Every state limits the amount of time an injured party has to file a personal injury lawsuit. This deadline is called the statute of limitations. In New York, for most personal injury cases, the statute of limitations is three years from the date of your injuries per NY CPLR § 214. If you miss this formal deadline, you forfeit your legal right to file a lawsuit.
There are few exceptions to this rigid rule, so it is essential to consult with a New York personal injury attorney if you have any questions as soon as possible. This post discusses the various deadlines that could apply to an injury claim, what happens if you miss them, and general exceptions to this rule.
What Statute of Limitations Applies to My NY Injury Case?
The applicable statute of limitations depends upon the type of accident and parties involved. New York imposes deadlines on general personal injury, car wrecks, premises liability, product liability, medical malpractice, and wrongful death claims.
Below, we have addressed three deadlines that could apply to your situation according to accident type:
Type 1. General Personal Injury
General personal injury law addresses matters like motor vehicle accidents, motorcycle accidents, slip and fall or premises liability cases, product liability cases, dog bites, or pedestrian/bicycle accidents. In these types of cases, the statute of limitations is three (3) years from the date of the crash or incident. This means that you have up to three years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit. If you fail to do so, your will be forever barred from pursuing a claim.
Type 2. Wrongful Death
Wrongful death law applies upon the death of a family member due to someone else's negligence. You have up to two (2) years from the date of your loved one's death to file a lawsuit for wrongful death. If you fail to do so, your will be forever barred from pursuing a claim or justice for your loved one.
Type 3. Medical Malpractice
A separate statute of limitations period applies to medical malpractice cases. For medical malpractice, dental malpractice, or pediatric malpractice, you have two (2) years and six (6) months to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. This means that if you do not file a lawsuit within 30 months of the alleged negligent action or omission, you will be forever barred from filing a lawsuit or seeking compensation.
Related Article: HOW LONG DO I HAVE TO FILE A LAWSUIT FOR AN INJURY IN NEW JERSEY?
What Happens If You Miss the Statute of Limitations?
Even if you miss the filing deadline for your case by a single day, this could negatively affect your case. New York does not accept claims or lawsuits filed after the deadline.
Late filing could result in one of the following potential outcomes:
- Potential Outcome 1. Civil court case dismissal
- Potential Outcome 2. Paying for your medical bills out-of-pocket
- Potential Outcome 3. No one being held liable for their actions
A New York personal injury lawyer will assess your situation and advise you on how much time you have to act. They can then manage your filing deadlines and other legal responsibilities.
These issues are very case-sensitive and depend on the specific facts of each case – that is why it is important to speak with an injury lawyer immediately so as to learn more about your legal rights.
Are There Any Exceptions to the NY Personal Injury Statute of Limitations?
While the statute of limitations are typically strictly enforced, there are certain very limited and rare circumstances under which you can extend this time limit or have the time “tolled.” These extensions are known as tolling the statute of limitations. However, civil courts have no authority to extend the statute of limitations beyond what state laws provide. And in some cases, the deadlines are even earlier than the typical statute of limitations.
Here are four general exceptions to the New York personal injury statute of limitations:
Exception 1. Government Injury Tort Claims
If the party who injured you is a government entity or municipality or government or public employee, you must file a “tort claim notice” within 90 days of the incident, or you will be barred from seeking compensation from the governmental entity that injured you.
A Notice of Claim, as defined by the New York State Courts, contains basic information about the incident, such as:
- Your name and address
- The date of your accident
- The circumstances surrounding the incident and your injuries
- Any medical treatment
Then, once you comply with the notice of tort claim requirement, you must also file a lawsuit in court within one year and ninety days of the date of your injuries. In other words, when you seek compensation from the government for an injury, you must comply with two different deadlines or you will forever lose your rights to pursue your claims.
This tort claim notification gives the government sufficient time to investigate the facts and merits of the claim while witnesses, records, and other forms of evidence are still fresh. When you work with a personal injury attorney, we can manage the deadlines for your case while allowing you to focus on getting better.
Exception 2. Children or Minor-Aged Parties
Another instance in which the deadline is tolled or extended is when a minor (under age 18) is the injury victim. In this scenario, a child may file a personal injury lawsuit within the applicable statute of limitations starting from their 18th birthday. In other words, the “start time” for the clock of the statute of limitations does not begin until the child turns age 18. So, for instance, if a 6 year old child is injured in a car crash, the child would have until his or her 21st birthday (3 years after the 18th birthday) to file a lawsuit.
Exception 3. Legal Incapacitation or Mentally Incompetent
You could potentially extend the deadline if the injured party has been diagnosed with a mental illness or rendered legally incapable of making decisions. The statute of limitations would then start to run once the person is deemed legally capable of making decisions or is considered competent again.
Exception 4. The Discovery Rule
Sometimes a person may be unaware that they have been injured or that a negligent act or omission caused them harm. In that case, the clock does not begin running until you discovered the cause of your injuries or the actual injury itself. This can extend your case's deadline if injuries or financial damages are not readily evident during the originally-mandated period. However, the circumstances for this exception are very limited, so it is best to take action as soon as possible and consult with an experienced injury attorney immediately.
Discuss Your Injuries With a New York Injury Lawyer
After an accident in New York, there are many factors to consider, such as the statute of limitations. It makes sense that injury victims often feel overwhelmed by medical bills, injuries, pain, suffering, lost wages, and other legal details. Hiring experienced legal representation is a time-sensitive decision that can take the worry off of your mind and shift them to an experienced New York personal injury lawyer.
Hunt & Associates will assist you throughout the claims process and fight for your rights. Our attorneys have extensive experience and have helped injured people obtain compensation for their injuries. Get your Free Consultation by calling (866) 456-HUNT (4868) or message us privately online.
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