The Statute of Limitations for Medical Malpractice Claims in Maryland
When a doctor or other health professional commits an error that results in harm, the victimized patient may be able to seek compensation by filing a medical malpractice claim. As medical malpractice is basically a claim of negligence, it is not a one-size-fits-all process. The individual characteristics of each victim’s case make a big difference.
That being said, the laws of Maryland have clear guidelines concerning the statute of limitations for filing a medical malpractice claim. The limits change based on certain circumstances, which we will explore in the following sections.
What is the Statute of Limitations for Medical Malpractice in Maryland?
Under Code of Maryland 5–109, a victim of medical malpractice must file their claim within:
- Five years from the date of the injury; or
- Three years from discovery of the injury.
The first branch above is relatively straightforward. The victim must file their medical malpractice claim within five years of the date of their injury. Unless that victim is unaware of their injury. Then the second branch above kicks in. At that point, the clock does not start until the victim discovers their injury. Then they have a three-year timeframe to file their medical malpractice claim.
What Happens if the Victim is a Child?
Code of Maryland 5–109 provides a special exception for cases of medical practice involving victims younger than 11 years old. In such cases, the statute of limitations does not begin until the victim is 11 years old.
Code of Maryland 5–109 also provides an exception concerning victims under the age of 16. But this exception only applies if the injury:
- Harmed the victim’s reproductive capabilities; or
- Resulted from a foreign object negligently left in the victim.
When we combine these elements, the victim must be under 16 and have one of the qualifying injuries above to qualify for this exception. In such cases, the statute of limitations for the medical malpractice claim does not begin until the victim’s 16th birthday.
What Happens if the Statute of Limitations Expires?
Allowing the statute of limitations to expire has negative consequences for the victim. Unless an exception applies, the victim will likely lose their ability to file a claim for medical malpractice and seek compensation. If the victim files their claim anyway, the hospital or insurance provider will ask the court to dismiss the case. Absent extenuating circumstances, the court will likely grant that request and dismiss the case. That is why it is crucial for any victim of medical malpractice to act quickly.
Do You Need Legal Help from a Knowledgeable Medical Malpractice Attorney?
To help navigate toward a positive outcome in your case, it can be helpful to seek legal help from a knowledgeable personal injury attorney. Iamele & Iamele, LLP in Baltimore, Maryland can assist you today.