How Does the Statute of Limitations Affect My Personal Injury Case in Maryland?
First, you need to know that Maryland has a “statute of limitations” on all personal injury cases. A “statute of limitations,” simply, is a law that sets a specific time limit for filing your personal injury lawsuits. These timelines may differ, but the Maryland legislature addresses many types of personal injury cases and their required statutes of limitations.
These laws (involving legal time limits) have been in place for centuries. They came into being in ancient Greece and during the Roman Empire. A statute of limitations (or time period to file) is to ensure that defendants aren’t prosecuted or penalized unfairly.
It’s only common sense that if you could be held responsible indefinitely for any negligence or wrongdoing, much of the relevant evidence could be lost, witnesses may move or pass away, and pertinent details of what occurred will likely be forgotten. All of these factors, as well as others, will likely result in an unfair trial.
Civil cases, such as personal injury or personal property damage, always impose a statute of limitations that addresses the filing and possibly other aspects of your claim.
The statute of limitations in most personal injury lawsuits in Maryland is three years to settle your personal injury claim or file a lawsuit. Also, be aware that additional and earlier deadlines apply for filing personal injury protection (“PIP”) claims and for filing personal injury claims against the State of Maryland and the US Federal Government. If you don’t adhere to these time limits (or statutes of limitations), no matter how badly you are hurt, you cannot file and obtain the compensation you desperately need.
This three-year statute of limitations commonly pertains to the following types of personal injury cases:
- Car, truck, or motorcycle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Premises liability (slip/trip and fall incidents)
- Dog bites
- Product liability
- Wrongful death, and many more
If you’re injured due to another’s negligence, consult with a competent and experienced injury lawyer right away. A lawyer helping clients with injury claims will file the claim for you and assist you even if the claim has already been set up with the insurance company.
How Do I Know When the Maryland Statute of Limitations Begins In My Case?
The three-year clock for filing a lawsuit or settling your personal injury claim typically starts ticking on the day the incident occurred; hence, time is not always on your side, especially if you suffer significant injuries and will need ongoing or long term medical care.
This means that even if you initially feel fine after a car accident and four days later you develop pain, the statute of limitations will run out three years from the date of the car accident, not three years from the date you started to feel pain.
In certain instances, like medical malpractice, the statute of limitations might be extended to the date that you could have learned of your injury or to five years from the date of the incident, whichever is earlier.
For example, suppose the drinking water in your area is chemically contaminated. Then, it might take months (or longer) for you to develop symptoms of an illness from drinking the water, but you are still ill. Here, the Maryland statute of limitations would begin when you first discover and become aware of your illness.
You must note that even if you pass the statute of limitations for your case, by even one day, any claim you might have to file a lawsuit and claim compensation is likely to be thrown out of court. This would stop you from obtaining any compensation that you might be entitled to for your damages, no matter how severe your injuries and monetary losses might be.
Your experienced, thorough, and aggressive personal injury law firm will tell you that three years might seem like a long time, but it’s not. When dealing with any court proceeding, the wheels of justice often turn very slowly.
Therefore, if you suspect you’ve been injured, you must contact a personal injury lawyer who is aware of and will adhere to all of the statutes of limitations in your case and all other procedural requirements.
Are There Ever Any Extensions (or Exceptions) to Maryland’s Statute of Limitations?
The simple answer is yes. However, as many rules and regulations apply, you must discuss this legal issue with your personal injury lawyer. If necessary, your personal injury law team will fight aggressively and tirelessly for your rights to file your case.
Some examples of possible exceptions are:
- You’re a minor when your accident and injury occur
- You’re found to be mentally incompetent and can’t pursue your claim
- The negligent party (or defendant) purposefully or fraudulently that he/she was liable.
- Your lawyer can prove it took more than three years for you to discover your injury or illness
If My Minor Child Has Been Injured, Does It Affect the Maryland Statute of Limitations?
Always be aware that the statute of limitations in Maryland can become legally complex. This applies whether you are filing an “ordinary” personal injury lawsuit, but is especially true if you’re filing a personal injury claim for a child. If your child has been injured in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, then you should immediately contact a Pikesville personal injury law firm with experience handling lawsuits involving injuries to minors.
When minors are involved, these deadlines and time limits often differ. The statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit or settling a minor’s personal injury claim typically runs on the minor’s 21st birthday. However, the statute of limitations for the parents to recover the medical expenses they paid on behalf of their child typically remains the same as an “ordinary personal injury case,” which is three years from the date of the car accident. If you wait to file a claim for your minor child, you may miss out on the compensation needed for their treatment, recovery, and more.
Compensation for a minor’s personal injury claim can cover the following:
- Medical bills
- Payment for their “pain and suffering”
- Inconvenience of going to medical appointments
- Property damage, and much more
Be aware that these personal injury lawsuits are often legally complex, especially because the statute of limitations for the parent(s) and the minor are not usually the same; therefore, you should always take action before you are even close to these deadlines.
Consult with a competent, aggressive personal injury lawyer today. Obtain a complete case evaluation, and don’t gamble with your child’s future health. Missing any filing deadlines or court appearances can result in you forfeiting compensation for your child’s injuries, no matter how apparent the liability is or severe your child’s injuries might be.
I Need More Information About Maryland’s Statute of Limitations; How Should I Proceed?
First, it must be stressed that depending on your case and its specifics, the statute of limitations, filing rules, and regulations, etc., may differ.
Therefore, consult with a Pikesville personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. They will comprehensively analyze the pertinent details of your case and devise a legal strategy that will work for you. The Pikesville law office of Alex Poberesky, P.A., has the expertise, empathy, and success in winning cases that you need from a lawyer. Call them at (410) 484-0400, and don’t leave your or your family’s health or future up to chance.