If you’ve been in an auto collision in New York, you might wonder how long after an accident can you file a claim. Under most circumstances, you only have three years after a car accident to sue in New York.
Under most circumstances, you only have three years after a car accident to sue in New York. In some cases, this time limit, known as the “statute of limitations,” may be much shorter, such as in cases where the liable party is a government entity. In addition to a shorter statute of limitations for lawsuits involving a governmental or municipal entity, there is also a time limit for the plaintiff to file a “Notice of Claim” within 90 days of the accident.
Those who miss their case’s statutory deadline (and other deadlines) create a risk that they will recover nothing. Do not risk losing your rights to pursue the financial recovery you deserve. Hire a car accident attorney from Friedman & Simon, L.L.P., and let our team file your case on time. Call us today for a free case review.
In This Article
- Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations on Car Accident Lawsuits
- Consequences for Waiting Too Long to Sue in New York
- Time Limit for Filing a New York Wrongful Death Lawsuit
- How New York’s No-Fault Laws Can Affect Your Case
- Recoverable Damages in a New York Car Accident Lawsuit
- A New York Car Accident Lawyer Will Review Your Case for Free
- A New York Car Accident Lawyer Will Represent You on a Contingency-Fee Basis
- Hire a New York Car Accident Lawyer from Friedman & Simon, L.L.P.
Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations on Car Accident Lawsuits
Certain circumstances can change the timeline for filing a personal injury lawsuit based on your New York car accident. These exceptions can extend the time periods governed by the statute of limitations. Some exceptions under New York state law include:
If the Injured Party Is a Minor
If the party injured in a car accident is a child, then they would have up to three years after their 18th birthday to file a personal injury lawsuit. There are several reasons why this exception is in place, including:
- It is often difficult to identify lasting injuries in young children.
- They are not of legal age to take action on their own until they turn 18.
In this example, if the injured party is a 17-year-old who suffered injuries in a car accident, they would likely have until their 21st birthday to sue the driver and/or another liable party that caused their accident. Of course, there is nothing stopping them from settling the case out of court or suing after their 18th birthday but before this deadline arrives.
If the Injured Party Is Considered to Be of “Unsound Mind”
In personal injury cases where the plaintiff had a significant mental disability or there were questions about their mental competence at the time of their injury, the statutory deadline may be tolled until the plaintiff no longer has that legal disability.
This is possible if they are declared mentally competent by a psychiatric professional. However, many people live with mental disabilities for much of their lives, so a guardian or other power of attorney will need to act on their behalf.
Still, this exception offers an opportunity for injured parties to resolve their personal circumstances, so they can make legal decisions with a sound mind.
If the At-Fault Party Leaves the State Before the Lawsuit Is Filed
If the person deemed at fault for the car accident leaves the state for four or more months before you are able to file your personal injury lawsuit, your window for filing will not count for the amount of time they were out of state.
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Consequences for Waiting Too Long to Sue in New York
If you fail to file a lawsuit within the time allotted by New York Civil Practice Laws & Rules § 214—and some exception or other time limit does not apply—you will be unable to recover compensation for your injuries. The court will bar you from suing the negligent driver and holding them legally responsible. You will not be able to take your case in front of a jury and ask for a verdict and award.
Under these circumstances, you could only make a recovery through a negotiated settlement. However, knowing that you cannot sue your policyholder, the insurance company will not offer you any settlement no matter how strong your evidence is.
There also are other consequences that you face if you wait to file. These include:
- Memories fade, which may affect testimony made by you and witnesses to your case.
- Witnesses can move away, die, or become otherwise unavailable to testify on your behalf.
- Evidence, such as surveillance and dashcam video, for example, may be lost or destroyed.
All of these factors can make it much more difficult to gather the necessary evidence to help build your car accident case. Even if you retain the right to sue, waiting too long can leave you with weaker evidence to support your claim or lawsuit.
We Can Help File Your Case on Time
If you work with a Friedman & Simon, L.L.P., car accident attorney, our legal team will gather all available necessary evidence and make sure that appropriate steps are taken to protect your rights by filing within the applicable time limit.
Our team will determine how long after your car accident you have to sue in civil court and make sure your injury or wrongful death claim will move forward in a timely manner. We want you to have peace of mind that all deadlines are being met. We want you to recover the compensation you deserve for your injuries, and we will give you the best chance to do so.
Time Limit for Filing a New York Wrongful Death Lawsuit
If your loved one passed away in an accident, we offer our sincere condolences. In such a circumstance, there is another time limit you must be aware of. You typically have two years to file a wrongful death action in New York, per Estates, Powers & Trusts § 5-4.1.
As a general rule, if a wrongful death lawsuit is not commenced within two years from the date of death, the surviving family members of the beloved departed victim will be unable to file a viable case.
If your case gets dismissed, there would be no recovery against the at-fault party for you or other survivors harmed by your loved one’s wrongful death. Like with an injury claim, the court could refuse to allow your case to go before a jury, effectively preventing you from recovering an appropriate payout based on what happened to you and your family.
How New York’s No-Fault Laws Can Affect Your Case
In New York, car accident cases are regulated by no-fault laws. This means that claims for medical expenses and lost earnings are submitted to:
- Your car insurance company, if you were driving a car that you own
- The insurance company covering the owner of the car that you were driving if the car belonged to someone other than yourself
- The insurer of the owner of the vehicle you were a passenger in
- The insurance company of the car that struck you, if you were a pedestrian or bicyclist
No-fault insurance, also known as personal injury protection (PIP) policies, provides basic coverage for the treatment of injuries without regard to who caused the crash or why it occurred. In many minor to moderate level injuries, no-fault coverage may be sufficient to cover all treatment costs.
