If you or a loved one sustained an injury at the hands of a health care provider of any kind — be it a medical doctor, dentist, chiropractor or optometrist — you may wonder if you can pursue compensation via a medical malpractice claim. While the answer depends on several factors, your question becomes a moot point if you fail to file a claim or notice of a claim within the statute of limitations.
According to 2305.113 Medical malpractice actions of Ohio Laws and Rules, the statute of limitations for medical malpractice cases is one year. However, the statute provides several exceptions.
The 180-day rule
The first exception to the one-year rule is the 180-day notice exception. If you or your loved one possesses a medical, chiropractic, dental or optometric claim, and if you give the subject of that claim written notice that you intend to pursue legal action before the year time-limit is up, you have an additional 180 days to commence said legal action.
The four-year rule
Except for persons of unsound mind or within the age of minority, Ohio bars all chances of recovery after four years have lapsed. This four-year extension applies in specific cases, as outlined below, but it, too, has its exceptions.
Exceptions to the rules
If you or your loved one, in the exercise of reasonable diligence and care, could not have and did not discover the injury that resulted from the provider’s act or omission within three years after the date of occurrence, but you discover it before the fourth year expiration period is up, you have one year to file a claim. If your claim involves a foreign object left in you after a surgical procedure, you have one year from the point at which you discover the object to file a claim. However, if a medical expert determines a reasonably diligent and careful person would have discovered the object sooner, you have one year from the point at which you should have discovered the object to commence legal action.
If you can relate to either circumstance described above, the burden of proof is on you to show, through clear and convincing evidence, that you acted with reasonable care and diligence following the alleged act or omission. You must also show that, despite this, you still did not and could not have discovered the resulting injury within a three-year period or within the one-year statute of limitations, whichever applies to your case.