Maryland Local Government Tort Claims

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You get in a car accident. Being a sophisticated person, you know there is a statute of limitations in Maryland prescribing a time limit for bringing car accident claims. That research yields the answer: three years. You relax. And then six months (or one year later), you call a lawyer to make a claim and you learn that another form of 'statute of limitations' has passed and you no longer have a claim.

Our lawyers have seen this scenario unfold many times. Not just with injury victims. A leading cause of legal malpractice cases is missing filing and/or notice requirements that are unexpected in car accident cases.

Notice Requirements Are Ridiculously Strict

What happens is the Maryland Local Government Tort Claims Act or the Maryland Tort Claims Act. If the defendant is either a local government or acting as an agent or servant of a local government, very specific notice of the claim is required. If you notify the wrong person or in the wrong manner, your accident claim is barred.

The Maryland Local Government Tort Claims Act (LGTCA) defines "local governments" in broad terms to include counties, municipalities and miscellaneous governmental entities such as public libraries, community colleges, and other things you might not naturally assume are governmental entities.

Then there is the problem of figuring out just who you notify and how you notify them. The answers are often counterintuitive. County sheriffs? They sound like local government, don't they? But they are state officials. Accordingly, proper notice must be given to the state. Likewise, the Baltimore Police Department is a state agency but its employees are covered under the LGTCA.

Adding to the confusion, the law changes frequently. The Maryland General Assembly has modified the MTCA or the LGTCA in nearly every year since since 1981. Which is a good segue to point out that you should not rely on any information contained in this website about the rules governing claims against state and local governments in Maryland. If you have a claim or you are a Maryland lawyer not well versed in the nuances of these statutes, you really need to speak to an experienced counsel as soon as possible.

Getting an Advocate to Help You

If you have been hurt by the negligence of someone else and you have a question about your claim, call us at 800-553-8082 or click here for a free consultation.

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