The statute of limitations for a personal injury claim in Ohio is two years. That may seem like a long time, but you should pursue a claim as soon as possible.
Car accidents can be traumatizing, even minor ones. You could be seriously injured, leaving you entirely focused on your recovery and not worrying about a time limit. If you wait too long to file a claim, that clock could expire, and you could miss out on your chance to collect needed compensation.
This time limit is in place to prevent people from suing others without notice or warning. If you are injured in a car accident today, it is only fair to the other party that you file a personal injury lawsuit within a reasonable time after the accident. If you wait a decade or more, they will not be prepared, and much of the evidence of the accident would probably be non-existent, including witness testimony. The two-year clock begins on the date of the accident.
Adults and Minors
The statute of limitations is different for adults and minors. Adults in Ohio are those who are 18 years old or older. They have two years from the accident to file a personal injury claim for damages against the negligent driver. For minors under 18 years old, Ohio gives them a little more time.
Under Ohio law, if a minor is injured in a car accident, they have two years after their 18th birthday to file a personal injury claim for damages. This means that a minor injured in a car accident must file a personal injury claim before their 20th birthday.
Why Could Delaying a Claim Hurt My Case?
You should not wait until the last minute to file a personal injury claim. If you have been in a severe car accident and have suffered severe injuries, the last thing on your mind is a legal case, but it is essential to speak to a lawyer as soon as possible. A lawyer can begin the claims process while you are focused on your recovery.
If you wait until the last minute, your lawyer will not have enough time to gather sufficient evidence to prove the other party was at fault. They will need to gather witness statements, too. After too much time, even just a few weeks, witnesses will start to forget what they saw, making it difficult to prove the other party was at fault for the accident.
How Is Negligence Proven?
To prove another driver caused your car accident, you will need to show they were negligent. You do that by using evidence to show the other driver:
- Owed you a duty of care to drive safely.
- Breached that duty of care by driving in an unsafe manner.
- Caused an accident because of their unsafe driving, which resulted in your injuries.
This might seem simple. You know what happened, and you think witnesses will agree. You will need solid evidence to show you played no part in the accident.
Note that Ohio follows the legal concept of comparative negligence. This means that if you are deemed partly responsible for the accident, it could reduce the compensation you can get. For example, if your injuries caused $250,000 in medical bills, but the court deems you to be 25 percent at fault for the crash, your award would be reduced by 25 percent.
Under comparative negligence, if you are found to be more than 50 percent at fault for the accident, you cannot recover any compensation at all. Even if you think you were not at fault, be prepared for the defendant to argue that you were to blame.
The main point of filing a personal injury claim is to collect compensation. Even minor accidents can result in astronomical medical expenses and other financial losses. To help you achieve this goal, your lawyer may try to get you compensation for the following:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Lost income
- Lost earning potential
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of life enjoyment
- Present and future medical expenses
- Rehabilitation costs
Many people are surprised to learn how much money they need to cover their medical expenses. The more serious your injuries, the more medical care you will need, and the more likely you will require a large sum of money to ensure your medical bills are paid.
The more serious your injuries, the more likely you will spend time out of work. It is more challenging to cover your regular living expenses without a paycheck, including costly medical bills. Depending on the severity of your injuries, you may not be able to return to work for a long time, if at all. This puts severe financial strain on you and your family.
Too many people think their insurance will be enough, but it may not completely cover their bills. This is why it is important to have a lawyer.
How Can a Lawyer Help Me?
Having a lawyer advocate on your behalf is vital after a car accident. Your lawyer can begin the claims process as soon as possible after your crash while you focus all of your energy on your health and well-being.
Your lawyer may start by holding off on filing a lawsuit because they will likely speak with the other driver’s insurance company to settle. This can save a great deal of time and expense by avoiding litigation, but it could also get quick money in your pocket. You will need to go to trial in some cases, and your lawyer will be prepared.
Cincinnati Personal Injury Lawyers at the Wolterman Law Office Can Help You File a Claim on Time
You should not wait to speak with a lawyer because you have a limited time to file a personal injury claim after a car accident. One of our experienced Cincinnati personal injury lawyers at the Wolterman Law Office can go over your case. Call us at 513-964-2589 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. Located in Loveland, Ohio, we serve clients throughout Hamilton County, Fairfield, Norwood, and Forest Park.