Usually, by the time somebody meets with one of our Baltimore accident lawyers, they’ve already submitted their insurance claim and had it denied. They’re at a point where they’re not quite sure what to do next. They wisely consult with a Baltimore injury attorney to find out what their options are. Depending on the facts surrounding your case, it may make sense to file an appeal with the insurance company first. If too much time has passed to do this, then your only option would be to file a personal injury lawsuit against the other driver. Of course, their insurance carrier would also be named in the complaint. However, if you wait too long, you may be at risk of violating the statute of limitations in Maryland.
Here, we will discuss the difference between the two deadlines that you need to meet. We’ll also explain what happens if you miss these deadlines. One of the reasons we recommend that people meet with their Baltimore accident lawyer sooner rather than later is because they will need time to prepare your case. Even if your case appears to be straightforward to you, that doesn’t mean it will seem that way to your attorney.
We suggest that you contact our office as soon as you can after your crash, and schedule your free, initial consultation. This gives you a chance to sit down with a seasoned attorney and ask them any questions you may have. It also gives our team a chance to assess your case and determine if it has merit. If you’re too close to the statute of limitations deadline, we may not be able to help you. This is why we always suggest you do not wait till the last minute to seek counsel.
It’s important to Remember that You Have Two Deadlines to Meet
In the days following your car accident, you’re dealing with a lot of information at one time. You made sure you called the police and followed up to get a copy of the police report. You went to the hospital to get checked out by a doctor and have now confirmed your injuries. The last thing left to do is file your insurance claim.
One of the first questions a lot of our clients ask us is how long you have to file an insurance claim in Maryland. The truth is that it really comes down to your insurance company. When you signed your contract for services, you probably glanced over the dozen or so pages in fine print. This is where they tuck that information in – as far as when your claim will be due. Unfortunately, there is no one answer to this question. One insurance company may say you have 10 days to file your claim while another gives you 30 days. Still others like to state that you have to file your claim within a reasonable time. They prefer not to define reasonable until it’s time to deny somebody’s claim.
One of the reasons we always tell our clients to reach out to us as soon as possible is so that we can help them file their initial insurance claim. If you have a Baltimore accident lawyer help you with your claim, then the insurance company knows that you’re represented by an attorney. This means they’ll take your claim more seriously and they will not try to take advantage of you.
You Need to Make Sure You File Your Insurance Claim on Time
As long as you file your insurance claim on time, it should have a good chance of being approved. Most insurance claims are approved the first time around. However, there are certain situations in which the insurance adjuster decides to deny your claim. One of the reasons they may deny it is that they say it wasn’t filed in time. Or you may have filed the claim paperwork in time, but you never submitted the additional documentation they needed. If this is the reason for your denial, your Baltimore accident lawyer can certainly file an appeal with the insurance carrier. If this is the only reason your claim was denied, they should be willing to negotiate payment of your claim rather than go to court.
Your Baltimore Accident Lawyer Must Also Meet the Statute of Limitations Period
More importantly than the insurance claim deadline is your statute of limitations deadline in Maryland. Maryland is a lot more generous than other states. Most states statute of limitations for personal injury is only two years. Maryland gives plaintiffs three years to file their initial claim.
The three years does start on the day of your accident and continues to run continuously until the statute of limitations expires. If you don’t file your claim before this deadline, it will be dismissed. That means you’ll walk away without a penny from the defendant. To avoid this happening, you can always hire a Baltimore injury lawyer to file the paperwork for you. Not only can they assist you in filing your complaint, but they will also make sure that you file it before the deadline appears.
There Are Very Few Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations Deadline
When clients come to us at the last minute, they ask us why we can’t just get an extension of the statute of limitations. The courts are reluctant to offer any extensions when it comes to the statute of limitations. There are very few situations in which the judge may offer a short extension to a plaintiff. Some of these exceptions include the following:
- The plaintiff was a minor at the time of the accident and cannot legally sue for themselves until they turn 18
- The plaintiff or the defendant was mentally incompetent during the statute of limitations.
- The defendant avoided service through fraud or other malfeasance
- The plaintiff is in such a medical state that they’re unable to act on their behalf
If You Miss the Deadline Your Case Will Be Dismissed
If you don’t file your claim before the statute of limitations expires, your claim will be dismissed by the courts. Even if your claim somehow makes it beyond the court clerk, the defendant’s attorney will certainly file a motion to dismiss when they see the filing date. The judge will have no choice but to honor their request and your case will be dismissed with prejudice. With so much at stake, it’s in your best interest to hire a Baltimore accident lawyer right away. As you can see, the deadlines are rather important when it comes to your personal injury lawsuit. Rather than walk with nothing, reach out to our office, and schedule your free, initial consultation today.