Most lawsuits seeking damages for a personal injury in Ohio must be commenced within two years of the date of the injury. However, certain kinds of injuries are not immediately detectable, and the courts generally allow a plaintiff extra time to commence a lawsuit. The Ohio Supreme Court recently became the first court in the country to decide that chronic traumatic encephalopathy, known as "CTE," is not subject to the two year limitation that applies to most personal injury claims.
The court was considering whether a claim for a CTE injury brought by a former football player several years after completion of his player’s career was barred by Ohio’s two-year statute of limitation. The player played for Notre Dame from 1974 to 1978 and died in 2015 at the age of 60. He was diagnosed with CTE in 2012. The complaint alleged that CTE was a latent disease and could not have been discovered within the two-year claim period.
The defendants argued that the plaintiff and his family should have discovered the existence of CTE because the disease is progressive and that the plaintiff began to suffer certain symptoms more than two years before he filed his complaint. The court rejected this argument, stating that no facts exist that require the player to realize that he had been injured as the result of defendants’ conduct.
Many former football players across the country are beginning to realize that they suffer from CTE as the result of repeated impacts to their heads. This decision, if followed by other courts, may pave the way for additional claims to be filed and to succeed. Anyone who believes they or a loved one suffers from CTE may want to get more information about their legal options and attempt to determine the likelihood of recovering damages from the responsible parties.