Statutes of limitations set forth time windows for filing specific types of lawsuits. Plaintiffs who do not adhere to these established deadlines may have their potential cases dismissed.
In Maryland, you will usually have three years from the date of your slip and fall accident to bring your case against the at-fault party. However, exceptions to this time limit may arise under specific circumstances. Furthermore, the longer you wait to file your claim, the more difficult it may be to gather evidence and build your case. Therefore, you should attempt to bring your slip and fall case to court as soon as possible.
If you were hurt as the result of a slip and fall accident in Maryland, seek help from our experienced Baltimore slip and fall attorneys at Rice, Murtha & Psoras by calling (410) 694-7291 for a free case evaluation.
Time Limit to File a Slip and Fall Lawsuit in Maryland
The time limit to file a slip and fall lawsuit in Maryland is governed by Md. Code, Cts. & Jud. Proc. Art., § 5-101. Accordingly, you will typically have 3 years from the date of your accident to bring a claim against the at-fault party. If you do not file your case on time, then the defendant will likely seek to have your lawsuit dismissed.
Despite potentially having 3 years to bring your lawsuit to court, you should reach out to our Ellicott City slip and fall lawyers as soon as possible after your accident. If you wait too long to being working on your case, then important evidence can become hard to preserve and collect. By getting in touch with our legal team quickly, we can more effectively gather the information needed to win your lawsuit.
Additionally, there are several other requirements that you must adhere to when filing a slip and fall lawsuit in Maryland. For instance, you should bring your case to the right court, pay any required filing fees, attach necessary supporting documents, serve the defendants, and refrain from filing an incomplete claim. If any of these conditions are not satisfied, then you may be asked to file your lawsuit again. Accordingly, by attempting to bring your case to court early, you may afford yourself additional time to refile your claim if required.
Exceptions to the Standard Time Limit for Filing a Slip and Fall Case in Maryland
There are some exceptions to the standard 3-year time limit for filing a slip and fall lawsuit. For example, if your child was hurt as the result of a slip and fall accident, then you are permitted to file a claim on their behalf. Furthermore, once the victim turns 18, they will have until the day before their 21st birthday to file their own suit stemming from a slip and fall that was suffered as a minor.
Another exception arises in cases where victims are disabled. For instance, if a plaintiff is declared mentally incompetent, then the countdown for their time limit to file will be paused. In that case, the time would start to run on the date the victim is declared competent.
Furthermore, an exception to the three-year time window may be applied to cases where at-fault parties fraudulently hide their liability from victims. In those instances, the plaintiffs’ time limits for filling their cases starts to run on the dates they discovered or should have discovered the fraud.
Finally, different regulations will apply to slip and fall cases where defendants are state or local agencies. For instance, in order to file a case against a state or local agency, you must submit a claim to the state treasurer within one year of your accident. If that claim is denied, then you will have 3 years from that date of your accident to file a lawsuit against the responsible government entity.
Why Does the Statute of Limitations for Slip and Fall Cases Exist in Maryland?
The main purpose of the statute of limitations for slip and fall cases is to prevent potential defendants from being unfairly prosecuted. A major concern arises from the fact that relevant evidence becomes difficult to gather and preserve as time goes on. Therefore, after several years have passed, the deterioration of pertinent evidence may hind the defense or prosecution, leading to an unjust result.
A particular area of concern is the reliability of eyewitness testimony, especially if formal statements were not provided by witnesses in the immediate aftermath of certain accidents. Peoples’ memories can easily fade over time. It is unreasonable to expect witnesses to recall specific details surrounding accidents that happened many years in the past.
Steps to Take Before Filing Your Slip and Fall Lawsuit in Maryland
In the aftermath of your slip and fall accident, there are certain steps you can take before filing a lawsuit that will help your case’s chances of success. Your first order of business after your accident should involve seeking the medical attention you need. If your injuries require immediate care, then you should call 911 so that an ambulance can be sent to the scene. If your injuries do not require emergency care, then you should still see a doctor as soon as possible. Waiting for your injuries to heal on their own can complicate the settlement process and cause the defendant’s insurer to argue that you were not badly hurt.
Additionally, you should attempt to gather evidence at the scene of your accident if you are able. This may involve taking photos at the scene or retrieving contact information from eyewitnesses. If you are taking photos at the scene of your slip and fall, you should be sure to capture clear images of the hazard that caused your accident. For example, if you fell because of a loose wire laying across a walkway, then you should take photos of the wire before it can be hidden by the property owner.
Slip and Fall Victims in Maryland Can Call Our Law Firm for Help
Seek assistance from our experienced Waldorf slip and fall lawyers at Rice, Murtha & Psoras by dialing (410) 694-7291.