In the state of Maryland, a strict time deadline applies to most legal claims brought by injured persons and their families. Usually, that time limit, which is called the “statute of limitations,” is three years. Under Md. Cts. & Jud. Proc. Code § 5-101, the default deadline for civil lawsuits in Maryland is three years from the date it “accrues,” unless another law says otherwise.
In a personal injury case, the date an action “accrues” is often the date of a wrongful act that caused an injury. For example, the date of a serious car wreck would be the date that you use as the starting point to calculate the three-year deadline. Determining when an action accrues for purposes of a legal claim may involve complicated legal analysis and research.
The statute of limitations is a law that places a time deadline on when an injured victim can bring a legal claim against the person or entity that is responsible for the damages caused by their injury. The public policy reason behind the law is it encourages individuals to not “sit on their rights” and to file prompt claims. If you fail to meet this time limit, you may be unable to seek compensation through the civil justice system.
Like many things in the law, there are exceptions and situation-specific circumstances that may potentially change that deadline. Lawyers may debate about when an action “accrues,” or there may be debate about whether a separate statutory deadline applies. If a defendant engaged in fraud that concealed the injury, it may also extend the deadline. Conversely, if a wrongful act caused a death that happened more than three years later, the statute of limitations may possibly be extended.
If you have been injured in the state of Maryland and are concerned about the statute of limitations, contact The Cochran Firm, D.C. for a free initial case consultation. Our veteran attorneys are highly experienced handling statute of limitations issues and have a deep understanding of the time deadline issues that often come up in injury claims.
Many limitations, exceptions, and factors can potentially impact your claim and you should talk to an experienced Maryland injury lawyer to learn what time deadlines apply to your specific situation. As a general overview, the following are some time deadlines that may apply to cases in Maryland civil court: