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 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, our team will review your case for free and identify its statutory deadline. A car accident attorney from our team will then help you take steps to pursue compensation.
In This Article
- 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 Night Apply to Your Case
- You Might Still be Able to Recover Partial Compensation Even if You Share Fault for the Accident
- 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. It is practically a certainty that as soon as 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
- Medical records that mention the car accident event
- 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.
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
Cases 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 from the accident date. Failure to promptly serve a Notice of Claim within this time frame could lead to a case dismissal.
Remember that Other – Much Shorter – Deadlines Night 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 time limit to apply 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 happening of 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.)
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.
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.