Maryland Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations in most Maryland personal injury cases is three years. There are a variety of exceptions to the statute of limitations that may shorten or lengthen this three year statute of limitations to file a lawsuit that is applicable to most, but not all, personal injury cases. If you are unsure about the applicable statute of limitations in Maryland, you should contact a Maryland lawyer immediately without delay because the clock is literally ticking.
There may also be notice requirements, particularly against local municipalities, the state of Maryland, the federal government, or any related governmental entity, that require specific notification of particulars of the accident and your claim. Medical malpractice claims are a different animal, as well. [Learn more here.]
There is also a different statute of limitations to file claims for personal injury protection (PIP) benefits in Maryland. (Conversely, wrongful death lawsuits are often more than three years after the date of the negligence because the relevant date - subject to exceptions - is when the victim died as opposed to when the negligent act occurred.) But the moral of the story is clear: the statute of limitations can be extremely harsh and you should contact a malpractice or injury lawyer immediately for professional legal advice applicable to your situation.
Looking Past Three Years: Extending the Statute of Limitations in Maryland
That said, under Maryland law, there are four exceptions that may extend the statute of limitations if you find yourself with a personal injury claims for which the statute of limitations has passed. The first and most frequently discussed is the discovery rule. Under the discovery rule, an action accrues on the date when the plaintiff knew or reasonably should have known of the negligence and the harm that ensued. This exception also has exceptions, most notably in medical malpractice case where the outer limit from the date injury is five years, regardless of when the injury was discovery (an awful, draconian rule the medical malpractice insurance lobby was able to push through the Maryland General Assembly).
The second “backdoor” to the statute of limitation in Maryland is the continuation of events theory. This may apply in cases where there is a continuation of services, or the party's right depends upon the happening of an event in the future. In these cases, the statute of limitations in Maryland may begin to run from the time the services can be completed or from the time the event happens.
The third exception is fraud. If the negligent party fraudulently conceals knowledge of a cause of action, Maryland law provides that the cause of action accrues at the time when the injured part discovered, or should have discovered, the fraud.
The final exception is when a person is under a disability, which his defined as minor (under 18) and people who are mental incompetent. Accordingly, in most cases, minors have until at least the day before their 21st birthday (goofy, we know) to bring most personal injury cases. (That interpretation of the law is actually outdated; it should be the day of their 21st birthday. But would you want to be the test case to verify that?)
The operative word with the statute of limitations and all its exceptions is “usually” or in most cases. There is a book of exceptions that shorten and lengthen the statue of limitations. Again, and we realize we are beating a theme dead here, if you have any question about the statute of limitations in your case, call a Maryland lawyer to figure out the exact statute of limitations in your case. You can call our attorneys - and get one on the phone - at 800-553-8082 or get a free on-line consultation here.
More on the Maryland Statute of Limitations
- Statute of Limitations in Maryland for Minors
- Statute of Limitations for Medical Malpractice Cases in Maryland
- The Application of the Discovery Rule in Maryland Medical Malpractice Statute of Limitations Cases (how the discovery rule is altered in medical malpractice cases in Maryland)
- Maryland State and Local Government Tort Claims Acts (discussion of the complexity of the statutes and how they act as a psudeo statute of limitations in bodily injury tort claims)
- Why You Should Get a Lawyer in a Serious Maryland Injury Case?
- Handling Claims Without a Lawyer (if you don't listen to advice to hire a lawyer, here is some tips that may help you)
- Maryland Injury Victim Help Center (information for Maryland accident and medical malpractice victims)
- Maryland Accident and Malpractice Lawyer Help Center (resource for lawyers handling personal injury medical malpractice or accident cases in Maryland)
- Personal Injury Statute of Limitations in Other States