In the aftermath of suffering an injury or death or due to medical malpractice, there are so many things to deal with. If you or a loved one is injured, you have to figure out how to care for them and adapt to their new world. If a loved one died, you must make funeral arrangements, manage their estate, and much more. This can be an incredibly stressful time for everyone involved.
While dealing with all of that stress, something else might be on your mind. You might wonder if you are a victim of medical malpractice. For those individuals in this unfortunate situation, it’s important to seek legal assistance as soon as possible.
Why? Because Maryland law has clear guidelines concerning the time period for filing a medical malpractice claim (the legal term is “statute of limitations”). If you fail to file a claim before the statute of limitations runs out, it can result in the automatic dismissal of your case, even if you have catastrophic personal injuries or a loved one has passed away due to medical negligence.
Contacting an experienced medical malpractice lawyer right away can help you meet these important deadlines and receive the financial compensation you deserve. Call Cardaro & Peek today for a FREE consultation and to protect your right to compensation.
What is the Statute of Limitations for Medical Malpractice Claims?
As stated above, the “statute of limitations” governs the time to bring a lawsuit (one way to remember this is to use the term “SOL” for statute of limitations because if you miss the deadline, you’re SOL). There is a statute of limitations for every type of lawsuit. The point of the SOL is to make sure that potential plaintiffs do not wait years and years to file a lawsuit.
Maryland: medical malpractice claims for a personal injury must be filed by the earliest of the following dates (a) 5 years from the date of the injury or (b) 3 years from the date the injury was discovered. Because of the nature of medical malpractice claims, the 3-year period is most common for personal injuries. In Maryland, an injury is “discovered” when the plaintiff actually discovers or should have discovered, the injury through the exercise of due diligence. The Maryland rule is somewhat strict. Even though you are given time to “discover” the injury, you should not wait long to start the investigation. One must keep in mind that the 5 year deadline will bar any claims filed after five years of the date of the injury, regardless of when the injuries are discovered.
The Maryland SOL for wrongful death is three years after the individual’s death. There is no “discovery” element, the clock starts at death.
Washington, D.C.: a plaintiff must file a medical malpractice case for personal injuries within three years. D.C. also has a “discovery rule.” The D.C. rule is arguably more forgiving for plaintiffs than Maryland’s rule. The clock does not start until the plaintiff “discovers or reasonably should have discovered” that they were the victim of medical malpractice.
For wrongful death in D.C., the Personal Representative of the deceased individual’s estate must file a wrongful death lawsuit within two years of the date of death.
What Happens if the Statute of Limitations Has Passed?
The statute of limitations is a harsh deadline. Filing too late may mean the difference between recovering compensation and recovering nothing. If the deadline has passed by just one day, your claim may be immediately dismissed, even if you can prove that your doctor caused the injury and the injury resulted in millions of dollars in damage. Additionally, medical malpractice claims take time to investigate before filing. You will need medical experts to make a signed and sworn statement stating your claim is legitimate and meets the requirements to prove wrongdoing by a medical professional. To do that, the experts need to review your medical records. This process can take months and should be started long before the SOL gets close.
This is why it is critical to talk to an attorney about your claim as soon as possible. Our experienced medical malpractice attorneys at Cardaro & Peek can help build your case and make sure to avoid any SOL issues, so you can get the compensation you deserve.
Contact The Law Offices of Cardaro & Peek, LLC Today
The lawyers at Cardaro & Peek, LLC have the experience and resources necessary to investigate and litigate all types of medical claims throughout Maryland and Washington, D.C. Cardaro & Peek, LLC has medical personnel on staff and has access to nationally recognized, board-certified physicians and other experts, to assist in the investigation, analysis, and prosecution of all types of medical malpractice claims. If you or a loved one have experienced malpractice, give us a call at 410-752-6166. Please visit our website www.cardarolaw.com and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn for more information.