Maryland Personal Injury Laws and Statutes of Limitations

If you've been injured in Maryland, find out where and how to file a personal injury lawsuit, the filing deadlines that might apply, what happens if you're partly to blame, limits on the damages you can collect, and more.

By , Attorney · University of Missouri–Kansas City School of Law

Thinking of filing a Maryland personal injury (PI) insurance claim or lawsuit? Before you do, take the time to learn some of the basics of Maryland's PI laws. We'll explain the deadlines for filing personal injury lawsuits in Maryland courts, where and how to file a PI lawsuit, what happens if you're partly to blame for the accident that injured you, and more.

Maryland's Statutes of Limitations for Personal Injury Lawsuits

Maryland has enacted several deadlines, called "statutes of limitations," that limit time you have to file a PI lawsuit after an accident. We begin with the state's general three-year deadline. Then we'll look at some exceptions and special rules that apply in particular cases.

General Rule: Three Years From the Date of Injury

Unless a more specific statute of limitations applies, all civil lawsuits—including personal injury lawsuits—must be filed not later than three years after the date the claim "accrues." (Md. Code Cts. & Jud. Proc., § 5-101 (2024).) A claim usually accrues on the date you were injured, if you were aware of your injury when it happened. So Maryland's general rule is that you have three years from the date you're injured to file a personal injury lawsuit in court, unless there's a more specific statute of limitations that applies.

Here are some examples of more specific statutes of limitations.

Assault and Defamation

The deadline to file a lawsuit for assault or for defamation is one year after the date your claim accrues. (Md. Code Cts. & Jud. Proc., § 5-105 (2024).)

Medical Malpractice

If you've been injured by a careless health care provider, you must file a medical malpractice lawsuit within the sooner of:

  • five years from the date of the malpractice, or
  • three years from the date you discovered your injury.

(Md. Code Cts. & Jud. Proc., § 5-109(a) (2024).)

Special deadlines might apply when the malpractice victim is a child, when a doctor accidentally leaves a foreign object in your body, or when the injuries are to your reproductive system. (See Md. Code Cts. & Jud. Proc., § 5-109(b-c) (2024).)

(Learn more about Maryland medical malpractice laws.)

Extending the Deadline to File Suit

In some situations, Maryland law extends the deadline to file your case. Here are some examples.

The injured person is legally disabled. If an injured person is legally disabled (not legally able to manage their own affairs without the supervision of a parent, guardian, or court) when their legal claim accrues, the limitation clock doesn't start to run until the disability is removed. Under Maryland law, a person who's younger than 18 or mentally incompetent is considered legally disabled.

Once their legal disability is removed, an injured person must file suit within the earlier of:

  • three years, or
  • the applicable limitation period.

(Md. Code Cts. & Jud. Proc., § 5-201 (2024).)

Your injury is fraudulently concealed. When the party who's responsible for your injury fraudulently conceals it from you, the limitation clock doesn't begin to run until you discover or should have discovered the fraud. (Md. Code Cts. & Jud. Proc., § 5-203 (2024).)

The defendant leaves Maryland. When the defendant (the party you're suing for your injury) leaves Maryland before your injury claim arises, the statute of limitations doesn't run while they're away. The clock starts running when the defendant returns. (Md. Code Cts. & Jud. Proc., § 5-205(b) (2024).)

Personal Injury Lawsuits Against the Government

Special rules apply when you're suing Maryland or a local government for personal injuries. Specifically, you're required to give the government written notice of your claim within a short time after you're hurt. If you don't give the required notice, you're not allowed to file a lawsuit.

Notice of Claim Against Local Government

As a general rule, if you want to sue a local government (as defined in Md. Code Cts. & Jud. Proc., § 5-301(d) (2024)) or its employees, you're first required to provide the government with written notice of your claim. You have to give this notice within one year after your injury.

The notice must describe the "time, place, and cause of [your] injury." (Md. Code Cts. & Jud. Proc., § 5-304(b) (2024).) It must be delivered, in person or by certified mail, to the persons or government entities described in Md. Code Cts. & Jud. Proc., § 5-304(c) (2024).

