You’ve probably heard about the statute of limitations, but does it apply to car accidents in New York? If you have been injured in a car crash, the main thing of your focus should be your healing and not the deadlines and lawsuits. Under New York law, the deadlines for filing legal claims are very strict. These deadlines depend on numerous factors, such as who was involved in the crash.
Make sure you don’t try to do this on your own, not because you won’t succeed, but because things can be easily and better done with the help of a car accident attorney.
Let’s see what you need to know about the New York statute of limitations when it comes to car accidents.
What Is a Statute of Limitations?
This is a legal term that is a time limit during which you can file a lawsuit. When it comes to personal injury cases, it’s the time that you have to file a legal claim after an accident or an injury. If you fail to file a lawsuit (within the statute of limitations) against another person or entity for the injuries they caused to you, a court will reject your lawsuit and stop you from suing the person who caused your injuries.
Let’s say a person was injured in a car accident in 2010. They had severe injuries, but because they were focused on their recovery, they didn’t think about filing a lawsuit until 2020. That is a long time and the court will surely not going to accept the lawsuit.
The statute of limitations has run out, and either the other party will dismiss the case or the court will dismiss it if you try to file a lawsuit. This seems unfair, especially if you were injured in an accident and went through a terrible time with your injuries. This makes sense for both the plaintiff and the defendants.
If there were witnesses, they may no longer remember the accident, so their memories won’t be correct. It’s also difficult to gather evidence after such a long time. It will make it impossible for your attorney to prove the case.
Keep in mind that many government agencies, businesses, and hospitals may destroy or delete paperwork, documents, videos, photographs. All of these can work as evidence, but if it’s gone, you don’t have a case.
This is why the statute of limitations encourages plaintiffs to file a suit as soon as possible so that their case is brought while the evidence is fresh. This rule protects defendants from the threat of being sued for the rest of their lives over something that has happened years ago.
Once you file the lawsuit, the statute of limitations is no longer an issue. If the first deadline has been met, you can move forward with your case.
New York Statute of Limitations for Car Accident
In New York, the statute of limitations for car accident cases is three years. Once you were involved in a car accident, you have three years to file a lawsuit. If this time limit passes, you risk your case. The time begins immediately after your accident. This is why it is crucial to consult a New York car accident attorney as soon as possible after you are injured. Seek medical help first, and the next thing you should do is call your attorney.
There is one exception to the three-year statute of limitations rule. In case a loved one is killed in a New York car accident, the statute of limitations lasts only two years. These cases are considered wrongful death claims and should be filed as such. If you are facing such a tragedy, make sure you act fast and don’t let time pass by. You are risking losing a high compensation claim for your losses.
If you want to recover damages for your injuries, you should talk to a lawyer immediately. Your attorney will advise you on the next steps, tell you their opinion on the case and what you can expect. If they believe you have a case, they will start collecting evidence, seeking witnesses, and do everything in their power to make your case. Your attorney will negotiate with the insurance company in case they offer a low settlement.
Instead, to do this on your own, allow a skilled attorney to take your case while you recover.