When Should You Call a Lawyer After an Injury in Maryland?

After being involved in any accident that leaves you dealing with a serious physical injury, you likely have many questions about what you should do next and what rights you have to seek compensation for your losses. Perhaps the most pressing question, though, is also the most straightforward: Does this situation warrant contacting and hiring legal counsel, and if so, when is the right time to take that step?

Knowing when you should call a lawyer after an injury in Maryland can be absolutely vital to protecting your best interests not just now, but for years and sometimes decades after your accident. Below are some important facts to keep in mind as you are considering your options after an accident, as well as some legal restrictions that could impact your recovery options if you fail to account for them.

Possible Grounds for a Personal Injury Claim

Importantly, not every incident that results in someone getting hurt necessarily justifies a civil lawsuit or settlement demand. While people in Maryland can be held liable through civil litigation for harm they inadvertently cause others, they must have been legally “negligent” for a jury to agree that they should pay for all ensuing damages, and “negligence” has a very specific definition that must be completely fulfilled for a case to proceed.

First, the allegedly negligent person must have owed a “duty”—in other words, an implicit or explicit responsibility to act reasonably in a specific way—to the injured person. Next, the person must have breached that “duty” in some way, generally by acting carelessly, recklessly, or illegally.

Then, there must be a direct causal link between that “breach” of duty and a specific accident, meaning the accident likely wouldn’t have happened at all if the breach had not occurred. Finally, the injured person must have suffered specific compensable losses directly because of the accident, including at least one physical injury requiring professional medical attention.

The Importance of Seeking Prompt Medical Care

The requirement that an injury must have necessitated care beyond basic first aid is just one reason why it is absolutely essential for accident victims to go to their doctor, urgent care, or the ER as soon as possible after being hurt. Whether your injury will heal completely with time and proper treatment or will have permanent and debilitating repercussions, seeking prompt medical care can help minimize the long-term harm you may sustain.

This initial visit and all follow-up care will also create crucial documentation of how severe your injury is, which in turn will be important evidence in an ensuing civil claim. With few exceptions, you should seek medical attention before you call a lawyer after an injury in Maryland, since it is generally the first thing an attorney will tell you to do during an initial consultation.

Deadlines for Civil Litigation in Maryland

The simplest answer to the question of when you should call a lawyer after an injury in Maryland is immediately after getting professional medical attention. However, it is also vital to know that there is a hard deadline on contacting legal counsel after an accident established under state law.

Specifically, Maryland Code, Courts & Judicial Proceedings § 5-101 sets a deadline of three years after an accident occurs for a prospective personal injury plaintiff to formally start their claim. So, do not delay. Call today to start working with a dedicated attorney on your case.