Ohio Statute of Limitations for Legal Malpractice

The Ohio statute of limitations for legal malpractice can be tricky.  It is clear that the Ohio statute of limitations for legal malpractice is one year.  What is not as clear is when the one-year countdown begins to run.  Many people who suffered harm from their attorney’s actions or inaction and who wish to file a lawsuit against their attorney for legal malpractice may be disappointed to learn they waited too long.

A “statute of limitations” is a law that identifies the maximum amount of time, usually a number of years, a person can wait before filing a lawsuit.  If a person files a lawsuit beyond the time identified in the statute of limitations, that person runs the risk of having his or her lawsuit dismissed.  Think of the statute of limitations as a countdown before someone’s potential lawsuit expires.  The idea behind a statute of limitations is that people cannot reasonably be expected to defend themselves after so much time has passed because evidence may be destroyed, memories fade, and it becomes very difficult for a court to determine what really happened.  On the other hand, people who have been harmed should have enough time before filing a lawsuit to realize they’ve been somehow harmed, to figure out whether or not they have a good case, and to discover who the responsible parties are.

The Ohio statute of limitations for legal malpractice begins to run when either of two events occurs.  If both events occur, it is the later event that starts the statute of limitations running.

One event that begins the countdown is when the client made or should have made the connection that the harm he or she suffered is related to something his or her attorney did or did not do.  Sometimes, but not always, clients should make this connection immediately when they experience the harm, like perhaps when the client loses his or her case.  Sometimes however, because the legal process or the law itself is so complex, clients are not expected to have made this connection until they discover later on something that their attorney did or did not do which, for example, led to the client ultimately losing his or her case.

The other event that begins the countdown or statute of limitations to run on a legal malpractice lawsuit is when the attorney-client relationship ends.  Often, the end of an attorney-client relationship is easy to determine because attorneys will send a letter to the client indicating that their relationship has ended.  In any case, for an attorney-client relationship to end, either the attorney or the client typically must do something that shows they behaved in a way that goes against how an attorney and a client usually behave towards one another.  For example, a client might meet with another attorney on the same matter.

The best way to make sure the Ohio statute of limitations for legal malpractice does not doom a legal malpractice lawsuit is to contact a legal malpractice attorney as soon as the client discovers his or her current attorney may have done something wrong.  Also, so that it does not become too late to file a legal malpractice lawsuit, clients should contact attorneys who are experienced in handling legal malpractice cases, like the attorneys at Raslan & Pla, LLC, because they are likely to understand the ins and outs of the statute of limitations.

This post is also available in: Spanish

,

2 Responses to Ohio Statute of Limitations for Legal Malpractice

  1. Cindy Osborne August 4, 2016 at 4:15 pm #

    My husband signed away dower rights to the house my parents sold me and two years later left me then divorced me four years after that. When we divorced my attorney said regardless of signing away dower rights, because we were married for six years after I bought the house, he had accrued interest in it and my attorney, against my wishes, traded my husband’s alleged interest in the house for my rights to a share of his pension.
    At the same time he was filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy and I have reason to believe that he swore to the bankruptcy court that he had no interest, past, present, or future in my home. Those records are not available to me so I cannot prove it and the attorney said that can’t be. So, after staying home as he asked and raising eight children, I’ll live out my old age in poverty.
    If I could prove the bankruptcy statement (which one of my children read on his papers at his home), would I have a case?
    Cindy

    • Lydia Chiro August 22, 2016 at 9:25 am #

      Dear Cindy,

      We cannot give you an answer to your question without further information. Please consider contacting our firm to set up an initial consultation to discuss the matter further. You can call us at 216-928-1500 to set up an appointment. Thank you for reaching out to us.

      Sincerely,
      Raslan Pla & Company

Leave a Reply