There are many reasons why Ohio medical malpractice victims may lose their case, but here's a common one:
YOU WAITED TOO LONG
“Don’t I have two years to bring a malpractice claim?” Many people mistakenly believe they do. If you are injured in an automobile crash, you would have a two year statute of limitations in Ohio, which means that you have two years to either settle your claim or file a lawsuit to preserve your claim. Not so with many medical malpractice claims. There are special rules that apply to medical malpractice litigation.
In Ohio, you have a one year statute of limitations if you are injured as a result of medical negligence. This is one of the shortest statutes of limitations in the U.S.!
However, an important question in any Ohio medical malpractice claim is: When does your one year clock begin to tick? Generally speaking, your one year statute of limitations begins when: (a) you discover facts which lead you to believe that malpractice may have occurred; OR (b) when your physician-patient relationship with the offending physician or hospital terminates – whichever is later.
As you can see from this general rule, your Ohio one year statute of limitations may begin to run on any number of different dates. For this reason, it is imperative that you consult with a competent malpractice attorney sooner rather than later. Waiting until the last minute may make it extremely difficult to identify the proper triggering date for purposes of the one year statute of limitations, and may result in your case being rejected.
Your one year statute of limitations in Ohio may be extended by 180 days if a proper “180 day letter” is sent to the medical provider. Again, however, special rules apply to the 180 day letter law. For example, in order for the 180 day extension to be valid, the letter must contain the necessary language preserving the claim, and must be received before the original one year statute of limitations expires.
The short one year statute of limitations rule in Ohio places a premium upon quick action and an early investigation. Generally speaking, if you wait until there is only 60-90 days left on your statute of limitations, this may not leave your attorney with enough time to properly investigate your case. After all, it can take weeks or months to receive your medical records and have them reviewed.
ANOTHER SPECIAL RULE: OHIO WRONGFUL DEATH MEDICAL MALPRACTICE CASES HAVE A DIFFERENT STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS!
For medical malpractice cases resulting in death, Ohio does provide for a two year statute of limitations. However, the one year statute of limitations mentioned previously still applies to a loved one who was a victim of malpractice and sustained conscious pain and suffering before he or she died. Result: a medical malpractice claim resulting in death may be subject to BOTH a one year AND a two year statute of limitations. Sufficiently confused? You should be. Bottom line: You have a short window of opportunity to have your potential malpractice case investigated. These statute of limitations rules are complex, and are full of traps for the unwary or unsuspecting. You delay the investigation of your malpractice case at your peril.