When you’re badly injured, you may not be focused on filing a lawsuit. Your life may be busy with doctor’s appointments, physical therapy, and making arrangements regarding the work you are likely missing. There’s just one problem. Alexander Petraglia wants you to remember that you don’t have an unlimited amount of time to file a lawsuit.
A statute of limitations is a law that limits the amount of time there is to pursue legal action.
There are some excellent reasons for this. For example, it stops the courts from blindsiding someone with criminal charges decades after the fact. It also ensures that any required documents are easy to access and that witnesses can recall things. However, it also puts pressure on injured people to take action sooner than later.
The Statute of Limitations In Ohio Is Two Years
At first, this may seem like plenty of time—and in many cases, it is. However, there can be complications. For example, someone may decide to work directly with the business and their insurance company in hopes of settling things without an attorney. Before they know it, delay tactics can quickly eat up most of the time they have to file a lawsuit.
Minors and Those Found to Be Incompetent Are Treated Differently Under the Statute of Limitations
As a rule, the statute of limitations applies to adults. They are determined to be capable of educating themselves on legal matters and deciding to delay filing a lawsuit.
However, if you were a minor when you were injured or determined to be incompetent, things are a bit different. For minors, the statute of limitation doesn’t begin until you are 18 years old.
For someone declared to be incompetent, the statute starts when their disability designation is removed.
Medical Malpractice Exceptions
The area of medical malpractice is a bit unique in that injuries are not immediately apparent. You have one year to file a case in these cases upon discovering the injury or one year after you end the doctor/patient relationship. That said, there is a total limit of four years.
Can a Defendant Manipulate the Statute of Limitations?
Unfortunately, they can. It’s more common than people realize. That is why Alexander Petraglia recommends contacting a lawyer as soon as you can. They can start the process of pursuing a lawsuit so that the statute of limitations doesn’t impact you.
Also, it’s important to know that the law does provide some protection. For example, a defendant cannot use the statute of limitations if they are outside the state or in hiding. It is also paused if a defendant is incarcerated.
Many other complexities in the law affect the statute of limitations. It is best to seek out the advice of a qualified attorney. They will know the laws that will apply to your case and protect your interests.
About Alexander Petraglia
Petraglia got his B.A. (in sociology) and J.D. from Case Western Reserve University Law School in Cleveland, Ohio. He was a law clerk at Legal Aid Society in 2013 and spent two years at Cuyahoga County Public Defender’s Office. Petraglia also worked at Kurt Law Office before his current role as a trial attorney at Deters Law.