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What Is The Statute Of Limitations For A Car Accident In Maryland?

Statues of limitation set the outer time limit within which a lawsuit must be filed, or be forever barred by operation of law. The step necessary to satisfy the applicable statute of limitations is the plaintiff filing a lawsuit and supporting papers in the court of appropriate jurisdiction by at least the day the statute of limitations is to expire.

In Maryland, the statute of limitations generally applicable to personal injury cases involving allegations of negligence is three years from the date of the event.

There may be some exceptions to the general rule. Courts in specific factual circumstances have employed what is known as the “discovery rule”. This exception provides the limitations period might be extended where the plaintiff did not have knowledge of the effect of the personal injury for some length of time. Under this exception, the injured individual is still charged with the responsibility of acting promptly under all circumstances after they have reason to know they have been injured, even though the time may be extended beyond 3 years. An example could be an exposure to a toxic substance, the effects of which do not manifest themselves form many years.  An additional exception may apply where the injured individual is a minor. It is generally understood that the statute of limitations would not start to run until that child has reached the age of 18, from which time that individual would have 3 years to file suit. Another scenario is one in which the injured individual is incompetent to act in some fashion. The running of the statute of limitations might be tolled, or paused, during the period of incompetence.

It's worthwhile noting that many jurisdictions around Maryland have far shorter statutes of limitation.

Our immediate northern and southern neighbors, Pennsylvania and Virginia, both employ two-year statute of limitations for negligence cases. If a suit concerning an accident involving a Marylander occurs in one of those jurisdictions, it may well be that the claim must be filed in that jurisdiction within 2 years, rather than 3. 

In some instances, substantive law may impose additional, shorter time limitations on the obligation to provide notification of a potential personal injury claim. Although these are not technically statutes of limitation, they may have the same effect- that of precluding a claim or a recovery for a personal injury.

In Maryland, if a claim is being brought against the State, there are very specific notice requirements-shorter than 3 years- with which an injured individual or their attorney must comply.

The applicable time limit is one year. If proper notice is not given to the state within that time, an individual may be, and likely will be, forever barred from bringing a claim even if filed in court within the applicable statute of limitations. If a claim is being made based on negligence allegations against a local government, or an entity considered a local government under applicable law, specific notice requirements also apply.  If a claim is being made against a federal government employee specific notice and claim filing requirements also apply. Again, if these requirements are not met an individual may be precluded from bringing a claim. As with some of Maryland's sister states, the applicable time period for bringing a claim against a federal government employee is generally 2 years. These "notice requirements", which are not statutes of limitation, are frequently complex and exacting. Moreover, although they are not technically limitations, they can have the same effect. If an injured individual fails to adhere, there claim can be forever barred. It is recommended that you either become intimately familiar with them, or retain an experienced personal injury lawyer.