Statutes of Limitations for Accidents and Injuries in NYC

Statute of limitations is often used as a defense to hinder action on a personal injury case that is brought against an individual or company. Once the statute of limitations has passed, the injured party no longer has the ability to seek compensation. If you have been injured in an accident or incident, it is important to know what the statute of limitations is for your particular situation. If you wait too long, you could cheat yourself out of the compensation that you are due.

What Are Statutes of Limitations?

A statute of limitations is a deadline that limits the amount of time that a person can file a lawsuit or initiate legal action for a specific situation. Each cause of action has its own deadline which can range from 30 days to several years for both criminal and civil cases (the charge of murder is an exception – there is no statute of limitations for murder). The reason they are instituted is to encourage that legal claims are resolved expediently or within a reasonable time period. In some cases, the “clock” can be stopped, or “tolled,” for special circumstances, such as the claimant’s “infancy” (under the age of 18)

New York Statutes of Limitations for Injuries and Accidents

There are several types of cases that fall under the cause of action category for personal injury. The New York statute of limitations for these cases is outlined here:

  • Personal Injury – 3 years from the accident date (ref: N.Y. C.P.L.R. § 214(5)) – This includes any personal injury that is not included on this list. There are specific statutes of limitations for medical malpractice, property damage, wrongful death, and other situations, so you should look at the list to see if another situation fits before accepting this three-year deadline.
  • Medical Malpractice – 2 years 6 months from the date that the malpractice occurred or from the end of continuous treatment that was performed by the doctor, healthcare professional, entity, or party that you plan to file suit against for a specific illness, condition, or injury. (ref: N.Y. C.P.L.R. § 214-a) – If the medical malpractice is the result of a foreign object that was left in the body after surgery or a medical procedure, that incident has a different statute of limitations.
  • Medical Malpractice Actions Based on Foreign Object Left in the Body – 1 year from the date that the object was discovered or should have been discovered. (ref: N.Y. C.P.L.R. § 214-a) – A foreign object, for the purposes of this statute, does not include a prosthetic device or aid, fixation device, or chemical compound.
  • Wrongful Death – 2 years from the death of the person (ref: N.Y. E.P.T.L. § 5-4.1) – The law states that the appropriate plaintiff in a wrongful death action is the deceased person’s “personal representative.” This is the only person who is named in the action. If there is any compensation, that representative will be named the statutory “executor” or “administrator” of the decedent’s estate (depending if whether the deceased person died with a will or died without a will) and will be responsible for the distribution of the funds to the parties who are entitled to them.
  • Product Liability – 3 years from the date the accident occurred (ref: N.Y. C.P.L.R. § 214(3)) – This covers any defective product including automobiles, drugs, airplanes, battery, machinery, power tools, hair dryers, cell phone, beauty products, and construction equipment like cranes, forklifts, and bulldozers.
  • Slip and Fall – 3 years from the date the accident occurred (ref: N.Y. C.P.L.R. § 214(5)) – If the accident occurred due to another party’s negligence they can file a slip and fall case. This can be against an employer, a school, a landlord, a business, or even a homeowner.
  • Property Damage – 3 years from the date that the accident occurred (ref: N.Y. C.P.L.R. § 214(4)  or N.Y. C.P.L.R. § 214-c) – This can be your vehicle if you were in a car accident. If someone ran over the fence in your yard, that is also considered to be property damage, as is damage to your home.
  • Fraud – 6 years from the time the fraud was discovered (ref: N.Y. C.P.L.R. §213(8)) – If the defendant attempts to conceal injury or they try to hide their negligence that led to the accident, they can be brought up under fraud charges. While this is a criminal charge, it can factor into the civil case and the plaintiff can file a lawsuit against them in order to collect damages.

If you have been injured in an accident, you need good legal representation.  You need the help of a skilled NY Accident & Injury attorney.