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How long do I have to file a lawsuit in Maryland after being injured in an accident?

Maryland Statute of Limitations

Statutes of limitations are procedural laws that set how long a plaintiff, or a person who is injured, has to file a lawsuit. A statute of limitations is, in essence, the deadline for filing a lawsuit. Although the statute of limitations may be different depending on the type of lawsuit that the plaintiff files, there are some common aspects to statutes of limitations, in general.

In Maryland, the statute of limitations for personal injury cases gives you three years from the date of the injury to file your complaint. If you do not comply with the statute of limitations deadline your claim will likely be barred and your case disallowed.

Typically, statutes of limitations deadlines in automobile, slip and fall, battery, and most injury claims are objective and clear. However, Maryland recognizes the “discovery rule” exception to the statute of limitations in products liability cases, fraud cases, and cases of malpractice. Under the discovery rule a statute of limitations does not begin to run until the wrongful act is noticed.

In addition, in the case of minors or incapacitated persons the statute of limitations is tolled until the child reaches the age of majority, or the in competency ends.

When Does the Maryland Limitations Statute Begin to Run?

A statute of limitations begins to run on accrual. Accrual is when the person knows, or should know, that they have a legal claim. In most situations, this will be on the date of an accident. Think of the statute of limitations like a clock or a timer that starts to tick the day that an accident occurs. If there is fraud or a plaintiff was not aware that he or she suffered a harm, the statute of limitations may not start to run until the fraud or the harm is discovered. After the statute of limitations has expired, a lawsuit may not be filed.

For other claims, such as workers compensation claims, there may be additional time periods and procedures that apply. For example, under Maryland Workers’ Compensation laws, there is a shorter statute of limitations (2 years) and the employee must comply with more stringent notice requirements by notifying the employer promptly after the accident date or occupational disease onset date is known or the claim will be similarly time-barred.

Maryland also has several different statutes of limitations, most of which are located in Title 5 of the Maryland Courts and Judicial Proceedings Article. However, most of the statutes of limitations for civil lawsuits are three years. The following types of lawsuits have a three-year statute of limitations:

  • Personal Injury;
  • Products Liability;
  • Property Damage;
  • Wrongful Death; and
  • Medical Malpractice (although in some instances this can be 5 years, depending on when the injury was discovered).

Example of How Maryland Statute of Limitations Works:

For example, suppose that Peter the Plaintiff was in a car accident with Dan the Defendant on June 1, 2014 and suffered personal injuries and damage to his car. In Maryland, the statute of limitations for a personal injury lawsuit is three years. Likewise, the statute of limitations for a property damage lawsuit is three years. Because Peter is aware that he was in an accident and suffered damages, Peter’s date of accrual is June 1, 2014. He may file a lawsuit to recover damages for his medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, and property damage to his car at any point on or before June 1, 2017. If Peter files a lawsuit on June 2, 2017, Dan will file a motion to dismiss the lawsuit because the statute of limitations has expired. In this situation, a Maryland court would likely agree with Dan.

As with most legal matters, limitations deadlines can sometimes be unclear. Therefore it is wise to consult with a lawyer early on after an accident, as to the facts applicable to your specific case to determine the statute of limitations in your case.

Does the Statute of Limitations Apply to My Case?

One common legal question that persons who are injured often have is “how long after the accident do I have to file a lawsuit?” In some instances, an injured plaintiff may want to file a lawsuit as soon as possible to receive financial help for their injuries. In other cases, an injured plaintiff may want to wait until they have a more complete idea of how much their lost wages, medical treatment, and/or rehabilitation will cost.

As discussed about, the law that relates to the time period for filing a lawsuit is called a “statute of limitations.” In most cases, it is a hard deadline. However, as each case is unique, a different timeline or strategy may be warranted in your case. If you have been injured in a car crash, dog bite, slip and fall, or any other accident, you may want to contact one of our Maryland personal injury attorneys to find out what the statute of limitations is in your case and whether or not you will need to file a lawsuit to protect your rights.

Read Some of Our Recent Client Reviews!

