Can you lose your right to bring a personal injury claim in Maryland if you don't do so within a certain period of time? Simply put, yes. The law provides a limited window in which an injured person can bring a claim against another. This is done so as to prevent a person from being liable into perpetuity (for the rest of their natural life). The law believes that if someone rests on his or her rights, that person loses those rights. Civil claims must be brought within a certain statutory window, typically a few years, in order to recover compensation. If a claim is brought after the allotted time frame, then the claim will be barred.
The amount of time you have to bring a particular personal injury claim is called a statute of limitations. The statute of limitations is "[a] law that bars claims after a specified period; specifically, a statute establishing a time limit for suing in a civil case, based on the date when the claim accrued (as when the injury occurred or was discovered.)" Black's Law Dictionary 1546 (9th ed. 2009). The statute of limitations differs depending on the type of claim at issue. The table below reflects the Maryland statutes of limitations that are applicable to the types of cases Gilman & Bedigian typically takes.
|Type of Case||Statutes of Limitations||Code Section (Md. Code Ann., Cts. & Jud. Proc. § 5 (LexisNexis 2015))|
|Personal Injury (General)||3 years||§ 5-101|
|Assault||1 year||§ 5-105|
|Medical Malpractice||5 years from injury; or 3 years from discovery of injury, whichever is earlier||§ 5-109|
|Type of Case||Personal Injury (General)|
|Statutes of Limitations||3 years|
|Code Section (Md. Code Ann., Cts. & Jud. Proc. § 5 (LexisNexis 2015))||§ 5-101|
|Type of Case||Assault|
|Statutes of Limitations||1 year|
|Code Section (Md. Code Ann., Cts. & Jud. Proc. § 5 (LexisNexis 2015))||§ 5-105|
|Type of Case||Medical Malpractice|
|Statutes of Limitations||5 years from injury; or 3 years from discovery of injury, whichever is earlier|
|Code Section (Md. Code Ann., Cts. & Jud. Proc. § 5 (LexisNexis 2015))||§ 5-109|
If The Government Is A Party in Maryland
If you are seeking to bring a claim against the government, be it the federal government, the state government, or a local government there are certain requirements you must meet before you can file a lawsuit. The most common requirement that an injured party needs to follow is to give the government agency or entity at fault for the injury notice that the injured party has a claim. Failure to comply with this requirement can bar you from bringing a claim at all.
- Federal: The federal government requires that you first file an administrative claim with the federal agency at fault for your injury within 2 years of the injury. If the agency then denies your claim, you have six months from the date of mailing of the denial to file a lawsuit.
- Maryland: If an employee of the State of Maryland is responsible for your injuries, you must give the State notice of a claim within one year (365 days) of the incident. Once you have done this you must bring file a lawsuit within the statute of limitations applicable to your cause of action.
- Local: Local government agencies also have administrative requirements that must be met before you can file a lawsuit. For example, if you have been injured by an employee of the City of Baltimore you have a certain period of time within which you must file the proper notice. If you are giving notice of a claim for an injury that occurred prior to October 1, 2015 you must provide notice within 180 days. If you are giving notice for a claim after October 1, 2015 then you have 1 year (365 days) to do so.
Other Considerations in Maryland
Typically a statute of limitations begins to run when the injury or incident occurs. However, there are a few things that can affect when the statute of limitations starts including: the age of the injured party, if the injured party is suffering from some sort of infirmity, or if the injury is not discovered for a period of time.
- Infirmity: The statute of limitations begins to run only after the disability is removed. Md. Code Ann., Cts & Jud. Proc. § 5-201 (LexisNexis 2015).
- Age: The statute of limitations does not begin to run until the injured minor turns 18. Id.
- Discovery: A cause of action does not accrue until a plaintiff knew, or should have known, of the wrong. Poffenberger v. Risser, 290 Md. 631, 636 (1981).
If you or a loved one has been injured or in an accident, please do not hesitate to contact us. Gilman & Bedigian has extensive experience in personal injury and medical malpractice litigation. Don't sit on your rights and lose your ability to bring a claim to recover compensation for the injuries you or a loved one incurred.