The statute of limitations for a personal injury case arising from a car accident in New York is generally three years from the date of the accident, per New York Civil Practice Law & Rules § 214. However, the time you have to file your lawsuit could vary if your case involves special factors, which is common in cases involving a minor or a municipality.
If you fail to file a lawsuit within the time limit that applies to your case, your case might be dismissed and you may be unable to recover compensation. If you are unsure about when your case’s filing deadline is, there is no need to worry. Our team will review your case for free and identify its statutory deadline. A car accident attorney from our team will then take every step necessary to pursue maximum compensation for you
- Don’t Wait Until the Last Minute to File Your Car Accident Lawsuit
- A Different Statute of Limitations Applies If You Are Filing a Wrongful Death Case
- Exceptions Could Extend, Shorten the Filing Deadline for a NY Car Accident Case
- Remember that Other, Much Shorter, Deadlines Might Apply to Your Case
- You Might Still Be Able to Recover Partial Compensation Even If You Share Fault for the Accident
- Other Ways an Insurer Might Try to Block Your Case
- Filing a Car Accident Injury Lawsuit in New York
- Discuss Your Car Accident with a Team Member at Friedman & Simon, L.L.P. Today
Don’t Wait Until the Last Minute to File Your Car Accident Lawsuit
One of the main reasons you do not want to wait until the last minute to file a personal injury lawsuit is that it could get dismissed if you submit it late. When the opposing party finds out you filed late, they will ask the judge to dismiss your case.
If your case gets dismissed, you will be barred from continuing your pursuit of compensation, meaning the liable party would be absolved from having to cover your damages. Instead, you would have to cover these costs yourself.
Keep in Mind that Other Aspects of Your Case Might Have a Time Limit, Too
Beyond litigation requirements, you should also be mindful of the practical availability of evidence for your case. If you wait too long to start working on your case, you could risk losing evidence to support your claims, such as:
- Surveillance footage
- Reliable witness testimony
- Photos of the scene of the accident
- Dashcam footage
Also, proving the correlation between your injuries and the car accident could become more challenging as time passes. Do not hesitate to take action, even if you are unsure if you qualify for a personal injury lawsuit. Our team will review your case and guide you on how to proceed.
The Importance of Timely Medical Assistance
An important step towards getting compensation is establishing that your injuries are a direct result of the accident caused by the liable party. To form this link, you will want to see a doctor as soon as possible.
If you wait too long to get medical attention, the insurance company might try to claim that you were injured under other circumstances and that their client had nothing to do with your suffering. By contrast, prompt medical intervention will:
- Strengthen your contention that your injuries stem from the accident that the liable party caused
- Give you the best possible chance of making a full recovery
- Reassure you that your injuries are not more serious than they seem
- Save your life by quickly treating serious injuries and identifying “hidden” injuries that otherwise might not have become apparent until it was too late
For a free legal consultation, call 516-932-0400
A Different Statute of Limitations Applies If You Are Filing a Wrongful Death Case
If your loved one died as a result of their car accident-related injuries, we extend our sincere condolences to you. If you intend to pursue compensation on their behalf, you could be eligible for a different type of case. Instead of a personal injury lawsuit, you might be eligible to file a wrongful death action.
There is a separate statute of limitations for wrongful death cases. Per Estates, Powers & Trusts § 5-4.1, you must file a wrongful death action generally within two years of your loved one’s death. Keep in mind, the date of your loved one’s death might differ from the accident date.
Again, attempting to file outside of the two-year limit for a wrongful death car accident will constitute grounds for the court to dismiss your case. This could leave you unable to pursue justice for your loved one’s death.
Exceptions Could Extend, Shorten the Filing Deadline for a NY Car Accident Case
As mentioned, certain factors affect how long you might have to file your case. When reviewing your case, our team will mention whether the following factors affect your filing period.
Cases Involving a Minor
New York car accidents involving minors fall under one notable exception to the statute of limitations. If the injured party is a child, the child has until three years after their 18th birthday to file a lawsuit. This is known as “tolling” (i.e., pausing) the statute of limitations.
If a child injured in a car accident fails to file a lawsuit by their 21st birthday, they won’t be able to recover compensation.
Cases Where a Municipality Is Named a Liable Party
If your case involves a governmental entity, the statute of limitations and other applicable deadlines could be significantly shorter.
In cases against a municipality or public authority, plaintiffs must file a Notice of Claim containing specific content within 90 days of the accident date. Failure to promptly serve a Notice of Claim within this timeframe could lead to a case dismissal.
