Maryland Personal Injury Law
Statutes of Limitations: The amount of time you have to sue whoever caused your injury or damage.
- Personal Injury – 3 years from the discovery of the injury
- Damage to Personal Property – 3 years
- Medical malpractice – 5 years from the date of the injury or 3 years from the discovery of the injury
- Legal malpractice – 3 years
- Other professional malpractice – 3 years
Where to Sue:
- Personal injury claims under $5,000 – Maryland Small Claims Court
- Personal injury claims between $5,000 and $30,000 – Maryland District Court and Maryland Circuit Court
- Personal injury claims over $30,000 – Maryland Circuit Court
How to Sue:
Small Claims Court:
Maryland Complaint Form Writ of Summons. The court clerk will give you the Writ of Summons after you file your complaint.
- Where to file: In the small claims court where the defendant resides, conducts regular business, has his place of employment, or where the injury occurred.
- How to notify the defendant (service): Mail a Maryland Complaint Form and Writ of Summons to the defendant by certified or registered mail return receipt requested. Alternatively, a sheriff or a disinterested adult may personally serve the defendant.
- Proving the defendant was notified: If the defendant was served by mail, a certified or registered mail card is sufficient proof of service. If the defendant is personally served by a sheriff, or other disinterested adult, the sheriff should sign and file an Affidavit of Service with the Small Claims Court within 15 days of service on the defendant.
- Attorneys: Attorney representation at the trial is permitted in a Maryland Small Claims Court.
- Appealing a small claim: A plaintiff or a defendant may appeal a decision of a Maryland Small Claims Court to the Maryland Circuit Court within 30 days of the entry of the judgment.
Maryland Circuit Court: Prior to filing your case, consult with a Maryland personal injury attorney. Personal injury cases require special attention from an attorney to ensure your rights are protected. Improper preparation of forms or a misunderstanding of other law and court procedure and rules can have serious consequences, like the dismissal of your case.
- Forms: A Maryland Complaint form is available
- How to File: File the Summons and Complaint with the Maryland Circuit Court Clerk in the circuit where you intend to sue, and pay the filing fee. The clerk will stamp the forms.
- How to Notify the Defendant: A sheriff, constable, or disinterested adult may personally give the stamped forms of the Summons and Complaint to the defendant, endorse an Affidavit of Service, and file a copy of the Affidavit of Service with the clerk of the Maryland Circuit Court in the appropriate circuit. The forms may also be mailed to the defendant by certified or registered mail return receipt requested.
What to Do if You Are Being Sued:
- Time to respond to a Summons in Maryland: 30 days.
- Contact an attorney for help.
- Notify your insurance company if your injury is connected with an incident that happened at your home or property, or place of business. If your insurance covers the claim, your insurance company may provide you with an attorney.
What to Do if a Judgment Was Entered Against You:
If you do not reply to a Writ of Summons and Complaint in Maryland within 30 days of receiving the service of process, a default judgment may be entered against you. You will have to pay what the plaintiff claims you owe in damages.
- Time to Set Aside a Judgment in Maryland:
- A Maryland Circuit Court can set aside a judgment for surprise, default, newly discovered evidence or excusable neglect within 30 days of entry of judgment
- A Maryland Circuit Court can set aside a judgment for fraud, mistake, or irregularity at any time.
- Consult an attorney if a default judgment has been entered against you.
Ways to Collect Your Judgment:
- If you are successful in your Maryland personal injury lawsuit, you may collect your judgment by serving a demand letter on the defendant. If the defendant fails to respond, you should contact a debt collection attorney to discuss attaching a debtor’s personal property, putting a lien on his real property, or garnishing the defendant’s wages or bank accounts.
- Seek counsel from a qualified Maryland debt collection attorney to collect your judgment.