How Much Time Do I Have To File My Lawsuit?

If you’re reading this, hopefully it’s not too late.  When something happens that allows you to sue someone or something for damages, there is a clock that starts ticking.  Once the clock reaches zero, time runs out and you will likely not be able to file a lawsuit any longer.  This is regardless of whether or not you have a claim.  This concept, known as the statute of limitations, applies when an employer discriminates or retaliates against you, you are involved in a car accident, or most, if not all, other situations.  Some examples of time limits or statutes of limitations for certain situations are the following:


Deadline for Filing A Charge with the EEOC or OCRC

There a time limits to file charge with either the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) or Ohio Civil Rights Commission (“OCRC”).  Generally, you have 180 days from the illegal action by your current or former employer to file a charge of discrimination with the EEOC.  Because Ohio has a state investigative agency, the OCRC, that time limit is extended to 300 days.  For the OCRC, the statute of  limitations is 180 days.  Having an attorney present to help you file the charge can be beneficial, because it ensures that all causes of action are included in the charge.


Deadline for Suing A Current or Former Employer for Discrimination

The statute of limitations for suing for discrimination varies based on whether you are filing federal or state law claims.  For federal claims, you must first receive a right to sue letter from the EEOC.  Once you receive the right to sue letter, you have 90 days to file a federal lawsuit against the company.  For state law claims, you generally have 6 years to file a lawsuit.


Deadline for Suing A Current or Former Employer for FLSA Claims

Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), there is not a traditional statute of limitations.  Instead, the FLSA uses a period of time that it will “look back” to find out what money may be owed.  Generally, the “look back” period is 2 years from the date of filing the lawsuit, but it can be extended to 3 years based on the conduct of the employer or company.  For example, a lawsuit filed July 2019 would like back until July 2017 to find out damages.  If the employer’s conduct justified the 3 year look back, the time period used would be from July 2016-July 2019.


Deadline for Suing a Person or Company for Personal Injury

After a car accident, slip and fall, or other personal injury, there is usually a 2 year statute of limitations that applies.  During that time period, it is essential to collect all your medical records and bills, and keep track of any lost wages you may have had as a result of the incident too.


Exceptions to Statute of Limitations

This is a small sampling of the different time limits or statute of limitations that apply in different scenarios.  There are some situations  where the statute of limitations doesn’t apply.  These exceptions can be hard to prove. So,the sooner you can get started with your claim, the better.  Ohio employment attorneys, like myself, are here to help guide you through the process.  If you believe you have a case and are running out of time on your statute of limitations, contact me for a free initial consultation!


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James J. Hux is the Owner and Sole Attorney at Hux Law Firm, LLC. His practice areas include employment discriminationpersonal injury, and general civil litigation throughout the State of Ohio.