Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Claims in Ohio
The judicial system in each state has established time limits for filing certain types of claims. In particular, the statute of limitations in Ohio gives plaintiffs two years to file personal injury claims.
Unfortunately, this isn’t a lot of time. If you want compensation for damages or injury caused by someone else, the court only allows two years from the date of the accident to make a claim. Lawsuits can be long, drawn out processes and the legal system doesn’t always move at the speed of light. To ensure the best outcome for your case, it’s important to respect this statute of limitations. The process of gathering evidence and consulting with a personal injury lawyer needs to begin right away.
What Needs to Happen Within Two Years of the Accident?
There are four stages of a personal injury case which should be handled within Ohio’s two-year statute of limitations.
1. If you’ve been injured in an accident, you will need to seek proper medical care. You need to be treated for the injuries sustained and collect documentation of the issue. This is also the first step in gathering evidence of a car collision, slip and fall or work accident.
2. You will need to consult with a personal injury lawyer who can handle your case. Together, you will begin to determine what would be fair compensation for your pain and suffering. It’s important to continue collecting and preserving evidence which will support your case in the settlement and/or trial phases.
3. Once you have reached what’s known as the point maximum medical improvement (MMI), your attorney can make a final calculation of the compensation demand. In a personal injury suit, an injured person can request payment from the party or parties at fault. The sum requested totals the physical and psychological impact of the accident, all resulting lost wages, plus related medical treatment and rehabilitation. It may take months or years to meet MMI and collect the information needed to build a strong demand package.
4. Many personal injury lawyers try to reach a settlement before filing a claim in court. It’s not necessary to officially file a lawsuit if both sides can reach an agreement and settle the case. Settlement is often preferable because it can get the injured person compensated more quickly and avoid additional delay or legal expenses.
According to the Ohio Revised Legal Code, the state’s statute of limitations allows an injured person just two years to work through the stages and file a claim. This is also true for personal injury claims against the state government, which must be filed in the Ohio Court of Claims within two years.
What Happens If a Claim Is Filed After More than Two Years?
If a personal injury lawsuit is filed after the statute of limitations, a judge in Ohio can refuse to hear the case. The defendant’s lawyer could also file a motion to dismiss the case based on the statute. Unless a particular exception applies, this would mean that there would be no further possibility to receive compensation for damage or injuries regardless of the strength of the case. The time limit should go into effect two years from the date of the initial accident. This applies to nearly all types of personal injury cases, for example:
- Car accidents,
- On-the-job injuries,
- Slip and fall incidents,
- Wrongful death,
- Product liability,
- Medical malpractice, and
- Dog bites.
What Are the Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations in Ohio?
There are some cases that might qualify for an extension past the two years allowed by the statute of limitations in Ohio.
- If the person filing a claim was considered legally disable at the time of the accident, the two-year limit begins from the point when they are no longer disable. In this case, disability refers to being “of unsound mind” or a minor under 18 years of age. According to this section of the Ohio Revised Code, the exception would allow more time to file a lawsuit. In the case of a minor, for example, the two-year time period would begin upon the plaintiff’s 18th birthday.
- If the party responsible for the injury flees the state, hides from authorities, or is imprisoned more time should be allowed. Another section of the Ohio Revised Code states that their absence won’t count towards to two-year limitation.
What Is the Maximum Value that Can Be Claimed for Damages in Ohio?
Most states have an official cap on the amount of compensation that one can receive from winning a personal injury case. Since 2005, Ohio has reformed the law to limit certain types of damages in civil lawsuits.
Currently, in our state, an injured person can request up to $250,000 for non-economic damages, or three times the value of the economic damages, which is capped at $350,000 per person and $500,000 per accident. “Non-economic” generally refers to the calculation of ‘pain and suffering’ incurred by the injury. There is an exception to this rule for severe injuries. According to the Ohio code, there is no cap for non-economic damages in the case of catastrophic loss. This includes permanent and substantial physical disability or resulting in a condition that will require ongoing care and life-sustaining support.
The maximum limit on punitive damages is twice the amount of compensatory damages. If the defendant is a small employer or individual, however, punitive damages are capped at 10% of net worth up to a maximum of $350,000.
Amourgis & Associates – Experienced Personal Injury Attorneys
The calculation of damages can be complex. Other factors may influence the amount that you can file for in any given personal injury case. Consult with a skilled attorney to decide if you still have time to file a claim and how much compensation you can expect. Contact Amourgis & Associates by calling (330) 535-6650 or getting in touch online.