Giving notice of your claim isn't the same as filing a lawsuit. If the government denies your claim after you give the required notice, and if you still want to pursue the claim, then you can file a lawsuit in court.

Notice of Claim Against State Government

You can't sue Maryland unless, within one year after the date of your injury, you provide the Maryland Treasurer with written notice of your claim. (Md. Code State Gov't., § 12-106(b) (2024).) The notice must include the information described in Md. Code State Gov't., § 12-107(a) (2024). The Treasurer's Office has an online claim form you can use.

You can sue Maryland if your claim is denied after you file the required notice. You must file your lawsuit within three years after your claim "arises." That's usually the date on which you were injured.

Maryland's Auto Insurance System

Maryland is a traditional "fault-based" auto insurance state. If you're hurt in a car accident that was someone else's fault, you can bring an insurance claim or a lawsuit against the responsible party to recover compensation (what the law calls "damages") for your injuries.

How Fault-Based Insurance Works

Say you're hurt in a Maryland car wreck. The other driver's negligence (carelessness) caused the accident. Because Maryland is a fault-based state, that driver is on the hook for all of your compensatory damages, both special and general.

Special damages include things like your medical bills, lost wages, and other out-of-pocket expenses. General damages compensate you for injuries like pain and suffering, emotional distress, lost enjoyment of life, and more.

You can file an insurance claim or a lawsuit against the negligent driver to recover these damages. Their auto liability insurance pays your damages up to the policy limits. If your damages exceed their coverage limits, they're personally responsible for the excess.

Insurance Coverages Required by Maryland Law

As a general rule, every motor vehicle owner is required to maintain these coverages:

  • bodily injury and property damage liability insurance, and
  • uninsured motorist insurance.

(Md. Code Trans., § 17-103(b) (2024).)

(Learn more about Maryland's auto insurance requirements.)

What If You're Partly to Blame for the Accident That Injured You?

Maryland is one of a tiny handful of states that continues to follow a harsh rule called "contributory negligence." (See Coleman v. Soccer Ass'n. of Columbia, 432 Md. 679 (2013).) Under this rule, if your own negligence contributes to cause your injuries—by even the tiniest amount—you're barred from recovering any damages.

Here's a quick example. Suppose your car is rear-ended while stopped at a traffic light. Unbeknown to you, because of a bad fuse, your tail lights weren't working at the time of the wreck.

At trial, the jury finds your total damages to be $75,000. The jury assigns 99% of the blame for the collision to the defendant. But because your taillights were out, the jury decides you were 1% at fault. Under Maryland's contributory negligence rule, how much of your total damages can you collect?

Zero. Even 1% of the blame for an accident precludes any recovery for your injuries.

In nearly every personal injury case, you should expect the insurance adjuster or defense lawyer to look for ways to pin even a tiny amount of the blame on you. Give serious thought to hiring an experienced Maryland personal injury lawyer to help you navigate your way around this draconian rule. It's almost certain to be an issue in your case, and it's a stone-cold claim killer.

Where and How to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit in Maryland

Your personal injury case is a type of civil lawsuit. Where and how you file it will be controlled by Maryland law and by court rules called the Maryland Rules of Civil Procedure. If you aren't familiar with these rules—and chances are you're not—you should have a Maryland lawyer handle your lawsuit.

Where to File

Most PI lawsuits are filed in the entry-level trial court that has the authority to hear all or nearly all kinds of cases. In Maryland, that's called the circuit court.

If your damages are more than $5,000 but not more than $30,000, you can file your PI lawsuit in the district court or the circuit court. (Md. Code Cts. & Jud. Proc., §§ 4-401(1), 4-402(d)(1)(i) (2024).) Note that the district court doesn't have jury trials—all cases are tried by a judge. When your damages are greater than $30,000, you'll have to file in the circuit court.

Here's a table showing where you're allowed to file your case, based on the amount of your damages:

Total Damages

District Court

Circuit Court

Up to $5,000



More than $5,000 but not more than $30,000



More than $30,000



You must file your lawsuit in the proper Maryland county. When your case is based on a claim that the defendant negligently caused you harm (most PI cases are), you can file your lawsuit in the county where:

A corporation can be sued in the Maryland county where it has its principal business office. When the corporation doesn't have a principal place of business in Maryland, you can sue in the Maryland county where you live.

