Medical malpractice law in Ohio has changed quite a bit due to malpractice reforms implemented as of April 2003.
Statutes of Limitations in Ohio
Any action must be commenced within one year of the discovery of the act or negligence upon which the action is based, according to Ohio law. A four-year statute of repose has been added for claims arising out of acts or omissions on or after April 11, 2003. A claim must be brought within 4 years of the act or omission, within one year from discovery.
Malpractice resulting in death gives rise to both claims of personal loss and suffering prior to death, enforceable by the decedent's personal representative, and wrongful death claim by spouse and next of kin.
Ohio State Malpractice Laws at a Glance:
Ohio State Tort Law Statute of Limitations One year from date of original injury or four years after injury is discovered. In cases of foreign objects, one year from date injury is discovered.
Damage Award Limits Limit for noneconomic damages is the greater of $250,000 or three times the economic damages, to a maximum of $350,000 per plaintiff to a maximum of $500,000 per occurrence. No limits for economic damages.
Joint Defendant Liability Proportionate liability for defendants except in cases where the defendant is found to be greater than 50% at fault.
Expert Witness Witness must be licensed doctor or a surgeon that devotes 75% of his/her time teaching or practicing in a clinical setting.
Attorney FeesNo limits on attorneys fees
Contributory or Comparative Negligence in Ohio
In Ohio, the claimant's contributory fault bars recovery only if it exceeds the combined fault of all other persons, whether or not they are named in the suit. Otherwise recovery is diminished proportionally to their fault.
Several Liability Only, Generally, in Ohio
Multiple defendants are severally liable only if they jointly caused the injury in question. Each defendant's share of the judgment is proportional to his or her percentage of fault and non-parties may be included in the calculation. Intentional tortfeasors and defendants with more than 50 percent of total fault, however, are jointly and severally liable for economic damages. Contribution
Vicarious Liability in Ohio
Under the doctrine of respondeat superior, a hospital may be held liable for torts committed by its employees and under agency by estoppel, it may be held liable for the negligence of physicians who are not its employees if the patient looks to the hospital, as opposed to the individual physician, to provide competent medical care.
Expert Testimony Requirements in Ohio
Expert testimony must be presented to establish the prevailing standard of care in actions involving a medical professional's skill and judgment. Additionally, expert testimony must be presented that supports a breach of that standard, and proximate cause.
Damage Caps in Ohio
Ohio caps non-economic damages at the larger of $250,000 or three times economic damages, to a maximum of $350,000 per plaintiff and a maximum of $500,000 per occurrence. These amounts increase to $500,000 per plaintiff and $1 million per occurrence if the plaintiff has suffered physical deformity, loss of use of a limb, organ system, or permanent physical injury that prevents self-care.
Arbitration in Ohio
Ohio does not require actions be referred to arbitration. However, the state permits them to be, and such arbitration is nonbinding and may not be admitted as evidence at trial.