Brain injuries may come from a wide range of accidents or injuries, and symptoms might be mild, moderate, or extremely severe. If you want to file a lawsuit for your injuries, you need to do so before the statute of limitations expires.
The standard statute of limitations for most personal injury claims in Maryland is 3 years. Brain injury cases are somewhat complicated because other statutes of limitations might apply based on how these injuries occurred. If the statute of limitations for your claim is going to expire soon, an attorney can help you figure out if you can have the statute tolled. Tolling allows plaintiffs a bit of extra time to file their claims, and how much time you get depends on why you need to have the statute tolled. If the deadline has come and gone, talk to a lawyer immediately about other legal options or if there is a way to save your claim.
Arrange for a free case review with our Baltimore brain injury lawyers at Rice, Murtha & Psoras by calling (410) 694-7291.
The Statute of Limitation on Brain Injury Claims in Maryland
Statutes of limitation are laws that impose deadlines on when plaintiffs must file lawsuits. These laws prevent very old claims that are too remote to be tried from being brought to court. In many cases, the clock starts counting down the day your cause of action (i.e., brain injury) occurs, but the rules are flexible and might not apply the same in all cases.
The standard statute of limitation for most personal injury claims can be found under Md. Code, Cts. and Jud. Proc., § 5-101, and provides 3 years for the plaintiff to file their claims. As mentioned, the deadline runs from the date the injuries occurred. For example, if you suffered a brain injury in a car accident on January 3, 2022, you would have until January 3, 2025 to file a lawsuit for your injury.
While 3 years sounds like a long time to get a lawsuit ready, the deadline is tighter than it seems. Many plaintiffs get a late start on filing their lawsuit because they need time to recover from their injuries before they meet with an attorney. For others, their cases might be so complex that it takes their attorney a very long time to evaluate their damages and track down evidence to support their claims. As such, it is best to speak with an attorney about your legal options as soon as possible after being injured.
Unfortunately, some brain injuries are caused by the intentional acts of others rather than accidents or unintentional mishaps. If your brain injury is the result of an assault, you may still sue the person who hurt you. However, the deadline to file is shorter. Because this is an intentional tort, you have 1 year to file your claims, according to Md. Code, Cts. and Jud. Proc., § 5-105.
In many assault cases, the defendant also faces criminal charges and a trial in criminal court. As such, your civil claims might take a backseat to criminal proceedings, which can eat into the time you have to file your claim. Our Maryland personal injury attorneys can argue for additional time because you were unable to sue the defendant while they were on trial in criminal court. Alternatively, we can file the civil lawsuit while the criminal case is ongoing, but your civil case might be delayed. Either way, if the defendant is convicted in criminal court, we can use that conviction against them in your civil lawsuit.
Bain injuries are often related to claims for medical malpractice. Medical malpractice is different from typical personal injury cases, and the statute of limitations works differently. According to Md. Code, Cts. and Jud. Proc., § 5-109(a), if you experienced a brain injury because of medical malpractice when you were at least 11 years old, you have 5 years from when the injury was committed or 3 years from when the injury was realized to file your claim, whichever is longer.
If you were younger than 11 when your brain injury occurred because of medical malpractice, the statute of limitations is tolled until you turn 11.
Exactly when the statute of limitation begins to run in this kind of case may vary greatly between plaintiffs. Since medical malpractice is often difficult to identify, many plaintiffs do not realize their brain injury occurred because of their doctor’s negligence until years later. Therefore, the law has some built-in wiggle room for plaintiffs who do not immediately realize their injuries.
Can the Statute of Limitations be Extended for Brain Injury Cases in Maryland?
You might have the statute of limitations tolled under very specific circumstances. One such circumstance is if you were a minor when your brain injury occurred. In many injury cases, plaintiffs can have the statute tolled until they turn 18. However, this does not apply to medical malpractice cases of brain injuries, as mentioned above, as the statute of limitation kicks in when the plaintiff is 11.
One very important reason for having the deadline tolled is a disability. For the purpose of applying the statute of limitation, a disability is often some sort of mental impairment that leaves you unable to understand your rights. Brain injuries often affect a person’s ability to understand what’s happening around them, and this tolling option might be very important in your case.
The appointment of a guardian by the court may remove the disability of a mentally incompetent person. The Court of Special Appeals of Maryland, in the case of Kratz v. Medsource Community Services Inc., decided that when the court appoints a guardian to act on behalf of the plaintiff with a disability, the disability is considered removed, at least in a legal sense.
Call Our Maryland Brain Injury Lawyers to Discuss Your Case
To schedule a free case evaluation with our Baltimore personal injury lawyers, call the offices of Rice, Murtha & Psoras at (410) 694-7291.