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, a negligent act by one party occurs that isn't immediately detectable by the injured party. Only after time does the injury become visible. 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 LimitationsIn 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. 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 Civil Statutes: Ohio Revised Statutes
Personal Injury and Negligence2 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 Death2 years with the Discovery Rule.
Medical Malpractice1 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 Malpractice1 year with the Discovery Rule. See §2305.11
Products Liability2 years with the Discovery Rule, potentially up to 10 years.
Assault and Battery2 years.
False Imprisonment1 year.
ContractsWritten contracts 8 years. See §2305.06
Oral contracts 6 years. See §2305.07
Fraud4 years. See §2305.09(c)
Personal Property Damages2 years.
Libel / Slander / Defamation1 years from the date of publication (or the date when spoken). See §2305.11(a)
Debt Collection Accounts6 years. See §2305.07
Collection of Rent
Judgment Enforcement21 years. See §2325.18
DisabilitiesMedical 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.
Liability of State and MunicipalitiesNotice 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.
Consumer Fraud ComplaintsOhio 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.
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