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Statute of Limitations During the Covid-19 Crisis

by | Mar 31, 2020 | Personal Injury

Statute of limitations govern the amount of a time a person has to file a lawsuit. As an example, most injury cases in Ohio caused by negligent acts are governed by a two-year statute of limitations. Meaning, if you are in a car crash, you have two years from the date of the crash to file a lawsuit. Medical malpractice claims and intentional torts such as assaults are governed by a one-year statute of limitations. Statute of limitations vary by case, so it is critical you speak with a lawyer quickly if a loved one or you have been injured. Furthermore, the best lawsuits are filed after a long due diligence period to ensure all potential wrongdoers are captured in the lawsuit.

Recently, as a result of the coronavirus, courts have drastically reduced operating hours and the ability for people to file lawsuits. Some courts place filings in a safe bin and wait several days before filing the pleadings. For people and lawyers who wait until the last day to file a lawsuit, statute of limitations can be missed which would forever prevent a person from bringing a lawsuit.

More than a week ago, our firm implemented a policy to file any case prior to sixty-days of the pending statute date so our clients’ claims are not placed in danger. Thankfully, the Ohio Supreme Court recently enacted new law tolling time. At our firm we are filing case despite the legislation and think it is best practice.

Ohio Supreme Court Announces Order Tolling Time

On March 27th, 2020, the Ohio Supreme Court announced that it was tolling time, retroactive to March 9th, for all cases in Ohio until July 30, 2020, or the end of the coronavirus emergency, whichever is sooner. This Order was made following Governor’s DeWine’s signing into law Am.Sub.H.B. No. 197, which immediately tolled, retroactive to March 9, 2020, all statutes of limitation, time limitations, and deadlines in the Ohio Revised Code and the Ohio Administrative Code until the expiration of Executive Order 2020-01D or July 30, 2020, whichever is sooner. Effectively, then, all cases-be it civil, criminal, or domestic relations-have had their time requirements tolled, or paused, from March 9th until July 30th. These time requirements include the time for filing all pleadings, appeals, and all other filings; time limitations; deadlines; and other directives related to time, including non-constitutional jurisdictional deadlines. Undoubtedly, this Order has wide-ranging impact. It means statutes of limitations to bring personal injury cases or other civil actions are extended. It also means speedy trial requirements in criminal case (at least under state law requirements) have also been extended. Aa copy of the Court’s Order can be found here: https://www.supremecourt.ohio.gov/rod/docs/pdf/0/2020/2020-Ohio-1166.pdf

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