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How Long Do I Have to File a Lawsuit or Bring a Claim for My Injuries?

The limited length of time that an injured person has to file a lawsuit depends upon a number of factors including the identity of the at-fault party. For example, in the State of New York, a lawsuit against a private person can generally be initiated for up to three years from the date of accident, while a lawsuit against a municipal entity must be commenced within one year and ninety days from the accident. 

Even these time limitations may be subject to various exceptions which lengthen the time within which the appropriate steps must be taken. Some of these considerations will be elaborated on below, but the critical take-away message if you are asking “how long do I have?” is it is best to have a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer to analyze your situation as soon as possible.  While there are various rules as to the lengths of time within which to act, the application of these rules can vary greatly depending upon the circumstances of your case. Your case is too important to leave only to the results of a Google search and a best-guess as to application, especially when a no-charge, no-obligation with a knowledgeable lawyer is readily available. 

Suffering an injury in any type of accident (construction, slip and fall, car, motorcycle or premises liability, for example) should not mean that you have to fend for yourself when it comes to paying your medical and other expenses. Many accidents that happens are due to someone else’s fault.  Negligence, or a failure to exercise a reasonable level of care under the circumstances, is very often the cause of an accident and the injuries that result. When you have been the victim of an accident it’s important for you to consider all your options for recovering compensation. This may be accomplished by making a claim or by filing a lawsuit.

What Are The Most Important Time Limits That An Accident Injury Victim in New York Should Know?

If you have been injured in any type of accident in New York it is important for you to know that various time deadlines apply to your case. If you miss an important deadline it can destroy your case. The general rule for those injured in accidents in New York is that claimants have three years from the date of the accident that caused the injury to start a lawsuit.

Under Section 214 of the New York Civil Practice Law & Rules, a victim looking to make an action to recover damages must do so within three years. Cases involving municipalities have a shorter time limit of one year and ninety days from the date of accident, but also require the filing of a Notice of Claim within 90 days of the accident.

Once a lawsuit is commenced, there are numerous other time deadlines that arise that can affect your case. Because there are a number of time limits that may apply to a case and the applicability depends upon various circumstances, accident injury victims are best served by consulting with and retaining an experienced and dedicated personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after an accident. 

It is best for you, as an accident injury victim, to turn your full attention to your medical treatment, recovery and restoring your quality of life.  When you retain the services of an experienced personal injury lawyer, you can let go of any anxiety about case deadlines as you focus on healing.

I Missed the Deadline to File – What Happens to My Claim?

Did you miss the statute of limitations to file a personal injury lawsuit? There are some exceptions to the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury lawsuit in New York and these exceptions could extend your deadline to file. 

These exceptions are referred to as “tolls.”  If the Statute of Limitations is thought of as a stopwatch with a limited time to run until time expires, the tolls “stop the clock” for a period of time, extending the overall time to file a lawsuit.  One of our firm’s personal injury lawyers will be happy to discuss if any of these tolls may apply to your situation.  It is best not to delay any longer and call right away for a no-obligation case review.

Exceptions to the Time Limit of the Statute of Limitations

The exceptions to the time limit for filing a personal injury lawsuit in New York include the following:

  • The plaintiff, or victim, is under the age of 18
  • The plaintiff is disabled
  • The plaintiff is not considered to be of sound mind
  • The defendant left the state for four or more months before the lawsuit was filed
  • The defendant lives in New York but does so under a false name

The statute of limitations for someone under the age of 18 will not begin until the plaintiff reaches legal age. The same goes if the plaintiff has a legal disability. The time period does begin until the legal disability has been lifted or the plaintiff has been deemed to be of sound mind. The time limit will not include the four or more months the defendant was out of the state, extending the statute of limitations. These exceptions are covered under Sections 207 and 208 of the New York Civil Practice Law & Rules.

When to Speak to an Attorney

The best time to speak to a New York personal injury attorney is as soon as you are able to after the accident. Of course, you can talk to an attorney at any point after an accident, even days or weeks later.

Just make sure you don’t wait so long that there isn’t enough time to properly put together your claim and file it with the court before the statute of limitations expires. You need to give the attorney enough time to investigate the accident that left you injured, review your medical records, speak to your doctor, interview witnesses, talk to the police, obtain the police report and secure expert witnesses for your potential trial.

The sooner you contact us, the greater our opportunity to build the strongest case possible for you. You can reach us by calling 516-932-0400

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