02:32 04 Aug 18
The lawyer who was initially handling my case parted ways with the company and I was assigned a new lawyer. This new lawyer was amazing! Christina Franetovich made me feel secure by double checking all the facts and notes in my case so that I was not worried during this transition. I was on disability from an a different accident while she was finalizing my case, and I had called and hounded her about the time frame of my settlement very frequently to the point that I felt guilty for calling so much. Christina was very sympathetic to my situation and assured me that she would do everything in her power to make sure the situation would be resolved quickly. She actually finalized my case before the time frame she had given me, was always very courteous and knowledgable on the phone, and I feel extremely lucky that she ended up handling my case because the previous lawyer was not as amazing with customer service as Christina. She also has a way of making you feel comfortable and builds incredible rapport quickly. I am going to highly recommend her to my friends and family. Thank you Christina!!!
Andrea Barajas
Andrea Barajas
15:13 16 May 18
My husband and I were in a car accident in August 2017. We contacted Bob Katz team for legal representation in our case. Kristen A. Turner was our paralegal and she was excellent. It took 9 months for us to receive our settlement and Kristen kept us updated throughout this entire process. She was very kind and patient as I happened to have several questions. She always answered my questions promptly and thoroughly. I would highly recommend this firm and Kristen if you are in need of legal assistance.
Richard Hose
Richard Hose
02:26 27 Jun 18
On Feb 23, 2017 I was in a bad accident on the JFX. I had been rear end by another driver. Almost immediately I felt pressured by the other drivers insurance. Everything from wanting a recorded statement; to failing to acknowledge responsibility. No one would answer my questions, nor would anyone take responsibility. I was frustrated and overwhelmed with everyone from the towing company, to the repair shop, to the insurance company nightmare I just entered. I reached out to Attorney Robert Katz and I was assured they were here to help. He provided with some much needed information, and told me not to worry, Sarah his Paralegal would be in touch to help get things moving. Sarah reached out as expected and explained their process and walked me through what my expectations would be. She as well assured me they were here to help me navigate the obstacles. What Sarah really did was so much more than help. She took the stress and burden off my shoulders and assumed ownership for handling everything on my behalf. I knew what to expect, and I received regular updates throughout the entire process. Honestly, I received so much more than I anticipated. Some of the most frustrating items to chase after are medical records and hospital charges. While I was trying to recall events and timelines, she had already obtained my records and information. She made this process so painless. I truly cannot say enough about the exceptional service she provided. Many thanks for all your help. Sincerely, Richard Hose
Claudette Pope
Claudette Pope
13:18 30 Aug 18
I was referred to Gordon & feindblatt in 2014 when my family was in an accident, Mr. Katz personally consulted with me by phone and he was very polite and professional, Mr. Carpuso, one of the litigation attorneys even came out to our home and went over our case with us, he made sure all of our needs was addressed and before he left our home that day I felt like we were old friends. that case was settled and I was very pleased, I have used this law firm twice since then and the results are always the same, I have nothing but great experiences with Gordon & Feindblatt the staff are courteous and professional and they get the job done but the one in particular that really stood out for me is Rebecca Slattery, she is truly a gem, she is so compassionate, she walked me through the entire process, she even checked up on me from time to time just to see how I was feeling and I really appreciated her kindness. I will use this law firm again and again for any future legal issue that may arise and I would highly recommend Gordon & Fiendblatt to friends, family and co-workers.
15:24 09 Feb 18
My experience here was great. My lawyer Rebecca was so professional and I love her personality. She handled my case well and kept me updated and made the process easy and always made me feel comfortable to call whenever I needed to know anything.
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Location: Tysons

Chris Shin
Chris Shin
18:23 20 Jun 18
They were very polite, professional. and informed current status of the case time to time. Great Job !!!
Jonathan Roane
Jonathan Roane
22:51 17 Nov 17
If you ever need any assistance with an accident or injury-related claim this is the firm you need hands down. These are the most professional and caring people I have ever met in my life. Two people you should contact are Rebecca Slattery who was actually my paralegal and also Allan Serrano. You will be in good hands.
Israel Thompson
Israel Thompson
00:52 06 Dec 17
Attorney MR Bob Katz outstanding Human being, went beyond and above to help me during my accident, he showed me tremendous kindness and support.Thank you so much will highly recommend him to anyone who needs help with their auto accident
Marta Kritselis
Marta Kritselis
16:19 01 Sep 17
Rebecca Slattery the paralegal She took care my case and she was very helpful throughout the whole process. I highly recommend to my family and friend the services of Attorney Bob Kats and there team .
Myong Kim
Myong Kim
22:04 31 Mar 17
I am grateful to Bob and Justin Katz and their team for working hard to get me the most money. They were very professional and easy to work with in Korean. I will recommend them to friends and family any chance I have.
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