How Long Do You Have to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit in Ohio?
In Ohio, you must file a personal injury lawsuit within two years of the date of injury. For example, if you are in a car accident on July 1, 2019, you would have until July 1, 2021 to file a lawsuit related to the injuries you suffered in that accident. With few exceptions, if you miss that two-year window, you may never be able to file a lawsuit or recover any money to help you recover from your injuries. It is important to remember that lawsuits do not get filed overnight. Prior to filing lawsuits, experienced personal injury attorneys need to gather evidence, collect records, and investigate viable legal claims. Thus, if you have been injured through the fault of another party, it is very important that you reach out to a personal injury lawyer as soon as you can to protect your right to sue.
Unique Situations That Affect Filing for Ohio Personal Injury Lawsuits
While most personal injury lawsuits must be filed within two years of the date you were injured, there are some limited exceptions. For example:
Minors – If you were younger than 18 years old when you were injured, Ohio law extends the period of time you have to file suit. Instead of having two years from the date of your injury, you have two years from the day you turn 18, i.e. your 20th birthday, to file a lawsuit for damages from your injuries.
Disabled: If you suffer an injury while you were mentally incompetent or of unsound mind, the two-year window to sue does not begin until you are determined to be mentally fit to bring your lawsuit. If the mental health diagnosis occurred after the date of injury, your window to file a lawsuit may also be extended. Because of the complications that arise regarding your opportunity to file a lawsuit when a mental health diagnosis may be involved, it is important that these issues be brought to an attorney’s attention right away.
Absence of At-Fault Party: Ohio law also allows additional time for you to sue when the party responsible for your injury flees the state, hides from authority, or is imprisoned. If you are having trouble identifying or locating the party at fault for your injuries, you may be afforded additional time to file a lawsuit.
Discovery Rule: If you were injured by a dangerous chemical, drug, or medical device, your two-year window to sue may not begin on the date that you were harmed. Instead, a personal injury attorney could argue that your two-year window did not begin until you knew that: (1) you were harmed, and (2) the specific harm you suffered was caused by the conduct of another party.
While the law may provide limited exceptions to the two-year window to file a personal injury lawsuit, it is never a good idea to wait to contact an Ohio personal injury attorney. Memories fade, and documents can get lost or be destroyed. It is critical that the investigation into the cause of your injury begins as soon as possible to make sure the evidence is preserved. Therefore, it is in your best interest to reach out to a personal injury attorney as soon as your health allows following an injury. At that point, a lawyer can evaluate the nature of your claim and begin gathering evidence, allowing you to focus on getting better.
About Our Cincinnati Personal Injury Lawyers
Burg Simpson’s award-winning personal injury attorneys in Cincinnati have spent years helping seriously injured people obtain compensation for harm caused by others. They can help you too! Our seasoned trial lawyers have represented clients in Ohio, Kentucky, and across the nation, helping them get the funds they need to rebuild their lives. We have the experience and resources to help individuals navigate the many legal issues that surround their personal injury claims, including accident investigation, insurance claims, settlement negotiations, and litigating in court against persons and companies who won’t take responsibility. If you or a loved one have been injured, fill out our Free Case Evaluation form or call 513-852-5600 to speak with our personal injury lawyers in Cincinnati, OH today!