The Statute of Limitations on Personal Injury Claims in NY
Under New York Civil Practice Law & Rules Section 214, individuals who have suffered a personal injury due to the negligence of another party have three years from the date of their accident/injury to file an initial complaint. This period, referred to as the statute of limitations, is set in place to protect defendants from frivolous lawsuits for alleged damages and injuries that occurred in the distant past and which may be difficult or impossible to prove or defend against. It is important to remember that if the defendant is a municipality, the rules are different and require much earlier filings.
If you fail to submit your claim within this timeframe, you may forfeit your right to pursue compensation in court. It's important to note that this deadline applies to most personal injury lawsuits in New York; however, there may be certain exceptions that would allow you more time, depending on the specifics of your case. It is always best to consult with an experienced attorney as soon as possible after suffering an injury so they can review the facts and determine whether any extenuating circumstances exist that could affect the validity of your claim.
In New York, the statute of limitations applies to nearly all personal injury accident cases, including most:
- Car accidents
- Truck accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
Are There Exceptions to the This Deadline?
New York State's three-year statute of limitations on personal injury claims is not absolute. Several exceptions exist, such as if the injured party is a minor or mentally incapacitated. In these cases, the injured person has up to three years after they turn 18 years old, or until they regain mental capacity, to file their claim.
Additionally, if the injury was caused by a medical professional’s malpractice, there is an exception to the three-year statute of limitations that actually shortens the window in which someone may file a claim. This exception allows for only two-and-a-half years from when the injured party discovers or should have discovered that their injury was caused by medical malpractice in order to file a claim.
Lastly, there are exceptions for cases involving fraud or “fraudulent concealment”; if an injury is discovered after three years due to these circumstances, it may still be possible to file a claim within one year of the discovery date.
What Happens If You Miss the Deadline?
If you miss the three-year deadline for filing a personal injury claim, you may be barred from recovering any damages from your accident. Once the time limit passes without a claim being filed, individuals are typically unable to bring a case against another party regarding their injuries. Even if the injured individual has suffered significant harm, it may be considered too late to proceed with a lawsuit, and they could potentially be precluded from recovering damages. Therefore, it is important to act quickly to ensure that one’s legal rights remain protected.
If you attempt to file a personal injury lawsuit after the statute of limitations has expired, the defendant will likely file a motion to dismiss and point out this fact to the court. The court will then review your case, and unless an exception entitles you to additional time, they will most likely reject and dismiss your claim. This means that no matter how severe your injuries or how clear the defendant’s liability is, you have lost your right to seek compensation through the courts. In short, trying to file a claim after the statute of limitations has passed can be costly, as you will incur legal fees without receiving any compensation for your suffering.If you were injured due to someone else's negligence and are unsure if you are still within the statute of limitations, reach out to Foley Griffin for guidance. Our personal injury attorney is prepared to review your case and provide you with their professional advice regarding your best course of action.