Filing a Negligence Claim & Prosecuting an Elder Neglect Case – the Process
Time Limits for Bringing lawsuits, Virginia, Maryland & Washington DC
All lawsuits have time periods or statute of limitations, which is a time period for bringing a lawsuit. Lawsuits filed after the limitation period are barred.
In Virginia any claim for personal injury or malpractice must be brought within 2 years of the injury or date of death. Va Code section 8.01-243.
There are some limited exceptions to this two-year period involving the discovery of a foreign object left in the patient’s body or situations in which fraud or concealment prevented discovery of the injury within the two-year period, at which point the limitation period is one year from the date of discovery. Another exception is a sexual abuse injury to an incapacitated adult, which may be brought within 10 years after the cause of action accrues.
In Maryland the Statute of Limitations is three years for malpractice cases. A lawsuit for personal injury or wrongful death must be brought within 3 years of the injury or death (Md. Code, Courts and Judicial Proceedings Article § 3-904). In Maryland, the only “beneficiaries” who can bring an action for wrongful death are the wife, husband, parent, and child of the deceased (“primary beneficiaries”). If there are no primary beneficiaries, any person related to the deceased person by blood or marriage who was wholly dependent upon the deceased may bring an action. According to this statutory language, unmarried cohabitants are not beneficiaries.
In the District of Columbia, claims must be brought within 3 years of the date of injury for survivorship claims D.C. code 12-3012(8). Wrongful death claims must be brought within 2 years. D.C Code § 16-2702. DC law will toll or suspect the statute of limitations if an individual is under 18 years of age, or if the person is in prison or is mentally incapacitated. That is an important exception as many nursing home residents who have significant dementia will be considered incapacitated under D.C. law.