The statute of limitations for car accident claims in Columbus, Ohio, is generally two years from the accident date, per Ohio Revised Code Section 2305.10. You can consult with a personal injury attorney to understand any exceptions or unique circumstances that may impact your case. Exceptions include injuries to minors, whose statute does not begin to run until they turn 18.
If you or a loved one suffered injuries in a car accident that was at least partially the fault of another party, a Columbus car accident attorney at The Fitch Law Firm LLC can file your case before the statute of limitations deadline expires and explain your legal rights and options.
Why Does Ohio Have a Statute of Limitations Deadline on Car Accident Claims?
Statutes of limitations serve several important purposes and offer various benefits for cases in the legal system. Key benefits include the following:
- Evidence preservation: Relevant case evidence can become degraded, lost, or harder to obtain. Therefore, injured accident victims should bring legal cases as soon as possible while the evidence remains fresh.
- Protection against older claims: Permitting the filing of injury claims or lawsuits many years after injuries can disadvantage defendants. It can become harder to defend against claims when witness recollections become hazy, and records are inaccessible or not easily available.
- Closure for all parties: Once the established deadline has expired without filing a claim, potential plaintiffs forfeit the right to pursue legal action, providing closure for involved parties.
- Encouragement of diligence: Potential plaintiffs are encouraged to actively pursue their legal claims and not procrastinate in taking legal action for a prolonged period.
- Fair balancing of interests: While state law gives plaintiffs enough time to file a car accident claim, defendants are protected from the financial burden of going up against claims from past events.
- Promotion of judicial efficiency: Setting deadlines for filing claims helps prevent gridlock in the court system. Without these statutes, courts could be flooded with claims about events that occurred many years or decades ago.
- Encouragement of settlements: Knowing that a claim is time-sensitive can persuade parties to negotiate a settlement and find fair resolutions that save all parties time and resources.
- Focus on recent issues: By limiting the time for filing claims, legal deadlines can motivate parties to focus on addressing recent issues rather than lingering on past events.
In general, the statute of limitations is crucial in supporting a fair and efficient legal system. They promote a balance between the interests of plaintiffs and defendants, encourage timely resolution of disputes, and ensure the accessibility of evidence and witness accounts.
Are There Exceptions to Ohio’s Statute of Limitation Deadlines for Car Accident Claims?
Yes. A few common exceptions to car accident cases can supersede Ohio’s statute of limitations and lengthen the state’s deadline, including the following:
- The defendant has left the state, so the plaintiff may be allowed some leniency while waiting for the defendant to return.
- The defendant is a minor (under age 18).
- The defendant is legally incompetent or unfit to stand trial.
- The defendant is incarcerated for a prolonged period.
- The defendant is deceased, and you might be able to bring a claim against the defendant’s estate.
- The party is on active military duty, meaning the deadline may be extended until they are no longer actively serving.
- There is a tolling agreement in which both parties agree to waive the statute of limitations.
- If the plaintiff did not discover the injury or illness until later, despite due diligence on their part.
How Does a Columbus Car Accident Lawyer Help Secure Compensation?
Car accident attorneys in Columbus are responsible for many tasks when working on a personal injury or wrongful death case. These include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Thoroughly investigating the details of the car accident
- Collecting vital evidence to support your case, such as police reports and your medical records
- Obtaining photos and surveillance video footage (if available)
- Talking to witnesses who saw the accident or its aftermath
- Consulting with experts, such as health specialists and accident deconstructionists
- Identifying all your potential damages
- Calculating your losses to determine what your claim may be worth
- Negotiating with the potentially liable party’s insurance company
- Filing a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit, if necessary
- Fighting for your right to compensation at trial
What Damages Can I Recover From a Personal Injury Car Accident Claim in Columbus, OH?
Filing a claim within the two-year statute of limitations allows you to seek damages for injury-related losses you or your loved one suffered due to another party’s negligence. These can be economic or subjective and may include the following:
- Medical expenses, such as emergency medical treatment, surgeries, hospital stays, doctor’s visits, prescription drugs, etc.
- Loss of income as a result of sick leave needed to recover from accident injuries
- Diminished future earning capacity for long-lasting or permanent disabilities
- Physical pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Loss of enjoyment of life
You may be entitled to compensation for other auto accident damages, so you can contact a car collision attorney who can review your case and identify all your potential losses.
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How Do I Recover Damages From a Wrongful Death Car Accident Claim?
Wrongful death lawsuits can arise when the family members of a fatally injured loved one pursue compensation for their losses. Like in personal injury cases, wrongful death lawsuits are subject to a two-year statute of limitations, per Ohio Revised Code Section 2125.02. A Columbus wrongful death attorney can seek compensation for the following:
- The decedent’s accident-related medical bills
- Funeral, burial, and cremation expenses
- Loss of the decedent’s services
- Mental pain and suffering
- Loss of the decedent’s support, companionship, protection, care, advice, and guidance
- Loss of potential inheritance
How Does a Columbus Car Accident Lawyer Prove Liability in an Ohio Collision?
In most car accident cases that result in injuries in the Columbus area, proving another party is liable for compensation requires showing the defendant was negligent. Four elements must apply to the case for an accident lawsuit. They are:
- The liable party owed you a duty of care to act responsibly and in a manner expected of a reasonable person under similar circumstances.
- The party breached or failed to uphold their duty of care by driving carelessly or negligently.
- The party’s breach of duty of care directly caused your injuries.
- You sustained calculable damages because of the accident and injuries.
An attorney with experience in handling traffic accidents can review your case for these elements and advise you of your options.
Call The Fitch Law Firm LLC to Learn More About Ohio’s Statute of Limitations
If you or a loved one suffered injuries in a car accident in Columbus, call The Fitch Law Firm LLC today for a free, no-obligation case review. We will protect your legal rights are file your claim before the statute of limitations expires.
Our personal injury lawyers provide compassionate service to Ohio’s injured, and our team is available 24/7 to answer your questions.
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