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How Much Time Do I Have to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit in New York?

If you have been injured due to someone else’s negligence and are considering pursuing legal action, it’s important to be aware of New York’s statute of limitations for personal injury civil cases. In most cases, you have three years from the date of the underlying accident that caused your injuries to file a lawsuit seeking compensation for your damages.

Why Does New York Have a Civil Statute of Limitations?

New York’s statutes of limitation are intended to serve as a means of ensuring that claims are brought in a timely fashion. Supporters of statutes of limitation believe that if injured individuals are permitted to sue years after an incident occurred, important evidence may no longer be available to one or both parties.

The New York Civil Practice Law & Rules section 214 specifies that an action to recover damages for a personal injury must be commenced within a three-year timeframe. If you fail to file your complaint and other required paperwork in court within this period, you may lose your right to pursue compensation through legal action.

Are There Exceptions to the Statute of Limitation for Personal Injury Cases?

Despite the usual three-year limit, there are certain exceptions to the standard statute of limitations period that may apply in your case.

One exception to the standard statute of limitations period applies if you qualify under a legal disability or were under 18 at the time of the incident. In these situations, the three-year clock for filing the personal injury lawsuit will not begin to run until the legal disability is lifted or, if you were a minor at the time of the incident, when you turn 18.

Another exception may apply if the negligent party leaves the state after the underlying incident before the lawsuit is filed. If the defendant is gone for four months or more, the time of absence will likely not be counted as part of the three-year statutory period. Additionally, if the negligent party resides within the state of New York under a false name, the deadline for filing a lawsuit may also be extended.

The standard statute of limitations period may also be waived in instances where injuries and illnesses were caused by harm that was not reasonably detectable at the time of the incident. This could encompass injuries resulting from toxic exposure, medical misdiagnosis, or other negligence. In such cases, the discovery rule goes into effect, pausing the statute of limitations time frame until these effects can be reasonably identified or discovered.

Failure to comply with the New York state statute of limitations for personal injury cases can result in the forfeiture of your legal right to pursue compensation for your damages.

If you are unsure about the statute of limitations for a particular type of claim or if you have been injured and are considering pursuing legal action, it is highly recommended that you seek the counsel of an experienced New York personal injury attorney. Your attorney will advise you of your legal rights, help you navigate the legal process, and ensure that you meet all applicable deadlines.