In Maryland as well as in other jurisdictions, there are special filing requirements for personal injury cases brought against a government entity on account of personal injury caused by a government employee. Tort claims against the government in Maryland require a notification which effectively shortens the statute of limitations. Don’t get caught unaware by these different filing deadlines, or you will lose your right to file a claim.
THE MARYLAND TORT CLAIMS ACT
Generally, the Maryland statute of limitations for a personal injury claim is three years, but there are exceptions and, for some cases, there are special rules. If you were injured by an employee of the state of Maryland who was on duty at the time of your injury, The Maryland Tort Claims Act requires you to submit your claim in writing to the Treasurer (or designee) within one year of the injury; otherwise, you may lose the right to file your lawsuit in Court. So, it is important to find out quickly if the negligent party was an agent of the State. There are additional rules, exceptions and limitations that may apply.
This law is sometimes referred to as the MTCA. In Maryland, the reason for the law is to put the State of Maryland on notice of the claim before a lawsuit is filed. In theory, this gives the State the opportunity to investigate and resolve the claim without having to participate in litigation. There is a form available on-line for the claim letter.
THE MARYLAND LOCAL GOVERNMENT TORT CLAIMS ACT
Similarly, if the person who caused your injury was an employee of a county, city or another form of local government, the Maryland Local Government Tort Claims Act requires you to provide notice of the “time, place, and cause of injury” within one year of the cause of action. “Local government” is a broad classification under this law and can include government-run facilities such as colleges, libraries, and potentially even public transportation. If you fail to give written notice before the expiration of the one-year deadline, you may lose your right to file a lawsuit.
UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND MEDICAL SYSTEM CORPORATION
An interesting fact for Marylanders to note is that The University of Maryland Medical System is a private, not-for-profit health care system, not a government-run hospital system. It was established as such in 1984, and reformed as the University of Maryland Medical System Corporation in 1996. Because the University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS) is a private non-profit, neither the Maryland Tort Claims Act, nor the Maryland Local Government Tort Claims Act applies to any of the eleven hospitals in the UMMS corporate family.
Patients injured by medical malpractice at one of the University of Maryland Medical System Hospitals do not need to provide written notice under the Maryland Tort Claims Act or the Maryland Local Government Tort Claims Act. They would still need to comply with other Maryland malpractice laws, including the Health Claims Arbitration procedural requirements.
CONFUSION ABOUT FILING OR NOTICE DEADLINES
Even attorneys are sometimes caught unaware of the differences in notice or filing deadlines, so it is important to hire an experienced personal injury or malpractice attorney who can investigate the circumstances and serve the appropriate notices and file on time in the appropriate venue.
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