Every potential lawsuit has a deadline known as the statute of limitations. The most important step in any case is knowing the deadline to file it. You can have the best medical malpractice case or automobile accident case in the world, but if you waited too long, you won’t be able to recover a dime.
There are other important deadlines in some cases, too. These include notice deadlines, which require that specific information be given to an entity within a certain amount of time. Failure to provide that information on time can also destroy the ability of a case to move forward.
One quick disclaimer—sometimes it is a simple matter to know what deadlines apply to a given case. Each case is different, however, and the best way to be sure is to contact a lawyer. The laws sometimes change, and court cases sometimes reinterpret the laws, so this information could change at any time.
Maryland Statutes of Limitation
In order to determine the applicable statute of limitations, it is important to know what type of claim you have. Most personal injury cases, including automobile accidents, are torts, and must be filed within three years of the date it accrued (usually the accident date).
One special type of tort case, medical malpractice, has a deadline calculated by determining the shorter of (1) five years from the date of injury; and (2) three years after the injury was reasonably discovered.
Cases by minors (under age 18) must typically be filed by the time minor turns 21 (three years after reaching the age of majority.
Wrongful death cases, where someone died because of the negligence of another, must typically be filed within three years of the date of death.
Maryland Notice Deadlines
Certain types of entities have notice requirements. That means that a victim is not allowed to file a lawsuit unless he first sent proper notice to the entity. Notice typically involves a writing that identifies the name of the victim, where the injury occurred, the date of the injury, and sometimes the amount of damages claimed. Notice is designed to give the entity early notice of the problem so that they can investigate before evidence is lost. Notice can be required against local city and governmental entities (usually 180 days), state entities (usually 1 year) and federal entities (usually 2 years).
We have been in the position of telling potential clients that their otherwise valid cases have expired due to missed notice requirements and statutes of limitations. It’s understandable—life must go on even after terrible injuries. But this is an important investment—after an injury, contact a lawyer right away to make sure you know how much time you have and whether there is anything you need to do to preserve evidence. That way you’ll know when you really need to get to work or talk to a lawyer in detail. If you have questions after a personal injury in Maryland, contact our personal injury lawyers at 1-800-776-4529, or click here to send a description of your case.
More Maryland Automobile Accident Information
- Hit-and-Run Claims with No Insurance Available (describing the deadline to provide notice in cases where the negligent driver was uninsured)
- Workers’ Compensation: Important Deadlines (workers’ compensation cases have different deadlines)
- Researching Maryland and West Virginia Law