If you are injured by someone else’s negligence, it is important to act quickly. You’ve heard this from lawyers before. But why? If you do not have the option of filing a lawsuit, the insurance company will not pay you anything. In Maryland, lawsuits are subject to a statute of limitations. If you do not file within the statutory time-frame, you may find yourself unable to find legal remedy. Without a legal remedy, no settlement
What is the statute of limitations for minors to bring an accident case in Maryland?
For almost all civil actions in Maryland, you have only three years in which to file a complaint, the first step in a lawsuit. Md. Code, Cts. & Jud. Proc. § 5-101. Though there are some civil actions that have their own, specific time frames, most injuries fall within this category. The moment that you have discovered or should have discovered your injury begins the tolling of this three-year-period. Additionally, minors are given the opportunity to file a claim up to three years following their 18th birthday, even if the injury occurred many years before.
While, like any civil claim, injuries as a result of improvements to property must be filed within three years of injury, the improvement to the home or business need not be new to qualify. You may file a suit against a property owner if the improvement is 20 years old or newer, and you may include the architect, contractor and/or engineer if it is 10 years old or newer. Md. Code, Cts. & Jud. Proc. § 5-108
Exceptions and Notice
Despite the three-year time frame for most civil actions, if you plan to file a claim for assault, you have just one year after the incident to file your complaint. Md. Code, Cts. & Jud. Proc. § 5-105. Shorter still is the 30-day statute of limitations if your case is dismissed by another court (in another state or a federal court) for lack of jurisdiction. Md. Rule 2-101. If you must move your case to the Maryland court system, you should act quickly.
Occasionally, injury occurs as a result of a breach in contract or in warranty. Unless a contract states otherwise, an injured party may file a claim up to four years after the completion of the contract to file a complaint. Md. Code, Comm. Law § 2-725. While not known to grant the sizable relief possible in a traditional civil claim, breach of contract claims may be filed along with a civil action or offer a possibility at some relief after the statute of limitations on a civil action has expired.
The statute of limitations on medical malpractice claims is more complicated. You have the shorter of either (1) five years following the date the injury was committed—even if you have not yet realized the injury exists—or (2) three years after discovering the injury to file a suit. Md. Code, Cts. & Jud. Proc. § 5-109. As with any civil action, minors are granted until age 21 for any medical malpractice injury suffered while under the age of 18. Piselli v. 75th Street Medical, 371 Md. 188 (2002).
To complicate matters further, when filing civil suits against various governments, their agencies, certain contractors for governments or generally anything having to do with government, you must put them on notice. This is often a very short period, often a year or less, sometimes as short as only a few months. It’s vital to contact a lawyer ASAP to make sure you comply with notice provisions.
Maryland Accident Lawyers
While “years” may seem like a long time in which to file a claim, that time can go by quickly, and it is best to contact an attorney as soon as you have been injured. This not only gives your counsel an opportunity to review your claim and compile a case before filing, it may allow you to receive relief sooner.