Ohio civil courts enforce one of the shortest statutes of limitations for medical malpractice claims in the nation. With very strict exceptions, a person who suspects that a mistake by a health care provider caused significant harm has just one year to take legal action. The clock starts ticking on the day the incident occurred or become known.

To understand how the medical malpractice statute applies, consider the following scenarios:

  • A patient who has the wrong limb amputated during cancer or diabetes surgery on December 1 would have only until the following December 1 to file a lawsuit against the surgeon and/or the hospital where the procedure was performed.
  • A wife whose husband’s died after taking an incorrectly dispensed medication on July 30 would only have until the following July 30 to make an official legal complaint against the pharmacist who approved the filled prescription and the company that employed the pharmacist.
  • A mother and father whose child suffered a disabling mental or physical injury during delivery on March 13 would only have until March 13 of the following year to name the OB/GYN, supervising obstetrics nurse, and birthing facility as defendants in a civil lawsuit.
  • A patient who develops a debilitating infection while staying overnight in a hospital on February 5 would only have until February 5 of the following year to take action against the health care system that operates the facility.

Obviously, it is imperative to contact a caring and dedicated Columbus, Ohio, medical malpractice lawyer as soon as a problem related to a misdiagnosis, improperly prepared or administered medication, botched surgery, or hospital-acquired infection becomes evident.

The Ohio statute that defines when, how, and who a person or estate executor can sue for medical malpractice stipulates just two possibilities for extending the one-year statute of limitations:

  • Notifying a potential defendant of the intent to file a claim before the one-year anniversary of the alleged error, reckless act, or negligent practice gives the plaintiff and his or her medical malpractice attorney another 180 days to take official legal action.
  • A harmed patient or a family member of a patient who died from suspected medical malpractice has up to four years to file a claim when the incident that inflicted harm was not identified within a year of its occurrence. While this operates like a reprieve from the original one-year limit, it is actually a resetting of when the statute of limitations applies, starting the clock at the discovery of discovery of the harmful outcome rather than the actual incident.

One reason to work closely with a knowledgeable medical malpractice lawyer from the very start of thinking about filing a claim against a physician, surgeon, registered nurse, pharmacist, clinic, medical practice, hospital, or nursing home facility is to determine when the statute of limitation clock began ticking. In some cases, this fact itself can be the subject of a court case.

You can arrange a free consultation with a medical malpractice attorney in Columbus by contacting Agee Clymer Mitchell and Portman online. You can also speak with us by phone by calling (800) 678-3318. Time is of the essence, so do not wait to start the process on holding a negligent or reckless health care provider to account.