If you’ve been injured as a result of someone else’s wrongdoing, you may have considered pursuing legal action against them. When considering filing a lawsuit, it is important to understand that each claim has a statute of limitations in New York state, or amount of time you have to file a lawsuit against another person for that claim. Statutes of limitations also vary from state to state.
What Is The Statute of Limitations?
The “statute of limitations” refers to the law that dictates the maximum amount of time that a party has to bring a claim from the date of the underlying incident. Different claims or causes of action have different statutes of limitations. For example, the statute of limitations for a property damage claim in New York State is typically three years (pursuant to CPLR §§ 214, 214-c). The length of time permitted to bring a claim depends on the nature of the incident and the jurisdiction in which the incident occurred.
In New York State, there are various statutes of limitations for different types of personal injury claims. Generally speaking, below are the typical statutes of limitations that apply to various claims based on a theory of negligence:
- Car Accident: 3 years from the date of the accident
- Slip & Fall / Trip & Fall: 3 years from the date of the incident
- Medical Malpractice: 2 years and 6 months from the date of malpractice or from the last date of any continuous treatment that was rendered
- Construction Accident: 3 years from date of the accident
- Negligence: 3 years from date of the accident
- Product Liability: 3 years from date of the accident
- Wrongful Death: 2 years from date of death
It’s important to note that the statute of limitations is a hard and fast rule; claims which are time-barred by the applicable statute of limitations should not be brought in a lawsuit. However, certain claims may have extenuating circumstances that affect how the statute of limitations is determined (more on this below). A skilled personal injury attorney can assist you in determining how to calculate the statute of limitations and whether your claim is timely.
Notably, special rules apply if the responsible party is a municipality, the State of New York, or an entity owned by either. New York State and its municipalities have additional protections afforded to them as defendants, and notice of any claim against them must be provided much sooner than the average defendant (generally within 90 days of the incident and with a lawsuit commenced within one year and 90 days from the date of injury). Additional exceptions apply to other entities which are afforded additional protections by statute. An attorney can help evaluate your ability to bring a claim against one of these defendants; the sooner you consult with an attorney after sustaining any injuries, the better.
Are There Exceptions To The Statute of Limitations in New York?
While there are generally no exceptions where a claim is brought beyond the applicable statute of limitations in New York, there are some extenuating circumstances that will either delay the start of the statute of limitations “clock” or extend the deadline once it has started. For example:
- If the injured person is under the age of 18, the statute of limitations will only begin to run once he or she reaches the age of majority, or, in medical malpractice actions, 10 years after the alleged malpractice occurred.
- If an injury or illness cannot be reasonably discovered within the statute of limitations, such as an injury caused by chemical exposure which does not present itself until years later, then a plaintiff may be permitted additional time to file a claim.
- In extreme cases involving major historic events, there may be a pause in the legal system for an extended period of time, which would not be counted against the plaintiff’s time to bring legal action against a potential defendant. For example, New York’s Governor issued a series of executive orders in response to COVID-19 which tolled the statute of limitations for certain claims that arose or ripened during the pandemic.
If you’re beyond the statute of limitations for your injury or wrongful death case and you feel you have valid justification under any of the above exemptions, you should consider speaking to a qualified personal injury attorney.
What Happens If You Miss The Filing Deadline?
If you fail to bring an action against the presumed negligent party before the statute of limitations expires, you likely will not be able to file a lawsuit to collect damages for your losses. If you attempt to file a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit after the statute of limitations has expired, you can anticipate that the defending party’s attorney will successfully move to dismiss your claims. Claims brought after the applicable statute of limitations are “time-barred.”
The statute of limitations in New York exists to prevent frivolous lawsuits and protect potential defendants against unfair prosecution. With the passage of time, relevant information, crucial evidence, and memories from key witnesses, or even the parties, may be lost. If you are injured due to someone else’s actions, it is important to consult a personal injury attorney as soon as possible.
Contact Cellino Law If You Have Questions About The Statute of Limitations in New York
Statute of limitation laws in New York can be surprisingly technical to those who are not well versed in personal injury law, and one misstep can invalidate your otherwise legitimate claim.
If you have been involved in an accident where someone else is responsible – or partially responsible – for your injuries, don’t wait to contact a trusted personal injury attorney. The attorneys at Cellino Law are knowledgeable and skilled in all facets of personal injury law and have the experience necessary to help you recover maximum compensation for your injuries. For a free consultation to discuss your legal options, call us at 888-888-8888.
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