Given the broad spectrum they cover, personal injury cases are fairly common here in Maryland. They can come about because someone slipped and fell on someone else’s property, because of a dog biting someone, an auto accident, and much more. Basically, they occur when one person sues another because their actions or inactions caused the plaintiff some type of harm. Like every state, Maryland has its own unique personal injury laws, which you should know about if you plan on filing suit.
The Statute of Limitations
Most states have a statute of limitations for personal injury claims. This refers to the amount of time you have to file a complaint after the incident occurred. If someone caused you to have a fender-bender 20 years ago, the courts would say it’s too late to do anything about it. In Maryland, the statute of limitations for a personal injury lawsuit is three years after the accident occurred, in most situations. If you wish to file a complaint against a Maryland government agency, you only have one year for the formal claim. However, you still get three for the lawsuit.
You might be thinking three years is more than enough time to file a claim. While this is true, you also need to consider the worst case scenario. Say all you want to do is file an insurance claim for the amount you deserve. It gets denied and you later go on to find out that a fair settlement can’t be agreed upon for your injury.
The next thing you’d want to do is take the case to court. By then, though, the statute of limitations may have come and gone. More realistically, though, you may have time for the case, but not enough time to come up with a good one.
Shared Fault Rules
Another thing about Maryland Law that you need to prepare yourself for is shared fault rules. Imagine you were driving your car through a four-way stop after having come to a complete halt and another vehicle t-bones you because they didn’t. You file an insurance claim only to find out that the other person believes you share some of the responsibility for the accident.
If the other person is believed, you won’t be getting any insurance money because of what’s called contributory negligence. This means that if you played any role in the accident whatsoever—no matter how minor or how badly you were injured as a consequence—you can’t collect damages.Even if the courts don’t bring up this rule for some reason, you can definitely expect that an insurance adjuster will during settlement negotiations.
This isn’t necessarily a reason not to file a personal injury lawsuit, but it is something you’ll need to be prepared for if you find that the other party is pointing blame right back at you.
The smartest thing you can do is speak with a law firm if you believe you have a personal injury case. At Ingerman and Horwitz, we have over 25 years of experience handling these exact cases. Contact us today and schedule your free consultation. We’re here to help.