What is the Statute of Limitations?
The statute of limitations serves an essential purpose in the legal process. It defines a set amount of time before a civil or legal case can no longer be pursued. This may feel like it is designed to punish a prosecutor while giving an unfair advantage to a potential defendant, but it exists to provide a fair legal process for everyone.
What is the Importance of Statute of Limitations?
Memory degrades over time, leading to false memories, biased opinions, and less reliable witness testimony. Evidence also becomes a concern when a significant amount of time passes. Evidence can degrade with time. It can become lost or mishandled over time. Likewise, evidence may no longer be relevant if too much time passes from the date in question.
How is Personal Injury Defined?
Personal injury is a legal term that defines cases in which a person is harmed by another. This does not mean the defendant intended to cause harm to another person; instead, the defendant is accused of being negligent, disregarding the safety of others, leading to the injury of another. According to Cornell Law School, personal injuries can arise from the following:
- Automobile Accidents
- Workplace Accidents
- Product defect accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Toxic torts
What is the Statute of Limitations on Personal Injuries in Maryland?
The statute of limitations on personal injuries is three years in Maryland. The timer for the statute of limitations for personal injury starts on the day of the injury. For example, if someone is injured on July 1st, 2023, they would have until July 1st, 2026, to present their case to a court of law. If they wait until after this date, their claim will be inadmissible. This is slightly different for injuries due to medical malpractice. While the statute of limitations is still three years, the timer starts on the date of discovery instead of the date of injury. For example, if someone has surgery on July 1st, 2023, and then falls ill on July 1st, 2025, and it was determined the illness was caused by medical malpractice that happened during their 2023 surgery, they would have until July 1st, 2028, to file a claim.
Being Awarded Damages
If the case goes to trial and the plaintiff is successful in their claim, they will be awarded monetary damages for their injuries. These damages are meant to compensate the injured party for their loss. According to Cornell Law School, damages for personal injury may include, but are not limited to:
- Medical Expenses
- Lost Wages
- Pain and Suffering
- Mental and emotional distress
- Household assistance
- Travel expenses
How to Pursue a Personal Injury Case in Maryland
Because of the complex nature of personal injury cases, hiring an attorney as soon as possible is highly recommended. This is especially true if a significant amount of time has passed since the injury occurred. A knowledgeable local accident attorney can help a plaintiff in their personal injury case. They will be able to help with finding expert witnesses, which may come at a price. They will help the plaintiff describe their unique situation to expert witnesses.Attorneys will also be able to help in the discovery process. Discovery refers to a set of legal rules that can be used to find information from the other parties in a case. This is a necessary step in the personal injury process. Do not wait too long. In Maryland, the statute of limitations on personal injury claims is only three years after the injury, or in the case of medical malpractice, three years after the discovery of an injury. This may not always be a clear-cut date, and a lawyer can help you determine when exactly the timer started.
In Maryland, a plaintiff may not recover compensation from a person if they themselves acted negligently. This is referred to as “contributory negligence.” Similarly, suppose a person assumes the risk of injury when the person has full knowledge and understanding of an existing danger. In that case, they may be unable to win a personal claim. This is called an “assumption of risk.” Both of these defenses can be harder to disprove if too much time passes from the date of injury.The experienced attorneys of Tehrani Law LLC are available for a free consultation during this challenging process. They can help match you with valuable resources, explain the process in depth, and help you determine if you are acting within the statute of limitations for your personal injury claim. Please contact Tehrani Law LLC today at 301-939-0133 to schedule a free consultation.