As is the case in every state, the statute of limitations applies to car accidents in New York. If you have sustained injuries in a motor vehicle collision, the statute serves as the firm deadline for filing your personal injury lawsuit. If you file your case after the deadline expires, the odds are that the court will dismiss your lawsuit with prejudice.
Understanding the risks associated with the statute of limitations is important. Knowing that you could be putting your case at risk by failing to move forward in a timely manner, it may be in your best interest to speak with a personal injury lawyer on our team immediately following your car accident.
Your Time to File a Lawsuit After a Car Accident Is Limited
If you were hurt in a car accident due to someone else’s negligence, you may have the right to pursue a civil lawsuit against them. That right is constrained by something known as the statute of limitations, which applies to many types of legal action in New York.
For personal injury cases, the statutory period usually expires three years from the date of the collision. This deadline is governed by CVP § 214.
There Is Less Time to File a Wrongful Death Action
There is not a single uniform statute of limitations when it comes to car accidents. As such, the deadline to pursue these cases differs when an individual is injured in an accident compared to when they pass away.
If you are considering a wrongful death action following a car accident, it is important to understand that you have less time to move forward with your case compared to a personal injury lawsuit. Under EPT § 5-4.1, there is only two years to file most wrongful death cases. This two-year period of time begins to run out on the date the decedent passes away.
Complying with this deadline can be confusing, as the date of death might not have been the same date that the accident occurred.
There Are Additional Hurdles When Suing Government Entities
There are some additional factors to consider if you intend to pursue a personal injury case against a government entity.
The State of New York has waived its sovereign immunity when it comes to most car accident injury cases. That means that if you intend to sue the state over a car accident, the statute of limitations may apply. In some situations, the statute of limitations is no different than if you had sued a private individual. In others, you must comply with a dramatically reduced timeline in order to pursue your case successfully.
The rules are different if you believe a municipal government was to blame for your accident. In such a case, you are to comply with something known as the Notice of Claim rule. Under GMU § 50-E, you typically must file a Notice of Claim with said entity within 90 days of the car accident.
The Risks of Delaying a Car Accident Lawsuit Are Significant
Should you fail to comply with the statute of limitations in your car accident case, you could miss out entirely on your chance for compensation for your related damages. In most cases, the judge will have little choice but to dismiss a lawsuit with prejudice.
As a result, your opportunity to pursue damages for your car accident will come to an end. The liable party would then be released from paying for your losses, so that responsibility would be up to you.
Delays Could Also Impede the Car Accident Investigation
Lawsuits are complex, and developing these legal pleadings can take time. Your car accident lawyer will need time to investigate your case, collect evidence, identify all of the responsible parties, and develop a theory of negligence.
By waiting to seek out legal help, you also make it more difficult for your attorney to build a winning case. Evidence like surveillance footage can be difficult to obtain after a lengthy delay, as it may be destroyed shortly after the accident. Not to mention, witnesses’ memories may fade over time, so their accounts of the accident may not be entirely accurate.
Discuss the Statute of Limitations with a Car Accident Attorney on Our Team Today
The statute of limitations for car accidents in New York is only one of the factors you should take into account when pursuing financial compensation. From investigating the crash to developing a theory of negligence, there are many steps that go into a winning case.
The personal injury attorneys with the Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP could help you with each of these steps. To get started right away on your free consultation, get in touch with us at 516-358-6900. There are no attorney’s fees required unless we secure compensation for you at the end of your case.
For a free legal consultation, call 516-358-6900