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Understanding the Personal Injury Statute of Limitations

Posted on 01/02/24 by admin in Personal Injury

When describing the general outline of common personal injury scenarios on this blog, we at Malloy Law Offices like to emphasize the importance of beginning legal proceedings in an expedient manner. There are several reasons that time is of the essence. It allows for testimony to be gathered while the events are still fresh in the minds of all involved. Early diagnosis of injuries leaves no room for ambiguity as to their causes. But by far the most important reason to commence legal action in a timely manner after your injury is the “statute of limitations.” This is effectively an “expiration date” for the right to pursue legal action in civil court. The personal injury statute of limitations varies from state to state and may come with possible exceptions. Today’s blog entry will summarize the personal injury statute of limitations in brief.

personal injury statute of limitations

Why Does the Statute of Limitations Matter?

With limited and rare exceptions, the statute of limitations is an absolute barrier to recovery of any kind. Even if the other party is clearly liable for your injury, a filing after the statute of limitations has lapsed will almost never succeed. The defending legal council will file a “motion to dismiss” and the judge will throw out the case. This will mean you’ve lost the ability to petition a court award you damages for your injury.

The Personal Injury Statute of Limitations in the Beltway Region

As previously stated, the statute of limitations varies from state to state. Let’s briefly summarize them in the states where Malloy Law practices law: Maryland, Virginia, and Washington DC.

  • Maryland: Three years from the date of the incident.
  • Virginia: Two years from the date of the incident.
  • Washington DC: Three years from the date of the incident. (This drops to one year for “intentional torts” such as assault, battery, false imprisonment, etc.)

Beltway Region

Notable Exceptions

We’ve alluded to exceptions to the personal injury statute of limitations already in this blog post. We’ll specify them here. There are two main exceptions germane to our summary.

The first exception applies if the injured party is deemed “incapacitated” by their injury. This may mean coma, paralysis, or traumatic brain injury leading to emotional instability. Once the injured party can be deemed no longer “incapacitated,” they’ll receive the full allotment of the statute of limitations from that date, however many years that is. Being under the age of 18 is considered a “disability” under this exception. If a minor suffers an injury and wishes to pursue damages, they’ll have the full statute of limitations  from their 18th birthday.

The second exception applies if the liable party is found to be concealing their role in the circumstances led to the injury or otherwise obstructing the pursuit of legal action. This may include fraudulently filing for bankruptcy to prevent recovery. It may also include more fanciful means of evasion such as living incognito under a false name or fleeing the state or country to avoid being served paperwork. If the liable party is deemed to be obstructing legal proceedings, the time of obstruction will not be counted as part of the statute of limitations.

personal injury

How Malloy Law Can Help

Modern life seems to get busier all the time. It can be even more so in the wake of a serious accident, where medical bills, lost wages, and painful rehabilitation are added on top of the everyday trials we all face. If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of another party’s negligence, you owe it to yourself to explore your options for recovery. Doing so promptly goes a long way towards maximizing your chances of recovering the damages you are entitled to. Malloy Law Offices offers free consultations to help injured persons chart a course of action. We’re proud to help injured people all across the DMV get back on their feet after their accidents. Contact us today and let Malloy Law fight for you.