Have you suffered from a personal injury or were the victim of a car accident that wasn’t your fault? If you live in the state of Maryland, there is a limited amount of time you are able to take legal action in cases involving injury or accident, this is known as the statute of limitations. You may be wondering why such a limit exists? The main reason is to protect defendants because by the time the claim goes to court, a defendant may have lost the necessary evidence to prove their innocence.
Suffering from a car wreck and or injury, whether knowingly or unknowingly caused by another, is a sometimes unfortunate setback in life and you should be entitled to some kind of financial compensation for the damages you or your vehicle has sustained. But just how much time do you have to file a legal claim? Luckily, in Maryland, there is a fairly generous time frame, in which for you to pursue a civil lawsuit against anyone who might have lead you to a car wreck or caused you bodily harm.
According to Judicial Proceedings Code Section 5-101, you will have three years from the date of the incident to initiate legal action. There are two exceptions to this rule, however, and that’s if the trauma resulted in the death of a partner or a family member, or the plaintiff is a minor. In the event of a wrongful death of a loved one, you would have three years from the date they passed away to seek restitution for their suffering and your loss. In the case that the plaintiff is a minor, a child under the age of 18, the statute of limitations would apply up and until, and three years extending beyond the age they are legally considered to be an adult by state law.
While three years may seem like an ample amount of time, it still is not recommended to wait until the last minute to file a claim. Even simple cases require research and a lawyer will not want to take a case on such short notice and generally recommend you seek legal counsel no later than six months prior to the deadline. A common argument, particularly in disputes involving a car accident, the defense will try to prove that you somehow shared fault in the crash. Maryland exploits a pretty controversial law, called Contributory Negligence, which could bar you from receiving any reparation if it is proven that you were even slightly at fault. This is why it’s of great importance you are aware of when your statute of limitations will end, so not only is your litigation not dismissed because the window of time has closed, but also so that your lawyer has adequate time to prove 100% you are not liable and are, in fact, entitled to compensation.