Every US state has statutes of limitations in both criminal and civil cases, including Maryland. The concept of time restrictions traces back to British common law as the basis for our nation’s legal system. In personal injury cases, the point of a deadline is efficiency. Someone who has a claim should be diligent in bringing it before the court, before evidence deteriorates and witness recollections fade. If you were hurt in a motor vehicle crash, pedestrian or bicycle collision, slip and fall, or other type of accident, you must file a lawsuit in court before the relevant statute of limitations expires. By allowing this deadline to pass, you are barred from recovering any compensation for your losses.
However, this basic description does not cover some of the details about statutes of limitations or other time restrictions that apply in accident cases. You can trust your Baltimore County personal injury lawyer to handle the specifics, but it is important to be aware of timing issues.
Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury
Unless stated in other Maryland laws or an exception applies, the statute of limitations in Maryland civil cases is three years. The clock starts to run on the day the cause of action accrues. Which will be the date of the accident in which you were injured. You should note a few details about this law:
- The statute of limitations does apply to wrongful death cases.
- Insurance negotiations do not stop the clock, regardless of whether you settle.
Deadlines in Medical Malpractice Cases
Though medical errors typically fall in the category of personal injury claims, they operate according to a slightly different statute of limitations. The three-year deadline still applies if you suffer bodily harm right away after a med mal event; however, the discovery rule may extend the time period if you do not discover your injuries until later. For instance:
- You might not know that a surgeon left an object inside your body for several months or years.
- When a doctor misdiagnoses a medical condition, you may not get a proper diagnosis – and therefore not get essential treatment – until much later.
Under Maryland’s discovery rule, you have up to five years from the date of the medical malpractice incident.
Statutes of Limitations in Civil Sexual Assault Cases
While authorities may pursue an offender for sexual assault through the criminal process, victims also have civil options to recover monetary damages. The three-year statute of limitations applies, but there is an exception for minors. Victims have up to seven years after reaching the age of majority. You could file a civil lawsuit until age 25.
Contact a Maryland Personal Injury Attorney Right Away
Statutes of limitations or other time restrictions are some of the most important details you need to know if you were injured in an accident that was not your fault. For more information on the legal process, please contact attorney Michael A. Freedman to set up a free consultation at our offices in Owings Mills, MD.