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  4.  | Ohio’s Supreme Court rules on statute of repose for wrongful death claims

Ohio’s Supreme Court rules on statute of repose for wrongful death claims

On Behalf of | Apr 22, 2024 | Professional Liability, Wrongful Death & Serious Injury Litigation

Months ago, the Supreme Court of Ohio decided on an important legal matter related to how long a person has to sue if something goes wrong after a medical procedure or, worse, if the patient dies after a medical procedure.

The time limit is called a “statute of repose,” and it is a deadline. Once the time runs out, the person who wants to sue cannot do so. It is like a timer that begins when the doctor performs a medical procedure.

Why does this time limit exist?

Many courts believe that for specific claims, like medical mistakes, there should be a limit to the time a person has to sue because, in almost all cases, if the person sustained an injury during the medical procedure, odds are they will find out within a certain period.

Having unlimited time to sue would, perhaps, expose doctors and hospitals to potentially unlimited lawsuits, which would cause a whole new set of problems.

Application to wrongful death claims

The big news is that the Supreme Court of Ohio recently decided that this time limit also applies where the person dies and the family decides to sue. The family can sue the doctor, the hospital or whoever they claim is responsible.

Just like with a medical mistake, once the doctor performs the procedure, the timer begins, and once the specified amount of time runs out, the family of the person who passed away cannot sue.

Biggest takeaway

The most significant change from this decision is that the same time limit that medical lawsuits have for people to sue, also applies to cases where the person dies.

Legal representation

When a doctor performs a procedure and a patient suffers an injury, it is essential to contact an attorney. You, the patient, have rights, and your medical team has responsibilities. If they fail you in fulfilling those responsibilities, the law may order them to compensate you.

The same is true if someone in your family dies after a medical procedure. Suppose an attorney can bring the case to court and prove that there was a medical error that led to that person’s death. In that case, the court may order the doctor or hospital to compensate the family.

It is essential, however, to know what the time limits are. For this, it is best to speak with your attorney, who can give you specific advice regarding your unique case.