Remember that Other, Much Shorter, Deadlines Might Apply to Your Case
New York is a no-fault state, which means certain damages (e.g., medical expenses and lost earnings up to a certain dollar amount) are, as a general rule, covered by the insurance carrier of the injured person’s host vehicle without regard to fault.
The car accident claim time limit for these benefits is generally 30 days from the accident date.
If You Were a Pedestrian or Bicyclist in the Accident
If you were a pedestrian or bicyclist when the accident occurred, then your car accident insurance policy would not apply. Instead, you would first look to the insurance carrier of the vehicle that struck you for medical treatment costs and lost earnings.
Our legal team will take action on your behalf to make sure all deadlines are met and all applicable statutes are complied with.
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You Might Still Be Able to Recover Partial Compensation Even If You Share Fault for the Accident
Even if your actions played a role in the accident, you might still be able to recover compensation. Based on New York’s comparative negligence law, New York Civil Practice Law & Rules § 1411, a person who is partially responsible for an accident might still be able to receive compensation for their injuries and other losses.
In such a case, the injured yet partially responsible person could potentially recover the percentage of their damages that is equal to the other party’s percentage of fault.
For example, let’s say the plaintiff got into an accident because the defendant made a left turn in front of the plaintiff. A person making a left turn has a duty to yield the right of way to a person going straight, but, depending on the respective vehicles’ positions in the roadway, the respective contributions to the accident may be apportioned.
Continuing the example, the following conclusions might hypothetically be made:
- The investigation determined the defendant was 90 percent at fault for the accident for starting the left turn when it was almost too late for the plaintiff to avoid the collision.
- However, because the plaintiff may have been speeding or failed to take appropriate action to avoid the impact, they are 10 percent at fault for the accident and their injuries.
- The plaintiff is entitled to recover 90 percent of the value of their damages. If the value of their case was $100,000, they would potentially be able to recover $90,000 (assuming there is adequate insurance to cover this judgment amount).
Your lawyer will explain more about comparative negligence if it is relevant to your case.
Other Ways an Insurer Might Try to Block Your Case
Even if your case is filed in a timely manner, the defense lawyers hired by the liable party’s insurance company will probably still be reluctant to pay what you are entitled to recover. They might try any number of tactics to minimize your payout, including:
- Saying you missed some deadline related to filing paperwork, submitting evidence, or some other legal technicality
- Pressuring you to accept their initial settlement offer, even if it does not meet your needs or cover all of your injuries
- Taking a recorded statement from you, which they can analyze for inconsistencies or apparent admissions of guilt
There are many deadlines and other particulars that you would have to keep at top of mind if you attempted to file a lawsuit on your own. Even a minor omission or innocent mistake – e.g., stating something improperly, – could give the defendant a legal excuse to ask that your case be dismissed.
Filing a Car Accident Injury Lawsuit in New York
To file a lawsuit for a car accident in New York, our team must prove the other party was negligent and, therefore, liable for the crash and the injuries you suffered.
Some examples of the other driver’s negligence could include:
- Failing to yield
- Distracted driving
- Following too closely (tailgating)
- Drunk driving
- Unsafe lane changes
- Reckless driving/road rage
- Drowsy driving
- Turning improperly
- Inexperienced driving
A car accident lawyer at Friedman & Simon, L.L.P. will review the details of your accident and begin working on your case to prove the other party’s negligence on your behalf.
Also, you do not need to worry about paying upfront attorney’s fees, as we do not recover attorney’s fees unless and until we get you compensation.
Other Potential Liable Parties
In many car accident cases, it is reasonable to assume that the other driver is at fault. However, there are rare cases where partial or total blame should be assigned to:
- A car manufacturer who sold dangerous, faulty products and did not act quickly enough to recall a product they knew to be hazardous
- A city or municipality that failed to maintain a safe roadway or the contractor they hired to maintain the roadway but who did not do so
- A mechanic hired by the other party to keep their car in working order and who failed to do their job responsibly
To ensure that you receive appropriate compensation from all at-fault parties, it is best to consult with a car accident attorney before starting your case. Through a free case evaluation, you will learn more about your rights and what your next steps should be. After hiring a firm, they will work hard to identify all liable parties and calculate the compensation you should receive.
Discuss Your Car Accident with a Team Member at Friedman & Simon, L.L.P. Today
Do not risk jeopardizing your right to recover compensation. Act quickly to get in touch with a car accident lawyer at Friedman & Simon, L.L.P. We will determine how long you have to file a lawsuit and begin the process in time to protect your right to compensation.
Call us at (516) 932-0400 to discuss your car accident case. We are able to assist you in English, Spanish, Kannada, Greek, Tamil, and Bengali.