Understanding the Statute of Limitations and Your Personal Injury Case

Personal injury cases require fast action. You have the right to seek compensation for your injuries and related pain and suffering. However, that right can slip away if you don’t take timely action. 

In Maryland, there is a legal time frame to file a lawsuit after an injury-causing accident. This crucial time frame is called the “statute of limitations.”

Why Does Maryland Have a Statute of Limitations?

Knowing why Maryland has a statute of limitations will help you understand the details of your case. The statute of limitations serves several essential purposes in civil personal injury cases.

A Brief History of Statute of Limitations

The statute of limitations for personal injury cases in Maryland has a history rooted in legal traditions that date back centuries. The concept of time limitations on legal actions can be traced to English common law. They influenced the early legal systems in the American colonies, including Maryland.

This legal heritage shaped early Maryland statutes of limitations. It has been subject to modifications over time. Regarding personal injury claims, Maryland is a product of legal evolution and reform.

Maryland legislators and legal authorities recognize the rights of injured individuals. They have the right to seek compensation. They also want defendants to have legal certainty and finality.

This statute of limitations allows individuals to file a lawsuit for damages. This can start from the accident date or the date of injury discovery. It reflects the culmination of legal principles and societal considerations that have developed.

Encouraging Prompt Action

Having a statute of limitations encourages injured parties to take prompt legal action. It is in the best interest of the injured individual to file their complaint swiftly. This allows quicker compensation.

Preserving Evidence

Timely lawsuits ensure that civil disputes are based on the best possible evidence. Waiting too long can lead to the loss or deterioration of crucial evidence. That makes it challenging to establish liability.

Preventing Abuse

The statute of limitations stops plaintiffs from abusing the legal system. This could be done by attempting to litigate a matter long after the incident. It helps maintain fairness and efficiency in the legal process.

The statute of limitations is integral to ensuring that justice is served efficiently. It promotes the timely resolution of disputes. It is designed to provide injured parties a reasonable opportunity to pursue their claims while preventing indefinite exposure to legal liability for potential defendants.

What Is the Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Cases in Maryland?

In Maryland, it is generally three years. This means you have a three-year window to file a lawsuit for damages starting from the accident date or the date you discovered your injury. Forfeiting the right to seek compensation will occur if there is a failure to file a personal injury claim within three years.

Tolling the Statute of Limitations

Courts can allow the statute of limitations to be paused or “tolled.” This means the clock on your personal injury case stops running for a certain period due to extenuating circumstances.

Age and Mental Capacity

The court may consider whether or not the person is under eighteen, found to be of unsound mind, or mentally incompetent at the time of the injury. The court can determine to pause the statute of limitations until they reach legal age or capacity.

Defendant’s Location

If the defendant in your case has left the state or cannot be located, the court can pause the statute of limitations. This is only done until the defendant is reachable.

It’s important to note that you won’t be penalized for circumstances beyond your control. The clock begins running again once the tolling factor is resolved.

Does Maryland Have a Statute of Repose?

A statute of repose is a legal provision. It sets a specific time limit within which a lawsuit or claim must be filed.

It differs from statutes of limitations, which typically start counting down from the date of the injury or harm.

In the State of Maryland, it’s important to note that there is no statute of repose for personal injury cases. Unlike some states that may have statutes of repose for specific types of claims, Maryland does not impose a rigid time limit on filing personal injury lawsuits.

This means that individuals in Maryland can pursue personal injury claims even if several years have passed since the injury occurred, as long as they adhere to the applicable statute of limitations.

What if I Want to Sue the Government?

Suing the government in personal injury cases can be complex but possible. This is all thanks to the Maryland Tort Claims Act.

You may be eligible for compensation if a government agency or employee injures you. For example, if a state-approved hazardous road design led to your Baltimore car accident, you can hold the city accountable for your injuries.

Government claims have rules and procedures that apply in these cases. To bring a claim against the State of Maryland, you must send a claim letter to the Treasurer’s office within one year. 

Having a personal injury lawyer on your side provides the guidance you need.

When facing the complexities of personal injury cases and the strict deadlines imposed by the statute of limitations, proper legal representation becomes paramount.

Choosing a qualified attorney can significantly impact the outcome of your case. An experienced attorney understands the importance of acting swiftly within the prescribed time frame.

Your attorney can help you navigate the intricate legal landscape. They will ensure that all required documents are filed promptly and correctly. This will leave no room for procedural errors that could jeopardize your claim.

Additionally, a knowledgeable attorney can:

  • Assess the strength of your case
  • Gather vital evidence
  • Establish the root cause of the accident
  • Negotiate with insurance companies or opposing parties
  • If necessary, take your case to court

Their expertise can be instrumental in protecting your rights and maximizing your chances of obtaining the compensation you deserve.

Regarding personal injury cases and the statute of limitations, choosing the right attorney is not just a matter of legal expertise. It is a critical step toward ensuring your claim is filed on time.

Act Fast and Contact a Baltimore Personal Injury Lawyer

Understanding the statute of limitations is crucial when pursuing a personal injury claim in Maryland. These legal timeframes can significantly impact your ability to seek compensation, so acting fast is essential if you believe you have a valid claim.

If you’re facing a personal injury case in Maryland and have questions or need legal assistance, don’t hesitate to contact WGK Personal Injury Lawyers in Baltimore, MD. Our specialized team can help you navigate the complexities of personal injury law. 

Contact our personal injury attorneys today at (410) 807-8716. Don’t let time run out on your right to seek justice and compensation for your injuries.