What Is the Personal Injury Statute of Limitations in Maryland?
If you get injured in an incident that was someone else’ fault, you have the right to seek compensation. However, you are required by law to abide by the state’s statute of limitations, which sets a time limit for filing lawsuits and other legal actions. The statute of limitations exists to promote fairness in the justice system and encourage timely resolution of legal disputes. Let us explore the details of the Maryland statute of limitations for personal injury cases.
Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Claims in Maryland
According to Maryland Courts & Judicial Proceedings Code section 5-101, Maryland has a three-year statute of limitations for personal injury cases. The clock starts running on the date of the underlying incident that led to the injuries.
This general time limit is mostly used for cases that involve accidents, such as car accidents or slip-and-falls. Other types of cases, such as those that were caused by intentional harm like assault, could have a shorter statute of limitations in Maryland.
In some cases, the injury or illness might develop over some time. For example, a worker could be injured due to toxic fumes or contaminated drinking water at the workplace. It could take the worker weeks, months, or even years to develop symptoms of their illness. The statute of limitations starts when the worker first discovers or should have reasonably discovered the illness.
The Maryland Tort Claims Act (MTCA) requires personal injury victims who sue the state to submit a formal claim to the Treasurer or designee of the threats within one year of the accident that led to the injuries.
What If You Miss the Filing Deadline?
The statute of limitations for a personal injury case is a crucial factor in the success of the claim. Generally, even if you miss the deadline by one day, your personal injury lawsuit is likely to be dismissed.
While three years seems a long time, that time can pass before you know it. The most common reasons for missing the deadline include lack of awareness, reliance on friends or family members to initiate the claim or procrastination.
In some cases, financial barriers to legal action can be a major cause for delay as injured victims might feel they are not in a position to initiate legal action. However, it is always best to consult with an attorney to discuss your options.
If you are relying solely on the insurance companies to file a claim, that could be a big mistake. The insurance company handles a lot of cases and might not be aware of your specific timeframe.
Exceptions to State Limitations for Personal Injury Cases
While the statute of limitations is strictly enforced in Maryland, there are several potential exceptions. A common exception is if the injured victim was a minor at the time of the accident. The clock doesn’t start running until a person turns 18.
Another exception to the statute of limitations is if the defendant takes fraudulent steps to hide their liability from the injured person. In such cases, the three-year timeframe can be extended until they are identified.
How long does it take to resolve personal injury lawsuits in Maryland?
The time frame to resolve a personal injury lawsuit can take anywhere from months to years. Several factors can drag the case, including the lack of cooperation from the insurance company and the severity of injuries. For example, injured victims may want to reach maximum medical recovery to have a better understanding of their short-term and long-term expenses before they file the claim or settle the case. Other factors that can extend the time frame include time used by negotiations or a busy court schedule.
Is there a statute of limitations for property damage claims?
Yes, Maryland has a three-year statute of limits for property damage claims. If have had a car accident and want to get compensation for damage to your vehicle, you have three years from the date of the accident to initiate legal action.
Should I talk to the at-fault party’s insurance company before consulting an attorney?
Ideally, you want to consult with an attorney before you talk to the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Insurance companies will try to minimize their payout by using different strategies, so it may be helpful to consult with an attorney to understand what you should or shouldn’t say to the insurance company. For example, admitting fault to the insurance company could seriously undermine your case.
Consult With an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney
The statute of limitations can often be challenging to understand. If you have questions about the state’s statute of limitations or need guidance on Maryland personal injury lawsuits, it’s best to consult with an attorney who has the resources and experience to guide you through the legal proceedings.
If you are looking for an attorney, discuss your case with our Maryland personal injury attorney at The Parker Law Team. You can reach us at (410) LAW-YERS.