Deadlines are important in the practice of law, and there are many time restrictions that apply to different types of personal injury claims. Specifically, Maryland has a statute of limitations for medical malpractice cases that only affects those seeking compensation from a negligent healthcare provider. When you think of deadlines, you probably expect to be dealing with a single, definite number. Unfortunately, different factors affect the statute of limitations, and the details can make things confusing if you do not have a background in law.
Because missing the statute of limitations can lead to harsh consequences, retaining legal counsel is critical. There are many other procedural rules that also affect your interests, so you will need assistance from a Baltimore medical malpractice attorney. Some background about your deadlines is also informative.
Basic Rules on Med Mal Deadlines
When a case involves the rendering of or failure to render professional services by a healthcare provider, the default statute of limitations is measured from two different dates. The case must be filed in court by the earlier of:
● Five years from the date that the medical error was committed by the provider; OR,
● Three years from when the resulting medical condition was discovered.
Note that the statute of limitations may be tolled in cases where a health care provider engaged in fraud or unlawful concealment of the medical error that caused your injuries.
Statute of Limitations for Birth Injuries
There is a different deadline for children, specifically victims under 11 years old. The rule affects birth injuries cases, so parents must understand a few important points:
● For infants who suffer birth injuries, the statute of limitations begins to run when the child turns 11 years old.
● The key date is the time the injury was committed, as opposed to when it was discovered.
When a child older than 11 years old suffers injuries because of a medical error, the birth injuries statute of limitations does not apply. Minors have additional time, which is three years after turning 18 years old.
What Happens When You Miss the Deadline?
Failing to comply with the different requirements under the med mal statute of limitations is devastating for your case. A skipped deadline effectively forfeits your rights, so you cannot sue for damages. Keep in mind that many medical malpractice cases are resolved via settlement agreements, and negotiations can take months. The clock on the statute of limitations continues to run.
Regardless of the requirements, time is of the essence in a med mal claim. Delays put off the resolution of your case, and your losses are considerable after suffering injuries from a medical error.
Consult with a Maryland Med Mal Lawyer About Other Important Legal Rules
If you were affected by a medical error, please contact attorney Michael A. Freedman to set up a consultation. Individuals in Baltimore County can call 410.363.6848 or go online to reach our offices in Owings Mills or Glen Burnie. After reviewing your claim, we can discuss the next steps.