When a New York personal injury lawyer mentions the Statute of Limitations on a case, he or she is referring to a law on the books. A Statute of Limitations effectively sets the time period within which a person or company may sue. This time period will depend on the type of lawsuit. Importantly, the Statute of Limitations impacts the ability of an injured person to file a lawsuit against a negligent party. In New York, an injured plaintiff must file a personal injury lawsuit within the time frame specified by law. A plaintiff’s failure to do so may result in the Court denying the claim, or dismissal of the case.
What is the Statute of Limitations on a New York Personal Injury Case
In New York, an injured plaintiff generally must bring a lawsuit for personal injuries within three (3) years of the date of the accident. This Statute of Limitations applies to lawsuits for injuries sustained in situations like construction accidents, car accidents, and slip and falls. But in some personal injury cases, the law has additional requirements which must be met. If an injured plaintiff overlooks such requirements, a lawsuit could be over before it even begins. Time frames to bring a personal injury lawsuit can also deviate from the typical three year period when suing certain types of entities, like the City or State of New York.
Suing the City of New York for a Trip and Fall Accident
For example, a trip and fall case generally carries a three (3) year statute of limitations in New York. But, if the accident occurred on a property owned by a municipality, like a City park, the injured plaintiff must file a Notice of Claim. When suing the City of New York for a trip and fall, the claimant must file a Notice of Claim against the City within ninety (90) days of the accident. The Notice of Claim requirement allows the City to investigate claims before a plaintiff actually starts a lawsuit. Failure to timely file a Notice of Claim against the City can be fatal to bringing a lawsuit.
Also, when suing the City for a trip and fall accident, the injured plaintiff must bring his or her lawsuit within one year and ninety days of the accident. This is much shorter than the typical three year statute of limitations in a standard personal injury case. A plaintiff should always consult a personal injury lawyer about the applicable Statute of Limitations as soon as possible.
The Statute of Limitations on a New York Medical Malpractice Case
Another example is a lawsuit against a medical provider or hospital for injuries resulting from medical malpractice. The New York Statute of Limitations in medical malpractice cases differs from the standard three years. Such cases also have some special considerations under the law. The statute of limitations for a medical malpractice lawsuit is usually two and one half (2 ½) years from the date of the malpractice, or from the end of continuous treatment received. The injured plaintiff will also need to file a Certificate of Merit. Medical malpractice is a specific area of personal injury law.
Tolling the New York Statute of Limitations
There are certain instances when the Statute of Limitations can actually be extended. Lawyers call this “tolling” the Statute of Limitations. A statute is tolled when the person who is injured is a minor or mentally incompetent. In NY, if a plaintiff is hurt at age 15, the three year statute of limitations may not begin to run until age 18. But again, there are nuances that have to do with the type of case. In a medical malpractice case, you may not be able to take advantage of that type of tolling. Another example of tolling occurred during the Covid-19 pandemic. At that time, the Governor issued an order tolling all Statutes of Limitations in New York. Always consult with a personal injury lawyer as to the Statute of Limitations before bringing your lawsuit.