Ohio Supreme Court Upholds 4-Year Cap for Malpractice Claims

Last week, the Ohio Supreme Court upheld a state law that bars people from filing medical liability cases more than four years after the date of the alleged action.

The majority ruled that patients and providers are entitled to a reasonable period of time to discover an injury caused by medical negligence and seek legal action.

In the majority opinion, Justice Judy Lanzinger noted that 36 states have similar statutes of repose and that "if the General Assembly cannot legislate a statute of repose, medical providers are left with the possibility of unlimited liability indefinitely," according to the report.

The American Hospital Association, Ohio Hospital Association, American Medical Association and others filed a friend-of-court brief for the case, urging the high court to uphold the law and protect medical providers from claims 10, 20 or even 50 years after alleged medical negligence.

The organizations claimed malpractice claims filed after four years pose a "host of litigation concerns," including corrupted and/or disappeared evidence, untrustworthy testimony due to faded memories and deceased witnesses.

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