Nearly every kind of civil lawsuit is governed by a statute of limitations, the period following an incident in which the victim can file a claim in pursuit of compensation for his or her damages. For personal injury claims in New York, the statute of limitations is three years from the date of the accident that caused the victim’s injury. Once three years pass, the victim can not file a personal injury lawsuit and recover compensation for his or her damages.
If you were injured in a car accident, keep the statute of limitations in mind and be proactive about developing your case as soon as you can after receiving appropriate medical care.
Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations in NY
There are a few exceptions to New York’s statute of limitations for personal injury claims. They are:
- When the victim is a minor. With minor victims, the statute of limitations is tolled until the victim’s 18th birthday, effectively giving a victim until his or her 21st birthday to file a lawsuit;
- If the victim is mentally disabled. In cases like this, the statute of limitations is three years from the day the victim is no longer disabled. For permanently disabled individuals, there is no statute of limitations; and
- In certain cases, individuals who leave New York after being injured can extend their case’s deadlines to make up for the time they spend outside the state.
Why Does New York Impose a Statute of Limitations on Car Accident Claims?
The statute of limitations exists to protect negligent parties from being held liable for old claims because as the years go on, evidence to support a claim can become less reliable. Keep in mind that the statute of limitations is only for filing a case, not the date by which a case must be resolved.
A looming statute of limitations is not the only reason why you need to be proactive about getting your claim in order and filing it after you have received medical care. The sooner you file your claim, the better chance you have of recovering monetary compensation for your damages. This is because in order to recover compensation, you must successfully demonstrate that your injury was the direct result of the negligent party’s actions. The longer you wait, the more difficult this will be because your injury will heal, new injuries can make it difficult to trace the original injury’s source, witnesses’ memories fade, and documents can be lost or destroyed. Depending on how much time has elapsed since your accident, it might be worth your while to just file a lawsuit from the outset, rather than trying to recover compensation through an insurance claim. Your lawyer can help you make this decision.
Work with an Experienced Long Island Car Accident Attorney
If you were injured in a car accident, start working with an experienced Long Island car accident lawyer now to develop your legal strategy for pursuing the compensation you need to cover your expenses. Get started with our team at the Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP by scheduling your free initial consultation in our office.