Ohio's Medical Malpractice Statute of Limitations
The Ohio Supreme Court recently upheld a law that bars medical malpractice lawsuits filed more than 4 years following the asserted malpractice act. The court felt that provided injured patients a reasonable enough period to discover that any sort of medical negligence took place.
It is significant that parties bringing this lawsuit included the American Hospital Association, the Ohio Hospital Association, and the American Medical Association. All of these organizations have a financial incentive to uphold this sort of law as hospitals will be forced to pay out less in medical malpractice claims if these sorts of lawsuits are prevented from being filed to begin with.
These organizations also claim that this sort of law will protect hospitals from being sued for claims that occurred more than 10 years ago – though the law would actually prohibit claims that are 4 years or older. They also supported the law because of a supposed “host of litigation concerns” that come about when claims are more than 4-years old. These would include alleged evidentiary concerns and untrustworthy testimony due to faded memories.
The reason why this decision is significant for medical malpractice victims is that medical malpractice is often not immediately discovered. Individuals may suffer from injuries or illnesses that were related to a surgical error, and the cause of injury or illness may not be made obvious for a number of years.
It is because medical malpractice lawsuits have become that more complex that victims of such practices would want to discuss their individual case with attorneys experienced in the medical malpractice area. These attorneys not only understand the signs of medical malpractice, they also understand the laws that regulate the medical area, know how to negotiate claims with hospitals and medical malpractice carriers, and can insure that compensation for medical malpractice claims is adequate