Accidents are an unfortunate but common occurrence in congested places like New York. If you have been injured in an auto accident, you are probably considering suing the person who was responsible for your injury. Under the laws of New York State, you have a certain time limit within which you need to file a lawsuit seeking compensation from the negligent party.
This is known in legal language as the “statute of limitations” and once this time has passed, you can no longer pursue a claim. In order to ensure that you don’t jeopardize your legal interest, it is vital that you consult an experienced personal injury lawyer in New York who can guide you about the specific statute of limitations that apply to your case.
What is the Time You Have to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit in NYC?
When you get injured in an accident in New York, it is natural that your priority is the recovery of your health. Immediately after an accident, you must have yourself checked by a doctor so that your injuries can be dealt with. In case of serious injuries, you may need surgery or extensive medical treatment, and even rehabilitative therapy to get back to functioning as usual.
When all your focus is on regaining your health, it can be difficult to find the time and energy to deal with the complicated legal procedures involved in a personal injury lawsuit in New York. With that said, it’s quite likely that you will put off this activity for a later date when you feel physically and mentally better.
However, you must remember that you don’t have the luxury of taking your own time to file a personal injury claim. As per New York’s statute of limitations, three years is the general time limit for filing a personal injury lawsuit. So, if you were injured in an accident on March 1st, 2021, the statute of limitations expires exactly after three years, that is, on March 1st, 2024.
What is New York’s Statute of Limitations for Civil Cases?
The statute of limitations can vary depending on the type of civil case for injury compensation that you file in New York.
What Happens if You Miss the Deadline to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit in NY?
If you file a personal injury lawsuit after the statute of limitations has expired, the opposing party will surely file a motion to get the courts to dismiss your suit, claiming that the statute of limitations has passed. If you delay filing your suit and miss the deadline specified under the statute of limitations, the courts will not allow you to proceed with a lawsuit.
Not just that, if the other party finds out that you have overshot this deadline, they are less likely to be intimidated by your threat of filing a lawsuit because they know the courts will throw out your claim. This is quite likely to work against you even when you are negotiating with their insurance adjuster.
They know there’s nothing you can legally do, and this will prompt them to refuse to negotiate on the settlement they offer you. Finally, it is your loss because you will be forced to accept the paltry sum proposed by the other party even though you know it’s unfair, because at this stage after the statute of limitations has passed, there is nothing else you can legally do to get justice.
Are There Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury in New York?
The courts of New York cannot extend the statute of limitations beyond what the State’s laws specify. However, there can be some exceptional circumstances when they can decide to do so, such as:
If the injury has been actually discovered much later than when it occurred
For example, consider a situation where a tenant has been living in a rented house where they were exposed to asbestos, and then moved out from that house to another place. Many years later, their doctor diagnoses them with a lung condition that developed due to exposure to asbestos.
Even if more than three years have passed since the tenant vacated that first rented house, the law will allow them to file a personal injury lawsuit because the damage has been discovered only recently. In a situation of this type, the statute of limitations will begin from the date of the discovery of the lung ailment.
If the person injured or the one suing is a minor
Minors do not have the ability to comprehend information like an adult. The law recognizes this and therefore, in cases where the injured person or the one suing is a minor, the statute of limitations begins ticking only from the date of their eighteenth birthday. This is true for all types of personal injury cases; only in the case of medical malpractice suits, there is a limit of ten years that is set for the extension of the statute of limitations.
Although these are the general conditions when the law accepts an extension of the statute of limitations, only a seasoned New York personal injury lawyer can guide you about whether your case is eligible for such an extension.
What are the Steps in a Personal Injury Lawsuit in New York?
Each case of personal injury is unique, but there is a general timeline that all such cases follow.
Step 1: Initial investigation
The initial investigation includes gathering information, collecting documents, reviewing them, and determining the facts of the case to check if there is a cause for action.
Step 2: Raising a demand and negotiation for a settlement
During this stage, the injured person gets in touch with the party at fault for their injury and seeks damages. The latter’s insurance company proposes a settlement and after negotiation, the accident victim may choose to accept the amount offered, and the case ends there.
Step 3: Filing a personal injury lawsuit
If the two parties fail to come to an agreement on the amount of settlement, the injured person can file a personal injury lawsuit against the party who is at fault in a civil court. This filing has to be done in keeping with the guidelines specified in the statute of limitations.
Step 4: Discovery and investigation
During this stage, both parties involved in the lawsuit investigate each other’s claims and collect relevant documents and evidence.
Step 5: Mediation
Either during the discovery process or after its completion, both sides may enter into mediation or negotiation to resolve the case outside of the court trial process. If the mediation succeeds, the case gets resolved and does not proceed to the trial stage.
Step 6: Court Trial
In the event of the negotiation failing, or if both the parties cannot reach any settlement, the case proceeds to a trial in court. Either a judge or a jury will hear the presentation of evidence from both sides and reach a final verdict of how much compensation is to be awarded.
Have the Leading New York Attorneys on Your Side to Fight Your Personal Injury Lawsuit
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in an accident, you may be able to recover damages through a personal injury lawsuit. At Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff, LLP, we help accident victims to file claims for personal injury accidents in New York. We handle not just personal injury cases, but also medical malpractice and wrongful death lawsuits.
Often, accident victims wait for too long trying to collect relevant information and to arrange financial resources to meet up with a lawyer. The longer you wait to file a lawsuit, the lesser time you have before the statute of limitations expires. Based on this, it’s always best to go ahead and file a claim even if all the evidence is not available to you. In fact, at our law firm, we use the services of independent investigators to help our clients collect and preserve all the evidence that is important to prove their case.
Do not let your worry about the financial implications of consulting an expert personal injury lawyer in New York stop you from exploring the legal options available to you. We work on a contingency fee basis and this means that you do not have to pay our attorney fees until the time when you win your case and recover compensation.
For a free and confidential review of your case with one of our team members, call Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff, LLP at 1-800-660-2264 or contact us online. Through this discussion, we can help you find out if your case qualifies as a personal injury lawsuit.
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