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What is the Statute of Limitations on Car Accident Claims?

If you’ve ever been involved in a car accident, you know that injuries are often immediately obvious. You’ll feel pain or see cuts and bruises about the body. If your injuries appear serious, you’ll go to the doctor and possibly contact a Maryland automobile accident attorney to learn about your options for getting compensation. However, there are situations in which injuries don’t appear right away. You may only feel slight discomfort after the crash, but your condition may get worse over time. Under Maryland’s laws, injured victims have the right to get compensation even if their symptoms don’t show up right away. However, as time goes on, there are limitations on your ability to recover damages. That's why it's important to file car accident claims as soon as possible. One significant factor is the state’s statute of limitations. This requires you to file your lawsuit against the negligent driver within a specific time. In Maryland, the statute of limitations for personal injury cases involving negligence is usually three years from the date of the accident. However, this doesn’t mean you should wait until a week or two before the deadline expires to contact an attorney. What you do in the days and weeks following the crash can make a big difference in your case. Therefore, you need to call a lawyer as soon as possible so they can advise you accordingly. There are some exceptions to the rule, but you should discuss your case with an attorney. You don’t want to lose your opportunity to take legal action against the at-fault party. If you fail to file your case within the stipulated time, you will likely lose your right to do so. You need to file the lawsuit in the appropriate court by the day the statute of limitations is set to expire.

Exceptions to Maryland’s Statute of Limitations

Under some circumstances, the courts will employ the discovery rule. The statute of limitations can be extended if you didn’t know about your injuries for a period of time. You’re still expected to act promptly as soon as you know that you suffered injuries. The statute of limitations may also go beyond three years if the injured person was a minor. The clock would not start running under the child turned 18. At that point, they would have three years to file their lawsuit. Also, if the injured individual was incompetent in some way, the statute of limitations can be paused until they are capable.  You should ask a Maryland car accident lawyer for advice on what applies in your case. These exceptions allow for a longer period within which to file a lawsuit. However, there are occasions when victims have a much shorter time to take legal action. They may also have to first notify the defendant that they intend to file a personal injury claim. For example, if you’re filing a claim against the state, you’ll have to comply with notice requirements. In Maryland, you usually have a year following the injury to notify the state. If you don’t act in time, you could forfeit your right to file a lawsuit even if it’s within the three-year statute of limitations. Specific requirements may also apply if you’re accusing a local government of negligence. You’re likely to only have six months to give notice of your intentions. Special requirements may also apply when you want to file a claim against an employee of the federal government. Given all the various conditions, it’s imperative that you contact a car accident attorney in Maryland as soon as possible. Waiting too long can be detrimental and it makes sense to get your case started as early as you can. At the very least, you should consult with an attorney to learn about all the timelines that apply to your case.

Other Time Considerations in Maryland Car Accident Claims

The statute of limitations isn’t the only thing you need to consider when it comes to car accident claims. There are other reasons why you need to move quickly after you get injured in an accident. For example, if you wait too long to seek compensation, the insurance company may deny your claim. They will wonder why you took so long to file a claim if your injuries were genuine. Another consideration is that if you take too long to file, valuable evidence may be destroyed or damaged. Eyewitnesses may also forget what they saw. This could make the insurer more likely to reject your claim.

Contact the Team at Pinder Plotkin LLC to Discuss Your Case Today!

If you’ve been involved in a car accident, you need to seek legal advice as soon as you can. Our Maryland car accident lawyers will do everything possible to ensure you file your claim within the statute of limitations. Contact us today to schedule a free initial consultation.