When you are injured in an accident because of someone’s negligence, filing the claim as soon as possible is critical. You only have three years to file most personal injury claims, and once the deadline passes, you are ineligible to receive compensation for your injuries. If you have been hurt in an accident, Pinder Plotkin can help you file the case in a timely manner.
What Is a Statute of Limitations?
A statute of limitations refers to the limited period in which one may file a lawsuit against a party that harmed you. For example, in Maryland, you must file a personal injury lawsuit three years after the injurious act. In most cases, the clock runs on the date you were harmed, but exceptions exist.
Suppose you were hurt in a car accident on April 1, 2020. You would have until April 1, 2023, to file a claim in court unless you qualify for an exception. If you filed the claim on April 2, 2023, the case would be dismissed.
Some of the accidents to which the three-year statute of limitations applies include:
- Car, truck, and motorcycle accidents
- Bike and pedestrian accidents
- Dog bites
- Product liability
- Wrongful death
- Medical malpractice
Regarding wrongful death, you may be entitled to compensation if you lost your loved one in an accident caused by another person’s negligence. In most cases, the spouse, parents, or children can file a wrongful death action in Maryland. If no one in that group is still living, anyone related to the deceased by marriage or blood and was dependent on the person can file.
Why Is There a Statute of Limitations?
All states have a statute of limitations to file a personal injury lawsuit. The statute of limitations is designed to make the justice system fair and ensure efficiency in the legal system. These rules exist for the following reasons:
- Time. The statute of limitations ensures that claims are filed on time, while also allowing plaintiffs to assess their injuries. In many personal injury cases, you might not know you have a severe injury that affects your life for weeks or even months after the incident. Therefore, personal injury lawyers also need ample time to document their client’s injuries and assess their future medical and economic needs.
- Facts. As years pass, evidence can be lost, destroyed, or tampered with. When evidence depends on a witness’s memory, the facts can become cloudy because people’s recollections fade. Therefore, the evidence must be gathered promptly to ensure accuracy.
- Harassment. The statute of limitations ensures that the potential defendant does not have the possibility of a lawsuit hanging over their head for many years.
Exceptions to Maryland’s Statute of Limitations
While the statute of limitations for personal injury is usually three years, there are four exceptions:
The Discovery Rule
The statute of limitations begins when you become aware or reasonably should have become aware of an injury. It is usually three years from the date of discovery. The time to file a claim is tolled or suspended if the discovery rule is in effect. However, for medical malpractice in Maryland, the outer limit from the date of injury is only five years.
Continuation of Events
This theory applies depending on an event happening in the future. In this situation, the Maryland statute of limitations would start from the day the services can be completed or the day the event occurs.
If the negligent person conceals knowing about a cause of action, the law states that the statute of limitations begins to run when the injured party discovered or should have discovered the fraud.
This exception applies when a person has a disability. In Maryland, a disability is defined as someone who is 18 and deemed mentally incompetent. In most cases, minors have until the day before they are 21 to file most personal injury lawsuits.
The above exceptions usually apply, but if there is a question about the statute of limitations, please talk to a Pinder Plotkin personal injury attorney about your case.
Insurance Claims Adjusters and the Statute of Limitations
After an accident with injuries caused by someone’s negligence, hiring a personal injury lawyer to represent you is usually best. Your attorney will work on your behalf to help them obtain the best recovery possible. The insurance claims adjuster for the defendant may seem friendly and willing to help you, but it is vital to remember they represent the insurance company’s interests, not yours.
Therefore, the adjuster may seem willing to negotiate with you on a claim. But if negotiations drag out long enough, the statute of limitations will expire, and you will get nothing. Therefore, when you retain an attorney, they will negotiate aggressively with the insurance company to ensure the best settlement within the statute of limitations.
Contact a Baltimore Personal Injury Attorney Now
Anyone hurt because of another person’s negligence should promptly retain a Maryland personal injury attorney. Talking to an experienced attorney can help you understand the strength of your case and how the statute of limitations for personal injury may apply. Call Pinder Plotkin today to talk about your personal injury claim. We do not receive any compensation unless we win your case.