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How can Maryland’s “Discovery of Harm Rule” Affect the Statute of Limitations in Survival Actions?

Maryland’s legal statutes contain a great deal of important information that the average person can be hard pressed to find, much less comprehend in a timely fashion. For cases involving wrongful death, the statute of limitations is generally three years from the date of the negligent action that caused the victim’s death. This is the typical scenario for wrongful death claims such as car accidents or workplace accidents, when the timing of the circumstances that caused the victim’s death is clearly defined.

However, Maryland’s discovery of harm rule provides an exception to the strict three-year statute of limitations for personal injury claims. Also known as “the discovery rule involving statute of limitations,” it allows plaintiffs additional time to file a claim in cases where the negligent act — such as with medical malpractice — is not discovered until sometime later. In this way, the rule allows the statute of limitations “clock” to begin running at a time when the harm is actually discovered. Specifically, the rule states that the three-year countdown can start from the date that the plaintiff first realized (or should have reasonably known about) the negligence.

In survival actions involving medical malpractice, where the cause is not immediately known, the deceased victim’s estate may choose to invoke the discovery of harm rule in order to allow more time to prepare a wrongful death claim. While every case is different, it is important to understand that the discovery rule can somewhat ease the pressure of filing a survival action.

As experts in the field of personal injury law, the lawyers at Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC, are knowledgeable on the details of Maryland’s legal statutes, including those that pertain to wrongful death claims. We can say unequivocally that regardless of the leeway that the discovery rule can provide some plaintiffs, it is best to approach any personal injury or wrongful death case as having a strict three-year filing window.

Having a knowledgeable attorney on your side can be critical to the success of a wrongful death claim. When it comes to the discovery of harm rule, it is especially critical to understand that the law only provides a maximum five-year filing window when applying this rule to a survival action. Additionally, it is important to note that actions involving negligence on the part of government entities often have a shorter filing window than the typical three-year deadline previously mentioned.

A skilled personal injury attorney can offer valuable insight into your particular legal situation. If a loved one has suffered a serious injury or died as a result of negligence on the part of another individual, business or government entity, the attorneys at Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC, have the litigation experience and legal background to help file a personal injury lawsuit, wrongful death claim or survival action. We cover Maryland, as well as the Washington, D.C., area. Contact us today to set up a free, no-obligation initial consultation.

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