In many auto accident scenarios, the injuries are immediately obvious due to the pain and visible indications like bleeding, swelling, or bruising. However, some injuries do not appear until a few hours or even days after the incident. For some motor vehicle collisions, you may only experience minor discomfort, but your condition gets extremely painful over time. Maryland law protects injured victims by providing them with the right to recover compensation from the responsible party through a lawsuit – even if the injuries are not immediately apparent.
Still, there are restrictions on taking action and the primary one is time: Maryland has a statute of limitations that requires you to sue the negligent driver before a designated date. The rule is specific, but there are some exceptions, so you should discuss your situation with an experienced Montgomery County personal injury lawyer right away.
Maryland’s Statute of Limitations
By law, any claim for compensation in a car accident case must be filed within three years. The statute begins to run on the date of the incident. If you do not sue the responsible driver for damages within this time frame, you are forever barred from seeking compensation unless you are eligible to claim one of the exceptions described below.
Note that Maryland’s statute of limitations refers to the filing of an official lawsuit, not a claim you would submit to the insurance company that provides coverage from the other motorist. Also, the same time period applies if a person is killed due to a car accident, so there is a three-year limitation on wrongful death cases.
Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations
Under some circumstances, you may be able to file a lawsuit even if the three-year period has expired.
- The discovery of harm rule may act as an exception if you did not notice your injuries until after the statutory deadline, which would be rare in an auto accident claim.
- In some situations, a minor may have up to three years after he or she reaches age 18 years to file a lawsuit.
Other Time Considerations in Auto Accident Cases
Regardless of the official statute of limitations, there are other factors that should motivate you to act quickly after an injury-causing auto accident. Delays could be grounds for an insurance company agent to deny your claim for compensation. The assumption is that you did not suffer harm from your injuries if you waited a long time to request compensation.
Another reason to file your claim as soon as possible after a motor vehicle accident is that evidence can be damaged or destroyed within a short time. Plus, witness recollections may fade. An insurer may deny your claim because there is not sufficient evidence showing its own policyholder is at fault.
Schedule a Consultation with a Knowledgeable Auto Accident Lawyer
For more information on the relevant time considerations in Maryland car crash cases, please contact the Montgomery County, MD law offices of attorney William F. Mulroney. He can schedule a free consultation to review your case, explain your legal options, and get started on your claim right away.