If you were injured at work in Maryland, you might have a limited time to report your case and get compensation for the injuries you faced. The immediate aftermath of your injury might make it difficult to report the case and start getting the help you need, but it is important to call a lawyer and work quickly after a serious injury. The Baltimore workplace injury lawyers at Rice, Murtha & Psoras handle personal injury lawsuits stemming from workplace injury cases, and our lawyers explain in this article how long you can wait to file a personal injury lawsuit for your injuries and why it is better to act quickly than delay after an injury.
How Long Do I Have to Report a Work Injury for a Lawsuit in Maryland?
Many workplace injury cases in Maryland are handled under workers’ compensation. That system has very particular rules about how quickly you have to report a workplace injury, who to report it to, and how to handle the case from there. However, there are many situations where you do not need to use workers’ comp. Our Maryland personal injury lawyers handle these kinds of personal injury cases in Baltimore and throughout the state.
The rules in these cases often allow you additional time to report the injury and get the compensation you need, but these lawsuits are not available in all cases. These kinds of lawsuits are commonly available to independent contractors, people injured by third-parties at work, and those injured by assault in Baltimore or throughout the state while working.
If you want to file a personal injury lawsuit for your injuries, the “statute of limitations” for personal injury lawsuits in Maryland is 3 years. This means that, at the latest, you must file your case with the courts within 3 years of the day that the injury took place to be able to pursue your case in court.
Again, if you are attempting to file your case as a workers’ comp. claim with your employer, the injury needs to be reported sooner, usually within 10 days.
How Soon Should I Talk to a Lawyer after a Maryland Workplace Injury?
Although you might need to follow certain standards for reporting a workplace injury – and even though the law might give you a long, 3-year deadline to file your case in court – you should still speak with an attorney as soon as you can after an injury at work in Maryland.
When you are involved in a personal injury case, your attorney can begin representing you right away. This can mean getting help from the beginning with fielding settlement offers, helping you control what information you share, and helping you gather and preserve evidence for your case. If you wait and try to handle aspects of your case without a lawyer, you could end up making admissions that could be used against you in court, missing evidence that could have helped your case, and potentially hurting your case by failing to document and keep track of expenses and other evidence.
If you wait too long to contact a lawyer, your case will often be hurt in four major ways:
Evidence is Lost
First, you could end up missing out on evidence that you could have collected sooner. Security camera footage and other video of an accident is often incredible evidence in an injury case. This footage could show exactly how a Maryland workplace accident occurred and who was responsible. However, security footage is usually overwritten in just a few days. If you think there might be video of what happened, it is vital to contact the owner of the video right away and ask that it be preserved for trial. If it is not preserved, the evidence will be lost.
Witnesses Forget what Happened
Second, you could miss out on witnesses that could have helped. In many cases, there are witnesses to what happened. However, if you do not contact them and ask them to make a statement quickly, they are likely to forget what happened. By getting early statements and depositions of what happened, you can get their testimony while the incident is fresh in their mind. If you wait too long, they could forget what happened or their story could change and become unreliable.
Refiling is Time-Barred
Third, you could run into legal issues with the deadline to file. Although you have 3 years to file an injury claim, there is always a chance that you might need to refile for various reasons. If your case was filed on the wrong side of a county line or you forgot to add a defendant to the injury case, you might have to refile your case in a different court or with different defendants added to the case. If your case was filed right up against the 3-year deadline, you might be past the deadline before you or your attorney realizes the issue. That could mean losing your case before it even gets moving.
Low Settlement Offers
If you have an attorney representing you, your lawyer can handle any offers to settle or negotiation attempts from the at-fault employer or individual that injured you. This can help protect you from low-ball settlement offers, assertions that your claim has to go through an insurance system, or arguments that your case is too weak. Our lawyers can give you our professional advice and explain your rights to you, stopping any misleading statements or arguments from hurting your case or driving you to settle your claim for less than it is worth.
Call Our Baltimore, MD Work Injury Attorneys for a Case Consultation
Do not wait to file a claim for workplace injuries in Maryland. While workers’ comp. might be required in some cases, our lawyers can help advise you on whether you have a claim for a personal injury lawsuit and help you get the case filed on time, protect your claim by collecting evidence quickly, and fight unfair settlement offers and misleading demands from your employer or client. For a free case consultation, contact Rice, Murtha & Psoras today at (410) 694-7291.