How Long After a Car Accident Can I Claim Injury in NY?

personal injury claim
New York City Personal Injury Lawyer I Greenberg & Stein, P.C.

If you have recently been involved in a car accident, it is very likely that right now you are dealing with injuries, medical bills and repair costs. Some physical injuries and emotional traumas can last a long time, and in some circumstances, for the rest of your life. Unfortunately, the amount of time that you have to file a claim against the negligent party is limited, that’s why acting as quickly as possible is crucial. You have three years from the date of the incident to bring a lawsuit, according to the statute of limitations. If you wait more than three years to file a claim, the court will reject your case and you will be unable to collect any compensation.

After a New York car accident, There Are Deadlines to Keep in Mind

Even though three years may appear to be a lengthy period, keep in mind that there are other processes with much shorter deadlines that you must take into account. Some of these procedures may not apply to your situation, but here’s a quick rundown of what they are.

  • If the damages exceed $1000, report the accident to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) within the first ten days after the accident. To do this use the MV-104 that you can find online on the DMV website. 
  • File a claim with the insurance company in less than 30 days after the accident. By doing this you will receive your no-fault benefits. 
  • The deadline for filing a claim for disability compensation is 30 days after the accident.
  • In some circumstances, such as where the responsible party is a government institution, you must file a “notice of claim” within 90 days after the accident.
  • If you need to make a claim of serious injury caused by a driver who does not have auto insurance, you must file it with the Motor Vehicle Accident Indemnification Corporation (MVAIC). To do this you have 90 days from the date of the accident.

Are There Any Exceptions to The Statute of Limitations in NY?

Although the statute of limitations indicates that you have three years to file a personal injury lawsuit, there are specific conditions in which this amount of time can vary. 

Claims against the government

The time period for filing a claim in circumstances where the liable party is a governmental or municipal entity is 90 days. In this case the litigant must file an accident report called “notice of claim”. The goal of the notice of claim requirement is to notify institutions of prospective claims, giving them enough time to investigate the circumstances and merits of the claim while witnesses, records, and other evidence are still available.

Claims for an injured minor

One of the cases where the deadline could be extended for a long time is when a minor is harmed in a car accident. They may have up to three years after turning 18 to initiate a personal injury lawsuit in this scenario. For example, if a 14 year old minor is injured as a result of a crash, it is possible to take legal action until they turn 21.

Claims for an injured with a mental illness

The deadline can be extended in cases where the accuser has been diagnosed with a mental condition and is thus legally incapacitated. Once a psychiatrist declares the plaintiff as sane, it is possible to continue with the process of filing a personal injury lawsuit. This is done to ensure that both parties are psychologically capable of litigating and making sound decisions.

Before the litigation, claims against at-fault parties depart the state

If the accused party leaves the state for any reason for four months or more, before the litigation, the three-year period will be paused until they return to New York. 

How Important is to File a Lawsuit Within the Time Allotted by New York Laws?

As stated previously, if you fail to file a lawsuit within the three years given by the statute of limitations, it is very likely that your case will be discarded and you will not be able to receive compensation. The same might be said for any other deadlines that your case may require you to meet.

It’s also worth mentioning that, even though you have three years to submit a personal injury claim, it is best to get started as soon as possible. If you have witnesses they will have fresher memories of the accident. Your memory will also be clearer and you will be able to provide more details and more recent evidence. All of these elements have the potential to significantly influence the outcome of the case in your favor. 

How Long Do You Have to File a Wrongful Death Suit in New York?

One of the most tragic consequences of an accident is death, it is estimated that 3 people die every day in car accidents in New York. When this tragedy occurs you will have to initiate a wrongful death lawsuit; however, the limit for this kind of claim is two years. If the plaintiff does not file the claim within two years, the at-fault party might object, claiming that the lawsuit was not filed on time, and the case could be dismissed.

New York’s No-Fault Laws

All cars registered in New York must have No-Fault insurance, which implies that the insurance company must cover medical expenses and lost wages (up to $50,000), regardless of who was at fault.

If you were physically harmed as a result of an accident your personal injury protection (PIP) will cover all medical bills and treatment necessary for you to recover and be able to return to normal activity.

In many cases, after an accident you may have injuries that prevent you from going back to work. This will result in loss of income, normally the insurance company will cover 80 percent of lost wages. 

Nonetheless, if the amount of money that the insurance company offers is not enough to cover all medical expenses and lost wages, you can opt to file a personal injury lawsuit to be properly compensated.

What Are Other Recoverable Damages in a Car Accident Lawsuit?

There are some damages that in case you decide to file a lawsuit you can be compensated for. With the help of experienced accident attorneys you can evaluate which recoverable damages you can be compensated for according to the accident you suffered. Here is a list of these damages:

  • Material damages: You may be entitled to compensation for your car or any other personal property that was directly impacted by the accident.
  • Medical bills and lost wages: If your personal injury protection does not cover for all medical expenses and lost wages, you can ask for compensation. 
  • Pain and suffering: It is possible that you experienced physical pain due to your injuries but you can also experience emotional trauma that causes you discomfort. Both of these are recoverable damages. 
  • Impaired quality of life: If as a result of the accident your quality of life is negatively affected, the court may order the defendant to pay for this. 
  • Out-of-Pocket expenses: This refers to deductibles or other types of expenses paid caused by the accident.
  • Loss of consortium: This is the loss of a spouse, significant other or partner or if they were injured in a way that affects the relationship you may have with this person. 

Need a Car Accident Lawyer in New York City?

As you can see, there are numerous considerations to make following an accident. Most people feel overwhelmed following a car accident due to medical fees, injuries, and repair expenditures. One of the most crucial decisions you can make is to hire an accident attorney. Our legal team at Greenberg & Stein, P.C. will assist you in any way possible, ensuring that you fulfill all case deadlines and advising you on every action you should take. Our lawyers have a lot of expertise and have helped a lot of people be reimbursed in tough situations. Contact us to set up a free consultation with a member of our legal team.