In a Maryland medical malpractice case, the “Statute of Limitations” governs how long a person has to file a claim or lawsuit. In Maryland, most medical malpractice cases involving adults must be filed within 3 years from the date the injury would have been discovered by a reasonable person. In an adult case, the 3 year deadline may be extended up to 2 additional years , but never more than five years from the date of the injury.
In a Maryland medical malpractice case for a child, the statute of limitations is different. In such a case, the time-frame described above (3-5 years) does not apply until the minor turns 18. Thus, a minor will have at least 3 years after the minor turns 18, and maybe even 2 more years after that.
Calculating the time remaining to file a medical malpractice case according to the Statute of Limitations is something that should only be done by a lawyer experienced in medical malpractice cases. There are nuances in the law that can result in a case being thrown out of court.
Maryland’s Statute of Limitations in medical malpractice cases can be found in section 5-109 of the Courts and Judicial Proceedings Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland, which is set forth below. The statute of somewhat confusing because it states that minors only have until their 11th birthday before the time to file suit starts running. That part of the statute, however, was overruled by Maryland’s Court of Appeals in Piselli v. 75th Street Medical, 808 A.2d 508, 371 Md. 188 (2002), which held that the clock starts ticking when the child reaches 18.
(a) An action for damages for an injury arising out of the rendering of or failure to render professional services by a health care provider, as defined in § 3-2A-01 of this article, shall be filed within the earlier of:
(1) Five years of the time the injury was committed; or
(2) Three years of the date the injury was discovered.
(b) Except as provided in subsection (c) of this section, if the claimant was under the age of 11 years at the time the injury was committed, the time limitations prescribed in subsection (a) of this section shall commence when the claimant reaches the age of 11 years.
(c)(1) The provisions of subsection (b) of this section may not be applied to an action for damages for an injury:
(i) To the reproductive system of the claimant; or
(ii) Caused by a foreign object negligently left in the claimant’s body.
(2) In an action for damages for an injury described in this subsection, if the claimant was under the age of 16 years at the time the injury was committed, the time limitations prescribed in subsection (a) of this section shall commence when the claimant reaches the age of 16 years.
(d) For the purposes of this section, the filing of a claim with the Health Care Alternative Dispute Resolution Office in accordance with § 3-2A-04 of this article shall be deemed the filing of an action.
(e) The provisions of § 5-201 of this title that relate to a cause of action of a minor may not be construed as limiting the application of subsection (b) or (c) of this section.
(f) Nothing contained in this section may be construed as limiting the application of the provisions of:
(1) § 5-201 of this title that relate to a cause of action of a mental incompetent; or
(2) § 5-203 of this title.