Car Accident Statute of Limitations in Maryland
Taking legal action may be the last thing on your mind after being hurt in a Maryland car accident. While taking care of your health is always the first priority, keep in mind that the
law limits the amount of time you have to begin your claim and file a lawsuit formally. This deadline is called the statute of limitations.
The statute of limitations for car accident claims in Maryland is generally three years. However, there are certain circumstances where the time limit may be different. For this reason, it’s vital to talk to a knowledgeable car accident lawyer right away. You don’t want to lose out on getting the compensation you deserve because of a missed deadline.
If you’ve been hurt in a crash in Southern Maryland, reach out to the compassionate attorneys at Trollinger Law LLC. We’ll review the facts of your case and explain how the statute of limitations may affect your rights and options for seeking compensation.
When you choose Trollinger Law, you’ll get proven Waldorf car accident lawyers who will hit the ground running. We’ll investigate the accident, recover evidence to support your claim, and develop a solid legal case that demands maximum compensation for you.
The clock is ticking, so don’t delay in getting legal advice for your car accident claim. Call or contact us today for a free consultation.
Maryland Car Accident Statute of Limitations
As stated above, the Maryland statute of limitations on car accidents is generally three years from the date of the accident. For fatal accidents, families have three years from the date of death to file a wrongful death claim.
It’s critical to file your lawsuit before the statute of limitations applicable to your case expires. Fail to do so, and you’ll most likely lose your right to compensation forever.
When Does the Statute of Limitations Start?
In most car accidents, a person will know that they have been injured or suffered losses (at least to some degree) and have sufficient facts to suspect that someone else is to blame. For that reason, the Maryland statute of limitations for car accident claims usually begins on the date of the collision.
Exceptions to the Time Limit
In some car accident cases, special circumstances may call for pausing or extending the statute of limitations. This is called “tolling.”
One common exception to the traditional statute of limitations on car accident claims exists for minors. When a minor child is injured or suffers losses from a car accident, the statute of limitations does not begin to run until the child’s 18th birthday, thereby giving them until their 21st birthday to file a lawsuit.
Similarly, courts may toll the limitations period for a car accident victim who suffers a physical or mental disability that prevents them from having the capacity to pursue their claim. The limitations period will be tolled for the duration of the disability.
The statute of limitations can also be tolled when the at-fault party’s fraud conceals its liability to the injured victim. In car accident cases, this might occur in a hit-and-run accident where the at-fault driver flees the scene and cannot be identified by the injured victim or by law enforcement for some period.
When Should I Start Filing My Claim?
Don’t wait until you’re nearing the end of the three-year statute of limitations period to begin pursuing your car accident claim or filing a lawsuit. Speak with an experienced car accident lawyer as soon as possible.
There are several reasons to act quickly. If you wait too long to begin your claim, you may find it difficult to secure legal representation to help you with your case. Car accident cases take a lot of preparation, so a couple of weeks may not be enough time for a lawyer to investigate and develop a compelling legal case properly. In addition, waiting too long could mean that much of the evidence from the accident is lost and that witnesses’ memories of the crash will not be clear. That could make it challenging to build a convincing case.
By contrast, filing early can have strategic benefits for your claim. When you file a lawsuit and start a case in court, you will be entitled to seek discovery from the other side in the case. This means you can request that the other side produce relevant information and documents in their possession. Before you file a lawsuit, the other side can simply decline to turn over those materials. But once in discovery, they are legally obligated to fully respond to all proper discovery requests.
Filing a lawsuit can also help facilitate a settlement of your claim. Even after you’ve filed a complaint in court, you can still settle your claim at any time until a verdict is reached. By filing a lawsuit, you signal to the insurance company or other side that you believe that you have a strong claim and are prepared to undertake substantial efforts to pursue fair and full compensation.
The insurance company or other side may want to avoid the expense of trial, especially if you have a strong case with a good chance of winning. The prospect that your case may go to trial can push the insurance company or at-fault party to reach a fair settlement outside of the courtroom.
Finally, starting your claim as early as possible may prove necessary if you are involved in a car accident with a vehicle owned by the government or driven by a government employee in the course and scope of their employment. The law requires that you give written notice of your car accident claim to the appropriate government or public agency within a specific time frame. Depending on the level of government you are pursuing a claim against, these time frames may differ from the limits set by the statute of limitations.
For example, if you have a car accident claim against the federal government, you must provide notice within two years of the date of the accident. Claims against the Maryland state government or a local government in Maryland require notice within one year of the accident date. Failure to give timely notice of your claim will result in your claim being barred.
Contact a Car Accident Lawyer in Waldorf, MD
If you’ve been involved in a car accident in Maryland, a car accident lawyer in Waldorf at Trollinger Law LLC can explain how the statute of limitations applies in your case in a free consultation. Call or contact us today for a free consultation.