It’s a common phrase used in crime shows, news articles, and other media. If you find yourself in any type of litigation, you must pay attention to what it means and get in touch with a lawyer ASAP. Whether you’re involved in a civil case, such as a car accident, or a criminal case, the personal injury statute of limitations is an important legal concept that will likely be taken into account by your lawyer.
Most people have heard the legal term but don’t have a clear idea of what it means. Here, we’ll explain what “statute of limitations” means and discuss the personal injury statute of limitations in New York.
What Does “Statute Of Limitations” Mean?
Simply put, a statute of limitations is a law that sets the amount of time on how long a party has to take legal action. For a personal injury, it’s generally the time frame you can file a claim.
The statute of limitations for each type of action differs. The time limit to make claims against governmental agencies is different than claims to be made against private companies and individuals. The type of claim being made also will trigger different statute of limitations claims: auto accidents, medical malpractice, professional negligence, fraud, .etc., all have different time limits.
Whatever type of legal issue you’re faced with, it’s important to speak with an attorney as soon as possible to avoid missing the deadline for filing. You must ask your attorney “is there a statute of limitations on personal injury cases”? The sooner you speak to an attorney, the better.
New York State’s Statute Of Limitations For Personal Injury
The clock starts ticking on the date of the accident and ends three years from that date with some exceptions. You should speak with a personal injury attorney as soon as you can after your accident. As a rule, you will not be able to file a lawsuit once the statute of limitations period has expired (although there are also some exceptions to this strict rule).
Some circumstances may arise that delay or “toll” the application of the Statute of Limitations period. The clock either stops ticking, or doesn’t begin ticking:
- Individual disability of the plaintiff: This occurs when the plaintiff is unable to bring their claim because they are a minor. The statute of limitations time frame would begin at that point after the minor turns 18.
- The “Discovery Of Harm” rule: in this case, the plaintiff would not immediately know they had an injury. This is most often used in medical malpractice cases but may be applicable to other types. Very commonly in medical malpractice claims, the harm occurs on a date, but the patient is under the continuous care of a physician – the period of continuous care stop the clock from ticking.
- Fraudulent concealment: plaintiffs need to perform “due diligence,” or an investigation into the facts of their case. A personal injury attorney should be hired to help you with this. But when a defendant intentionally lies or falsifies documentation, this may be used to stall the beginning of the statute of limitations.
- Other circumstances: such as death, bankruptcy and most recently COVID and executive orders which suspended the statute of limitations during the Pandemic Emergency.
How Far Back Can You Claim Personal Injury?
Insurance companies are aware of this time limit. At first, they will likely try to convince you to take a small settlement. Unfortunately, once you accept their settlement, you will not be able to take further legal action. You must keep track of time with the personal injury lawsuit statute of limitations.
Don’t do this — let your personal injury lawyer speak to them and negotiate a fair settlement for your injuries. People with attorneys receive better personal injury settlements than people who try to do it themselves.
If you wait too long to pursue your claim, the insurance company will know that you don’t have time to get a case together. They can simply wait you out and let the statute of limitations expire. At this point, if you don’t do anything before the time limit, you will likely get nothing.
Working with a New York personal injury attorney right after your accident will make sure that your claim is filed quickly. Your attorney will then have enough time to build your case and file it in the amount of time that is allowed.
We Are a Long Island Personal Injury Firm
Whatever type of personal injury you’ve suffered, the Law Offices of Elan Wurtzel is ready to help. We encourage you to get in touch with us today so that your claim is filed within New York’s statute of limitations. We will provide you with result-oriented legal representation with our special touch of compassionate care.
Contact us today at 516-822-7866 or email us at [email protected] to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.