Ohio Statute of Limitations, Civil Actions

The Ohio Statute of Limitations for civil actions sets a time limit after an injury or civil wrong occurs, during which an injured party can file a lawsuit. After that period of time expires, the injured party is no longer permitted to file a claim in an Ohio state court to litigate that matter. The statute ensures that lawsuits that have merit and worthy of being heard are filed within a reasonable time or not at all.

How Does the Statute of Limitations Operate?

The period of time to file a claim will vary depending upon the type of incident that occurred. A claim against a doctor for medical malpractice may be for a different length of time than against an accountant for negligence or fraud. The Ohio statute of limitations can generally be found within the Ohio Revised Code, Title 23, Chapter 2305 and covers the following rules and exceptions in greater detail.

When does the Ohio Statute of Limitations Begin?

Other than for specific exceptions, the Ohio statute of limitations generally begins to run at the time when a “cause of action arises” – in other words, at the time when an injury occurs that would qualify for a lawsuit to be filed in an Ohio state court.

What is the Discovery Rule?

There are times when a person is unable to discover that they have been injured. For example, fraud that is concealed by an accountant and is not easily discoverable or a medical condition resulting from a doctor’s misdiagnosis that can only be detected after the patient’s health deteriorates. It wouldn’t be fair or reasonable to require the injured party to file a lawsuit when they could not have detected the injury. As a result, in some instances the Ohio statute of limitations begins to run from the time the injured party discovers or should have discovered that they have been injured.

Delaying or Tolling the Ohio Statute of Limitations

In certain circumstances, fairness would require that the statute of limitations be delayed for a period of time. A party may not have the ability to bring a case even though they are aware of an injury or damages. Delaying or “tolling” the statute of limitations typically occurs when the plaintiff is “disabled” – such as a minor child or a person who is mentally incompetent or bankrupt. Once the disability ends, the statute of limitations begins to run.

Calculating the length of time that a plaintiff has to file a lawsuit is complicated and involves many factors and exceptions. Parties that have suffered significant injuries or damages may wish to consult with an Ohio attorney to ensure that all claims and notices are filed within the time limits set forth by law.

Ohio Statute of Limitations for Civil Actions

Personal Injury and Negligence

2 years for bodily injury, use the Discovery Rule for issues that concern later discovery of the injury. 1 year for injuries other than bodily injury. See §§2305.10, 2305.11 and 2305.111

Wrongful Death

2 years with the Discovery Rule.

Medical Malpractice

1 year, generally. Plaintiff required to give notice to defendant within 1 year of the act that caused the injury. Upon notice, the Ohio statute of limitations is tolled for 180 days. For foreign objects inside the body, claim must be filed within 1 year of when the object is found or should have been discovered, with a maximum of four years from the date of the act causing the presence of the foreign object regardless of discovery of the object. See §2305.113

Legal and Professional Malpractice

1 year with the Discovery Rule. See §2305.11

Products Liability

2 years with the Discovery Rule, potentially up to 10 years.

Assault and Battery

2 years.

False Imprisonment

1 year.

Comparative Negligence

Yes.

Contracts

Written contracts 8 years. See §2305.06
Oral contracts 6 years. See §2305.07

Fraud

4 years. See §2305.09(c)

Personal Property Damages

2 years.

Trespass

4 years.

Libel / Slander / Defamation

1 years from the date of publication (or the date when spoken). See §2305.11(a)

Debt Collection Accounts

6 years. See §2305.07

Collection of Rent

 

Judgment Enforcement

21 years. See §2325.18

Disabilities

Medical malpractice claims – an infant (under 12) or incompetent, claim must be brought within 7 years from date of the act. For infant 12 or over, within 1 year after reaching age 18 or 2 years from the date of the injury, whichever is greater.

Charitable Immunity

None.

Liability of State and Municipalities

Notice of claim must be made within 1 year from the date of the incident. Suit must be filed within 180 days from the date the claim is denied.

No-Fault Insurance

No.

Consumer Fraud Complaints

Ohio Attorney General

Telephone: (800) 282-0515
Local: (614) 446-4986

Please Take Note: The statute of limitations laws presented are strictly provided to you “as-is”. While we believe that the legal information is accurate as of the date created, we cannot and do not provide any guarantee, analysis or conclusions. The law may have changed since this article was published. The only way to ensure that the statute of limitations law you are reading is up to date and applies to your specific issue, is to have a legal consultation with an attorney licensed to practice law in the state of Ohio.

Michael M Wechsler, Esq.

Michael M. Wechsler is an experienced attorney, founder of TheLaw.com and of-counsel to Kaplan, Williams & Graffeo, LLC. He was also an SVP and chief Internet strategist at Zedge.net and legal consultant at Kroll Ontrack, a leading service e-discovery and computer forensics service provider.

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