Under Ohio law, you have one year from the date of an act of medical malpractice in which to file a lawsuit. This one-year deadline is called the statute of limitations. If you fail to file a lawsuit within the one-year deadline, you will be forever barred from seeking compensation for injuries caused by the act of medical negligence. This is a general rule that is subject to a number of important exceptions.
One important exception allows a patient to extend their statute of limitations by serving “180-day letters” on every potential defendant before expiration of the statute of limitations. The 180-day letter extends the statute of limitations by 6 months. In addition, the one-year period does not begin to run in a variety of circumstances, such as when a minor is involved, when the medical negligence is not discovered until a later date or when the act of medical negligence renders the patient incompetent. Finally, when an act of medical negligence results in death, the patient’s family has two years from the date of death in which to file a wrongful death claim.
Prior to filing a medical negligence claim, your attorney must obtain an “affidavit of merit.” This affidavit certifies that the allegations in the complaint have been reviewed by a qualified medical expert and appear meritorious based on the contents of the medical records. Since it takes time to obtain an affidavit of merit, it is best that you consult an attorney as soon as possible after you suspect that you have been a victim of medical negligence.