Can I Sue For Medical Misdiagnosis in Ohio?


When it comes to medical malpractice, you may have in mind events like slipping of surgical blades, suggesting wrong medications, or objects left inside a patient’s body after surgery, etc. Although such events are recurring in Ohio medical facilities and create long-term impacts or even prove fatal for a patient, issues like misdiagnosis or diagnostic failure go undetected.


According to the British Medical Journal (BMJ), the rate of diagnostic errors ranges between 5 to 50% depending on the specialty. Misdiagnosis may include comparatively minor errors like mistaking the flu for a sinus infection or a life-threatening ailment like cancer misdiagnosis.


Thus, you may be curious to know what constitutes a medical misdiagnosis. What are the legal remedies available in Ohio in the event of a medical injury? How do you sue a medical practitioner or healthcare facility for the same? And many other related questions.


What is Medical Misdiagnosis?

Before discussing the law and legal remedies to misdiagnosis in Ohio, it is necessary to conceptualize medical misdiagnosis. A misdiagnosis may include a wrong diagnosis or failure to detect complications, changing or escalating an existing condition. However, not every misdiagnosis may necessarily amount to malpractice because even highly experienced doctors or medical professionals can sometimes make diagnostic errors.


Medical misdiagnosis can only be claimed as medical malpractice if a patient suffers because of failure by a doctor or a healthcare professional in upholding their duty to protect and care for the patient. Three criteria must be satisfied and proven to impose liability on a medical professional for medical malpractice arising from negligence.

  • Existence of doctor-patient relationship.
  • Negligent actions by a doctor/medical professional to adopt due standard of care
  • Injury from such negligent actions.


Medical Malpractice Statute on Limitations in Ohio

The State of Ohio sets a 4-year limitation period, known as the statute of repose, exclusively reliant on the passing of time rather than the accruing of injuries arising from negligence. This statute of repose is most relevant when the injury goes undetected for several years.

Aside from the four-year deadline, section 2305.113 of the Ohio Revised Code provides for the filing of suits concerning medical negligence beyond the limit under certain circumstances:

  1. If you could not discover the injury despite exercising due care and diligence within three years after its occurrence but realized it at the end of the four years. Then, you can file the lawsuit within one year of such discovery.
  2. Even after the expiration of the four years, you may file a suit within a year of discovering that a foreign object has remained in your body during a medical procedure.
  3. The 12-month deadline is extendable by six months if you send a written intimation to the prospective defendants about your intent to sue them for medical malpractice. Provided defendants receive the notice before the 12-month limit expires, you will have 180 days to initiate the lawsuit.


Requirement for Affidavit of Merit in Ohio

According to Ohio Rule of Civil Procedure 10(D)(2), for bringing a suit of medical malpractice, the same must be accompanied by an “Affidavit of Merit” by an expert witness (generally a doctor or other licensed medical professional) declaring under oath that he:

  1. has reviewed all medical records available to you;
  2. is familiar with the medical standards of care applicable to your treatment;
  3. believes that the standard of care remains unmet;
  4. believes that failure to meet such standards of care has resulted in your injury.


Medical malpractice lawsuits unless backed by an “Affidavit of Merit” can be dismissed by the court. However, the court is unlikely to do the same for a suit accompanied by an Affidavit of Merit. Further, you may request an extension for preparing the affidavit.


Medical Malpractice Damages Cap

Like other states, the Ohio legislature has capped the compensation awardable to a victim of misdiagnosis. There can be two types of damages arising from medical malpractice: economic and non-economic. Economic damages include the incurred medical bills, the incurred cost of future medical costs, times lost at work or other earnings, etc, that are usually easy to ascertain.


On the other hand, non-economic damages include emotional distress, pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, etc., arising from medical malpractice whose monetary value is not determinable with certainty.


Thus, the compensation cap applies solely to the non-economic damages where Section 2323.43 of the Ohio Revised Code limits the damages at $250,000 or thrice the plaintiff’s economic damages with a maximum of $350,000 per plaintiff (or a maximum of $500,000 if there are more than one victim).

If the damage has resulted in permanent or catastrophic injuries, the compensation may extend to $500,000 per plaintiff or $1 million for each case.



Every person shows up to a doctor or medical professional expecting proper treatment and care. The first step to treating a patient is detecting the prevalent health issue with specificity. It is understandable that despite exercising due care and diligence, misdiagnosis may still happen. However, acting negligently and causing damage to a patient hoping for recovery is unforgivable. Therefore, the Ohio Revised Code is fair and just in providing a time limit of four years for discovering injuries arising from misdiagnosis and a year to file a legal lawsuit for damages.


Moreover, the code provides for measures like an “Affidavit of Merit” to be furnished by medical experts and capping damages preventing the victimization of doctors and medical professionals by false damage claims or huge financial liability arising from any negligence suit.