If the actions of another person have injured you, you deserve compensation. The law gives you the right and the path to get the payment you deserve. However, the law also imposes time limits on how long you have to exercise those rights.
The statute of limitations does not apply a single time limit to all cases. Medical malpractice cases have a different time limit than claims for car accident injuries. If you have been injured, you should consult a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible so they can advise you on what the statute of limitation is in your case and what effect this has on your claim.
In New York, the general rule in personal injury cases is that the statute of limitations runs for three years from the date of the accident. If you fail to adhere to this time limit, a court will likely allow the defendant’s application to dismiss your claim.
There are, however, some exceptions to this three-year deadline. For example:
The time limit for workers’ compensation claims is two years. However, these claims differ from personal injury claims because there is a required waiting period before you can file. For example, in a hearing loss case, the employee can only claim compensation 90+ days of removal from the work environment where the hearing loss occurred.
Medical malpractice has potentially a shorter time limit for filing a claim. The statute of limitation requires lawsuits of this type to be filed within two years and six months of the date of the negligent act.
An exception here is when you are receiving a course of treatment. You have two and a half years from the date the treatment ended to file your claim. Similarly, if you were unaware of the injury, you will be allowed a 30-month period to file from the date of discovery.
A wrongful death claim must be filed within two years of the date of death. If the lawsuit is not filed in time, it will be dismissed.
In general, you must file these claims within three years. However, there are some exceptions. If you have been injured in a slip and fall accident, consult a lawyer for advice on how long you have to file a claim.
For product liability claims, the time limit is three years. That time frame starts when the accident happens or when you become aware of the injury.
Are There Any Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations?
The courts apply the statute of limitations strictly to all cases. However, some circumstances can extend the time limit. The statute of limitations may also be suspended for some time. This is known as tolling. These exceptions include:
In a case where the plaintiff could not reasonably be expected to know about the injury, the time limit may be extended. This is known as the discovery of harm rule. This provides that the statute of limitations starts to run from the date when the plaintiff knew or ought to have known about the injury.
Fraudulent concealment is another rule which may apply tolling to the statute of limitations. For fraudulent concealment to apply, the defendant must take some intentional action, such as lying to the plaintiff or falsifying documents to ensure the plaintiff was unaware of his claim.
The defendant may still have a defense if they can prove that if they had used due diligence, they would have been aware they had a claim.
The statute of limitations may also be suspended due to the defendant’s legal disability. This would apply in cases that involved persons legally unable to bring a lawsuit. These people include minors and patients medically unfit to bring claims. In these cases, the statute of limitations does not start to run until the legal disability is removed, such as when the minor reaches the age of majority, or 18 years of age in New York.
After being injured in an accident, consulting a lawyer is always a good idea so you can file your claim as soon as possible and not miss any deadlines. Consider talking to an attorney about your situation, even if you are concerned the statute of limitations may have expired because you may qualify for an exception.
The Syracuse personal injury attorneys at Catalano Law can help you understand the complexities of the legal process. Our seasoned personal injury lawyers have extensive experience representing clients in all types of personal injury cases. Contact one of our experienced attorneys today to schedule a free, no-obligation case evaluation to discuss the facts of your case and learn how we can help.