There are many technical rules in every personal injury lawsuit. Out of all them, noncompliance with the statute of limitations carries the steepest consequences– your case can be dismissed entirely.
According to state law, the deadline to file a personal injury claim stemming from a car accident is three years. This window of time begins to expire the day the accident occurs.
While New York courts often aggressively apply this statute, some circumstances could allow you to file after the time limit expires. However, some situations could also shorten your time. Given these complications, it is crucial to discuss your claim with a New York City car accident lawyer from Friedman Levy as soon as possible.
The time limit to file after a fatal car accident
It is important to note that most discussions of the statute of limitations involve personal injury cases. If you are pursuing a wrongful death claim following a car crash, you have even less time to move forward. In a wrongful death case, the surviving relatives only have two years to bring their lawsuit.
Determining the statutory period in these cases can be confusing. After all, the date a person dies of their accident-related injuries might not be the same day the crash occurred. The consequences of missing this deadline are the same, however. The courts are empowered to dismiss a wrongful death lawsuit filed after the statute of limitations has expired.
Other exceptions to the statute of limitations
There is a notable exception in personal injury car accident cases. The deadline to file could be substantially later– if the injured party was a minor at the time of the crash.
The law treats minors as if they lacked the capacity to pursue a personal injury claim on their own. For this reason, the statute of limitations is paused until a person reaches their 18th birthday. The result is that minors injured in a crash have three years from the day they turn 18 to file.
There are other exceptions– for example, the time limit to bring an injury claim against the City or State of New York is much shorter. In these cases, you must provide the government entity with notice of your claim outlining the allegations within 90 days.
The risk of delay
If you have never undertaken a personal injury lawsuit, three years might sound like plenty of time. If you move decisively to pursue your claim, it typically is. However, building a winning case takes time.
Many wrecks require extensive investigation. This could involve identifying the at-fault party or tracking down witnesses. While police will investigate your accident if it occurred on a public roadway, your attorney will often need additional information for your lawsuit.
In cases involving severe injuries, it is often necessary to make use of expert witnesses. Medical experts can provide valuabletestimony about your injuries and explain to the jury that you will need significant compensation to make you whole.
If you wait too long to engage with an attorney, you might limit your lawyer’s ability to prepare your case or evaluate expert witnesses. In some situations, an attorney might not agree to take on your case if the statute of limitations is looming.
Contact us for a free consultation
Given what is at stake after a car wreck, there is no time to waste in contacting a New York City personal injury attorney. We can assist you in pursuing your case from start to finish. We can also advise you on the statute of limitations that apply in your case and work with you to ensure you file on time. To learn more about how we can help, schedule a free consultation with Friedman Levy today.