How to File

You begin a Maryland PI lawsuit by filing a complaint with the court. (Md. R. Civ. Proc. 2-101(a) (2023).) Your complaint must be accompanied by an "information report," which provides basic information about the case. (Md. R. Civ. Proc. 2-111(a)(1) (2023).)

In separately numbered paragraphs, (Md. R. Civ. Proc. 2-303(a) (2023)), your complaint should describe:

  • the parties involved in the case
  • when, where, and how your injuries happened
  • your injuries
  • what the defendant did wrong to cause your injuries, and
  • the relief (usually money damages) you want the court to award you.

If you're asking the court to award you damages of $75,000 or less, you should specify the amount of damages you want. But if you're asking for more than $75,000 in damages, your complaint should say only that you want the court to award in excess of $75,000. (Md. R. Civ. Proc. 2-305 (2023).)

Once you've filed your complaint, you'll need to see that the complaint, the information report, and a summons (an order commanding the defendant to appear and defend the case) are "served" on—meaning formally delivered to—each defendant. Generally speaking, in Maryland there are three ways to serve papers:

  • by certified mail
  • by the sheriff, or
  • by a private process server.

(Md. R. Civ. Proc. 2-121(a), Md. R. Civ. Proc. 2-123 (2023).)

Depending on the kind of PI case you're filing and who you're suing, there may be special pleading or service requirements that apply to your case. Check with an experienced Maryland attorney for advice tailored to your needs.

Maryland Limits Damages in Personal Injury Cases

Maryland is one of several states that has enacted limits, or "caps," on damages in personal injury cases. Unlike some states, which only limit damages in specific kinds of cases, Maryland has capped damages across the board, in all PI cases.

In most cases, Maryland law caps only noneconomic damages, meaning those for injuries like pain and suffering, emotional distress, disability, disfigurement, and more. In medical malpractice cases, special rules might apply to claims for medical expenses or lost wages.

Caps in Medical Malpractice Cases

Under Md. Code Cts. & Jud. Proc., § 3-2A-09 (2024), noneconomic damages for medical malpractice injuries arising on or after January 1, 2023, are capped at:

  • $875,000 for malpractice claims that don't result in wrongful death, and
  • $1,093,750 for malpractice claims resulting in wrongful death.

The cap for injuries not causing death increases by $15,000 each January 1. The cap for wrongful death injuries is equal to 125% of the non-wrongful death cap.

All Other PI Cases

The cap statute for all other PI cases is Md. Code Cts. & Jud. Proc., § 11-108 (2024). For injuries not causing wrongful death that occur on or after October 1, 2022, but before October 1, 2023, noneconomic damages are capped at $920,000. If the injury results in wrongful death, the cap is 150% of the cap for non-wrongful death injuries, or $1,380,000.

Finally, the cap is the sum of the previous two caps, or $2,300,000, when:

  • the injuries result in wrongful death, and
  • there's also a survival action brought on behalf of the wrongful death victim.

The non-wrongful death cap increases by $15,000 each October 1, which increases the other two caps, too.

Get Help With Your Maryland Personal Injury Case

We've covered some of Maryland's basic PI laws and rules, but if you're thinking about a claim or a lawsuit, there's much more you should know. Unless your claim is exceptionally straightforward—say, a simple rear-end car accident case with no dispute over liability and only minor injuries—your best chance for a fair result will come from having an experienced Maryland personal injury lawyer on your side.

If you're ready to move forward with your case, here's how to find an attorney near you.

Make the Most of Your Claim
Get the compensation you deserve.
We've helped 285 clients find attorneys today.
There was a problem with the submission. Please refresh the page and try again
Full Name is required
Email is required
Please enter a valid Email
Phone Number is required
Please enter a valid Phone Number
Zip Code is required
Please add a valid Zip Code
Please enter a valid Case Description
Description is required

How It Works

  1. Briefly tell us about your case
  2. Provide your contact information
  3. Choose attorneys to contact you