Maryland’s Discovery Rule Sometimes Gives More Time to File a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit
Posted on behalf of Goldberg Finnegan, LLC on Feb 12, 2020 in Medical Malpractice
Medical malpractice claims are quite complex, partly because there are many regulations you must follow when pursuing a claim. Typically, claims must be made within a set amount of time after an injury occurs – but Maryland’s discovery rule may give you more time.
Goldberg Finnegan’s Silver Spring medical malpractice attorneys explain the state’s discovery rule and how it applies to medical malpractice lawsuits. To find out if you may be eligible to seek compensation for your injuries, schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with our legal team today.
Maryland Medical Malpractice Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations creates a deadline for when a victim must file legal action against the person or party who caused the injury.
In Maryland, the statute of limitations says medical malpractice lawsuits must be filed within five years of the date the injury occurred, or within three years of discovering that injury, whichever date comes first. In practice, this usually means that medical malpractice cases must be filed within 3 years of the date the negligence occurred, though there are some exceptions as detailed below.
If a person suffers from mental disability at the time medical malpractice occurs, the statute of limitations will not begin to run until three years from either the date the victim’s mental disability ends or from the date a guardian was appointed.
Deadlines for Minors
If a medical malpractice victim is a minor, the statute of limitations does not begin to run until the victim turns 18. (MD Code, Courts and Judicial Proceedings, § 5-109 sets a stricter statute of limitations on a minor’s claim for medical malpractice, but it was found unconstitutional by the Maryland Court of Appeals. The legislature has not yet updated the statute). A parent’s claim for medical bills incurred on behalf of a minor child typically must be brought within three years of the time the medical malpractice occurs.
Sometimes, medical malpractice is unknown to the victim at the time it occurs and cannot be discovered until a later date. That is why Maryland has a “discovery rule” to account for those situations.
The discovery rule states the statute of limitations starts when the victim discovers his or her injury or should have discovered it, but no longer than 5 years from the date the injury was committed. As a victim, once you have knowledge that may cause a reasonably prudent person to investigate, you have a responsibility to investigate the situation. The statute of limitations begins running at the time the victim should have known about the injury.
Problems with Proving You Did Not Know About an Injury
As the plaintiff, it is your responsibility to prove you had no knowledge of the injury when it occurred and could not have discovered it until the later date when you found out about it. The discovery rule only allows more time if you can prove that you did not and could not have known of the injury at the time it occurred.
Our Licensed Lawyers May be Able to Help
If you have been harmed by medical malpractice, you may be able to file a lawsuit to pursue damages including medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. The attorneys of Goldberg Finnegan have many years of combined experience fighting to recover maximum compensation for injury victims.
We are available for a free consultation to discuss if you may have a claim for compensation. There are no upfront fees, and you only pay us if we recover compensation for you.