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Statutes of Limitations in Ohio Debt Lawsuits
Imagine that years ago you had a trip to an ER in Columbus with a nasty flu. You waited for a couple of hours, were examined, given some fluids through an IV, and ultimately sent home.
A month or so later, you got a medical bill for a lot more than you expected because the ER wasn’t in your insurance network. The bill was more than you could pay, so you put it aside because you’d heard that hospitals wouldn’t do much to collect bills like that.
You got a couple of collection letters that you never responded to because you just had other things to deal with at the time, and eventually you forgot that the bill even existed.
Years later, you open your mail and find papers for a lawsuit for that long-ago ER bill. The amount demanded in the lawsuit is now much higher than the original bill, once interest is added. Your financial situation isn’t much better now, and you’re worried that you’ll get garnished — all because you once caught the flu.
To learn more about your rights and options in an Ohio debt lawsuit, call the Consumer law attorneys at LHA for a free consultation: (888) 726-3181. The statute of limitations may help. We’ll explain your options and represent you so an old bill doesn’t ruin your future.
Do Debts Expire in Ohio?
There is hope for debtors who find themselves getting sued over old bills when the lawsuit is filed after the statute of limitations has expired. The statutes of limitations for different types of lawsuits are set by law.
In Ohio, those statutes are codified in the Ohio Revised Code and act as expiration dates for legal claims.
The statutes of limitations for debts in Ohio can be confusing because of a law change within the past couple of years.
Debts from written accounts that went into default before Sept. 28, 2012, have a 15-year statute of limitations because the previous law still applies. Written accounts include nearly all types of debts, including credit cards, payday loans, medical bills, or any other type of debt for which you signed an agreement.
Therefore, you could be sued as far in the future as 2027 for a written account that went into default in August 2012. If you’re being sued in 2015, the debt would have to have gone into default in 2000 or earlier for the statute of limitations to be expired.
When Does the Statute of Limitations Start?
The clock starts ticking on a statute of limitations not when you open an account, such as by activating a credit card, but from the time that the account was closed or you stopped paying the bill. Under Ohio Rev. Code 2305.08, promising to make a payment also can be used as the trigger date for calculating the statute of limitations on your debt.
For debts after Sept. 28, 2012, the Ohio statutes of limitations for different accounts are:
- 6 years — Oral account, or non-written contract (Ohio Rev. Code 2305.07)
- 8 years — Written contract or account (Ohio Rev. Code 2305.06)
- 6 years from the due date or accelerated due date — Note Payable at a Definite Time (Ohio Rev. Code 1303.16(A))
- 6 or 10 years, depending on whether a demand was made — Demand Note (Ohio Rev. Code 1303.16(B))
- 3 years from the date of dishonoring or 10 years from the date written — Dishonored Check or Draft (Ohio Rev. Code 1303.16(C))
Will Ohio’s Statute of Limitations Always Apply?
It’s possible that another state’s statute of limitations may be applied to your debt case under an Ohio law known as the borrowing statute.
There are complex legal questions involved in whether the borrowing statute might apply, and those can best be answered by consulting with a qualified Ohio debtor defense lawyer about your specific case.
The Statute of Limitations & Your Credit Report
It’s important to understand that the statute of limitations only applies to when a creditor can legally sue you. It does not govern how long a debt stays on your credit report.
In most instances, a credit reporting agency can only report a delinquent debt on your credit report for seven years.
An Ohio Debt Lawyer at LHA Can Help
If you’re unsure what category your debt falls into, an experienced debt help lawyer can help you determine whether the statute of limitations has expired. Your lawyer may be able to get the collection lawsuit against you dismissed and prevent the creditor from garnishing your wages or attaching a lien to your assets.
If you’re experiencing debt problems or collection activity, the Ohio debt help lawyers at Luftman, Heck & Associates offer experienced representation to help you get your debt under control. Call us today at (888) 726-3181 for a free consultation.