In Ohio, the statute of limitations for personal injury cases is generally two years. Anyone who is injured by another party’s negligent or reckless behavior generally must file their case within two years of the accident date or they risk losing their right to take legal action.
The statute of limitations is only one reason why you should begin your personal injury case as soon as possible. Starting quickly can also allow you to take advantage of certain types of evidence that may not be available later.
What the Statute of Limitations Means
The Ohio statute of limitations for most personal injury cases is governed by Ohio Revised Code Section 2305.10, which states that you generally have two years from the accident date to begin a lawsuit (although there are exceptions). Failure to do so means that you forfeit your right to financial compensation. This statute applies if you are filing based on a:
- Motor vehicle accident
- Construction accident
- Boating accident
- Defective product
- Dog bite
If you are filing based on another type of injury (for example malpractice), the above statute may not apply. A personal injury attorney can help you better understand which statutes and deadlines apply to your specific case.
Other Factors That May Impact Your Lawsuit
The statute of limitations is one of many reasons why it is best to start your case sooner rather than later.
The insurance company may not accept your word that their client caused your injuries. Your attorney can help strengthen your case as much as possible with supporting evidence from:
- The authorities: If the police or another authority was called to handle the accident, they should have filed an official report.
- Your doctor: Medical records can show a connection between the accident and your injuries, especially if you sought treatment immediately after it happened.
- Witnesses: Anyone who saw the accident happen or tried to help you afterward can confirm critical details about your story.
- Experts: For example, a vocational rehabilitator can confirm that you are no longer capable of performing your old job, or an accident reconstruction specialist can demonstrate why the liable party is responsible for the accident.
The longer you wait to start your case, the less evidence may be available. For instance, eyewitnesses may forget crucial details, and certain types of records – especially audio/visual recordings – may be deleted.
You may have missed work, received medical care, and suffered both physically and emotionally due to your injuries. You deserve the chance to recover, knowing that your family’s financial responsibilities are covered.
The legal process can be a long process, depending on a variety of factors. By starting as soon as possible, you can protect your legal rights and help ensure that you get the money you deserve.
What It Means to File a Lawsuit
After an accident, you may find yourself struggling with physical pain, emotional trauma, and mounting bills that your own insurance company does not cover. To seek compensation for your injuries, you can file a lawsuit against the individual or entity responsible for your accident.
To start your case, you and/or your lawyer must consider all the ways in which the accident damaged you. Common examples include:
- Pain and suffering
- Physical or intellectual disability
- Loss of quality of life
- Property damage
- Medical bills
- Loss of income or earning capacity
- Loss of employment
Notifying the Liable Party
Depending on what type of accident you suffered, you may be able to sue one or more of the following parties:
- A dog owner who failed to properly restrain their pet
- A vehicle driver who was distracted or failed to obey standard rules of the road
- A contractor who failed to properly maintain your vehicle, another person’s vehicle, or the road you were driving on
- A manufacturer who did not test their product rigorously enough or did not issue a timely recall upon realizing the product was hazardous
To determine the liable party (or parties) in your case, your lawyer can request and collect evidence from all available sources.
Negotiating a Settlement
Once they have obtained sufficient evidence, your lawyer can negotiate with the liable party’s insurance company on your behalf. If this is not successful, it may be necessary to file suit.
Contact Us Today for a Free Consultation
The Fitch Law Firm LLC is dedicated to helping Ohio residents like you get financial compensation for their personal injury cases. Call (614) 545-3930 for a free case review at any time, day or night. We can tell you if your case falls within the applicable statute of limitations and, if so, how our team may be able to help you recover the damages you deserve.