentional. Sometimes, doctors just make mistakes. They work long hours and their jobs are difficult. There are systems in place to prevent such mistakes, but sometimes those systems fail. On the other hand, medical malpractice may be intentional. For example, cases of con-men taking positions as doctors without any medical training and causing serious injuries.

How to File a Medical Malpractice Claim?

Making a claim after malpractice can help you collect and pay off potential medical bills and more. For instance, you could also get compensation for pain and suffering. In order to claim that compensation, you’ll need to file a medical malpractice lawsuit.

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In order to win compensation from the court, you’ll need to show that the doctor, medical professional, or hospital is guilty of medical malpractice. Legally, a doctor is guilty of medical malpractice when she deviates from the reasonable standard of care for her patient.

In other words, doctors are obliged to adhere to best practices and do their best to care for their patients. Not every medical error qualifies as medical malpractice; the error or omission must fall outside the standard of care. For example, if a doctor writes a prescription and a nurse fails to check that the prescription she gives you is the right one, that may qualify as medical malpractice.

What Do You Need to Prove?

In addition to showing that the doctor or medical professional made an error or omission, you’ll need to show that the error resulted in your injury. For example, if you didn’t suffer any negative consequences from taking the wrong medication, you don’t have a medical malpractice case.

Finally, the injury must be substantial. A medical malpractice suit is complicated; you’re going to need a lot of expert testimony and the lawsuit will take a long time. The longer the suit lasts, the more it’s going to cost. You may be able to sue for a relatively small amount, but it won’t be worth it. You won’t win enough to make the expense worthwhile. Typically, it’s worth your time to sue for medical malpractice if you’re facing substantial medical bills or will be missing a lot of work.

What is the Ohio Medical Malpractice Statute of Limitations?

In addition to the above requirements, the state of Ohio limits the amount of time you have to file a suit for medical malpractice. This time limit is called a “statute of limitations.” In general, you must file your suit within 1 year of the event giving rise to the claim. Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 2305.113(A). If you were injured during surgery, for example, you must bring your claim within 1 year of the date of your surgery.

If the injury doesn’t show up right away, you have 1 year from the time you learned or should have learned about the injury. In other words, if you started suffering extreme knee pain after a knee surgery, you have a year from the time the pain started, not a year from the time you got final confirmation about the injury. The standard is whether a “reasonable person” would have known about the injury.

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Reaching the Ohio Medical Malpractice Statute of Limitations Deadline

If you’ve continued to see the same doctor for the same issue, you have a year from the date that you ended your relationship with that doctor — the date of your last appointment. You may choose to continue to see the doctor who injured you in the first place for a number of reasons; that doctor is familiar with your case and may have ideas about how to remedy the situation. The law is designed so that you can give your doctor a chance to right the wrong without forfeiting your right to sue.

Within your 1-year statutory period, you may choose to send a notice to the doctor that you are looking into filing a claim. If you send that notice, you have 180 days from the date the doctor received that notice to file. That can give you an extra six months on top of the standard statute of limitations. In addition, you have the right to a “Rule 41(a) Dismissal,” in which you choose to dismiss your own case and refile it within one year. You can only exercise a Rule 41(a) Dismissal one time.

What is the Statute of Repose?

A statute of repose is a sort of limit on the statute of limitations. In Ohio, the statute of repose for medical malpractice is 4 years. In other words, you must bring a suit within 4 years or you lose the right to sue. There are two exceptions. First, if you discover the injury after 3 years have passed but before the 4-year mark, you have a full year in which to bring a claim.

Second, the statute of repose does not apply to situations in which a foreign object is left in your body during a procedure. Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 2305.113(C),(D). If you discover an injury more than 4 years after the injury actually occurred, you generally don’t have a right to sue for medical malpractice.

How Long Do You Have to File Wrongful Death?

Ohio allows two different types of wrongful death suits related to medical malpractice. First, the patient’s estate may sue for personal loss and suffering prior to death. Second, the spouse and next of kin may bring a wrongful death claim for pecuniary loss.

These suits must be brought within 2 years of the patient’s death. Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 2125.02(D). In addition, wrongful death suits are not limited by the statutes of limitation and repose for medical malpractice. In other words, the wrongful death suits may still be brought if the patient dies 5 years after the injury.

How to File a Claim

Whenever you have a medical procedure, you should keep careful records of any medical treatment you receive. That’s doubly true if you’re injured in the procedure; you should also record any time you’re forced to take off work and any other expenses you incur as a result of your injury.


Quick Answers

What is Medical Malpractice?

When a doctor deviates from the reasonable standard of care for their patient. In other words, doctors are obliged to adhere to best practices and do their best to care for their patients. Not every medical error qualifies as medical malpractice; the error or omission must fall outside the standard of care. For example, if a doctor writes a prescription and a nurse fails to check that the prescription she gives you is the right one, that may qualify as medical malpractice.

How to File a Medical Malpractice Claim?

In order to win compensation from the court, you’ll need to show that the doctor, medical professional, or hospital is guilty of medical malpractice.

What is the Ohio Medical Malpractice Statute of Limitations?

If the injury doesn’t show up right away, you have 1 year from the time you learned or should have learned about the injury.

What is the Statute of Repose?

A statute of repose is a sort of limit on the statute of limitations. In Ohio, the statute of repose for medical malpractice is 4 years. In other words, you must bring a suit within 4 years or you lose the right to sue.


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