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Is there a statute of limitations for personal injury cases?

If you’ve suffered an injury due to an accident, a personal injury attorney may be able to help you receive compensation to cover any medical bills, lost income or pain and suffering. However, it is essential that you seek the assistance of an attorney sooner rather than later as the statute of limitations means that there is only a limited period of time where you’re eligible to file a personal injury claim.

New York Statute of Limitations for Personal Injuries
As with any other state, New York has a statute of limitations for personal injuries. You can basically think of this statute of limitations like a due date. If you don’t file a personal injury claim before this due date, you lose your legal right to seek compensation for your injuries.

In New York, the statute of limitations for personal injury cases is generally three years. This means that you have exactly three years from the date of your injury to file a legal claim. If you choose not to file a personal injury claim within this time period, you then forfeit your right to file and also any potential compensation you may have been entitled to.

The three-year statute of limitations applies to any injuries sustained in a car crash and also any injuries arising out of someone else’s negligence, such as slip-and-falls, getting bitten by a dog or most other injuries that occurred due to an avoidable hazard. However, a separate statute of limitations applies to personal injuries that result from medical malpractice. In this case, you typically only have 2.5 years from the date of injury to file your claim.

The statute of limitations rules aren’t exactly set in stone, and there are a number of different extenuating circumstances that can potentially shorten the time period that you have to file a claim. For this reason, it is essential that you speak with a personal injury lawyer as soon as your injury has occurred. Otherwise, if you decide to wait around and consider whether or not to file a claim, you could end up missing out on your chance of a settlement.

Private Injury Claims vs. Government
If you were injured on city, county or state property due to the negligence of a government employee, you may be able to file a personal injury and seek compensation from the relevant government agency. However, it is important to note that the statute of limitations for this type of claim is different than the statute for filing a civil personal injury claim against a private citizen or business.

In this case, you generally have only 90 days to file a formal claim against any city or county in New York and one year to file a formal lawsuit. Similar rules apply to any claims made against New York State, in which case you must file either a claim or notice of intent to file a claim within 90 days of the injury.

Insurance Settlements
The statute of limitations doesn’t only apply to filing a personal injury lawsuit. The rules also mean that you only have the same limited period of time to file a claim to receive an insurance settlement. For instance, New York’s ‘serious injury threshold’ for auto accidents means you may be able to file an insurance claim against the at-fault driver even if you choose not to file a civil suit against them. However, you still only have three years from the date of the accident to file this claim.

Filing a personal injury claim does take some time, which means it’s best not to sit around and wait until the last minute. If you’ve been injured in an accident and are considering filing a claim, it is essential that you speak with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible. An experienced attorney can give you advice and help you determine whether you have sufficient grounds for a claim, while also ensuring that, if you do have grounds, you get your claim filed before the statute of limitations expires.

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