If you plan to seek damages from the party who caused your injuries through a liability claim or lawsuit, there are critically important deadlines, as well as other time-sensitive factors, to consider.
For example, some of the evidence in your case may become unavailable or unreliable if too much time passes before it is captured. In addition, New York State enforces a statute of limitations for filing personal injury lawsuits. Once this deadline expires, you lose the right to sue the liable party in your case, even if you have substantial evidence against them.
In This Article
- Time-Sensitive Evidence in a Neck Injury Case
- The Statute of Limitations for Neck Injury Lawsuits
- We are Ready to Discuss Your Neck Injury Case Now
Time-Sensitive Evidence in a Neck Injury Case
Depending on the nature of the accident that caused your neck injury, there could be various types of evidence in your case. While some items remain easily accessible in the long term – such as time-stamped photographs you took of your injuries – other types of evidence disappear or degrade with time.
In order to build a compelling case for damages, you will want to have as much viable evidence as possible. This includes proof of your neck injury and evidence that demonstrates how another party caused the incident that harmed you. The more evidence you have, the more likely you are to recover damages from them. We’ve outlined some crucial, time-sensitive evidence below.
Waiting to Seek Medical Attention May Undermine Your Claim
While medical records do not expire, they could lose some degree of their effectiveness if too much time passes before you obtain medical treatment. If you wait several weeks before consulting with a medical treatment provider it could give the liable party, their insurance carrier and their defense lawyers room to argue that your injuries are not as severe as you claim. This is critical, as New York Insurance Law § 5102 requires a victim’s injuries to meet a severity threshold before they can seek compensation from another party.
Neck injuries, such as whiplash, are not always immediately apparent after an accident. They can take time to develop as your adrenaline wears off and your body begins to respond to muscle trauma.
Additionally, understandably, many people experience a degree of denial about the reality of their situation after an accident. In addition to the physical trauma, the emotional trauma people can suffer after an accident may be quite significant. Many times people “tell” themselves they are or very soon will be OK, because they don’t want to believe what has happened and hope that by minimizing it that will make it real.
For these reasons, it is important to monitor yourself for possible injuries and discuss them with your doctor right away. Doing so could prevent your injuries from becoming worse and it will also establish a connection between your injuries and the accident.
Video Footage Gets Wiped or Recorded Over
Evidence often comes in the form of video footage from various sources, such as:
- Surveillance cameras on or inside storefronts, apartment and office buildings and private residences near the accident site
- Dashcams mounted onto vehicles
Unlike videos recorded on a cell phone, this type of footage is usually not stored for very long. These cameras are designed to record footage continuously, which often means that older videos get deleted to free up storage space for new ones. If there is a possibility that video footage could prove your account of the accident, you will want to obtain it as soon as possible. Our team will get to work on doing this for you when you hire us to manage your case.
Witness Testimony Becomes Unreliable
Eyewitness statements serve as strong evidence in many cases. The more people you have to corroborate your testimony, the more compelling your case becomes. However, this is not always the case – especially if significant time has passed since the accident.
Over time, a witness’s recollection of the events surrounding your injuries will change or fade. If several months or even weeks pass before you get statements from witnesses, the liable party will likely use this logic to discredit the evidence. Furthermore, witnesses can become very difficult or even impossible to locate as more time passes. They may move or, sadly, become very ill or even die. To the greatest extent possible, it is best to obtain their statements as soon after the accident as possible.
If you choose one of our attorneys to represent you, our team will take steps to obtain statements from any witnesses right away. That way, we will have a fresh record of what they saw or heard before their memories become unreliable and before they potentially become unavailable for some other reason.
For a free legal consultation, call 516-932-0400
The Statute of Limitations for Neck Injury Lawsuits
While a lawsuit is not always necessary to secure compensation for a neck injury, your right to file one affects all aspects of your case. New York Civil Practice Laws & Rules § 214 (and other statutes of limitations that may apply depending upon the specific circumstances of your case,) gives you a limited window for initiating a lawsuit against the liable party. Once this window closes, you no longer qualify to seek compensation in court.
This is important because insurance companies often go out of their way to avoid the additional expense of fighting – and potentially losing – a lawsuit. As long as you have an opportunity to take them to court and evidence to back your claim up, you have leverage in settlement negotiations. Keeping this option open also means that if negotiations fail, you have another potential avenue for seeking compensation.
We are Ready to Discuss Your Neck Injury Case Now
You have a limited time to file a neck injury claim in New York if you hope to recover damages from the liable party. Additionally, certain steps should be taken as soon as possible to protect your rights. (For example, filing for No-Fault Insurance benefits so that your medical expenses and a portion of your lost earnings are paid, must be done within 30 days after the accident.)
At Friedman & Simon, L.L.P., we represent clients on a no-win, no-fee basis. We will handle every aspect of your case from start to finish, while making whatever accommodations we can for you, such as having flexible meeting locations throughout Long Island and greater NYC. The initial consultation is free when you call (516) 932-0400. Call us today for a patient, comprehensive consultation with an experienced and dedicated member of our team of legal professionals.