If you were injured in an accident caused by the negligence or recklessness of another person, the thought has probably crossed your mind that you could sue them for damages.
But when should you file your lawsuit? Should you do anything first? and when is it too late?
There are several steps that we would advise you to take before filing your lawsuit. First, you should always seek medical attention as soon as possible for your injuries.
Seeking medical care immediately will not only make you safer but also maximize your chances of recovery in a personal injury lawsuit.
Second, you should also contact a lawyer before filing your lawsuit. Your lawyer can help you by gathering evidence, negotiating with insurance, and preparing your lawsuit documents.
However, you likely only have three years to file your lawsuit after sustaining your injuries, so you should act on all of these steps as soon as possible.
Once you have received proper medical care, call the experienced Baltimore personal injury lawyers at Rice, Murtha & Psoras. We can provide you will all of the information you need to make a decision on your personal injury lawsuit. To schedule your initial consultation for free, call us at (410) 694-7291.
Should You Get Medical Attention Before Filing Your Lawsuit?
You should absolutely get a medical assessment and treatment prior to filing your lawsuit. You should prioritize medical care for your personal injuries for several reasons.
First, your health is your top priority. While you may have suspicions about your injuries, the only way to properly identify and treat any underlying issues that could become worse quickly is to get the proper medical care.
Nothing is more important than your health. While many people may naturally avoid hospitals due to time commitments or fears, we strongly urge you to consider taking the first step that will benefit you the most.
Second, seeking medical care immediately after your injury reduces the likelihood that the opposing side could make an argument that your injuries occurred after the accident in question.
This is a common defense used in personal injury lawsuits that goes to the “causation” element of negligence.
Essentially, by calling into question whether the defendant’s negligence was actually responsible for the injury, the argument opens the door to a complete dismissal of your case.
Your recovery could also be reduced if the other side can show that your injuries were exacerbated by your failure to seek medical care immediately. You should avoid any inference of a superseding factor or contributory negligence at all costs.
Third, by getting medical treatment immediately for your injuries, you demonstrate to your opponent (or their insurance provider) and a potential jury that you take your injuries seriously. Even if you are not sure of the severity or extent of your injuries, the best way to express your concern over what happened to you is to obtain competent medical care as soon as possible.
Should You File a Personal Injury Lawsuit Before Speaking to a Lawyer?
You may choose to file your lawsuit before retaining the assistance of an attorney. However, we strongly advise that you speak with one of our experienced Maryland personal injury lawyers well in advance of any filings you may make.
Lawyers can help you identify the issue and gather evidence about your personal injuries, such as police reports, medical records, or witness testimony.
Your lawyer can work with you to estimate the damages that you should be seeking in your lawsuit based on the harm you have suffered.
Our lawyers are already familiar with the unique sets of rules and procedural guidelines Maryland courts may use for filing a civil lawsuit for personal injury cases.
Separately, if you are dealing with your opponent’s insurance company, you will want a lawyer by your side. Insurance representatives will often try to get you to make statements that could come back to hurt you in court.
They could also offer you a settlement that is substantially lower than what you deserve. Your lawyer can communicate with insurance representatives on your behalf and negotiate a fair settlement agreement that gets you the compensation you need to recover from your injuries.
How Long Do You Have to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit in Maryland?
The statute of limitations in Maryland provides that personal injury plaintiffs generally have three years from when they sustain their injury to file their lawsuit with the appropriate court.
Plaintiffs who fail to file within the three-year time limit will have their cases dismissed before they can have their voices heard.
There are exceptions to this rule, however. For instance, if the defendant engaged in fraud or deceived you about the nature of your injuries or the negligence that caused them, you may be able to use the “discovery rule” to delay the start of the clock on your personal injury lawsuit.
The discovery rule in Maryland is extremely limited, so you should not rely on it if you have not filed your case yet.
Additionally, if the victim was a minor or an “incapacitated person” at the time of the injury, the victim will have an extended period of time to file their suit.
In such cases, the clock does not begin to run until the victim reaches the age of maturity (18 in Maryland) or until the incapacitation ends.
For more information on what constitutes an incapacitated person, speak to the diligent Kent County personal injury attorneys at Rice, Murtha, & Psoras.
Talk to Us About When You Should File Your Personal Injury Lawsuit in Maryland
If you hope to recover from your personal injury case, you don’t have long to wait. Call the respected Middle River personal injury attorneys at Rice, Murtha & Psoras today for free at (410) 694-7291.