For most legal cases, you will not have an unlimited amount of time to file a claim against the party that wronged you. Instead, each state legislature sets its own deadlines specifically for each type of legal claim, which are referred to as the "statute of limitations" for that type of claim. Such medical malpractice statutes of limitations can vary widely from one state to the next, so you want to discuss the time limits for your case with an attorney who has specific knowledge of the laws in your state.
Medical Malpractice Statutes of Limitations In Maryland
Under Maryland law, the statute of limitations for any claim arising from medical negligence is the earlier of the following:
- Five years from the date of the injury; or
- Three years from the discovery of the injury.
If you are using the five-year limitation, you must determine the date on which the specific injury occurred. In some cases, such as surgical errors, this date can be relatively apparent. However, in the case of a misdiagnosis, a patient may not suffer injury on that specific date. Instead, they may not suffer compensable harm until their misdiagnosed condition advances to a point where additional costly treatment would be needed or the condition is no longer as treatable as it would have been if initially diagnosed. In such situations, medical experts may be needed to identify a legal date of injury.
The Three-Year "Discovery Rule"
In many cases in Maryland, the statute of limitations is deemed by the courts to be less than the five years. This is because the law also sets a statute of limitations at three years from the date the injury was or should have been discovered. In order to use the five-year limit, you must prove that you had no way of knowing about your injury sooner and that a reasonable person would not have discovered the injury sooner. If you cannot prove this, the time limit will be set at three years from the time a reasonable person would have discovered they suffered harm. If this sounds confusing to you - you are not alone. The discovery rule makes it critical to contact an attorney as soon as you believe that you may have been a victim in order to preserve your rights to recovery.
Do Not Delay in Consulting With an Experienced Maryland Medical Malpractice Attorney
After you realize that a serious medical condition was misdiagnosed, that a surgical error occurred, that you child was injured during birth, or that you were otherwise the victim of medical negligence, your mind will likely be focused on your treatment and recovery. However, you should not wait to call and speak with a knowledgeable medical malpractice attorney regarding your rights and options. Medical malpractice lawsuits take a significant amount of time and resources to prepare in the proper manner, so you do not want to wait until just before the statute of limitations is up to contact an attorney. Instead, call The Casper Firm, LLC today for a free case evaluation at 888-387-3878.