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What is ‘Statute of Limitations’?

Posted on 10/05/20 by admin in Personal Injury

The term statute of limitations is used often in the legal world. If you are ever going to seek a personal injury lawyer, it is important to know and understand this term. The statue of limitations will determine whether you have a case or not. Contact our personal injury lawyer at Malloy Law Offices, LLC, and we will walk you through the whole process.

Statute of limitations is a deadline from the time of the accident in which the injured party must file a lawsuit or settle a case, if they want to seek legal action. Otherwise, if the statute of limitations has passed, then the defendant or the party at-fault could easily ask the court to dismiss your case. Every US state has a different deadline. In this blog, we are going to discuss personal injury case “deadlines” in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C..

Statute of Limitations in Maryland, D.C. and Virginia

In Maryland and the District of Columbia, the statute of limitations is generally the same. The plaintiff has three years from the date of accident to file suit. As stated by the Maryland Courts & Judicial Proceedings, “A civil action at law shall be filed within three years from the date it accrues“.  The lawsuit can be filled on or before the date of accident but anytime after can be dismissed by the courts. There are different rules and time frames for Virginia.

Virginia requires the plaintiff to file suit on or before 2 years from the date of accident. As stated by the Virginia Code of Law, “Every action for personal injuries, whatever the theory of recovery… shall be brought within two years after the cause of action accrues“. Statute of limitations may apply but there are some exceptions to this rule and different “deadlines” for some practice areas. 

The Difference in Medical Malpractice Statute of Limitations

Medical malpractice statute of limitations depends on the negligent action. For example, if an immediate injury occurred – like a botched surgery -, then the deadline to file suit would be different from a misdiagnosis. This is because a misdiagnosis could cause a problem later down the road. This exception would fall under the discovery rule. Nonetheless, this is a very complex rule and at times can be dismissed by the courts based on the fact that the injury should have been immediately noticeable. If you are ever doubting, it is always better to ask than to allow a problem to grow. As well as medical malpractice, workers’ compensation has a distinct statute of limitations. 

Additional Statute of Limitations Rules for Workers’ Compensation in Maryland

Speaking of Maryland only, workers’ compensation law requires you to file a workers’ compensation claim with the state of Maryland. An injured worker should file a claim with the Maryland Workers Compensation Commission within 60 days of the date of the accidental injury. This is unrelated to hiring a lawyer or filing a workers’ compensation claim with your employer. It is still extremely crucial for your case to file an injury claim with your employer as well. The world of law can be very strict but there are some exceptions to these rules, which may apply to your personal injury claim. 

Other Exceptions to Statute of Limitations

Maryland and Virginia

Many rules apply when filling a personal injury lawsuit. However, minors have an exception to the timeline of law. Statute of limitations timeline is at a halt until the child reaches the age where they are not considered a minor anymore. Another exception to the rule is if the person involved in the accident is under a legal disability. If this is the case then the clock doesn’t start running until the period of disability ends. This all depends on the courts. They may leave these up for debate. If the at-fault party avoids liability, the statute of limitations might be affected as well.

If anytime after the accident the defendant takes steps to fraudulently conceal their liability or identity from the injured person, the time starts when the plaintiff is discovered or should have been discovered. This situation may cause bigger troubles for the at-fault party. Even though Maryland has a 3 year time period and Virginia has a 2 year time period, they are about the same when it comes to exceptions. For Washington, D.C. however, they have other exceptions.

Washington, D.C.

Death involved with the accident may cause the lawsuit clock to be on hold. If a wrongful death is involved, the case must be filed within two years of the deceased person’s death. Normally, D.C. has a statute of limitations of 3 years from the date of accident but if there was a wrongful death, this may change the time period. Regardless of the injury and location of injury, there are too many rules and exceptions to remember. It is always imperative to understand the importance of contacting a lawyer as soon as possible. 

The Importance of Getting Legal Help and Treatment ASAP

Times and exceptions are a lot to remember. Moreover, when you’re going through the backlash of an accident, you may not want to deal with remembering dates and exceptions. This is why it is important to seek legal council soon after an injury-causing accident. 

If you decide to get legal help, don’t settle with the insurance company. You need to report the incident when it first happens, and contact a trusted personal injury attorney in your area. If you have any questions, a lawyer may be able to guide you in your legal search. An experienced litigator should have a system in place that makes you feel comfortable and worth the time.

The Malloy System

Here at Malloy Law Offices, LLC, we value honesty, transparency and education. You will not just be a number but you will be a person that we know and understand fully. Because we understand the struggle of finances especially after an injury-causing accident, our law firm runs on a contingency fee basis. This means that you do not pay anything unless we win back your settlement. You are important, so we want to put you first. Start with our free, no-risk consultation: (888) 982-0906.