Even in the smallest Baltimore car accidents, serious injuries can happen, like whiplash after a fender-bender. Some of these injuries, unfortunately, take months or even years to fully materialize, and far more time for you to recover from.
Just because your car accident injury will take years to heal, though, does not mean that you cannot or should not receive all of the compensation you need and deserve to make a full recovery. It is often just a bit trickier to recover for injuries that have not fully developed or that are still in the process of healing. The personal injury attorneys at Gilman & Bedigian, however, know how to do it.
The Obstacle of the Statute of Limitations
When it comes to getting compensation for injuries that take a long time to heal or develop, the biggest obstacle is Maryland's statute of limitations for personal injuries. Md. Courts and Judicial Proceedings § 5-101 requires personal injury claims, including those for injuries sustained in a car accident in Maryland, to be filed before three years have passed since the collision.
Needless to say, this can seem like a problem if you are still recovering from your injuries when that three year window has expired. However, the statute of limitations is not quite absolute, and the exceptions to it can help you get the compensation you need for your injuries.
Holes in the Statute of Limitations Can Help
The most important hole in Maryland's statute of limitations involves injuries to children under the age of 18. Because even minor injuries to children can drastically change their adult lives and impede their development, Maryland's statute of limitations does not begin to run until the child turns 18. Only then does the three year clock begin to tick. This makes it far easier for children to get the compensation they deserve after being hurt in a car accident, even if it takes years for their injuries to heal.
Another exception to the statute of limitations is the discovery rule. This rule keeps the statute of limitations from starting if it was impossible for you to realize that you were hurt. Unfortunately, the discovery rule rarely applies to car accidents in Maryland because there is almost always at least some indication that you were hurt soon after the crash. Nevertheless, it can still help you avoid the strict statute of limitations in some cases.
Your Legal Damages Include Future Medical Expenses
For adults who know that they have been hurt in a car accident, Maryland's statute of limitations can still seem like an obstacle. However, it is important to remember that the legal damages you can recover in a successful personal injury lawsuit include not only your current medical expenses, but also what you are likely to pay in the future.
Personal injury lawsuits are all about compensating accident victims for their losses. The law, thankfully, recognizes that not all of those losses will have vested yet. Some accident victims will have recovery times that take longer than other accident victims. Some of those victims will still be recovering even after the statute of limitations has run out, and a few of those will even be recovering for the rest of their lives. Because personal injury law is focused on compensating those victims for their losses, it makes room for future losses as well.
Therefore, you can still get compensated for the injuries you have suffered that have not yet healed. The trick, though, is that it is difficult to ascertain how bad those injuries are, how costly your future recovery will be, and how much you stand to suffer in the future.
Just because this is tricky, though, does not mean that it is impossible. Skilled personal injury attorneys who have represented badly hurt clients in the past have developed a wealth of knowledge about how long-term injuries are treated. Their experience has taught them where to find hidden medical costs that are likely to arise years or even decades after an accident.
An Example: Traumatic Brain Injuries
An excellent example of how this works is when a car accident causes a traumatic brain injury. Many of these cases are terrible because the victim will have lost their ability to mentally function on the level they used to, and the debilitation is often permanent. However, because the injury is known immediately after crash, the discovery rule does not push back the statute of limitations. It therefore becomes crucial to determine how much the victim will accumulate in medical bills once the statute has expired.
Personal injury attorneys who have had similar cases know to pursue compensation for lots of medical expenses that are likely to accumulate, such as:
- Ongoing physical therapy
- Medical checkups
- Future brain surgeries
- A specialized wheelchair, including the costs of regular maintenance
- The cost of outfitting vehicles for a wheelchair
- In-home healthcare
Personal injury attorneys also know that the costs of these products and services are likely to increase in the future as inflation continues. Therefore, they couch their claims for compensation in language that accounts for this increase.
Of course, determining your future medical expenses is far more difficult and less accurate than determining the amount of medical care you have already received—there are no bills that you can add together yet. However, by foreseeing all of the ways you will need medical help in the future, personal injury lawyers can predict what kinds of expenses you will have to pay in the years to come, estimate their cost, and pursue an appropriate amount of compensation.
Baltimore Personal Injury Lawyers at Gilman & Bedigian
The personal injury attorneys at the Baltimore law office of Gilman & Bedigian represent clients who have been seriously hurt in car accidents throughout Maryland. Contact us online if you or your loved one has been hurt badly enough that it will take years before you are finally healed. Our attorneys can help you get the compensation you need to account for all of the expenses you will likely face, both now and in the deep future.