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What is the Statute of Limitations for Lawsuits in Maryland?

If you or a loved one has been involved in a car accident, slip and fall, dog bite, or some other type of incident that resulted in physical harm, you may be considering bringing a lawsuit against the party who caused your injuries. It is important that you understand how much time you have to bring a lawsuit against the other parties.

What is a Statute of Limitations?

Like other states, Maryland has something called the statute of limitations. The statute of limitations sets forth legal requirements on how long you have to pursue a claim against someone else, and the length of time can vary based on the type of claim and the circumstances surrounding them.

Statute of Limitations in Maryland

In general, you typically have three years from the date of the accident that caused your injury to file a lawsuit. Other causes of action, like defamation or assault, have a statute of only one year.

In order to understand what the statute of limitations is for your particular claim, speak with a Maryland personal injury attorney. When you retain a personal injury attorney to be your advocate, he or she is the one who will ensure the statute of limitations is protected and your claim can proceed.

What Happens If You Do Not File Within the Statute of Limitations

If you fail to file within the legally allowed time, your claim may be barred. This means that even if you were in the middle of negotiating a settlement with the other person’s insurance company, they are under no obligation to continue negotiations or pay out anything on the claim if you do not file before the statute of limitation expires. If you try to file your case after the date has passed, the defendant’s attorney will ask the court to dismiss your case. In nearly all scenarios, the judge will dismiss. There are rare exceptions in which you may be entitled to extra time, but again, this is something you need to speak with a skilled Maryland personal injury attorney to verify.

Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations

There are several scenarios that can delay the start of the statute of limitations, or essentially “pause the clock” once it has started to run. One of these is when the plaintiff is under 18 at the time of the accident. The three-year time period will not start running until the plaintiff turns 18.

Another common scenario that can delay the start of the statute of limitations is when you did not know you were harmed. An easy example to understand is when you have surgery and the surgeon accidentally leaves something inside the incision site. You would not know immediately upon waking and you might not have symptoms or pain, either. Since it would be impossible for you to know there was an error made on the day of your surgery, the statute of limitations starts running on the date you discovered the error.

However, if you knew something was off or were having symptoms/pain and did not seek treatment for it, the court may opt to keep the statute of limitations from the date you were initially injured during the surgery.

Retaining a Maryland Personal Injury Attorney

If you have questions about the statute of limitations in Maryland, contact the Law Offices of Robert R. Castro at 301-870-1200 to schedule a consultation.