As any car accident attorney in Baltimore will tell you, taking legal action is essential when you’ve been in a car accident. However, it is usually the last thing on most car accident victims’ minds. While you’re focusing on recovering from your injuries, you need to remember that there are limits to the time you have to begin your claim and file a lawsuit after your Baltimore car accident.
The Statute of Limitations sets a deadline for all claims in Maryland. While your attorney can help you seek compensation, you must take the first step. Therefore, if you were hurt in a Baltimore car accident, you might wonder how much time you have before you lose the chance to make claims.
This article walks you through all you need to know about the Statute of Limitations, exceptions, and when you should begin filing your case.
A Car Accident Lawyer in Baltimore Explains Maryland’s Statute of Limitations on Auto Collision Claims
The Statute of Limitations for car accident cases in Maryland is three years from the accident date. However, when claiming for a fatal car accident, the deceased’s family usually has three years from the victim’s death to start filing a wrongful death claim.
You must begin filing an accident claim before the Statute of Limitations expires. Your car accident attorney in Maryland can help you start the process. Failure to file before the limit will cause you to lose your chance at receiving compensation for your damages forever.
When Does the Maryland Statute of Limitations Start?
In most Baltimore car accident cases, you’re aware that you’ve suffered injuries and incurred some losses within the first few days of the accident. If you know the other driver is to blame for your accident, you can begin to seek compensation immediately. Therefore, the Statute of Limitations for Baltimore car accident claims starts right from the collision date.
A Statute of Limitations usually runs on accrual. This refers to when you realize or should have realized that you have a legal claim. Most times, this begins from the day of the accident. The Statute of Limitations is like a timer, and it starts counting down from the day of your accident.
If the plaintiff wasn’t aware they suffered harm, then the Statute of Limitations doesn’t start counting when the injury is detected. However, once the time limit expires, you can no longer file a lawsuit for your car accident case.
Exceptions to the Statute of Limitation
There are unique situations where the court might choose to extend the Statute of Limitations for the victim. This is known as tolling and is the exception to the case, not the rule. Below are three exceptions to the Statute of Limitations.
The Victim Is a Minor
In cases where the Baltimore car accident victim is a minor, then the Statute of Limitations will be tolled till the victim is old enough. When a minor suffers losses in a car accident, they are not eligible to make a claim. Therefore, the Statute of Limitations only begins to run from their 18th birthday. This gives the victim till their 21st birthday to file a Baltimore car accident claim.
The Victim Is Physically or Mentally Disabled
Another situation that’s an exception to the Statute of Limitations is when the Baltimore car accident victim suffers a physical or mental disability. The court will toll the time limit if the victim is in a state that prevents them from effectively pursuing their claim.
If it is a temporary disability, this limitation will be tolled till they recover from their disability. In some cases, the Baltimore car accident victim would need a car accident attorney to help them fight for the tolling of the time limit.
This is another common exception to the rule. In Baltimore car accident cases where the negligent party conceals their liability from the victim, the court will toll the limitation period. This is common in hit-and-run car accident cases.
The at-fault driver cannot be identified because they ran away from the scene. Therefore, until the injured victim or the Baltimore law enforcement agency identifies the victim, the time limit doesn’t begin to count.
If you’re confused about whether your Baltimore car accident case qualifies for tolling, you can contact an auto accident attorney for guidance.
When Should I Begin Filing My Baltimore Car Accident Claim?
Some people make the mistake of waiting till the Statute of Limitations period is almost over before they start filing a Baltimore car accident claim. Therefore, speak with an attorney as soon as possible to determine when you should start filing your claim.
Most times, acting quickly works out in your best interest. This is because a car accident claim requires lots of preparation. Therefore, filing a couple of weeks before the limitation is not ideal.
In addition, it might not be enough time for your Baltimore car accident lawyer to carry out a comprehensive investigation and create a compelling legal case to ensure you receive maximum compensation.
In addition, when you take too much time before filing a claim in Maryland, most of the evidence will be lost. Even witnesses might have befuddled memories because of the time gap. It would be tricky to develop a convincing case in such situations.
On the other hand, you enjoy many benefits when you start your case soon after your Baltimore car accident. First, the accident is still fresh in your memory, and you can recount it during deposition. Also, the defendant will be unable to destroy evidence related to the case.
Before you file a lawsuit, they might refuse to submit these documents to you. However, once the discovery process starts, they can no longer refuse as everyone is legally obligated to submit all discovery requests.
Filing a claim early also helps you settle quicker. It indicates that you have a strong claim and don’t mind going to court to get your compensation. To avoid the expense of trial, the insurance company would want to settle, so you can reach a fair settlement without setting foot in the courtroom.
Contact a Car Accident Lawyer in Baltimore Today!
If you got injured in a Baltimore car accident, our legal team would help you pursue an accident claim and ensure you receive maximum compensation. Insurance carriers are always looking for ways to escape paying a full settlement to victims. Therefore, filing earlier gives you a better chance in court.
When you contact an experienced injury attorney in Baltimore, Maryland, we’ll explain the Statute of Limitations and how it applies to your case. With us representing you through the claims process, you have the best chance of receiving maximum compensation. Contact Pinder Plotkin LLC today for a free consultation.