When you are injured in Baltimore due to the negligence of another person or entity, you may be considering your legal options. Specifically, you might be wondering whether you should file a personal injury lawsuit. But while you are making your mind up, the clock is ticking. If too much time passes, your decision may be taken out of your hands.
Generally, the statute of limitations in the State of Maryland for personal injury lawsuits such as slip and falls is three years from the date of the accident. In other words, you have three years to file your initial complaint with a Maryland court in order for your case to be valid. However, there are some exceptions to the statute of limitations that apply in certain circumstances. These exceptions might make the time limit longer or shorter, so it is important that you speak with an attorney early on about your specific case.
When you are dealing with an injury, it can be invaluable to have the assistance of our Baltimore slip and fall attorneys. At Bennett & Heyman, our lawyers keep up with the latest trends and developments in personal injury law so that we are in the best position to recover for you. You should never be forced to pursue your compensation alone. To set up a free initial consultation on your options, you can call our offices at (410) 429-7856.
How Much Time Do I Have to File My Slip and Fall Case in Baltimore?
Put simply, personal injury civil suits must be filed within three years of the date of the accident that caused the injuries. For example, if you fell on a patch of ice at a grocery store on March 21, 2020, you may file your claim at any point up to and including March 21, 2023. If you file your suit on March 22, 2023, the court will most likely discard your case without even hearing your arguments.
You should keep in mind that the process of properly preparing a personal injury claim after a slip and fall may be complex and could require a lengthy investigatory process prior to actually filing. This is because attorneys need to gather medical records and evidence of financial damages in order to develop your complaint. You should strongly consider acting early if you think you may have a personal injury case.
Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations in Baltimore
As mentioned earlier, there are certain exceptions that may impact the statute of limitations in a given case. These exceptions may lengthen or accelerate the timetable for when your suit may be filed.
Minors and Mentally Handicapped Plaintiffs
If the injured party is a minor or mentally incapacitated at the time of the injury, the statute of limitations only begins to run once the minor reaches the age of maturity or the disability is resolved. In other words, if a 16-year-old is injured in a slip and fall, they will have until their 21st birthday to file their lawsuit. This extension exists because children are not always immediately aware of the injuries sustained.
Parents of minors who are injured that are responsible for medical bills must typically abide by the general three-year statute of limitations to recover for the expenses they incur. However, for the most severe injuries (such as traumatic brain injuries or paralysis), children may be able to recover for the cost of their long-term care. Regardless of the circumstances, it is always better to be well out in front of any statutory deadlines for your lawsuit.
Lawsuits Against Maryland or a State Employee
If the negligent party in your case is an arm of the state, there are more stringent requirements that govern the filing of your lawsuit. According to the Maryland Tort Claims Act, citizens who are pressing charges against a government entity must provide proper and timely notice of their claims to the government itself via a “claim letter.” This claim letter must be submitted within one year of the date that you sustained your injuries.
There are specific requirements for the information that must be contained in your claim letter. Our Baltimore slip and fall lawyers can help you prepare and submit your timely claim letter so that you are not barred from recovery, regardless of who the negligent party is.
When Should I File My Slip and Fall Lawsuit in Baltimore?
Obviously, it is critical that you avoid missing the statutory deadlines if you hope to be successful in your claim. However, there are a number of additional benefits to filing your case as early as possible.
For one, compiling and preparing your initial complaint can take time. Your attorney will work with you to establish your case so that what you are alleging is as clear and accurate as possible. This process involves gathering and analyzing medical records as well as other evidence from the scene of the accident. You would be well served to begin this process well in advance of any deadlines so that you and your attorneys are not placed in a time crunch for completing such a critical process.
Additionally, personal injury suits that are filed earlier are typically more successful than those that are filed later. By allowing less of a delay, you ensure that your case is argued while your injuries are still fresh and easy to identify. It also prevents extraneous factors from coming into play that could reduce your compensation. Further, your decisive and timely action indicates to your opposition (and the jury) that you are taking your case seriously.
Finally, the sooner you file your suit, the sooner you will receive your compensation. For many, waiting on this compensation is not an option. If you are concerned about being able to afford legal counsel while litigating your personal injury lawsuit, speak to one of our attorneys about our flexible contingency payment structure that only gets us paid once your case is resolved.
Get Started on Your Slip and Fall Case in Baltimore Today
Our Baltimore slip and fall attorneys can get you started on your road to recovery today. To schedule a free consultation on your options with Bennett & Heyman today, call us at (410) 429-7856.