However, in many more severe or catastrophic level injuries, no-fault can only cover the first level of costs, and the injured person typically will have a great need to recover all the costs beyond no-fault coverage.
Deadline for Filing an Insurance Claim
The application for no-fault benefits (Form NF-2) must be filed within 30 days of the date of the accident. Accordingly, the time limit for filing for no-fault benefits is another critical deadline that must be met in a timely manner.
Failure to file the NF-2 in a timely manner may result in an insurance carrier issuing a Denial of Benefits and refusing to make payment for covered expenses, such as:
- Ambulance transportation
- Emergency treatment
- Treatment costs
- Lost wages
- Expenses already incurred
- Future treatment
You Must Have a Serious Injury As Defined By Law
A claimant must be able to prove that they have suffered a “serious injury” to successfully claim compensation beyond the benefits provided by no-fault insurance coverage. This will allow the injured party to sue the liable party based on negligence or demand compensation based on their auto liability insurance policy.
Per New York Insurance Law § 5102, a serious injury is one that results in:
- Significant disfigurement
- A fracture
- Loss of a fetus
- Permanent loss of use of a body organ, member, function, or system
- Permanent consequential limitation of use of a body organ or member
- A significant limitation of use of a body function or system
- An injury that prevents the injured party from performing typical daily tasks for at least 90 of the first 180 days following the injury
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Recoverable Damages in a New York Car Accident Lawsuit
Under no-fault law, your personal injury protection (PIP) insurance will cover, at a minimum:
- Your expenses for treatment that is medically necessary as a result of the accident.
- Eighty percent of your lost wages (to a maximum of $2,000 per month) up to the limit of your policy (at least $50,000 is required by law).
If your case involves serious or catastrophic injuries that quickly surpass this limit, other sources of payment for treatment or lost income must be explored. You can learn more about these options in a consultation with one of our team members.
Compensable Damages in Personal Injury Cases
Our team will investigate your accident to determine the damages you may be entitled to recover. This will depend greatly on whether you qualify to go beyond your no-fault insurance coverage and file a third-party claim against the at-fault driver.
However, an auto liability insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit may allow you to recover compensation for any of the following types of damages:
- Medical bills your PIP policy does not cover
- Assistive devices
- The remainder of your lost wages
- Diminished earning capacity (if your injuries keep you from returning to work)
- Any out-of-pocket costs
- Pain and suffering
- Impaired quality of life
- Emotional distress
As a part of successfully prosecuting a claim or taking a case to court, we must show the recoverable value of our clients’ incurred expenses and losses. This requires that we document their current economic damages and losses. We typically must also:
- Work with experts to value their potential future medical bills and wage losses
- Calculate a fair value for their intangible losses, such as their pain and suffering
Only once we understand these values will we know what an appropriate settlement looks like.
Wrongful Death Damages After a Car Accident
The loss of a loved one in a car accident will have an emotional and financial impact on surviving family members. One form of such recoverable damages is that your family may recover compensation for the reasonable costs of your loved one’s funeral and burial expenses.
You can also request compensation for your loss of financial and household contributions to your family and for your loss of companionship, guidance, and society. Your lawyer will explain the scope of wrongful death compensation and which family members are eligible to seek damages.
New York Auto Insurance Limits
All drivers in New York are required to carry minimal insurance. According to New York State’s Department of Financial Services (NYDFS), the minimum limits of third-party insurance are:
- $10,000 for property damage per accident
- $25,000 for bodily injury per person
- $50,000 for bodily injury per accident
- $50,000 for a fatality per person
- $100,000 for a fatality per accident
If the driver who struck your car and drove off was uninsured or underinsured, your lawyer will help you turn to your own insurance provider for compensation.
A New York Car Accident Lawyer Will Review Your Case for Free
Our personal injury law firm offers a free consultation for car accident victims. During your initial consultation, you will have the opportunity to:
- Tell your version of the events that caused your accident. The trauma of an accident might affect your recall but we will patiently and compassionately help you recall as many relevant details as you can.
- Talk about any evidence you already have. Depending on when you contact a law firm, this can range from the information you exchanged with the at-fault driver to your police accident report.
- Answer questions related to your accident. One important purpose of the consultation is to fully understand the roles of the parties to your accident in the negligence that resulted in the accident. We will be prepared to cover every detail of the events leading up to and including your accident so that we have the clearest picture possible of exactly what unfolded.
The consultation is also a time for you to understand the basics of the post-accident compensation process. You will be able to ask questions related to your case, attorney’s fees, and the settlement process and timeline. We want you to understand everything about your case and have all your concerns addressed.
A New York Car Accident Lawyer Will Represent You on a Contingency-Fee Basis
One of the reasons people injured in car accidents wait to contact a lawyer is their belief that hiring a lawyer is expensive. However, our attorneys will represent you on a contingency-fee-basis.
This type of fee structure means you do not have to compensate your lawyer at all until you receive compensation from the liable party. Additional benefits of a contingency fee agreement include:
- Your lawyer will absorb all upfront case-related expenses.
- Your lawyer will identify and hire experts to support your case.
- You do not have to add to the financial burden of the accident.
- You can avoid a delay that might compromise your filing deadline.
A contingency fee is based on your case being resolved in your favor and you receiving a settlement or trial verdict. Our team will explain our percentage upfront and help you start building your case for compensation immediately.
Hire a New York Car Accident Lawyer from Friedman & Simon, L.L.P.
We invite you to speak with a member of Friedman & Simon, L.L.P., in a no-cost and no-obligation consultation. Our attorneys are available to assess your options, explain your rights, and discuss how our team can serve you based on the specific details of your case.
Our multilingual staff can help you in any of the following languages: English, Spanish, Tamil, Greek, Kannada, and Bengali. Call us today for a free consultation.