The Long Island statute of limitations for personal injury cases varies. In general, you have three years to take action, according to CPLR §214, but some exceptions could shorten, or lengthen, your time limit.
What Circumstances Can Affect the Statute of Limitations?
The statute of limitations establishes a timeline for how long you have to file suit against the party who caused your injuries and resulting damages. Personal injury law covers a wide range of accidents and injuries. How your injuries occurred and who caused them could affect your time limit.
As mentioned, for many injuries, your window for filing a personal injury lawsuit in New York is generally three years. However, if the party responsible for your damages is a municipality or other government entity, you must file a notice of claim within 90 days, according to GMU §50-E. If medical malpractice caused your injuries, CPLR §214-A states you have two years and six months to file suit. For nursing home abuse, the statute of limitations varies.
If your loved one died from an injury that would have warranted a personal injury claim had they lived, you can seek compensation for wrongful death. Generally, you must pursue a wrongful death case within two years of your family member’s passing, according to EPTL §5-4.1. The time periods when pursuing a municipal case still apply to wrongful death actions.
Finally, there are limited circumstances where the statute of limitations could be extended. These can include when an infant or incompetent person is injured.
When Does the Statute of Limitations Start?
The clock on the statute of limitations usually begins at the time your injuries occurred. However, in some situations, the statute can be “tolled” or extended.
For example, the foreign object discovery rule can possibly allow you more time to pursue medical malpractice as the one-year statute starts to run when the victim discovers the object or when it reasonably should have been discovered. Additionally, when dealing with a failure to diagnose cancer, Lavern’s Law allows the statute to commence once the misdiagnosis or failure to provide proper treatment is discovered. Lavern’s Law is not unlimited, as the action must be commenced within seven years from the negligent act or omission.
The statute may also be extended for injuries suffered by a minor child or injuries concealed by fraud. You must understand how the statute of limitations applies to your particular injury. If the statute expires before you file your case, you cannot take legal action. It may be in your best interest to consult with an attorney.
What Qualifies As a Personal Injury?
Personal injury is a broad term that covers damages caused by negligence, an intentional act, or a defective product. Examples of personal injury cases include, but are not limited to:
- Car collisions
- Motorcycle crashes
- Slip and fall accidents
- Brain injuries
- Dog bites
- Medical errors
- Defective drugs and medical devices
- Construction accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Premises liability
What Is Negligence?
A party is negligent when they fail to use reasonable care and their actions or inactions harm others. To prove negligence, you must show:
- The at-fault party owed you a legal duty of care
- The at-fault party breached the duty of care with their actions
- Their actions caused your injuries
- Your injuries resulted in damages
Who Is Liable?
Liability will depend on the details of your case and the type of injury you sustained. Liable parties in a personal injury case may include:
- A doctor or other health care provider
- A medical facility
- A vehicle driver
- An employer
- A residential or commercial property owner
- A product manufacturer
- A government entity
What Damages Can You Win in a Personal Injury Case?
If your injury was not your fault, you can seek compensation for related expenses. You can also pursue damages for the effect your injury has on your physical, mental, and emotional health. Awards may include:
- Medical care – This includes all past and future necessary treatment, such as hospital stays, emergency transportation and services, surgical procedures, rehabilitation, long-term care, medical devices, and medically related travel expenses.
- Pain and suffering – Server injuries can change the way you live and prevent you from doing things you once enjoyed. You can seek awards for the effect your injuries have on your quality of life. This may include compensation for chronic pain, loss of mobility, depression, insomnia, anxiety, scarring, and disfigurement.
- Lost wages – If you cannot work while you recover from your injuries, you may qualify for awards for your lost wages. If you suffered an injury that prevents you from returning to your previous job or ever working again, you may seek the loss of your future earning capacity.
- Wrongful death – If your loved one sustained a fatal personal injury, a representative of their estate can file a lawsuit to recover damages suffered by the estate and surviving family members. Wrongful death compensation may include your loved one’s final medical bills, burial and funeral costs, and awards for their conscious pain and suffering. Survivors may receive compensation for the value of their lost inheritance and the loss of their loved one’s support and services.
The Value of Every Personal Injury Case is Different
No two personal injury cases are the same. Many factors can influence your settlement or verdict, including:
- Your age
- Your wages at the time of your injury
- Whether or not you can return to work
- Whether or not you suffered a permanent injury
- How much medical treatment you have received and how much you will require
- The extent of your pain and suffering
Is There a Timeline for Filing Insurance Claims?
Many personal injury cases are resolved outside of court with an insurance settlement. While there is no time limit for filing a claim, you should do so as soon as you are able. The insurance company could use a delay in filing or an expired statute of limitations as a reason to deny or underpay your claim.
Contact Rosenberg & Gluck, L.L.P. for Help with Your Personal Injury Case
Rosenberg & Gluck, L.L.P. can help you get started on your case today. We can explain how the statute of limitations applies to your injury and help you file your insurance claim or lawsuit before your window of time expires.
Since 1996, our lawyers have helped clients across Long Island win millions of dollars in successful settlements and verdicts. Our team has more than 100 years of experience with personal injury cases that we can put to work for you.
To learn more about how we can take your case on contingency, call our offices for a free consultation.