What is the Car Accident Statute of Limitations in Ohio?
First, let’s cut through the legalese, and explain that a “statute of limitations” is a state law that puts a time limit -- usually expressed in years -- on a person’s right to bring a lawsuit in the state’s civil court system. These deadlines vary depending on the kind of case you want to file.
In Ohio, the statute of limitations that will affect most car accident lawsuits is the same as the larger one that applies to most personal injury cases. Specifically, under Ohio Revised Code section 2305.10, an “action for bodily injury” (a personal injury lawsuit, in other words) must be filed within two years of the date of the injury -- in a car accident case, that includes a claim filed by a driver, passenger, motorcycle rider, bicyclist, or pedestrian.
If someone died as a result of the accident, and the family or other representative of the deceased person wants to file an Ohio wrongful death lawsuit against the driver who caused the crash, the deadline for starting that case is two years from the date of the deceased person’s death (keep in mind, that date might be different from the date of the accident).
Whether your case is a standard personal injury lawsuit or one that includes a wrongful death claim, it will most likely turn on your ability to prove that the at-fault driver’s negligence was the cause of the car accident. Learn more about Car Accidents Caused by Negligence.
Having read all of this, you may be wondering what happens if the statute of limitations deadline has passed but you try to file your lawsuit anyway. In that situation, the person you’re trying to sue will point out to the court that the deadline has passed, and the court will almost certainly dismiss the case. That’s why it’s so important to understand how the statute of limitations applies to your situation.
Even if you’re pretty sure that your case will be resolved through the car insurance claim process, it’s always a good idea to leave yourself plenty of time to file a lawsuit if you need to. From a settlement negotiation strategy standpoint, that will give you more leverage. If the filing deadline is coming up, it may be time to contact an experienced Ohio car accident attorney to make sure you are preserving all of your legal options.
by: David Goguen, J.D.