A personal injury claim has a lot of moving parts and critical steps that must be taken before the claim can be resolved, and any mistake along the way can cause you to lose out on valuable compensation or even sink your claim altogether. One of the most important facts to know about a personal injury case is the applicable statute of limitations. Understanding this concept is essential, as non-compliance can spell the difference between obtaining rightful compensation or forfeiting your claim. Read on to learn more about the statute of limitations for personal injury claims in New York, and call an experienced personal injury attorney at the Kohn Law Firm for a free consultation if you or a loved one has been hurt in a car accident, slip and fall, or other injury-causing incident in The Bronx.
What Is the Statute of Limitations?
The statute of limitations is a legal term that refers to the period within which you are allowed to file a lawsuit for a particular cause of action. The clock on this period generally starts ticking from the moment the cause of action arises, such as when an injury occurs or when it’s reasonably discovered. Even if you hope to settle your personal injury claim without going to court, it is sometimes necessary to file a lawsuit to protect your rights and as part of the claim settlement process. If you miss the statute of limitations without filing a lawsuit before your claim is resolved, you have lost the leverage you would otherwise have with the insurance company or negligent party that caused your injury.
The New York Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Claims
In the state of New York, the general rule is that you have three years from the date of the accident to bring a personal injury lawsuit (NY CPLR § 214). This rule applies to a wide range of incidents, including car accidents, slip and fall accidents, and more. After this three-year window closes, the New York courts will typically refuse to hear your case.
There are, however, exceptions to the three-year rule. For example, if the personal injury claim is against a government entity, you generally have only 90 days to file a notice of claim. Also, if the injury is not discovered right away, such as in cases of medical malpractice (which has a shorter two-and-a-half-year statute of limitations), the “discovery rule” may apply, potentially extending the statute of limitations. However, these cases are nuanced and vary significantly based on specific circumstances. You should always consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer to determine the applicable statute of limitations and how it applies to your particular claim.
Why Prompt Action is Crucial
Now that you know what the statute of limitations is, it’s easy to see why acting promptly is so important. If you fail to file your lawsuit within the set time frame, you are at risk of losing your right to pursue compensation for your injuries.
That said, acting promptly doesn’t mean hasty decision-making. It means promptly seeking legal advice so that your attorney has ample time to prepare a solid case. Gathering evidence, interviewing witnesses, obtaining medical records, and developing legal strategies takes time, and the sooner you seek legal counsel, the better.
Furthermore, acting promptly can be beneficial because evidence is usually more readily available and reliable shortly after the event. As time passes, witnesses’ memories may fade, physical evidence may be lost or degraded, and the overall ability to present a compelling case can diminish. This is actually one of the reasons states adopt a statute of limitations for civil cases, and the sooner you start preparing your case, the stronger it will be.
Kohn Law Firm: Your Advocate for Personal Injury Claims in The Bronx
At the Kohn Law Firm, we understand the urgency and importance of filing a personal injury claim within the specified statute of limitations. Our experienced legal team is dedicated to guiding our clients through every step of the process, ensuring their claims are filed promptly and effectively.
We are committed to fighting for the maximum compensation you are entitled to, helping you navigate through complex legal procedures, and standing by your side every step of the way. If you or a loved one has suffered a personal injury in The Bronx, don’t wait until it’s too late. Contact us today for a free consultation, and let’s secure your rights together.