Did you know there is a time limit on when you will be able to pursue legal action in order to enforce your right to recover compensation for harm suffered in an accident? It is true. Time is of the essence in personal injury claims. That is because New York, as do all other states, has a statute of limitations in place on such claims. Should you rest on your legal rights and delay taking action, the statute of limitations can run out. Should you try to pursue a lawsuit after the statute of limitations has passed, the defendant in the case is most likely to file a “motion to dismiss” and the court will almost summarily dismiss your case. You have then lost out on your right to ask a court to award you damages for harm suffered in an accident. Furthermore, you are unlikely to be able to negotiate anything with the insurance company as, without the threat of a lawsuit on the horizon, the insurance company is unlikely to make a concerted effort to effectively settle your claim. You have lost your negotiation leverage.
So, as you can see, the statute of limitations plays an important role in personal injury claims. To help ensure that your legal rights are preserved, do not wait to take action. Here, we will go into more detail about New York’s statute of limitations on personal injury claims and when, if ever, it may be extended.
What Is New York’s Statute of Limitations on Personal Injury Claims?
In New York, the standard time limit for personal injury lawsuits, or the statute of limitations for these actions, is 3 years from the date of injury. For medical malpractice injuries, the statute of limitations is 2.5 years. There are, however, certain limited exceptions when the statute of limitations may effectively be extended. For instance, should the injured party be under the age of 18 at the time of the injury, then the statute of limitations may be “tolled” until he or she reaches 18 years of age. “Tolled” means that the clock has been stopped on the statute of limitations.
If the person who allegedly caused the accident is declared to be of unsound mind, then the statute of limitations may be tolled until he or she is declared sane. Additionally, if the party allegedly at fault for causing the accident leading to injuries leaves the state of New York after the incident but before the lawsuit can be filed, and is gone from the state for at least four months, then this period of absence from the state will not be counted when calculating the three years of the statute of limitation. The statute of limitation is, likewise, likely to be extended if the potentially liable party is in New York state but is attempting to remain concealed through use of a false name.
In certain types of cases, such as medical malpractice cases, the delayed discovery rule may also be applied which would effectively lead to an extension of the statute of limitations. Under the delayed discovery rule, the statute of limitations is tolled until the day the injured party knew or reasonably should have known about the negligence that led to the harm suffered.
It should also be noted that there are very specific and unique rules that apply to injury cases involving New York State government agencies and municipalities. Generally, it will be required that a Notice of Claim be filed within 60-90 days after an accident. This time limit is substantially shorter than the three-year statute of limitations for claims against private parties.
Personal Injury Attorney
Get in touch with Attorney Michael LoGiudice right after an accident. Any delay can result in a critical risk to your legal rights. Contact us today.