Whenever anyone believes that they have a legal claim, whether it is against a person or a company, that claim must be brought within a certain time limit. If a lawsuit is filed after that time limit has expired, it will almost certainly be dismissed. The legal term used for this time limit is the "statute of limitations."
The laws, also known as "statutes," of each jurisdiction establish these time limits which are different for different types of claims. Such time limits exist because after a significant amount of time passes litigation becomes more difficult. Physical evidence tends to disappear, and the memories of witnesses tend to fade.
In Ohio, the statute of limitations that governs bodily injury and personal property damage caused by a dangerous or defective product is found in Ohio Revised Code, Chapter 2305.10.
At first glance, the time limit to file a lawsuit for an injury may seem simple: It is only two years. When looked at more closely, it is much more complicated. The complication comes from the need to first determine when that two year time period actually begins.
In some situations, there can be no doubt when the injury occurred. For example, if a person is injured in a car accident due to a malfunctioning airbag, the two years begins on the date of the accident. But what if the injury comes from exposure to a chemical or other dangerous substance and it is not discovered for several years?
Luckily, Ohio is one of the many states that subscribes to the rule that the statute of limitations does not begin to run for a latent or hidden injury until the damage is actually diagnosed by a medical professional, or the date on which it would have been discovered by the plaintiff with reasonable effort.
Additionally, Ohio has a secondary limitation that may bar any claim ten years after a defective product was initially sold to the first consumer regardless of when the injury occurred or was discovered.
Statutes of limitations are inflexible. It is almost always best to file a defective product lawsuit as soon as possible. At the very least, you should make certain that you fully understand the time limits involved.
The information in this blog post is a general overview of the topic and is not offered as legal advice. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you understand the statute of limitations in your unique situation.