After a car accident, you might have other thoughts in your mind other than filing a lawsuit. If you were injured, you would be tending to your injuries, or – depending on the extent of the damage to your vehicle – you might be more concerned with getting your car repaired.
While medical expenses add up and the cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle increases, you could believe your insurance company will handle your reimbursements. it is possible that you only consider a lawsuit years later. Luckily, in Maryland, you have up to three years to file a personal injury lawsuit.
Our experienced Maryland car accident attorneys at Rice, Murtha & Psoras offer free case reviews. Call us today at (410) 694-7291.
Maryland’s Statute of Limitations for Car Accidents
The first thing to understand is what a “statute of limitations” actually does. it is a state law that sets a time limit, or deadline, for filing a lawsuit with the court. the Maryland Courts and Judicial Proceedings Code § 5-101 specifies the deadline for a personal injury claim as three years of the date of the occurrence. Therefore, you have three years from the date of an accident to file a personal injury claim. the three-year deadline applies to everyone involved in the accident – the driver, passengers, pedestrians, or anyone else injured in the crash.
There is a distinction between a personal injury claim and a wrongful death lawsuit. If you had the misfortune to lose a loved one in a car accident, you still have three years to file the lawsuit, but the statute of limitations is triggered by the date of death. Therefore, if the injuries sustained in an accident do not prove fatal until months or years after the initial accident, the deadline is not limited to three years from the date of the accident.
If you attempt to file a personal injury lawsuit after the time has expired, the defendant will likely file a motion to have your case dismissed for failure to adhere to the deadline. There are some rare exceptions to the statute of limitations, including the following:
- If you are mentally disabled at the time of the accident, the statute of limitations will not begin to run until you were declared legally competent.
- If the injured victim is a minor, the statute of limitations begins on the day before their eighteenth birthday.
- If the defendant purposefully concealed their negligence, then the statute of limitations would begin when the negligence is discovered or should have been discovered.
Out-of-State Victims and Maryland’s Statute of Limitations for Vehicle Accidents
Maryland is a small state surrounded by several other states and commonwealths. Because of this, frequently, the injured party is not a Maryland resident. it does not matter where you reside. If your accident occurred in Maryland, you could take advantage of the three-year statute of limitations – even if your home state has a shorter deadline.
The Importance of Filing a Timely Lawsuit After a Car Accident
While you are permitted to wait three years to file a personal injury claim arising from a car accident, our office strongly advises against waiting. At the Law Offices of Randolph Rice, we understand that it is critical to prepare a case as soon as possible.
Crafting a successful personal injury lawsuit requires dedication, knowledge, and evidence. If you wait to file a lawsuit, significant evidence and records could likely become lost or unavailable. Additionally, our office might not be able to contact eyewitnesses, or their testimony might lose credibility as their memories fade.
It is crucial to connect your injuries directly to the accident to prevail in a personal injury claim. If you wait to have your injuries treated, or if medical records are unavailable or ambiguous, the defense will argue that your injuries were not directly related to the accident. By working in tandem with our law office and a team of medical professionals, we can gather the evidence necessary to present a compelling argument to the jury.
Typically, your insurance company and the defendant’s insurance company do not have your best interests in mind. If you wait to contact our office, you are liable to sign documents that limit your ability to be compensated or release liability altogether. Additionally, any correspondence or communication you have with an insurance company is recorded and could be detrimental to a subsequent personal injury claim. Our Baltimore car accident attorneys and staff can guide you through any conversations with an insurance representative. You do not want to sign a settlement agreement that is significantly less than you deserve.
It is important to note that the statute of limitations applies to lawsuits and not insurance claims. Generally, an insurance policy will require notification of an accident within a reasonable time. This might only be a few days or weeks, but certainly not for three years.
Call Our Maryland Car Accident Attorney if You Have Been Injured in an Accident
Injuries from a car accident can lead to substantial medical and economic consequences. Depending on the extent of your injuries, you could be facing years of medical expenses and lost wages from work. it is crucial to have our Ocean City car accident attorney representing your interests as soon as possible. Waiting for any significant amount of time will jeopardize the likelihood of a successful claim – even if you are legally able to file one. If you or a loved one have sustained an injury in a vehicle accident, call Rice, Murtha & Psoras at (410) 694-7291 for a free case review to go over your options.